ERIC Number: ED418748
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Are Students "Customers" of Collegiate Education?
Aliff, John V.
The emerging economic paradigm of higher education will make enhancing national productivity the primary goal; emphasize the mastery of learning skills over rote learning; and operate around the principle of customer service, viewing students as customers. Total Quality Management (TQM), as applied to education, shares this focus on customer satisfaction. Advantages of adopting TQM in educational institutions include improved delivery of continuing and vocational education, decreased compartmentalism, improved student services and increased student empowerment, and improved delivery of instruction through new technologies with the focus on mastering learning skills. However, applying TQM and other market-driven business metaphors can have negative consequences, including the tendency to regard students as passive recipients of a commodity, rather than active learners; the "customer is always right" mindset and the potential that faculty will pander to students' desires; the disappearance of questioning and challenging in instruction; confusion and conflict regarding students' needs; and the decline of areas of scholarship that have little commercial value, including the potential death of liberal arts education. These conditions arise, however, from an authoritarian misapplication of the TQM vision. In a true application of TQM, colleges would become communities of learners, with all members of that community committed to furthering the learning process. Contains 26 references. (BCY)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Learning Communities
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Georgia Academy of Science (75th, Savannah, GA, April 25, 1998).