Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Service Equity and Faculty Classroom Pleasure at Cheers University

Know Their Name

A basic aspect of customer service in colleges is the creation of service equity between the customer and the school, its personnel and certainly the faculty. Service equity then resides in the perception that the college and faculty put as much into the relationship as an indidudal styudent does. If students perceive a level of service equity in the way they and the faculty interrelate such as through the“give a name/get a name” technique" (a basic customer service tactic) there is a corresponding incrase in willingness to learn (WTL).

Faculty often present their names in large, hard to read chalk letters the first day of classso students can see they are open and friendly, “Hi call me Dr. Professor Fred, PhD” but as often make little effort to learn the students’ names. Not much equity in that.

Learn who they are. If your memory for names is not all that great, set up a seating chart. It’s okay. You can even tell students you are doing this so you can learn their names because they are important individuals. And will get rid of the chart as soon as you do so. It’s also okay to admit your memory for names is not as great but it is important that you get to know each of them as an individual. Look at the list it to call on students by name. First names! Not last unless you teach at a British boarding school in the 1920's.

Names create engagement and shared sense of value. The result will be that students will follow professors’ assignments, rules and lectures more fully. i.e. they engage. Faculty will have students who are more involved in class, compliant with their instructions and requirements, and engaged if faculty get to know their names. It shows not just sharing but respect.h

Be Glad They Came

Make the students feel as if you want to teach them; as if you are happy they came to your class. And indeed all faculty should be. After all though the dumb adage goes “This would be a great place to work if it weren’t for the students” there would not be a college if there were no students. It should be seen as an honor for students to choose your class or as an almost equal honor if they are assigned. You’ve been given the chance to really make a difference in the rlives through your teaching. If a faculty member does not feel this honor, this opportunity to help students grow and become stronger intellectually and personally, one should find out what the heck he or she is doing teaching.

Faculty should develop and show a recognition that the students are valued and important. Students should never feel as if the faculty member looks down on them. The mean, austere, demeaningly dictatorial teacher might be good for movies but not for classroooms. Students want to feel as if the faculty wants to reach them and will work as hard as they with respect given and expected. In more technical terms. they expect and demand a sense of service equity.

If faculty feel they should have better students in their classes to teach, they have it wrong. The goal should be to do all you can to make the students faculty teach in their classes better. That is really the job anyhow. Learn to like the students you have and enjoy life more. The students will learn more and maybe even look forard to going to classes.

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