07 September 2016

Administrator calls our students “products”

In a recent document, one of our adminstrators was talking about student learning outcomes (SLOs), and wrote (my emphasis):

Identifying which SLO a course addresses is not a huge task. It only ensures that students learn what they are required to learn so that we send a product out that we are proud of.

Wait. Did this administrator just call our students, “products”? Pretty sure the answer is yes.

When I first ran across this, I was surprised and disappointed. The more I’ve thought on it, the madder I’ve gotten. Our students are not “products.” They are people.

This is just horribly dehumanizing. I only hope the administrator who wrote this will feel a little shame for writing that when this is pointed out.

It’s such a revealing glimpse into the model of education that administrators long to have, which is an industrial model.

As few professors, oops, lecturers, oops, adjuncts, oops, workers, oops, online tutorial programs as needed to churn through as many products with as little variation as possible.

Many others have pointed out this is a trend in North American higher education. But I’ve worked under a lot of administrative teams here. These are attitudes that are specific to this administrative team now, that I have not seen under previous administrations.

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Show me what you value

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