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Management & Technology

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Book Chapter

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The educational mindset for online higher degrees, specifically the master’s and doctoral journey, shifted from the refractive thinking perspective as transformational experiences, producing objective decision-making processes, to transactional business exchanges, and in some institutions, an exchange for investors and stakeholders. Nehrlich (2006) coined “transactional exchange” as an exchange of one thing for another involving some form of gain. This chapter presents the business of marketing higher education programs (i.e., master’s and doctoral degrees) and the front-line faculty positioned to achieve an institution’s profit margin derived from degree production. Our goal is to discuss the losses and gains when faculty, who previously focused on innovation, comparative thinking, and mentoring, add an institution’s financial stability to their responsibilities (Kaufman-Osborn, 2023). Stakeholder needs range from graduating learners with innovative ideas to meeting an institution’s financial needs (Ramadoss et al., 2022). While the profit margins of public institutions have dropped precipitously (Macrotrends, 2023), for-profit and not-for-profit institutions of higher education must leverage The Refractive Thinker® Volume XXIII 112 program efficacy with financial viability (Wally Boston, 2020). In the United States, private and increasingly public postsecondary institutions must consider political goals; thus, for-profit and not-for-profit institutions can experience increased demands for financial solvency. The profitability versus a learner’s goals then must undergo a balancing exercise. This chapter briefly explores the progression of academic faculty from traditional harbingers of innovative programs to increased profitability, a nuanced yet pervasive mindset (PEW, 2019; Schwartz, 2022).

Publication Title

The Refractive Thinker: An Anthology of Doctoral Writers: Criminal Justice - Effective Ethical Policies & Practices


The Refractive Thinker Press