Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Greater Classroom and Teaching Fulfillment/Pleasure

Increased customer service also yields greater faculty fulfillment and enjoyment in the classroom. Certainly a much sought after prize. There is a direct correlation between customer service and the resulting student/faculty engagement that leads to willingness to learn (WTL). This correlation also controls instructional satisfaction for faculty and leads directly to improvements in morale and appreciation of both students and the institution itself. If students are willing to, even wanting to learn, it makes the teaching job that much easier and more enjoyable. Keep in mind that people do not want to disappoint those they like and respect. They will work with faculty so they can succeed in teaching more. If the faculty treat them with good customer and service equity as a start.

Willingness to learn and willingness to engage are extremely important now what with the ever growing number of adjuncts. Adjuncts are not necessarily that attached to a school that lets him/her know they are expendable and not highly valued (low pay, no benefits and a constantlty uncertain future can do that). The school does not really create an engagement for adjuncts so it must come from the classroom itself. SEE If the students are not that engaged with the adjunct, there will be a rift that interferes with student learning, attachment to the class and the school and that leads to inmcreased attrition.
Schools should spend time teaching teachers to teach from a true customer service base. Easy grades do not make faculty well liked but caring, egnaged faculty do.

Principle 13 applies here.

13. Do not cheapen the product and call it customer service.

No pandering.

Easy Grades are Not Customer Service - Never Ever!
Limited or easy readings, assignments or tests are not customer service and students know it. As Baskin Robbins says "Anyone Can Make A Cheaper Product" but I add, that does not mean that customers will really like it better, Chocolate chip ice cream with one chip is not choclate chip no matter how cheap it is. And an A is not an A if nothing is really learned. It is merely pandering anfd cheating the customer. Teaching did not take place and the customer did not get what he or she paid for. Remember always that the final aspect of customer service value is if the customer gets what he or she is paying for. If the service is great at a restaurant and the food is not good, a waiter will not bring you back finally.
Students may not refuse an easy course or a higher grade than deserved but they do not respect it, the teacher, the class or the school. And if it is a course they believe they will need in their career, watch out. They in fact feel their education is being cheapened and will look elsewhere since their education means their future and career. The latest CIRP/HERI report out of UCLA shows that the trend toward seeing college as a way to a good career and personal wealth continues to grow in importance. It has always been a major motivational factor for attending and graduating college by the way. Even we administrators and faculty took courses we did not want to take, even hated, as a vocational necessity. We took them because we were in school to be come a teacher for example so we could then believe that college should be for something other than getting a job, for be coming something............(We from the boomers generation really thought the same but we had been trained to couch our material goals in a veneer of wanting to learn and grow as an individual. Just as any of the millionaire hippy capitalists who started in a head shop.)

Creating happier teachers and students can be accomplished fairly easily with just a bit of understanding of the value of customer service and some training in simple and academically appropriate techniques such as give a name get a name as discussed above and elsewhere in this blog..

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