This paper explores the difficulties of finding an appropriate theoretical framework for a doctoral dissertation examining revenue-generating language programs at post-secondary institutions. It briefly examines the history of language programs in higher education in the developed English-speaking world and the current situation of many institutions that now include English as a Second or Additional Language programs for foreign students. The purpose of the existence of such programs is not always clear. Is it to build the capacity of international students so as to diversify the campus by enriching it with a more diverse student body? Or to generate revenue from foreign students desperate to learn English? Or are the reasons more complex?
Regardless of the motivation, the existence of such programs at universities in developed countries is widespread. My doctoral dissertation explores how such programs are marketed and administered. One of the challenges of this study has been to find a suitable theoretical framework that allows for the espousal of benevolent educational philosophy (the growth of the individual cognitively, culturally and personally) while entertaining the possibility of socially responsible business practices in higher education. This paper explores some of the issues and tensions of selected theories and their application to this type of study.
British Educational Leadership, Management & Administration Society