Inside a Cooperative University: Mondragon as an alternative model

In 2011, three academics – Rebecca Boden of the University of Roehampton, Davydd Greenwood of Cornell University and Susan Wright of Aarhus University – visited the university and wrote that Mondragon was a “highly successful” alternative to what they called “neoliberalised university formations”.
“It is possible to create and manage successful universities that do not involve the exploitation of faculty as passive employees and the treatment of students as mere clients in a fee-for-service educational scheme,” they conclude in “Report on a field visit to Mondragón University: a cooperative experience/experiment”, published in the journal Learning and Teaching.
Mondragon rejects the idea of private profit-making, and yet academics are perpetually concerned with bringing in income. Earnings are relatively equal, but fluctuate with financial performance. Governance is highly democratic, but allows for an unprecedented degree of influence from businesses and students. It may be an alternative to the state-funded public university – but is it worth it?

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