Printer Friendly

Course Ownership in a New Technological Context.

The Dynamics of Problem Definition


Intellectual property is a hot topic in higher education these days. Evidence of the prevalence of the debate on intellectual property is found in a variety of higher education publications, including The Chronicle of Higher Education (Guernsey & Young, 1988) and Academe. These publications describe both the need to revisit intellectual property policies and the conflict it generates between the rights of faculty and the desire of some administrators to control certain forms of intellectual property on behalf of colleges and universities. A recent issue of Academe describes intellectual property policies as a "ticking time bomb" in higher education (Gorman, 1998; Scott, 1998).

The ownership of intellectual property is among the most widely debated issues on university campuses today, and these debates go far beyond the distance learning issue itself.... As the potential value of copyrighted material escalates, particularly with the advent of multimedia software, and as financial resources diminish, many universities are revisiting who owns the intellectual property created by faculty. (American Association of University Professors, 1998, p. 34)

Another source of evidence of increased attention to intellectual property policies are the number of discipline-based conferences and journals that are devoted to the ownership, control, and compensation issues that arise as (1) technology innovation and transfer become the goals of sponsored research activities and (2) as the electronic mediation of knowledge becomes a vehicle for the delivery of courses and programs (Allen & Boelzner, 1995; Shade, 1995; Spearitt & Julian, 1996).

The sources and consequences of the reexamination of academic intellectual property are varied and complex. However, the rapid infusion of advanced communications technologies into instructional processes in recent years has clearly prompted a widespread interest in rethinking the meanings, expressions, and rights to intellectual property in higher education. A major point of contention is over who retains ownership or copyright over technology-based course materials created by faculty when these require the use of institutional resources, are commissioned by the institution, or are believed to have considerable market value (Hawkins, 1999; Thompson, 1999). A recent issue of Cause/Effect suggests that the basic questions driven by the digital revolution are:

If higher education institutions expand their roles as producers and distributors of information, will they expect more control of faculty-produced material? If so, will they be in direct conflict with faculty who expect to profit from their own intellectual property? With regard to developing course material electronically, what model of ownership should be followed? Should the traditional textbook model be used, or should different models of ownership, such as the patent model, be developed? (Cause Issues Committee, 1997-1998, p. 5)

Or, as Dennis Thompson (1999) argues, perhaps neither form of intellectual property is appropriate for the types of technology-based course materials that are being developed today for delivery through the World Wide Web. Regardless, intellectual property policy is a critical issue in higher education because "most campuses have not defined adequate policies and developed clear understandings about these issues of intellectual property, conflict of interest, and revenue sharing" (Hawkins, 1999, p. 15). The AAUP statement on intellectual property and technology (1998) is correct in suggesting that the issue goes beyond distance education, in part, because many faculty are developing digital documents and interactive experiences for their students that are delivered through the Web to supplement their face-to-face instruction.

There is a broad and rich array of research literature on intellectual property in higher education. In the recent flurry of interest in intellectual property in higher education, much has been written about the application of intellectual property law in higher education (Allen & Boelzner, 1996; Kennedy & Rosenweig, 1998), the impact of technological innovation on intellectual property policies (Cohen, 1994; Gilbert, 1990; Litwak, 1995), access to copyright protected materials through new technologies (Gilbert, 1996; Harney, 1996; Wagner, 1998), the relationship between intellectual property policies and macro-level changes in higher education (Rhoades & Slaughter, 1991a, 1991b; Slaughter & Leslie, 1997; Slaughter & Rhoades, 1990, 1993), and the positions that higher education constituents should take on ownership issues (Gorman, 1998; Kulkarni, 1995; Scott, 1998). There is also a growing body of literature that describes the policy issues specifically pertaining to the ownership of technology-based course materials (Burk, 1997, 1998; Carnevale, 1999; Carnevale & Young, 1999; Cause Issues Committee, 1997-1998; Chambers, 1999; Rhoades 1998).

An important subset of the research literature on intellectual property focuses on the impact on faculty as universities are transformed by advanced capitalism. This research has considerable relevance for understanding the social processes that are transforming intellectual property relations in higher education. A portion of this research is concerned with the legal dimensions of the ownership of copyrightable works of University professors (Lape, 1992; Ver Steeg, 1990). This research established two points that are especially relevant for the ownership of copyrightable course materials in the new technological context. First, although universities have long claimed ownership of patentable inventions of faculty members, traditionally, they have not claimed ownership of copyrightable works created by faculty. Even in the early 1990s, "most colleges and universities have no such written [copyright] policy" (Lape, 1992, p. 252). Second, colleges and universities are increasingly adopting copyright policies in order to assert ownership of certain types of faculty products. The major reasons for the institutional assertion of ownership of copyrightable course materials are the "advent of new technology and an increased interest in the commercialization of faculty works" (Lape, 1992, p. 254).

However, much of the recent research on intellectual property in higher education is primarily concerned with the relationships among academia, industry, and the state as research is commercialized in the marketplace. This research focuses primarily, but not exclusively, on patent policies and suggests that the state and higher education institutions have acquired greater ownership rights and control over royalties and other revenue generated by the commercialization of faculty scholarship.

The writings of Chew (1992), Olivas (1992), Slaughter and Rhoades (1990, 1993), Slaughter and Leslie (1997) and Rhoades (1998) provide particularly important guides to understanding the social and organizational processes affecting the development of intellectual property policies at American colleges and universities. Chew (1992) articulates a comprehensive overview of the justifications universities use to assert ownership over research and inventions created by faculty, drawn from a survey of the policies of thirty major research universities. Institutional claims to ownership include assertions that intellectual property was created on institutional time, through the use of significant institutional resources, or that research and invention are inherent in faculty responsibilities, at least at research universities. Further, Chew argues that institutional policies asserting ownership of research proliferated in recent years because of increasing participation of universities in entrepreneurial activities . This trend was prompted and reinforced primarily by governmental incentives to collaborate with industry to develop and commercialize new technologies. State governments are particularly aggressive in promoting these partnerships. The transformation of their mission, institutions argue, requires changes in the social relations between faculty and their employers. Thus, research universities are increasingly concerned with the accumulation of revenues generated through patent licensing (Chew, 1992, p. 270 -276). Chew also discovers significant legal, societal, and faculty arguments opposing the institutional ownership of research and inventions. Chew suggests that policies founded on faculty ownership, but include institutional involvement in the ownership and commercialization of research, are more likely to mitigate institutional conflict and provide generalized benefits to faculty, universities, and society than those that maximize institutional ownership (1992, p. 304-314).

In his study of the implementation of legal changes on university campuses, Olivas (1992) also explores the political economic foundations, and legal justifications, for the recent trend of institutional assertion of ownership of faculty research, discoveries and inventions. He concurs with Chew that many institutions expect to prosper by increased levels of research support and the royalties associated with licensing commercial applications of faculty discoveries. Although he is primarily interested in using intellectual property as a case study of the effect of legal changes on institutions, Olivas argues that the development and implementation of intellectual property policies is a formal means through which institutions control the commercial exploitation of faculty inventions, "usually including patents, trade secrets, and some copyrights that are produced on university time or with university resources" (1992, p. 577). Federal law governs much of the assignment, control, and use of intellectual propert y in higher education. However, in public institutions there may be state laws or regulations over and above federal provisions. State governments are particularly interested in returns on their investments in faculty research and, thus, promulgate statutes that are conducive to the assertion of institutional ownership. Olivas notes that some institutions justify their ownership of faculty research and discoveries on the basis of state statutes, even though more faculty-oriented policies are permitted under law (1992, p. 579).

