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Where do you stand regarding the on-going debate of customer service in higher ed ? Ran across an interesting article, but I'm curious to see if this is an issue on your campus and whether or not you support this concept in higher ed.

- http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2007/01/2007013101c.htm

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my problem is with the definition of "customer." Are students consumers of a higher education "product"? Are they the "outcome" of higher education policy with the society as the ultimate consumer? If banks underwrite the loans are they consumers and if a student deviates from a straightforward four year march to a degree does that mean the loan was risky, or that someone needs a bailout?
So I suggest we get our priorities focused on students, and society, and then find words that are not based in a failing model that turns every exchange into a commodity....
While I certainly can, as a former faculty member, appreciate some of the things being said here regarding the term "customer" and the possible implications that students may take from that term, when a student comes up with an argument such as "I pay your salary" and wants a better grade, that should become a teaching moment for the faculty member to explain what college education is for, and how that student IS being better served by ensuring the grade reflects the learning taking place and work being done.
I also found the tone of this article to be very haughty--typical of faculty on many community college campuses ( I hope I wasn't that way) who believe they are simply the salt of the earth and are far superior to any other human working to ensure they have students in their classes, those classes are in buildings with lights and technology available, and there is money coming in to pay for them. As a current enrollment and financial aid advisor, I ALSO am a professional, partially paid by the state and community bonds and partially paid by tuition collected, with years of graduate study--although this is not required of all in my position--and provide an essential role to the college and students, without which, this arrogant instructor does not have a job at all.
Whatever you wish to call it, the concept of providing excellent service--and of course the definition of service varies depending on your role--is one we need to consider. Our "constituents" include the students, who are paying higher amounts every year for quality education that will lead to a degree they need for their goals. They deserve excellent service--even though that certainly does not mean giving them whatever grade they prefer. It means giving them an excellent education, with attention to how their learning styles and the learning itself is going on, and if a faculty member is doing all that is possible to keep classes updated with current information and current learning theory--rather than sitting on his laurels and running the same format over and over as too many do--then that faculty member IS providing that service.


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