UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Canadian philanthropy and higher education : funding shifts, organizational restructuring and the repositioning of academic culture in university museums Scott Tomita, Suzanne Pauline


The study analyses the changes to higher education funding, organizational structure and academic culture at two academic boundary organizations, the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology (MOA) and Beaty Biodiversity Museum (BBM). The study is framed by a blended theoretical construct that includes academic capitalism theory, theories of academic culture, and theories of critical museology as a conceptual framework. Drawing from these theoretical concepts, the qualitative sources of interview data, and quantitative documents, the study provides a missing element in the existing theory on academic capitalism and suggests a refinement in the existing literature on higher education research, in particular how to account for the increasingly important influences of academic fundraising as it plays out in two academic museums as examples of boundary organizations. The MOA and BBM are the two study sites for the doctoral research as a result of their successful receipt in January 2002 of a research infrastructure grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) which stipulates a matching grant of 40% of the funding to come from the province, and the remaining 20% from industry support and community donors. This emphasis on a new funding mix to include industry partnerships and input from the academic fundraising mechanism has influenced the organizational structure and culture of these two academic boundary organizations. The major findings indicate changes to the organizational structure of both units to include management teams, advisory boards, as well as an emphasis on entrepreneurial and marketing experience in the skill set of academics. The repositioning of academic culture indicates that these boundary organizations have shifted their introspective research towards a public outreach experience and recognize that with a competitive funding environment comes the need for academic units to be innovative and territorial.

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