Another strand of this literature emphasizes the changes in the organization of faculty work as higher education adjusts to new political and economic realities. This research is central to our understanding of intellectual property relations in higher education today (Campbell, Daza, & Slaughter, 1999; Rhoades & Slaughter, 1991; Slaughter & Leslie, 1997; Slaughter & Rhoades, 1990, 1993). Again focusing on patent statutes and policies in higher education, this research is primarily concerned with changes in the conditions of faculty labor as universities organize to commercialize faculty research. The primary dynamic driving change in intellectual property relations is the new relationship of the research university to the state and the market. In recent years, the entrepreneurial university has emerged out of increased interaction and collaboration between corporate, governmental, and academic leaders (Etzkowitz & Leydesdorff, 1997). In concert with the arguments of Chew and Olivas, this strand of research suggests that the conflict within research universities over intellectual property policies is rooted in a new context in which institutional responsiveness and competitiveness are defined in part by collaboration with firms in order to transfer technology to the marketplace. Academic managers are increasingly interested in redefining faculty rights to the ownership of their creations--and thus the conditions of their labor-in order to expedite and maximize technology transfer. The entrepreneurial university seeks to maximize the accumulation of not only sponsored research funding, but also of royalties from the licensing of research discoveries and the political capital that is earned by this interaction with the business community. Institutions that fail to acquire at least partial ownership of faculty discoveries find themselves at a competitive disadvantage with those that have (Rahm, 1994; Slaughter & Leslie, 1997; Slaughter & Rhoades, 1993).

One of the most comprehensive and detailed studies of intellectual property relations in contemporary American higher education is Gary Rhoades's Managed Professionals (1998). While Rhoades studies various forms of intellectual property and the conditions of professional labor in colleges and universities, this book offers one of the few empirical sources in higher education research literature that directly addresses conflicts over the ownership and control of copyrightable course materials created by faculty. Rhoades devotes an entire chapter of his recent study of collective bargaining agreements to what he terms "the production politics of teaching and technology," noting that the products of faculty labor in the teaching process pose some unique issue of ownership, control and use of intellectual property created by faculty. He indicates that,

faculty generally cannot make money from the curricula they deliver if it is in the form of class notes or collection of readings they require (such matters are governed not by contract but by legal rulings). New technology introduces a different sort of intellectual property and curricular possibility- software and tapes of faculty lectures and courses. Ownership claims are far less clear in these areas. (1998, p. 202)

Rhoades's study appears to focus on some of the more tangible forms of course materials--software and tapes of faculty lectures. His point about the lack of clarity in legitimate ownership is even more critical when applied to the array of course materials that exist only in the netherworld of cyberspace.

Rhoades argues that one of the dominant rationales for utilizing new instructional technologies is to increase productivity and to generate more tuition revenue. Data from his study suggest that institutional administrators seek more control and discretion in decision making over the use of instructional technologies and the revenue they generate through increased student access to higher education. Faculty seek to maintain control of their work and their instructional products. They also seek autonomy from institutions and their managerial control. However, Rhoades finds little evidence that collective bargaining contracts respond effectively to ownership issues by ensuring individual or collective faculty control over the use of instructional technologies. Instead, he discovers that unionized faculty are increasingly "marginalized" in decision making regarding the ownership, control, and use of instructional technology in a vague and uncertain policy environment (1998, pp. 205-209). As the scholarship of t eaching is increasingly digitized, the marginalization of faculty in the decision-making process is increasingly alarming.

The writers in this strand of research on intellectual property argue that there has been an ideological change in higher education from one that defines the public interest as best served by shielding public entities from the dynamics of the market to one that encourages and supports the commercialization of faculty scholarship. Claims to ownership and rewards pertaining to intellectual property, including copyrightable course materials, appear to have shifted dramatically from faculty owning their products to ownership and control by institutions that seek to commercialize faculty scholarship. Thus, the conditions and outcomes of faculty labor, including ownership of the products of faculty scholarship, are being rapidly transformed by capital and the state. (Slaughter & Rhoades, 1993, p. 287).

Although this scholarship on intellectual property focuses primarily, but not exclusively, on patent policies that govern ownership, control, and revenue generated by inventions derived from research, it has an important relationship to the intellectual property issues that have captured the recent interest of the higher education policy community, as evident in Cause/Effect, Academe, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. The social and policy processes that occur as course ownership policies are developed and implemented are also important areas of inquiry in the new technological context. The same dynamics regarding the changing relationship between the state, capitalism, and academia may be broadly occurring in the United States with respect to policies on the ownership of mediated or technology-based course materials. Thus, the scholarship of teaching is undergoing transformation as course ownership policies are developed and implemented just as the scholarship of discovery was transformed by changes in patent policies that enabled institutions to assert ownership of faculty research and inventions. The significant questions for higher education policymakers, faculty, and administrators include, What is the policy process engendering these changes? What conflicts occur in its course? How are these policy problems being defined? Who has the power and authority to define them?

This article provides a case study of how the Kansas Board of Regents, a consolidated statewide governing board, and the six public universities it governs, initiated and pursued a restructuring of their intellectual property policies that included the initial development of ownership policies for technology-based course materials. The primary interest of the study is to examine how the effort to develop and implement course ownership policies was affected by how the "problem" or "policy issue" was defined by the constituents of the policy community that advises the Board, primarily the faculty and academic leadership of the Kansas Regents universities. The tumultuous course of the Board's effort at policy development is explained, in part, by the competing definitions of the policy issue propounded by the faculty leaders and academic administrators who advise the Regents.

The Sociological Meaning of Problem Definition

"Problem definition" is a sociological concept that suggests that social actors frequently engage in a collective process of defining the social conditions they encounter in everyday life as problems that deserve some form of societal amelioration (Rochefort & Cobb, 1994). Understood sociologically, problem definition is the process of how "social conditions" are transformed into "social or policy problems" through the symbolic interaction of human beings in a social environment. Blumer (1971) and his followers (Best, 1989; Ibarra & Kituse, 1993; Miller & Holstein, 1993) argue that problem definition should be understood as a form of collective behavior that shapes (1) what is identified as a social problem or public issue, (2) where and how the problem originates, (3) who is affected by it, and (4) how significant it is. Social actors have perceptions, assumptions, ideologies, and interests that favor special and, at times, incompatible and contradictory definitions of the conditions in everyday life. Indee d, social actors may even disagree on whether the social conditions constitute a problem. The sociological meaning of problem definition acknowledges that social and policy issues have a human and social base; that is, social problems or policy issues are fundamentally defined or socially constructed by human beings in their everyday interactions.

Understood sociologically, problem definition is important in the policy process because it determines the status of an issue on the public policy agenda. Proponents of a particular policy initiative or intervention must successfully dramatize the significance, scope, and implications of the problem conditions to critical social actors in order to move the issue to the "front burner" of the public policy process. Opponents of the initiative may denigrate the significance, incidence, and scope of a problem in order to ensure either a denial that there is a problem or neglect of the problem as a way of resisting its placement on the public agenda (Cobb & Ross, 1997).

The problem definition process also shapes the range of acceptable and viable alternatives to the problem conditions, as well as the design of specific solutions or interventions aimed at responding to them. Proponents of an initiative generally seek to align the design of a policy or a program with their conception of an optimal response to the problem circumstances. Opponents of the intervention will struggle over the design of a program or policy implementation in order to dilute, minimize, or redirect its impact. Social conflict over the significance of a social problem or policy issue and the design of alternatives to it suggests that the problem definition process is neither linear nor deterministic. The relative strength, abilities, and resources available to proponents and opponents shape whether the conditions are socially defined as a problem as well as whether a societal intervention is developed to rectify them. Solutions or proposals to address problems are themselves frequently seen as problems by their opponents. Furthermore, the implementation of initiatives conceived as solutions tend to generate new conditions that may be interpreted as problems by opponents or by those who believe that their interests are negatively affected by the changed state of affairs (Cobb & Ross, 1997; Petracca, 1992; Rochefort & Cobb, 1994; Stone, 1988; Weiss, J., 1989).

