Consumer and academic culture convergence:
thesisposted on 22.05.2021, 13:21 authored by Greta Palmason
The increasing commercialization of higher education is challenging the fundamental role of the University in today's democratic society and the consequences are grave. Increasingly, higher education is applying a customer-service approach to the student-professor relationship that is undermining effective pedagogy. Edwin Guthrie (1954) notes that the function of the University is to attempt to insure that the following generation will be more good, wise, and knowing than the present one" (p.l). Student evaluations of teaching effectiveness are often used to ensure that the function is fulfilled. Student rating websites such as Ratemyprofessr.com (RMP) offers an online community forum that exists outside the institution, where students can anonymously share evaluations of instructors with others. Students can choose instructors and courses based on the ratings. However they are selecting their professors relative to criteria that fulfills a pedagogy that is fuelled not by the drive for an enriched knowledge but by a pedagogy that is influenced by a consumer and academic culture convergence. These consumer attitudes towards higher education are spilling over into the institution and faculty members are suffering the impact. Professors need to have the freedom to motivate students to learn without having to be concerned with entertaining them. It has been argued that Universities need to re-instate their legitimacy and remind students that degrees are granted on a learning basis, not for tuition payment (Delucchi & Korgen 2002). Without a re-establishment of an academic ethic, the University could fall prisoner to the pedagogically irresponsible demands of their customers.