Customer-service badges for professors

Professors balked at wearing name badges and white cards that ask, “Have we served you well?,” at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland, reports  Daniel de Vise at College Inc.

“It’s the Walmartization of higher education,” said Earl Yarington, an associate professor of English, venting in a summer 2010 issue of Academe, the journal of the American Association of University Professors.

. . . Employees were encouraged to hang the new name tags around their necks, tucked within clear plastic sleeves along with a white card bearing the new customer-service slogan.

Prince George’s Community College got high marks for student engagement in a respected national survey, notes de Vise. Apparently, it does serve students well, at least compared to other community colleges in the area. But professors felt the badges made them look like retail clerks.

Gary Rhoades, general secretary of the national faculty organization, said the badges struck him as “more like a p.r. stunt than a serious investment in the conditions that would enhance student success. Students are not simply consumers or customers who are being delivered a service, they are students, being educated.”

In response to complaints, professors were told they could remove the “Have we served you well?” cards or stop wearing the name badges. About half the faculty still wear the badges; fewer carry the white cards.

POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON January 25, 2011

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