When the problem-definition process is viewed as symbolic interaction that is designed to promote or deny social agendas, six critical dimensions emerge (Rochefort & Cobb, 1994, p. 14--21). These concepts provide a basis for operationalizing the study of problem definition in the policy process.

1. Causality. The way a policy problem is defined generally includes statements about its origins. A statement about the cause of a policy problem is a strategic choice that shapes the course, content and outcomes of a policy debate.

2. Significance. The significance of any social problem is not self-evident but emerges out of the struggle of groups to define reality. Problems that are identified as the most significant are likely to move upward on the public policy agenda. Perceptions of lesser severity tend to move problems downward on the list of policy priorities.

3. Incidence. Perceptions and information that demonstrates increasing frequency of a problem creates pressure for decisive policy intervention.

4. Novelty. Novel policy problems attract considerable public attention because they are out of the ordinary, but they also lack familiar policy tools to deal with them.

5. Scope. The scope of an issue refers to the range of actors whose interests are directly affected by the problem. Proponents of an initiative may seek to expand their political base by establishing claims of relevancy to designated constituents. That is, they may seek to elevate their definition of the problem through arguments of a broad social impact.

6. Ownership. Policy issues generally include a struggle over who has authority to delineate the causes, consequences, and solutions to social problems. A variety of groups may seek rights to participate in the definition and resolution of a policy issue. Ownership of an issue determines who sits on the sidelines and who participates as a policy issue progresses.

Although several theoretical perspectives in the social and policy sciences, including Neo-Marxism or variants of political economic analysis (Slaughter & Leslie, 1997) and postmodernism (Rosenau, 1992), help make sense of the elevation and interpretation of issues and problems in the public policy process, the specific study of the role of problem definition in the policy process is moored in the social constructivist tradition. Social constructivism promotes the notion that individuals, groups, and societies construct the definitions, explanations and interpretations that help structure human experience (Berger & Luckmann, 1967; Blumer, 1971; Edelman, 1964, 1988; Miller & Holstein, 1993;). These constructions, or definitions of the situation, also help us decide how we respond to our experiences. Social constructions do not necessarily conform to any absolute, objective, or "out there" reality. They are based on symbols, language, assumptions, and value judgments that are arbitrary, vague, and indeterminat e. People create a sense of purpose, order, objectivity, and social relations through symbolic interaction. The social constructivist perspective draws a distinction between objective conditions and the definition of these conditions as problems or issues. Conditions become problems when individuals or groups successfully label them as such. The process through which conditions are transformed into problems is dependent upon the efforts of moral or political entrepreneurs who must successfully dramatize the conditions as a problem and champion a policy intervention to address it (Becker, 1963).

From a constructivist perspective, intellectual property, including claims to the ownership of technology-based course materials, is a social construction or definition of the situation that is negotiated among actors within a social, political, and legal environment. Like all forms of property, legitimate course ownership is an organization of ideas that becomes an intersubjective and material reality because people act on the basis of their beliefs about it. Any creation or reassessment of course ownership policies in higher education might be viewed as a redefinition or restructuring of the meaning, expressions, and distribution of intellectual property in order to respond to conditions that moral or political entrepreneurs see as problematic for higher education. Anxiety over the technological and organizational changes occurring in higher education may generate efforts to seek a new consensus, or a new definition of the situation, regarding the ownership and control of intellectual property. Although th e social constructivist position has been criticized for insufficient attention to the impact of disparities in institutional power in the definition process, its primary contribution is the focus it brings to the definitional nature of the policy formation process. The social constructivist viewpoint prompts us to inquire about how the participants define the problem, but it does not preclude an understanding of how differential resources, power, and authority affect the definition process.

Policy Formation in Kansas Higher Education

Established in the state's Constitution, the Kansas Board of Regents is comprised of nine lay members who are appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the state senate. The Kansas Constitution and statutes ensure that the Board has a broad geographic representation and a relative balance of representation from the two predominant political parties. Although the Board is constitutionally part of the executive branch of Kansas state government, in recent years it has maintained a strong independent and nonpartisan stance, a strength identified by many of its constituents (Gade, 1993).

The Board's primary responsibilities are established in the Kansas Constitution and statutes. These include (1) hiring and compensating the chief executive officers of the universities, (2) establishing tuition and fees, (3) approving campus budgets and legislative requests, (4) approving and reviewing academic programs, and (5) setting academic, fiscal, and personnel policy for the six universities. Despite the broad authority conferred by the state's legal structure, the Regents historically have attempted to fulfill their responsibilities in a manner that is consistent with the decentralist political culture of the state's higher education system (Gade, 1993). However, the Board has also adopted a more activistic posture in its relationship with the academic processes at the universities. While retaining its governing authority over the six state universities, on July 1, 1999, the Board assumed coordinating authority for Washburn University, the public community colleges, and the public postsecondary tech nical schools, a change that occurred subsequent to the events described in this study.

The Board's executive director leads a small office staff for the Board. The university presidents report to the Board, not the Executive Director, a fact that yields considerable autonomy for the universities and reinforces the decentralist tradition within the state. However, campus autonomy within the university system is mitigated by the Board's view of how it can best fulfill its responsibilities. The Board is faced with a persistent problem of balancing its responsibility for governance and stewardship with the temptation to micromanage the campuses. The Board's mission statement suggests the need to avoid micromanagement by drawing a sharp distinction between its responsibility to focus on policy making and holding the chief executive officers responsible for the management of the institutions, including the implementation of the policy decisions developed by the Board. The Board's staff is largely responsible for providing analysis of policy issues, ensuring institutional accountability to the Board, and facilitating communication among the six universities. [1]

The tradition of campus autonomy in the state described by (Gade, 1993) has been modified in recent years by the Board's more activistic agenda and its efforts to address issues as a collectivity or system of institutions. Coordination and communication on issues that affect all six of the universities occur through a system of councils that advise the Board and its staff. The council system is established in the Board's Policy and Procedures Manual (Kansas Board of Regents, 1998a). The councils are expected to facilitate negotiations among the universities and provide advice to the Board and its staff on various collective issues. Officers of the Board meet with and serve as the Board's liaisons with the major councils. For instance, the executive director meets with the Council of Presidents and the director of academic affairs meets with the Council of Chief Academic Officers. System officers are responsible for scheduling council meetings, developing agendas in consultation with the council chairs, and w riting and distributing the minutes of council meetings. System officers also serve as agents of the Board in questioning the campus administrators for information and informed recommendations.

In addition to the Council of Chief Academic Officers (COCAO), the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents (COFSP) and the Students' Advisory Committee (SAC) advise the Board on academic matters. These councils are invited by the Board to address issues that concern their constituents at each Board meeting. They also represent their constituents on systemwide committees and task forces. However, the Council of Chief Academic Officers has considerably more visibility and impact on the system's policy formation process for three reasons: (1) its members are more permanent in that, unlike faculty and student leadership, they do not turn over each year; (2) its members are employed by the universities to work with policy and administrative issues on a full-time basis and receive considerable institutional support in order to fulfill these responsibilities; and (3) its members receive direct staff support from the Board and its office, unlike the faculty and student leadership.

COCAO's continuity, support, and technical expertise on higher education issues give it a competitive advantage over the other academic councils in the policy process, including the ability to define policy issues that require attention by the Board. Further, the systemwide representation of Regents faculty to the Board has been weak historically. The Council of Faculty Senate Presidents has a particularly difficult time getting items placed on the Board's policy agenda. It is largely reactive to the initiatives established by other councils. Only one of the universities has a unionized faculty. Further, Kansas law stipulates narrowly the scope of items that the Regents must negotiate with faculty collective bargaining units. Despite its perceived weakpesses, COFSP is the official and primary conduit between the Board and the faculty of the Regents universities.

