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The use of a business model in institutions of higher education

Business model in institutions of higher education
Colleges and universities have embrace business model to satisfy accountability need and improve the success among their students. The business model can be seen when academic programs are removed due to low enrolment, when student’s performance is assessed based on popularity rather than on teaching ability, or when colleges avoid teaching students who need more attention and time to graduate.
The main aim of any business is to generate profit. Even though this reason to serves may be of moral value, the search for profit is a morally unbiased end. Its moral nature is rather determined by the means to the profit (Gouillart, 14-20).

            Imposing of the business model in colleges has been a great challenge in the society. Students need education for economic progress but not for citizenship. Most of the higher education administrators focus on the efficiency and productivity by increasing the size of the class and retaining students by any means, like lowering academic grades.

            The emphasis on the performance assessment shows the devaluation of the educational experience. This assessment is based on the need for accountability and it aim at producing student’s education performance through quantitative means. The drive for measurable performance is based on the accrediting agencies that depend more on the performance than the normal standards such as the faculty quality, the ratio between full-time to part-time, good policy, governance and finances. These need for accountability rarely recognized less funding or the student’s diversity challenge, particularly at the community college. