Student Reviews matter a whole lot, one can say, that now more than ever. A student can complain to the highest authority in the University if he or she does not receive the grade that is desired. Now, this is where the rendezvous begins and the global phenomenon across Higher Institutions around the world give birth to Grade Inflation. It is a game about competition; as a University Professor, the better reviews I get, the better chances I have of being assigned more classes or even being offered Tenure. Therefore, I must take an ethical stand and not attend the soiree where Professors can be held hostages by student reviews and catering many times to the capricious´ student desires of obtaining higher grades.
I have witnessed a recurring trend in higher education, and particularly in Business Schools, where Professors think we need to cater to students. Just recently in a staff meeting, one of my colleagues mentioned the fact that because students pay, they expect a worth for their money. Well, almost every educational system costs a lot of money to be administered and to be executed efficiently. Most educational systems are maintained by public funds, unless, they are private; therefore, if I, a student, do not have to dig from those public funds, and I can finance my education, that mere fact gives me the privilege to be treated differently?
The previous scenario can be outlined as a basic one-sided argument where a customer demands a service to be provided. However, I will take the route of my profession. I am a University Professor, and for most of my professional career, I have worked in Business Schools around the world. I am not a salesperson; I do not sell a product. While I prepare for a lecture, of course, I ponder on how I will engage my students in the learning process. I picture myself in their seats and imagine what, how and when I am going to distribute and disperse the theory and practice during my teaching period. I strategize and as I am executing my plan, I analyze what is working and what is not working in the learning outcomes that I designed. By no means, do I think what or how I will become popular with students. I am not an entertainer, why? because, I am here to challenge the person sitting in front of me, I seek teaching methods that will grab their attention. I am not a salesperson; I do not sell education; education is not for sale.
Education is a transformative process that shapes individual into thinking human beings. My job as a University Professor is to challenge your intellect and provide the tools that will make you ask the right questions in order to be critical of your surroundings in order to improve them in ways that maybe I have not been able to do it myself.
The moment that I start selling education, I will become complacent of seeing my students as my mean in order to further my career, and that is a total defeat of the purpose that education embodies. Education is a Virtue, and as such it should be seen as a transformative tool that makes for better individuals that seek to improve society.
If I give into the idea of seeing my students as customers, I must give into the idea that the customer is always correct, and that the customer should be given as what he or she demands. If I were to agree to that ideology, I would be cheating my students out of the value of education.
Universities are now competing more than ever, and rankings are quite important. However, competition and rankings are administrative matters and administrative personnel should attend to those issues. Professors should attend to the intimate learning experience that is to take place between teacher and students.
Business schools strive to prepare individuals to be successful in their business practices and to find methods that will provide profits. That is clear and even respectable, however, that is the practice that the individuals will engage in most of their adult lives in order to provide for their families and be recognized as a success among business practices. There is absolutely no quarrel in this practice. However, if I choose to sell you my education as a product that you can demand to be fitted in accordance with your needs and wants, all I am doing is cheating you of a life of dignity.
The post I Do Not Sell Education: Reflections of a University Professor appeared first on VoegelinView.
Originally appeared on VoegelinView Read More