COCAO's activism on policy issues is viewed as a strength by the Board and its staff. However, the reactive posture of COFSP is viewed as a problem, because the Board and its staff believe that the advice received from faculty governance is not optimal. The Board and its staff also believe that communication with the faculty as a whole is weakened because of COFSP's reactive approach to its responsibilities. Both COCAO's activism and COFSP's reactive posture had considerable relevance for the definition of course ownership as a policy issue for the Kansas Regents Universities.

Breaking from its traditional approach to governance, the Board adopted a vigorous reform and accountability agenda in the 1990s, relying on the councils for commentary and assistance in the development of various initiatives that were intended to improve the accountability, resource management, and responsiveness of the universities. Among its various stewardship efforts, the Board developed and implemented a strategic reform process in 1995 called "VISION 2020," which included a series of policies on faculty evaluation and development that required merit-based annual pay increases; the use of student ratings instruments in all faculty evaluations for salary supplements, tenure, and promotion; and the revision of tenure policies to allow for the dismissal of low performing faculty. The Board also adopted a program review process that promoted significant changes in the financing and academic life of the universities, including the elimination of degree programs and redirecting resources to programs that the Board and the campus leadership believed to be of the highest priorities.

A second feature of the context of the Board's development of course ownership policies was an anxiety shared by both faculty and academic administrators over distance education and the increasing role of advanced technology in research and instruction. Prior to and during the policy dialogue on intellectual property, the Board pursued an initiative that infused new resources for technology with the intent of increasing the number and breadth of distance education courses and programs offered by the universities. The Board's initiative in distance education was largely designed to serve the rural and western parts of the State, which had been viewed by the Board and Kansas legislature as grossly underserved by the universities. The Board's efforts to increase the activity of the Regents universities in distance education included a streamlining of policies for the approval of distance education courses and programs, a change that some faculty leaders criticized for denuding the approval process of the enforc ement of quality standards in distance education.

Third, In the mid-1990s, the Board of Regents integrated an economic development theme into its mission statement, the mission statements of the universities, and the system's strategic plan. The Regents economic development strategy included the development and financing of Centers of Excellence, a distinguished professors' program that was intended to build academic-industrial linkages, and the creation of organizational infrastructure for technology transfer at each of the Regents universities.

The Board also developed an information system to measure the economic impact of the universities as an accountability device. The Board's economic development performance measures, which were reported to the governor and legislature, included all revenues generated from the sale and licensing of technology commercialized by the universities.

The emergence of course ownership as a policy issue. Figure 1 presents a schematic that summarizes the dynamics of problem definition in the formation of course ownership policies by the Kansas Board of Regents. [2] The schematic suggests that the problem-definition process in this case is comprised of four phases. The phases are presented in chronological order. However, movement from one phase to another cannot be predicted with certainty. Further, although the phases are presented as discrete events, considerable overlap among them is likely. Each phase indicates an impending change in the policy environment and a signal that new issues and struggles to define the situation are emerging. [3]

The Board's effort to develop detailed policies on course ownership was initiated by the Council of Chief Academic Officers. Prior to the Board's interest in intellectual property in the 1990s, the Board had a patent policy that initially applied only to the state's research universities. The Board did not have any policy regarding the ownership and control of copyright-protected materials.

In October 1995, members of COCAO clearly believed that a system policy covering all forms of intellectual property was needed to address several circumstances. The primary issue for COCAO was that the Board lacked a policy on copyright and, thus, did not enable the universities to address administrative and resource allocation problems that were emerging with the increased use of technology in teaching, addressing the causality and novelty dimensions of problem definition.

According to one member of COCAO, "COCAO's interest in a broader Regents policy on intellectual property was prompted by two factors: copyright of software packages and ownership of distance education and mediated instruction" (cited in Bumstead, 1998). Another member of the Council said, "We have a situation now where a faculty member contracted with a publisher to develop a CD-ROM to accompany a textbook. We are paying for it but can't negotiate any rights for the University because the Board's policy doesn't address these situations" (Welsh, 1998).

Drawing a parallel with cost inflation in journal subscriptions, another member of COCAO commented directly to the Board, "You will see [that] our concern expressed here [is] ... for Electronic Mediated Instructional Products. We have the potential for a repeat of journal inflation in the most critical area for the University, teaching" (Council of Chief Academic Officers, 1998, p. 3). COCAO's initial political entrepreneurship, which was an expression of the need to develop detailed policies on the ownership of technology-based course materials, was not challenged by the Board of Regents or by the faculty and student leadership.

In the initial phase of the problem-definition process, COCAO identified three conditions that its members believed were potentially harmful to the universities and thereby established the significance of the policy problem: First, the lack of a copyright policy would not enable the universities to negotiate effectively for a share of royalties in the event that a "blockbuster" software package was created by their faculties. Second, the lack of a copyright policy inhibited the ability of the universities to develop mediated or distance learning course materials, because it was not clear who owned and controlled the courseware. The chief academic officers were concerned that investment in mediated course materials might not be prudent if the universities could not control what happened to the course materials they funded.

Clearly decision makers at universities must behave much like their counterparts in the private sector in making investments. We don't have enough money to do everything, so we must pick and choose among alternative investments. If we are able to derive a continuing flow from one investment and not from another, we will more favorably consider that investment. Put simply, unless there are guarantees of continuing flows to the institutions from investments, we are unlikely to invest in those areas. (Council of Chief Academic Officers, 1998)

Third, the chief academic officers argued that the lack of a copyright policy on mediated courseware also generates conflict of interest and time commitment problems. In the absence of clear policies on the ownership of mediated courseware, the chief academic officers were concerned that faculty might have the right to sell course materials to competitor institutions and thus established that the scope and incidence of the problem might extend to the relationships of many faculty with their institutions. "Just as we do not normally permit a full-time faculty member to teach at another institution, we should not allow faculty or staff members to teach electronically for another institution if doing so would prove to be a detriment to the Regents institution that employs them" (Council of Chief Academic Officers, 1998, p.3).

In October 1995, COCAO established a committee to draft a policy for the Regents universities, asserting an important role of COCAO in the ownership of the policy problem. The committee was asked to report back to COCAO by June 1996. COCAO's systemwide committee included chief academic officers, attorneys, librarians, campus technology managers, and faculty members. The committee did not include any student leaders. Minutes of the committee's meetings reveal that only one of the faculty members ever attended any of the committee's meetings. The systemwide committee was, in fact, operated almost entirely by the academic administrators. Eventually, the Board's General Counsel assumed leadership for the group. The systemwide committee missed its first deadline but issued a draft policy statement in May 1997 under the signature of the Board's General Counsel. In essence, the draft policy statement issued by COCAO's committee was not restricted to ownership of mediated course materials but covered all forms of in tellectual property. The draft policy statement allowed the universities to assert ownership of all intellectual property created by employees of the Kansas Regents system, including course ownership materials created through faculty scholarship.

Through the draft policy statement, COCAO articulated a comprehensive definition of an emerging policy problem. The chief academic officers articulated the causes, significance, incidence, novelty, scope, and ownership of the emerging policy problem. By preparing a draft policy statement for inclusion into the Board's Policy and Procedures Manual, COCAO also asserted a prominent role for itself in resolving the policy problem it identified.

The legitimation of the policy issue. Although COCAO's initial political entrepreneurship in defining course ownership as a policy issue went unchallenged, the negative reaction from faculty and student leaders to the recommendations in the draft statement from COCAO's systemwide committee was swift and forceful. Student and faculty governance groups in the system uniformly denounced the content of the draft statement and the process through which it was developed. The basic criticism offered by the faculty leadership was that the universities could assert ownership over copyrightable works, including research manuscripts and course materials, without identifying when such an assertion was necessary and prudent (Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, 1998; Welsh, 1998).

