Since student evaluations of professors became commonplace 35 years ago, students have played a greater role in campus decision-making. The growth in grade inflation, the near abandonment of Friday classes on many campuses, and the provision of country club-like facilities are three indicators that universities increasingly look at students as customers requiring pampering.
As tuition costs soar and the pool of college age Americans starts to shrink, this trend will grow. As a consequence, however, universities are endangering their reputation as being rigorously committed to academic excellence.
Surveys show that typically students study, attend class and write papers fewer than 30 hours a week, for only about 30 weeks a year. While the typical American employee works 1,800 hours a year, the typical college student works half that amount on academics.
The “student as customer” philosophy has created an underworked and overindulged group of future national leaders, something that likely will prove costly in the long run.
Monday, January 04, 2010
Students or Customers?
Richard Vedder responds to this question, along with other higher ed experts - Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Edward Snyder, David Bejou and Mark Taylor - in Monday's NY Time's Room for Debate forum. Below are Dr. Vedder's comments: