A Critique of the Customer Model of Higher Education
The Tail Wagging the Dog
Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- Advance Praise for A Critique of the Customer Model of Higher Education
- This eBook can be cited
- Tabel of Contents
- Making a Multi-Faceted Case Against the Present Evaluation System
- Criticizing Some Students Is Not Criticizing All Students
- Some Past Research on Student Evaluations
- My Teaching Career
- Chapter One: Challenging the Customer Model
- Some Historical Background
- Collini Weighs in
- The “Economistic Idiom” and Right-Wing Think Tanks
- The Lowering of Higher Learning
- The “Disengagement Compact”
- The Previous Teaching Evaluation System and the New
- Some Sorry Examples of Student Power and Faculty Weakness
- Playing Fast and Loose with Academic Standards
- The Vulnerability of the Untenured
- Chapter Two: What’s a Teacher to Do?
- The Intimidation Factor
- “Don’t Let the Critics Get You Down”
- Is Emotional “Toughness” the Answer?
- General Impressions of My Own Evaluations
- Questions to Ask Before Reading a Colleague’s Evaluations
- Does Competition Among College Teachers Produce More Learning or Less?
- On Reducing Learning
- Lowering Academic Standards Elsewhere
- Other Ways of Currying Favor with Students
- “Let Me Entertain You”
- Are Student Evaluations Based on Non-Verbal Factors Valid?
- On Manipulating Students Subliminally
- Ms. Mentor and “Student-Centered” Learning
- Must Teachers Be “Performers” to Get Good Evaluations?
- Chapter Three: Likeability, Personality and Grading
- “Compassionate and Caring” or “Confrontational and Combative?”
- Valen Johnson on Grade Inflation
- A Spoof About Grading at Harvard
- A Satire by Joyce Carol Oates
- “Professor X” and a Student “Friendship”
- My Own Grading
- The Lack of Grading Transparency
- Chapter Four: Evaluating the Evaluators
- The “ratemyprofessors” Website
- From the “Best Professors” List
- From the General List
- Critiquing Some of the Criteria
- Three Research Studies on Undergraduate Culture
- Rebekah Nathan’s Picture of Undergraduate Culture at “AnyU”
- Ditching Classes
- To Study or Not to Study?
- Currying Favor with Faculty
- One Professor’s Experience with Plagiarism
- Is It a Question of “Balance”?
- Chapter Five: Students at “Midwest State” and Elsewhere
- The “Generalized” Student Culture at Midwest State
- Student Subcultures
- Getting a Degree with a Minimum Amount of Effort
- Student Slackers
- How Some Students View Teachers
- Youth Culture in the Classroom
- Are Oberlin Students an Exception?
- Chapter Six: Is the Customer Always Right?
- Evaluating a Teacher Many Years Later
- Student Accountability: A Double Standard
- Whose Failure Is It?
- Jane Tompkins at Duke University: Liberation Pedagogy
- Accused of Being a Fascist
- Are College Students “Children”?
- Anonymous Course Evaluations
- A “Teaching Moment”
- Accused of Fascism Again
- The Cult of the Comfortable
- Trigger Warnings
- The “Coddling of the American Mind”
- “The Trivializing of Everything”
- Consumers versus Learners
- Chapter Seven: Out of Step with Some Students
- On Displeasing Some Students
- Student “Patriotism” or School Pride
- Inflated Self-Esteem
- “Oberlin Students Are Used to Being Praised, Not Criticized”
- “Top Down and Bottom Up Learning”
- Inflated Self-Esteem and Toni Morrison
- “You’re Not Special”
- Inflated Entitlement Feelings
- The Millennials
- Chapter Eight: Social Class in American Academia
- Social Class at “Midwest State”: “Talisha,” “Jim,” and “Amy”
- Students from Low Income Families
- Social Class at Oberlin
- Two Oberlin Students from Different Class Backgrounds
- Social Class and Entitlement Feelings
- Social Class and the 2008–2015 Recession
- “Stressed-out” Students
- Social Class and Course Evaluations
- Liberalism and the “Professional Class”
- Oberlin Students and Bernie Sanders
- Do Rich Students Feel Lucky to Be in College?
- Rejecting the “Wrong Kids”
- Sonia Sotomayor from the Bronx to the Supreme Court
- My Belated Awareness of Class Issues
- Chapter Nine: Social Class and College Teaching
- Oberlin Idealism and Social Justice
- “Leftism” at Oberlin
- Students for Bernie Sanders
- Anti-Working Class Biases
- Social Class in the Classroom
- Class Backgrounds and Oberlin Professors
- Faculty Culture and Middle Class Values
- Professors from Working Class Backgrounds
- Working Class Values
- On Teaching Rich Students
- Lower Class Work Ethic
- Academic Culture and Academic Language
- My Own Class Background
- Right Wing and Left Wing Populisms: Donald Trump Versus Bernie Sanders
- A Student Demonstration at Oberlin
- A New President of Oberlin College
- Chapter Ten: “To Disturb Is My Function”
- Moving Leftward
- Right-Wing and Left-Wing Feminism
- The Perils of Political Correctness
- Identity Politics
- Identity Politics at Oberlin
- Was Oberlin “Racist” in 2016?
- On Being a Pedagogical Gadfly
- Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure
- Old and New Threats to Academic Freedom
- Chapter Eleven: What Should Count Most in College Teaching and Learning
- “Innovative” Teaching
- On Using Humor in the Classroom
- Defending “Publish or Perish”
- Are Untenured Teachers Better Than Tenured?
- A School’s Scholarly Reputation
- Virtual Education
- Educational Narcissism and Self-Defeating Individualism
- Gide, Proust and Camus
- Getting Outside of Oneself
- In Praise of Effort
- Are College Students Being Worked Too Hard Today?
- Saul Bellow: “The Teaching of Literature Has Been a Disaster”
- Chapter Twelve: A Critique of Collaborative Learning
- Collaborative Learning at Oberlin
- Glorious Rhetoric and Inglorious Results
- Why Collaborative Learning Appeals to Some Students and Faculty
- “Active” and “Passive” Learning
- The Teacher Knows More About the Subject
- Teachers as Only “Facilitators”
- The Learning of Skills Is Not Enough
- Collaborative Learning at LaGuardia Community College
- Chapter Thirteen: A Dysfunctional and Misleading Evaluation System
- The Deprofessionalization of College Teaching
- The Fall of Two College Presidents
- On Misusing Student Evaluations of College Teaching
- A Teacher Rebels
- “How on Earth Does Anybody Know Anything About Anyone’s Teaching?”
- Do Student Evaluations Measure What They Claim to Measure?
- A French Professor’s Views on Student Evaluations of University Teaching
- Is the French Evaluation System Better Than Ours?
- Three Frustrated Oberlin Students Call for More Teaching Evaluations
- Disappointed Parents
- Chapter Fourteen: Solutions
- Academically Adrift and the “Race to the Bottom”
- Some Piecemeal Proposals
- Replacing the Customer Model with the Previous System
- Holding Teachers Accountable
- On Helping Beginning Teachers
- Student Demonstrations on Behalf of the Present System
- The Benefits of Making the Change
- Appendix: Chronicle of Higher Education Articles
- Series Index
Robert J. Soucy
A Critique of the
of Higher Education
The Tail Wagging the Dog
New York • Bern • Berlin
Brussels • Vienna • Oxford • Warsaw
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Soucy, Robert, author.
Title: A critique of the customer model of higher education: the tail wagging the dog / Robert J. Soucy.
Description: New York: Peter Lang, 2018.
Series: Equity in higher education theory, policy, & praxis; vol. 4
ISSN 2330-4502 (print) | ISSN 2330-4510 (online)
Includes bibliographical references.
Identifiers: LCCN 2017045335 | ISBN 978-1-4331-4991-7 (hardback: alk. paper)
ISBN 978-1-4331-4992-4 (ebook pdf) | ISBN 978-1-4331-4993-1 (epub)
ISBN 978-1-4331-4994-8 (mobi)
Subjects: LCSH: Education, Higher——Aims and objectives——United States.
Educational change——United States.
Classification: LCC LA227.4.S62 2017 | DDC 378/.01——dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017045335
Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek.
Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche
Nationalbibliografie”; detailed bibliographic data are available
on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de.
© 2018 Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York
29 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, NY 10006
All rights reserved.
Reprint or reproduction, even partially, in all forms such as microfilm,
xerography, microfiche, microcard, and offset strictly prohibited.
