Significant challenges confront many Westernised institutions of higher education. Financial pressures, the increasing commodification of higher education and the insistent demands of the global marketplace, have changed the configuration of academe. One of the immediate consequences has been that the role of the professoriate has altered through unrelenting pressure to serve the managerial interests of the university rather than the scholarly interests of the field. The new competitive realities of the corporatised university have inevitably and irrevocably changed the role of the contemporary professoriate. What is now required is a defence of the university as a public institution and the advancement of public intellectual inquiry. This is the fundamental challenge for the professoriate in the twenty-first-century university.