Friday, March 14, 2014

Students as Customers

Competition in Higher Education
A recurring theme among faculty in public higher education is criticism of the “student as customer“ viewpoint held by administrators, politicians, and others. Most of the criticism misses the mark
I find that normally the "they are not customers" crowd (doctors, government, education) are not doing a decent job of understanding what they disparage.

It is true that it isn't appropriate for many providers of services to do whatever those who are paying want. That isn't what "customer focus" means.

I can understand how people can leap to accepting the idea that understanding "customer" needs and values is problematic - it is normally a sign of destructive management practices intertwined with proclamations to "treat customers well."

As you say there is much good to be found in "customer focus" in education but it has to be part of a sensible management system.

Related: Customers, End Users and Payers - Customer Focus by Everyone - Problems With Student Evaluations as Measures of Teacher Performance

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