Higher Education Marketing

Seth Godin has a great post today about what actually matters (and what doesn’t) when choosing a college.

It’s almost as if every single high school student and her parents insisted on having a $200,000 stereo because it was better than the $1,000 stereo. Sure, it might be a bit better, but is it better enough?

Take the time to read the whole thing.

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Absolutely true! I was a (teaching) professor for 30 years and I saw this situation as it happened. I was lucky to teach in two state colleges where teaching and quality of education mattered. For most universities today, the bottom line is all that counts. The most powerful officer reporting to a university president used to be the Provost, sometimes called the Dean of Faculty, or the V.P. of Academic Affairs. The power now resides with the financial V.P. Everything is about fundraising now. Professors who value teaching cannot get tenure at major universities. At many universities, it’s hard for an undergraduate student to ever see a professor; most teaching is handled by teaching assistants, adjunct faculty, or teaching instructors. Professors get grants; that’s their main job.

There is no doubt that very few people outside of higher education know what’s really going on. There have been books written about it, “Profscam”, for example, but no one is interested.

In my cynicism, I’ve thought that colleges should be located at a beach or ski resort, with all of the amenities. All courses should be optional and online. No professors are necessary. All that’s needed are sports teams, bars, lots of fun activities, and equal numbers of both sexes.

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