Programming Note: Darts and Letters is off and retooling to relaunch in a new format early 2024.

EP4.1: Auditing the Auditors

Our last episode, “the Conquest of Bread,” was about McKinsey and Co. encroaching on higher education. In this bonus episode, we put these developments in a wider context. That context: audit culture. Put simply, it’s governing by numbers.
Marc Spooner, professor of education, tells us about the wider intellectual history of audit culture, and why it’s so dangerous for higher education. You’ll hear about ‘the auditors’ from the Soviet Union, to Margaret Thatcher, Robert McNamara, and McKinsey. In education, audit culture happened to be sold with progressive aspirations, but so often it backfired. Marc gives a few strategies to students and scholars who are looking to resist audit culture, and stick to the principles of being true public intellectuals.
This is a bonus episode and an experiment. We’ll do this every now and again. It’s a companion piece and a loosely edited deep dive into the themes we discussed in the main episode. It’s for the real heads. If you like it (or if you don’t), let us know. If you want more episodes like this and other bonus materials, we’ll start making them more often. So chip in on

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This week, Darts and Letters was produced by Jay Cockburn. Our theme song and music was created by Mike Barber, and our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. This is also part of a wider project looking at neoliberal educational reforms, led by Professor Marc Spooner at the University of Regina. Professor Spooner provided research consulting on this episode.

This show is produced by Cited Media, which makes other great shows like Cited Podcast and Crackdown.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

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