Because the draft policy was distributed by the Board's General Counsel, the Regents themselves received considerable criticism from the students and faculty leaders. The Board members were surprised by the criticism they received from faculty and students, because the Regents had very little, if any, knowledge of or involvement in the development of the original draft statement. However, the reaction from the student and faculty constituents succeeded in drawing considerable media attention to the conflict over the draft statement on intellectual property.

The conflict was covered by newspapers in each city where a Regents university or one of its branch campuses was located. Several newspapers in the state printed at least one editorial that criticized the draft policy and the Board for considering it. The content of the news articles and editorials uniformly presented the conflict as a struggle pitting faculty ownership, creativity, and productivity against the Board's presumed interest in increasing revenues through the commercialization of faculty products.

It appears [that] dollar signs have gotten in the way of the Regents' vision. The universities profit far more from the recognition brought by the fame and successes of their professors than from royalties. Consider the prestige of having a well-known author, researcher, composer or artist on faculty. But if professors aren't allowed to profit from their off-campus endeavors, where is the incentive to produce?... The universities hired the professors because of their special talents and abilities. That is something they brought to the university, not something the university gave to them. Why, then, should the university cash in when they use those talents on their own? (Topeka Capital-Journal, 1997)

Another editorial commented, "Many of the best teachers in the Kansas university system are the ones who constantly explore the intricacies of their disciplines-outside of the classrooms, labs and university offices. The Regents should not take ownership of that vital and individual exploration" (Wichita Eagle, 1971).

Commentary and publicity by the media supported the resistance by COFSP to the initial definition of the problem. COFSP was particularly concerned about COCAO's apparent assertion of initial ownership of the problem and the restricted view of the causes and significance of the problem. For COFSP, the problem entailed issues that had a bearing on academic freedom and faculty autonomy. The reaction to the draft statement prompted a reassessment by COCAO of its strategy to promote ownership of course materials as a legitimate policy issue. COCAO subsequently issued a memorandum through its chair rejecting the draft statement issued by the systemwide committee it created. COCAO also urged in its response that the Board of Regents assume leadership for the initiative (Council of Chief Academic Officers, 1997).

The Regents also distanced themselves from the draft policy but clarified that the university system needed to create intellectual property policies that would address the circumstances articulated by the chief academic officers. The Board accepted this invitation and attempted to assure the faculty, students, and campus administrators that a system policy would be developed through an open and participatory process. Using a memorandum addressed to the system's councils as a vehicle to assert its ownership of the problem, the Board officially placed intellectual property on its policy agenda and conveyed to each of its constituent groups that further dialogue on the policy issue would occur under its purview (Docking, 1997).

The struggle over alternative definitions of the problem. Blumer (1971, p. 303) suggests that an important phase of the problem-definition process is the struggle among groups over alternative definitions of the problem. The mechanism the Kansas Board of Regents used to air the competing definitions of the problem was a formal policy discussion on the topic at the Board's January 1998 meeting. The Board used policy discussions on other occasions to increase its knowledge of particular issues and to allow constituent groups to present their research and state their recommendations on the direction the policy development should take. The Regents also believed that a policy discussion on intellectual property was needed in order to clear the air of the conflict and antagonism that arose over the draft statement issued by COCAO's committee. In preparation for the policy discussion, the Board received and distributed written and verbal commentary from the chief academic officers, faculty senate presidents, and st udent government presidents, as well as background information on the topic from its Director of Academic Affairs and General Counsel (Kansas Board of Regents, 1998b).

Table 1 summarizes the positions of COFSP and COCAO on the six dimensions of problem definition as they were presented to the Board in January 1998. [4] The most contentious issues that emerged from the policy discussion were the differences between faculty and academic administrators pertaining to the ownership and control of the various forms of copyrightable materials created by faculty as well as the distribution of royalties or other compensation resulting from the commercialization of technology-based course materials. [5]

The written and verbal testimony presented by the academic administrators and faculty leadership to the Regents revealed several significant differences in how the policy issue was defined, which shaped differences on how it should be solved. The chief academic officers were primarily concerned that the high-tech research, teaching, and learning environment of the universities prompted a need for the development of comprehensive intellectual property policies that would protect the universities and support resource allocation decisions that favored investments in technology-based course delivery.

Substantial use of resources. To COCAO this is a very important element of any policy. It solves the problem of defining what claim to make to products produced on one's free time as opposed to the claim made when one produces a product on university time. Given the professional nature of most of our jobs, we doubt that it would be possible to even define "university time" and "own time." Instead, we propose that substantial use of university resources is the key to determining university right to the product. (Council of Chief Academic Officers, 1998, p. 3)

The chief academic officers also recommended that a return on investments should be a basic principle for the proposed policy on the ownership of course materials.

The policy should guarantee the Regents universities a return on investments they make. For example, if a person is hired by the university to write a piece of software to enroll students, then that product belongs to the university and, if sold or licensed, the proceeds should accrue to the university. Similarly, if the University purchases equipment used to create a product of value, the University should have claim to a portion of that product's value. (Council of Chief Academic Officers, 1998, p. 1)

COFSP was primarily concerned that the assertion of institutional ownership of course materials would infringe upon academic freedom and threaten the autonomy faculty traditionally enjoyed in the fulfillment of their responsibilities in teaching and research. Paramount in its statement to the Board was the concern that academic freedom of thought and expression might be unduly curtailed if the universities could assert ownership of any course materials. One faculty leader commented, "It seems ironic that the [Board] should decide in the wake of the discrediting of Marxism, Communism, 1984, and Animal Farm, and at a time when governments all over the world are divesting themselves of state-owned enterprises by privatization, that the Kansas Board of Regents should arrogate unto themselves the role of Big Brother" (Higham, 1997, p. 1).

The Faculty Senate at one Regents university adopted a resolution on the Board's discussion that stated that the proposed policy

will discourage research and experimentation by faculty and students. . . . [It] threatens the viability of on-going research projects. . . . This proposal would provide a vehicle for potential censorship of artistic and intellectual endeavors. . . . The Faculty Senate deplore[s] both the details and the general tenor of the draft Board of Regents policy on intellectual property as discouraging research, artistic creativity and publication. . . . The Faculty Senate express[es] its shock and displeasure at the Board's apparent attempt to assert unreasonable ownership rights over all manner of intellectual property produced by faculty (Resolution of Pittsburg State University Faculty Senate, 1997).

Any threat to faculty ownership and control of scholarly works was seen by the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents as a significant threat to the core tenets of higher education in the United States. The Council of Faculty Senate Presidents stated,

We believe that control over traditional scholarship should follow the custom of residing primarily with the creator(s). Following this norm reinforces the principle of academic freedom and ensures that the university environment efficiently supports and nurtures the active creation and dissemination of ideas, works of art, compositions, and research. From our perspective, the marketplace of ideas works best when there are fewer regulations on the production and dissemination of these ideas. (1998)

One faculty leader commented,

The only intellectual property which the institution may own, under law, is that created under a "work for hire" agreement. If such is imposed in a draconian manner, creativity will dry up and the speed of production of new knowledge, surely one of the basic purposes of a University, will slow to a crawl observable in the Federal government where historical volumes take as long as 25 years to appear. (Higham, 1997)

COFSP argued that the draft policy issued by COCAO's committee was unnecessarily intrusive into the terrain that faculty historically controlled. COFSP expressed orally and in written form differences with the chief academic officers on all six dimensions of problem definition, as summarized in Table 1. COFSP agreed with COCAO that the infusion of new instructional technologies created new policy problems but differed from COCAO on several dimensions of the definition of the problem. COFSP also agreed that the policy problem was novel, significant, and would occur with increasing incidence. They argued that COCAO underestimated the scope of the policy problem, because as more faculty created and used technology in their face-to-face instruction, the policy would need to be applied very broadly, not just to distance education courses. COFSP's most significant differences with COCAO pertained to the cause and ownership of the policy problem. COFSP criticized the initial definition of the problem by asserting t hat COCAO did not fully articulate the implications of its position on intellectual property for the work conditions of faculty, particularly as these pertained to their academic freedom and autonomy. COFSP interpreted the recommendations of COCAO's committee as problematic for faculty, because all products of faculty work, including course materials, would be owned by the universities. From COFSP's perspective, an acceptable definition of the policy problem should include consideration of the impact of any policy intervention on faculty work conditions. COFSP also rejected COCAO's assertion of ownership of the problem. COFSP understood intellectual property policies as fundamentally academic matters that required full faculty participation. Further, COFSP argued that the Board's Policy and Procedures Manual was a social contract that entitled it to participate in the development of the Board's policies for the universities.