About the book
A Critique of the Customer Model of Higher Education is part of a public discussion as to why American higher education, once rated number one in the world, is now rated number twelve. The book’s purpose is to expose the many drawbacks of the present system of evaluating college teaching. The book also raises questions about the role social class plays in American academia today, especially where the customer model is involved. A Critique of the Customer Model of Education is based on a wide variety of sources; among them are some of Soucy’s own teaching experiences, along with the experiences of other teachers with student evaluations and research studies of undergraduate culture. This book describes how various students view their college educations, ranging from students at large public universities, to those at small, selective private schools, and to students at community colleges. A Critique of the Customer Model of Education is a provocative book that might upset some defenders of student evaluations of college teaching, while pleasing teachers who no longer want to see the drawbacks of the customer model of education brushed under the rug.
Advance Praise for A Critique of the Customer Model of Higher Education
"Education is a fundamental institution of civilized humanity. But like any other institution, it is often at the whims of those who are involved in it along with ephemeral trends within the society that enfolds it. Robert J. Soucy’s critical analysis of American higher education is an eyeopener. It dissects what is inherently anomalous about it, namely its susceptibility to trends, which erode the possibility of true learning, a Socratic bond that must arise among teacher, student, and knowledge. This is an especially crucial book given the times in which we live. It should be read by everyone, from educators and academics to anyone who truly cares about learning and education. It is written with both intellect and heart. It talks to both the mind and the soul at once."
Marcel Danesi, Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto
"Based on a long career of teaching at elite universities and a careful reading of a wide range of opinions on how to assess university professors, Robert J. Soucy, an eminent American historian of Europe, delivers a sharp rebuttal to the idea that student views should dominate the approach to teaching. This is a no-holds-barred, well-crafted response to those who are willing to risk the quality of education in order to please students who no longer see themselves as education seekers, but as customers."
Patrice Dutil, Professor, Department of Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University
"This book is an important contribution to the debate on the decline of American higher education, which allows students to think and act like customers. Having paid so much tuition, they are encouraged to stand in judgement over their teachers through the evaluation process, resulting in relaxed standards and reduced demands. In this appeal for an abandonment of the ‘customer model’ of higher education, Dr. Soucy brings a lifetime of experience to bear and examples from many college settings."
Patrick Allitt, Professor of American History, Emory University
This eBook can be cited
This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.
Table of Contents
Making a Multi-Faceted Case Against the Present Evaluation System
Criticizing Some Students Is Not Criticizing All Students
Some Past Research on Student Evaluations
Chapter One: Challenging the Customer Model
The “Economistic Idiom” and Right-Wing Think Tanks
The Lowering of Higher Learning
The Previous Teaching Evaluation System and the New
Some Sorry Examples of Student Power and Faculty Weakness
Playing Fast and Loose with Academic Standards
The Vulnerability of the Untenured
Chapter Two: What’s a Teacher to Do?
“Don’t Let the Critics Get You Down”←vii | viii→
Is Emotional “Toughness” the Answer?
General Impressions of My Own Evaluations
Questions to Ask Before Reading a Colleague’s Evaluations
Does Competition Among College Teachers Produce More Learning or Less?
Lowering Academic Standards Elsewhere
Other Ways of Currying Favor with Students
Are Student Evaluations Based on Non-Verbal Factors Valid?
On Manipulating Students Subliminally
Ms. Mentor and “Student-Centered” Learning
Must Teachers Be “Performers” to Get Good Evaluations?
Chapter Three: Likeability, Personality and Grading
“Compassionate and Caring” or “Confrontational and Combative?”
Valen Johnson on Grade Inflation
A Spoof About Grading at Harvard
“Professor X” and a Student “Friendship”
The Lack of Grading Transparency
Chapter Four: Evaluating the Evaluators
The “ratemyprofessors” Website
From the “Best Professors” List
Critiquing Some of the Criteria
Three Research Studies on Undergraduate Culture
Rebekah Nathan’s Picture of Undergraduate Culture at “AnyU”
Currying Favor with Faculty←viii | ix→
One Professor’s Experience with Plagiarism
Is It a Question of “Balance”?
Chapter Five: Students at “Midwest State” and Elsewhere
The “Generalized” Student Culture at Midwest State
Getting a Degree with a Minimum Amount of Effort
How Some Students View Teachers
Youth Culture in the Classroom
Are Oberlin Students an Exception?
Chapter Six: Is the Customer Always Right?
Evaluating a Teacher Many Years Later
- XVI, 336
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (MOBI)
- ISBN (Hardcover)
- Publication date
- 2018 (August)
- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Vienna, Oxford, Wien, 2018. XVI, 336 pp.