ERIC Number: EJ782869
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Reference Count: 15
Tempering Universities' Marketing Rhetoric: A Strategic Protection against Litigation or an Admission of Failure?
Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, v30 n1 p77-85 Feb 2008
The changed dynamic between tertiary students and universities has resulted in much discussion about consumer rights and obligations. Whilst some consider the change from students to clients to be simply an accurate reflection of changing times, others believe the trend to be a covert blueprint for radical change imposed by forces external to the academy. In either case, the discussion is more concerned with rights, responsibilities and obligations rather than pedagogic issues. With the shift in focus comes the possibility of consumer-based litigation based upon contractual obligations. To some extent, the success of such litigation will be based upon legalistic interpretations of the marketing rhetoric universities use to describe their product. As public statements, such rhetoric is part of the contract into which students enter with universities. This paper considers one of the ways in which universities have responded to the potential of being sued by unsatisfied customers: a tempering of hyperbole in their advertising. But how does the implication of such a strategy impact upon the perceived or actual standards of teaching? The paper begins with a brief overview of how universities have responded to students recasting themselves as customers, with the concomitant demands for satisfaction. It follows with a consideration of how these trends have become manifest in Australia. The focus narrows to consider how one university has responded to the changing environment, and then uses the example of one faculty within that university to exemplify the change in strategy. Finally, the paper considers the potential future relevance of that response.
Descriptors: Rhetoric, Marketing, Court Litigation, Foreign Countries, Contract Training, Universities, Advertising, Teacher Effectiveness, Postsecondary Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia