Universities treating students as customers




In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader writes:

At my university (in Australasia) administrators have claimed that students are customers or clients, using terms like “stakeholders” to describe not only current enrollees but also school leavers we are “targeting” for “marketing purposes.” A few years ago I read a comprehensive article that argued why we shouldn’t believe that students are customers. I’d like to hear from readers of the Cocoon whether they agree or disagree with my administration’s sentiment, i.e., that students are customers and that we faculty are contractually obligated to provide them with a product (a degree?) or service (learning?). Second, if readers have recommendations for where I can find arguments like this (either for or against the aforementioned thesis), I’d appreciate them sharing the URL or source. Thank you!

I’d love to hear what readers think about this too. I’ve always naturally rebelled against this way of conceiving students, considering a university education a privilege rather than a purchased product. I suspect that many (most?) readers will object to this way of conceiving of students too, but that most of us also probably recognize that, regardless, universities have become big businesses. Not sure what can be done about it, but I’d be very curious to hear what other readers think about all of this! 

Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More



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