Approval and implementation of a policy statement. At the conclusion of the formal discussion, the Board voted to appoint its own Task Force to recommend policies for the Kansas Regents system. The Regents Task Force was co-chaired by two Board members and included representation from the faculty, students, chief academic officers, and a university technology manager. The Task Force was advised and assisted by the Board's General Counsel and Academic Director. The Regents Task Force was specifically asked to develop a comprehensive system policy by first seeking points of concurrence in the perspectives of the faculty and the academic administrators and then reconciling differences. The Board's instructions to the Task Force assured that COCAO's interest in a course ownership policy would be addressed at the Regents level. The Regents Task Force presented its initial recommendations to the Board and councils in April 1998 as a nonaction item. (Kansas Board of Regents, 1998).

The Regents Task Force also rejected the draft policy statement issued by the COCAO committee. The recommendations of the Regents Task Force differentiated types of copyrightable products and the circumstances in which they were developed. The Task Force believed that this approach enabled it to address the concerns of the chief academic officers and the faculty leadership by identifying both differences and consensus on specific policy questions. The main differences among the stakeholders concerned ownership of copyrightable software and technology-based course materials.

The Task Force recommended three provisions to address the issues raised by COCAO and COFSP:

1. Institutional ownership of mediated courseware should be asserted only in those cases in which the university directed its development by explicitly assigning or hiring faculty to develop course materials.

2. Copyrightable software that is not part of a mediated course should be treated according to the provisions of the Board's pre-existing patent policy.

3. In all other cases pertaining to copyrightable materials, faculty should retain ownership and control of the intellectual property they created.

The Task Force argued that these recommendations enabled the chief academic officers to plan for the development of distance education courses and programs but would not otherwise threaten faculty ownership of the materials they created in the course of their teaching and scholarship. The Board invited campus commentary on the recommendations of its Task Force prior to formal action.

In November 1998, the Board reached a consensus on a systemwide intellectual property policy, including statements on the ownership of technology-based course materials, by adopting the recommendations of its task force. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the recommendations and was supported by the Council of Presidents, COCAO, COFSP, and the Students' Advisory Committee. The policy statement was inserted into the Board's Policy and Procedures Manual. The Board then instructed the universities to modify campus governance documents to implement the policies. The decision can be viewed as a fairly decisive victory for the chief academic officers and their definition of the policy problem since their interest in asserting institutional ownership over some software and technology-based course materials created by faculty was approved by the system's policy making-body. Insufficient time has passed to determine whether implementation of the Board's policies will generate resistance to the implementation of the policy and/or new definitions of the problem. However, early indications are that the alternative definitions of the problem promulgated by both the chief academic officers and faculty leadership have re-emerged, with COFSP expressing concern that their autonomy and academic freedom were compromised, because the new policy gives the universities, for the first time in their history, authority to assert ownership over course materials created by faculty (Welsh, 1998).

Sources of the Conflict Over Course Ownership

Bosso (1994, p. 183) argues that a full understanding of the problem definition of any issue requires an appreciation of the social context in which

it occurs. Based upon data generated from Regents, faculty, and academic administrators, the course of the debate and the development of specific policies on intellectual property by the Kansas Board of Regents appears to have been affected by three dynamics: (1) the implementation of an accountability and reform agenda by the Board of Regents, (2) pressure from the Board and state legislature to increase access to the universities through distance education, and (3) the acquisition of a role for the Board and universities in economic development.

The Board's efforts at accountability and reform were viewed by many faculty as one-sided, intrusive, and lacking a quid pro quo. The Board expected the universities and the faculty, in particular, to reinforce their efforts to maximize their effectiveness by redirecting resources to new priorities, but from the perspective of COFSP, this was not matched by equally rigorous efforts to improve the financing of the universities, including faculty compensation. COFSP voiced considerable suspicion toward the Board and the academic administrators because of a perceived imbalance of the accountability and advocacy responsibilities of the system's leadership. The effort to create course ownership policies designed to protect institutional investments, possibly at the expense of faculty autonomy and academic freedom, was interpreted by the COFSP as an example of the Board taking from the faculty but not supporting faculty in return (Welsh, 1998).

Initially, COCAO championed the creation of course ownership policies to support the redirection of resources to meet the Board's expectations for distance education. The chief academic officers believed that the universities needed to become more aggressive in the delivery of distance education courses and programs, or else they would lose that segment of the academic market to providers such as the University of Phoenix and the Western Governors' University. COCAO consistently argued against a major investment of institutional resources into mediated course materials without policies that were intended to protect institutional investments. For the chief academic officers, a policy on course ownership was a necessary tool to help achieve the Board's goals in distance education and to optimize institutional resource management. COFSP viewed the initiative in distance education as a potential threat to their control over the curriculum and its delivery, particularly if it meant they had to relinquish rights t o the scholarship and course materials they created (Welsh, 1998).

Finally, faculty leaders also expressed concern over what they viewed as the "overcommercialization" of the universities, or the inappropriate imposition of the logic of the marketplace into the academic policy environment (Blumberg, 1996; Weiss, B. D., 1992). COFSP expressed concern that the fundamental purposes of the universities were being transformed by the emphasis on technology transfer and commercialization of faculty scholarship (Kulkarni, 1995). Although the system's existing policy on patents seemed reasonable to COFSP, it objected to the extension of the same line of thinking to copyrightable materials out of a concern that the universities were becoming profit-making organizations and thus subordinating the values of the academy to the values of the market. The interest that the Board and the academic administrators demonstrated in recouping institutional investments, or profiting from the sale or licensing of software and course materials developed and commercialized by faculty, was viewed by C OFSP as inappropriately elevating the economic development initiative above the educational mission of the universities. COCAO's emphasis on a "return on investment" strategy toward course ownership was particularly repugnant to some faculty leaders. COFSP interpreted its initial resistance to the proposed intellectual property policies as a reasoned and principled opposition to the intrusion of the logic of the marketplace into the everyday realities of scholarship, teaching, and learning in an environment that has become increasingly dependent upon technology (Welsh, 1998).

COCAO argued that technological changes in higher education demand new values and ways of thinking about the relationship between faculty work and the goals of the institution. In the case of mediated instructional materials, the chief academic officers believed that the redefinition of the ownership and control of academic intellectual property and, thus, the structure of faculty work were essential to meeting the goal of expanding access to distance education courses and programs. COFSP rejected this definition of the issue and argued that the historical values of the academy, such as quality, autonomy, and academic freedom, should not be subordinated to the more ephemeral goals that appeared in the mission statements and strategic plans of the Board and universities (Bowie, 1993; Welsh, 1998).

The promotion of a "high tech" concept of teaching and scholarship, coupled with an accountability and economic development agenda, constituted the environment in which the Kansas Regents system pursued its dialogue on course ownership. If Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff (1997), Slaughter and Rhoades (1990, 1993), Slaughter and Leslie (1997), and Rhoades (1998) are correct in their observation that we are witnessing the emergence of new relationships among academia, industry, and the state, the Kansas transformation of the ownership and control of technology-based course materials may foreshadow other transformations of copyright or course ownership policies in higher education. The transformation of intellectual property policies that pertain to the ownership of technology-based course materials in Kansas public higher education certainly parallels the state's treatment of faculty research. In this particular case, the state higher education board organized the policy-making process to enable the universities to assert ownership and control of technology-based teaching materials in order to pursue distance education opportunities and to support their resource management. In doing so, the Board responded to an uncertain policy environment that was created by the expansion of new technologies in teaching and learning, but this policy formation also changed the relationship of faculty to their universities and to the products of their teaching scholarship.

