“Corporate” Higher Education in the United States?
How does one small US Liberal Arts College respond to Corporate Social Responsibility? 

Lena Totzke

Strategic Communication


Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, USA & Westfälische Hochschule Gelsenkirchen, Deutschland


In the wake of corporate scandals (e.g. BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Volkswagen’s car emission deception or Nike’s child labor scandal) society pressures companies to act responsibly. Profit driven organizations find it essential to act in a socially responsible way following the concepts of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for a variety of different purposes: to improve relationships with their stakeholders (customers, regulatory authorities, local communities, NGOs etc.); to improve operational efficiency; to reduce costs; and/or to benefit their image in the community. However, most incentives are profit based (Pedersen, 2015.). “CSR can and should be treated and managed as a core business strategy” (McElhaney, n.d.). Therefore, CSR can be used as one business strategy in order to exist and operate successfully in the marketplace (Pedersen, 2015; Forcade et al., 2006).

With the growing role of market forces and a commercial mentality in US Higher Education, the adaptation of business strategies such as CSR suggests itself (Washburn, 2005; Bok, 2003). Even if US colleges and universities have a huge responsibility to give back to society (Bok, 2006), the extent to which the competitive system of US Higher Education demands that small private colleges follow a socially responsible strategy requires further examination. The paradox of using business models to increase revenues, and the implicit denial that they are a business suggest that a small private college’s strategies of acting in a socially responsible way mirror the principles of CSR without the force of legal ramifications in answer to government funding that large public institutions face.

To gain an understanding of CSR in Higher Education in the United States, I use a qualitative content analysis of a case study in form of interview data with the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) (President, Provost, Vice President of Finance and Operations, and the Vice President of Advancement and Marketing) from a small private Liberal Arts College in Pennsylvania. I compare the way the members of the Senior Leadership Team speak about their college’s socially responsible strategies with the following criteria for CSR in business by Carroll: Philanthropic Responsibilities, Ethical Responsibilities, Legal Responsibilities and Economic Responsibilities (Carroll, 1991). I argue that, forced by the competitive nature of the US Higher Education system, the philanthropic, ethical, legal, and economic categories of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are not only expected at a small private Liberal Arts College, but are intrinsic to its very identity.


Abstract: Reflexivity as a Tool in the New Era of Star Trek Films

Zach Guiciardi 

            Recently, Star Trek has had a resurgence of popularity due to the releases of two new films, Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013). The premise of these films do no overwrite the previous movies, but instead take place in an altered reality from that which took place during the original television series as well as the six motion pictures under the same title. It is by creating an alternate universe that Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) are able to have a high coefficient of reflexivity with the original series, and please a new era of fans, while maintaining continuity with the television and movie franchise. By looking at specific examples from both the original films and the new era of films, it is clear that there are many changes made to both character development and plot in the new Star Trek films; however by keeping names, set designs, and some plot points the same, the film-makers are able to maintain continuity with the original films while still creating a new film. These specific examples include quotes, character use, plot points, and even the use of Leonard Nimoy (Spock from the original television series and films) in the new era of films. All of these examples show how Star Trek was able to be reborn in a new age without disheartening fans of the original series by attempting to write over the original plot and timeline.