Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Customer service" in higher education

From a piece by English professor Rob Jenkins on the use of the phrase "customer service" in higher education:

After 20 years as a community-college faculty member, I think I can speak for most of my colleagues when I say it's not the "service" part of that thoroughly despised phrase we object to. We all understand that teaching is, at heart, a service profession. That's why most of us got into it in the first place.

What bothers us is the suggestion that our students, while sitting in our classrooms, are customers. Because words have meaning, and that particular word carries some pretty dangerous connotations in an educational context.

For one thing, when students hear it, their first association is with that famous if not necessarily correct adage, "The customer is always right."
You can read the rest via the link.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Instructor (Chronicle of Higher Education)

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