Thursday, December 04, 2008

Students Go to the Head of The Caste

A comment on my article on the College caste system got me to thinking a bit more on what I wrote. Anonymous said...
So, where do students (including student leaders & student-run groups) fit into the caste system? It seems like their voice is somewhere below "untouchable", and yet there are some amazing untapped resources there.
The commenter is absolutely right.

When we do not tap the ideas, thoughts, concerns and feelings of our primary customer, we lose the most valuable information of all. We do not know how or even if we are affecting, treating and engaging our clients.

Yet, most colleges and businesses never really do engage our clients.
It’s not that students are untouchable at most schools. They are not even really considered in decisions that affect them. Oh sure we think about how we think our decision will affect students but do we really check with them and see what they think? Do we survey them on major issues to obtain the thoughts of our clients? No.

Usually we do what failing businesses do. We check with ourselves, the administrators and faculty to see what our customers want. That’s the common mode of operation at Ford College , GM University and Chrysler Tech.

Works real well? Huh?
We need to make room for our students in our caste system. They should be on the very top of it. They are why we exist. This is how the system should look.

The Essentials – those we exist to serve without whom there would
be no college, university or career college - the students
• The Brahmins -- those engaged in sacrifices, and priestly functions Senior Administrators, vice-presidents, trustees
• The Kshtriyas -- Rulers and warriors Full-time Faculty

• The Vaishyas -- Merchants, farmers, and tradesmen Deans, Directors,
• The Shudras -- Laborers, craftsmen, service professions - Managers
• The Dalits –so unworthy as to be casteless Clerical, maintenance, adjuncts (but only part time)

And we should consult them regularly to learn from them. Just as Lincoln Memorial University did following the audio seminar on retaining students over Thanksgiving. (audio of the seminar available request here)

Judy Beal, VP for Student Services along with Larry Thacker, Enrollment Manager at LMU, and their wonderful people did send out a simple survey as suggested. What two things would you want changed to make going to school here better? Larry said he received over 80 individual survey responses in one day. He had been sorting through them and sent them forward to the president and her cabinet for action.
Since most of the responses had two, or more suggestions, that means that means that LMU has discovered over 150 irritation points that can be reviewed and fixed to retain more students. Well done folks!!!!

Students will tell you what you need to do to keep them happy. Just include them and ask! Thanks commenter. But almost didn’t print it because it came in anonymously. Everyone has a name. Use it please.

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