A study of the definitional nature of changes in copyright and course ownership policies has the potential to contribute to the research literature on intellectual property in higher education for three reasons: First, the study may help to explain how the policy issues surrounding novel or emerging intellectual property issues, such as the ownership of technology-based course materials, are socially constructed in higher education in the United States. Second, the problem-definition perspective provides a compass to navigate the policy process as other Boards, systems, and institutions consider, create, or revise policies on course ownership. This study should be located in a very specialized niche in the research literature on intellectual property in higher education: a niche containing those studies that specifically pertain to the impact of the definition of the policy problem on the policy process. Third, the study may help understand some aspects of the relationships between academia and the state as they pertain to the creation and use of technology-based course materials, particularly in the new technological context of higher education. However, this study has the limitations of all case studies. Evidence suggests that many institutions and boards are rethinking and revamping intellectual property policies to respond to the new technological context. Our understanding of this process will be greatly enhanced by survey research on the problem-definition dynamics occurring at a larger number of institutions.

For administrators, trustees, and faculty who participate directly in institutional governance, one important lesson of this study is that the development of course ownership policies will occur in a new, evolving, and somewhat unfamiliar context that includes not only new technologies, but also new relationships between institutions and the state and marketplace. Effective policy making is likely to require considerable attention to the process in which the policy problem is collectively defined, including an assurance that the broader context of higher education and its impact on faculty working conditions are taken into account. Another lesson of these experiences is that the responsible incorporation of advanced communications technology into teaching and learning processes in higher education in the future depends on the ability and inclination of faculty leaders to become more "activistic" or "entrepreneurial" in problem-definition and policy-formation processes. Just as Rhoades (1998) decries the "mar ginalization" of faculty in the policy process on instructional technology, this study suggests that faculty may need to become more effective in setting the agenda for higher education policy formation by taking the lead in defining the policy problems higher education faces, rather than merely reacting to or resisting agendas established by others. Faculty activism may be particularly important if higher education in the United States is to successfully preserve and develop its sense of purpose and value, as course ownership policies and other conditions of faculty work are transformed by the new technological context of higher education.

John F. Welsh is associate provost and professor of education at the University of Louisville.


(1.) During most of the period that the Kansas Board of Regents addressed intellectual property issues in 1995-1998, I served as the Board's Director of Academic Affairs. I was in a position to observe and directly interact with the Regents and the representatives from the universities who comprised the Board's advisory community on policy issues. My position entailed continuous and direct interaction not only with the Regents themselves, but with other actors who participated in the creation of new policies, including the Board's staff, the chief academic officers at the universities, and the elected representatives of faculty and student governance. I was able to observe and record the contributions and responses to the problem definition process of these groups as they occurred.

(2.) I collected data through four sources. First, during the initial and middle phases of the problem definition process, I interviewed the Regents, chief academic officers, faculty senate presidents, student government presidents, and Board of Regents staff about their perspectives on the origins of the Board's efforts to create policies on intellectual property and the dimensions of problem definition adapted from Rochefort and Cobb (1994). As the Board concluded its discussions on intellectual property by adopting an initial set of policies in November 1998, I again interviewed the Regents and the university representatives who were central to the development of the Board's policies. Second, as an officer of the Board and its primary conduit to the chief academic officers, faculty, and student senates, I was able to participate in and observe the discussions at their meetings that concerned intellectual property policy issues. From these discussions, I was able to glean commentary on their definition of the problem as they emerged in a group context. Third, I had direct access to the agendas and minutes of all of these groups as they recorded a sense of the need to reassess and create the system's policies on intellectual property. Finally, each constituent group developed and distributed various policy papers, statements, memoranda, and letters that included policy recommendations, critiques of positions articulated by other groups, and perspectives on why the university system needed to develop or resist development of intellectual property policies. These documents provided extremely valuable information on how each political constituency defined the problem at each phase of the policy process.

(3.) The data were organized through three techniques. First, I constructed a chronology of the events pertaining to intellectual property policies beginning with the Board's adoption of a patent policy in 1941 through the Board's action on November 19, 1998, to adopt a comprehensive set of policies on intellectual property for all six of the universities under its purview. The chronology included (1) the various intellectual property policy decisions the Board made, (2) the positions that the constituent groups took at different points during the policy discussion in 1995- 1998, and (3) the analyses and reports issued by the Board's staff. The Board's legal staff reviewed the chronology for accuracy in December 1997.

Second, based on the interviews and a content analysis of policy documents, I constructed a matrix that distinguished the perspectives of the faculty, the academic administrators, and the student leaders along six dimensions of problem definition articulated by Rochefort and Cobb (1994). The purpose of the matrix was to summarize the positions of the Board's primary political constituencies through a side-by-side comparison. The positions reflected in the matrix were derived from statements made by the groups in their official capacity to advise the Board. Interview data was to clarify or amplify the positions expressed in official statements made by the groups. The positions of the groups evolved somewhat during the course of the discussion from 1995-1998. Although the differences among the groups were mitigated during the course of the policy formation, the positions nevertheless reflect significant differences. Quotes from individuals drawn from interviews are referenced in my field notes to protect the i dentity of the respondent. The interest of the study is primarily with the collective definitions expressed by the councils.

Third, I used the chronology to develop a process model for the formation of intellectual property policies by attempting to discern the existence of district phases of problem definition. Blumer's view of social problems as a collective definition of the situation (1971) provided guidance for the creation of a model that is applicable to the policy process that emerged in the Board's development of intellectual property policies.

(4.) The data from Table 1 were drawn from a content analysis of written reports provided by the councils to the Board of Regents in January 1998. Statements by the councils in these documents were coded and categorized according to each of the six dimensions of problem definition described in the text. Summaries of the councils' positions on each of the six dimensions were developed based on the categorized statements. The summaries were reviewed by the councils for accuracy in December 1997 and January 1998.

(5.) The six dimensions of problem definition were defined in interviews with the constituent groups. These dimensions were also used by the Board's academic staff to organize the written materials prepared by each group during the policy dialogue the Board held on the topic of intellectual property.


Allen, C. M., & Boelzner, D. (1996). An overview of multimedia and the law. Journal of Instruction Delivery Systems, 10(1), 28-31.

American Association of University Professors. (1998, May-June). Report from Committee R on government relations: Distance learning. Academe, 30-38.

Becker, H. (1963). Outsiders: Notes on the sociology of deviance. New York: Free Press.

Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. L. (1967). The social construction of reality. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

Best, I. (Ed.). (1989). Images of issues: Typifying contemporary social problems. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Blumberg, P. (1996). From "publish or perish" to "profit or perish": Revenues from university technology transfer and the 501(c)(3) tax exemption. University of Pennsylvania Law Review 145(1), 89-147.

Blumer, H. (1971). Social problems as collective behavior. Social Problems, 18, 298 -306.

Bosso, C. J. (1994). The contextual bases of problem definition. In D. Rochefort & R. Cobb (Eds.), The politics of problem definition: Shaping the policy agenda (pp. 182-203). Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

Bowie, N. E. (1993). The clash between academic values and business values. Business and Professional Ethics Journal, 12(3), 3-19.

Bumstead, K. (1998, January 22). Regents still mulling over intellectual property policy. Pittsburg Morning Sun, p. 1A.

Burk, D. (1997). Ownership of electronic course materials in higher education. Cause/Effect, 20(2), 13-18.

