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Colleges at the Crossroads

Taking Sides on Contested Issues


Edited By Joseph L. DeVitis and Pietro A. Sasso

Focusing on crucial issues in higher education, this book challenges readers to go beyond taken-for-granted assumptions about America’s colleges and universities and instead critically examine important questions facing them in today’s troubled world. Each chapter presents divergent perspectives, that is, "pro" and "con" views, in the hope of stimulating reasoned dialogue among students, faculty, administrators, and the public at large. Readers will explore how internal factors in the academic community often interact with external social, economic, and political influences to produce conflictual results. They will see that academe is hardly value-neutral and inevitably political. This book urges them to transcend strident political persuasion and instead engage in the careful analysis needed to make colleges better.

The text provides in-depth appraisal of key topics of controversy: the purposes of higher education, liberal education, academic freedom, political correctness, tenure, shared governance, faculty workload, admissions tests, student learning, Greek life, the worth of college, equity and social justice, athletics, student entitlement, technology and distance instruction, and college amenities. The book will appeal to students, faculty, staff, and all those interested in the future of higher education. It is especially useful for courses in contemporary issues in higher education, foundations of higher education, higher education and society, college student development, and the organization and administration of higher education.

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28. Are College Students Too Entitled Today? The Role of Customer Service in Meeting Student Needs and Expectations (Denise L. Davidson / Amy A. Paciej-Woodruff)


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28.  Are College Students Too Entitled Today? The Role of Customer Service in Meeting Student Needs and Expectations


In the summer of 2015, American politicians drew attention to the perceived excessive comforts made available on some college campuses (Woodhouse, 2015). Climbing walls and lazy rivers were contrasted against the increasing costs of higher education, with claims that these “amenities” were extravagances that students—and by extension, parents and society—could ill-afford. Within higher education circles, attention focused on the perception that college students are increasingly coddled, entitled, and demanding of a customer service approach that many find contrary to the essential purposes of higher education.

In this chapter, we explore the role and utility of customer service in contemporary higher education as a logical means to address the needs of an increasingly diverse student population and changing society. In particular, we examine the economic notions of public and private goods and their relationship to a customer service orientation. To put this in context, we briefly trace historical events and include an examination of the varied characteristics of today’s college students. Noting that customer service can be a means to provide a high-quality education, we conclude that it is a natural response to a changing society, altered student population, and evolving role of American higher education. ← 423 | 424 →

The Present Climate

In separate speeches in 2015, Elizabeth Warren,...

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