Burk, D. (1998). Ownership issues in on-line use of institutional materials. Cause/Effect 21(2), 19-27.

Campbell, T. I. D., & Slaughter, S. (1999). Faculty and administrators' attitudes toward potential conflicts of interest, commitment, and equity in university-industry relationships. The Journal of Higher Education 70, 309-352.

Carnevale, D. (1999, November 24). A professor's lectures for an on-line law school become an issue at Harvard. Chronicle of Higher Education Daily News, p. A43.

Carnevale, D., & Young, J. (1999, December 17). Who owns on-line courses? Colleges and professors start to sort it out. Chronicle of Higher Education Daily News, p. A45.

Cause Issues Committee. (1997-1998). Current issues for higher education information resources management. Cause/Effect 20(4), 4-7, 62-63.

Chambers, G. S. (1999, November 19). Toward shared control of distance education. Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. B8-9.

Chew, P. (1992). Faculty generated inventions: Who owns the golden egg? Wisconsin Law Review, No. 2, pp. 259-314.

Cobb, R., & Ross, M. H. (1997). Agenda setting and the denial of agenda access: Key concepts. In R. Cobb & M. H. Ross (Eds.), Cultural strategies of agenda denial: Avoidance, attack, and redefinition (pp 3-24). Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

Cohen, J. (1994). Copyright in the electronic era: Implications for higher education. Journal for Higher Education Management 10(1), 13-28.

Council of Chief Academic Officers (Kansas). (1997, May 14). Minutes. Topeka: Kansas Board of Regents.

Council of Chief Academic Officers (Kansas). (1998, January 21). Report to the Kansas Board of Regents on intellectual property. Topeka: Kansas Board of Regents.

Council of Faculty Senate Presidents (Kansas). (1998, January 21). Report to the Kansas Board of Regents on intellectual property. Topeka: Kansas Board of Regents.

Docking, W. (1997, December 17). Memorandum to Kansas Board of Regents. Topeka: Kansas Board of Regents.

Edelman, M. (1964). The symbolic uses of politics. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Edelman, M. (1988). Constructing the political spectacle. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Etzkowitz, H., & Leydesdorff, L. (Eds.). (1997). Universities in the global knowledge economy: A triple helix of academic-industry-government relations. London: Cassell.

Gade, M. (1993). Four multicampus systems: Some policies and practices that work. Washington, DC: Association of Governing Boards.

Gilbert, S. W. (1990). Information technology, intellectual property, and education. Educom Review, 25(1), 14-20.

Gilbert, S. W. (1996). Making the most of a slow revolution. Change 28(2), 10-23.

Gorman, R. (1998, May/June). Intellectual property: The rights of faculty as creators and users. Academe, 23-26.

Guernsey, L., & Young, J. (1998, June 5) Who owns on-line courses? Chronicle of Higher Education, pp. A21-A23.

Harney, J. O. (1996). Copyrights and the virtual classroom. Connection: New England's Journal of Higher Education and Economic Development, 11(3), 47-49.

Hawkins, B. (1999). Distributed learning and institutional restructuring. Educom Review, 34(3), 12-15, 42-45.

Higham, R. (1997, August 4). Letter to James Coffman.

Ibarra, P. R., & Kituse, J. I. (1993). Vernacular constituents of moral discourse: An interactionist proposal for the study of social problems. In G. Miller & J. A. Holstein, Constructionist controversies: Issues in social problems theory (pp. 21-54). New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Kansas Board of Regents. (1998a). Policy and procedures manual. Topeka, KS: Author.

Kansas Board of Regents. (1998b, January 21). Policy discussion on intellectual property. Topeka, KS: Author.

Kansas Board of Regents. (1998c, April 16). Recommendations of the task force on intellectual property. Topeka, KS: Author.

Kennedy, D., & Rosenweig, Robert. (1998, March/April). Who owns lectures? University Business, 19-20.

Kulkarni, S. (1995, November). All professors create equally: Why faculty should have complete control over the intellectual property rights in their creations. Hastings Law Journal, 47, 221-256.

Lape, L. (1992). Ownership of copyrightable works of university professors: The interplay between the copyright act and university copyright policies. Villanova Law Review, 37(2), 223-271.

Litwak, M. (1995). Potholes on the information superhighway: A road map to legal issues in multimedia productions. UWLA Law Review, 26, 159-187.

Miller, G., & Holstein, J. A. (Eds.). (1993). Constructionist controversies: Issues in social problems theory. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Olivas, M. (1992). The political economy of immigration, intellectual property, and racial harassment: Case studies of the implementation of legal changes on campus. Journal of Higher Education 63, 570-598.

Petracca, M. P. (1992). Issue definitions, agenda-building, and policymaking. Policy Currents, 2, 1-4.

Pittsburg State University Faculty Senate. (1997, May 21). Minutes.

Rahm, D. (1994, June). Universities and technology transfer: Perspectives of academic administrators and researchers. Industry and Higher Education, 72-78.

Rhoades, G. (1998). Managed professionals: Unionized faculty and restructuring academic labor. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Rhoades, G., & Slaughter, S. (1991a). Professors, administrators and patents: The negotiation of technology transfer. Sociology of Education, 64, 65-77.

Rhoades, G., & Slaughter, S. (1991b). The public interest and professional labor: Research universities. In W. Tierney (Ed.), Culture and ideology in higher education: Advancing a critical agenda (pp. 187-211). New York: Praeger.

Rochefort, D., & Cobb, R. (1994). Problem definition: An emerging perspective. In D. Rochefort & R. Cobb (Eds.), The politics of problem definition: Shaping the policy agenda (pp. 1-31). Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.

Rosenau, P. M. (1992). Postmodernism and the social sciences: Insights, inroads, and intrusions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Scott, M. M. (1998, May/June). Intellectual property rights: A ticking time bomb in academia. Academe, 18-22.

Shade, L. R. (1995). Wired in the ivory tower: Access and copyright issues surrounding the internet and higher education in North America. Education for Information, 13(3), 211-228.

Slaughter, S., & Leslie, L. (1997). Academic capitalism: Politics, policies, and the entrepreneurial university. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Slaughter, S., & Rhoades, G. (1990). Reforming the social relations of academic science: Technology transfer. Educational Policy 4(4), 340-361.

Slaughter, S., & Rhoades, G. (1993). Changes in intellectual property statutes and policies at a public university: Revising the terms of professional labor. Higher Education, 26, 287-312.

Spearitt, P., & Julian, T. (1996). Academic intellectual property in a new technological and industrial context. Australian Universities' Review, 39(1), 29-33.

Stone, D. (1988). Causal stories and the formation of policy agendas. Political Science Quarterly, 104, 281-300.

Thompson, D. F. (1999). Intellectual property meets information technology. Educom Review, 34(2), 14-21.

Topeka Capital-Journal. (1997, September 29). Publish, don't profit.

Ver Steeg, P. (1990). Copyright and the educational process: The right of teacher inception. Iowa Law Review, 75, 381-416.

Wagner, K. I. (1998). Intellectual property: Copyright implications for higher education. Journal of Academic Librarianship 24(1), 11-19.

Weiss, B. D. (1992). Technology transfer from the ivory tower to the marketplace. Educom Review, 31(5), 39-45.

Weiss, J. (1989). The powers of problem definition: The case of government paperwork. Policy Sciences, 22, 97-121.

Welsh, J. F. (1998). Field notes on Kansas intellectual property study. Unpublished Manuscript.

Wichita Eagle. (1997, October 5). Don't: Board of regents intellectual property proposal is not good.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Ohio State University Press
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Welsh, John F.
Publication:Journal of Higher Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2000
Previous Article:Information Technology Use and Cognitive Outcomes in the First Year of College.
Next Article:The Consolidation of Responsibility and Students' Definitions of Situation in the Mixed-Age College Classroom.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |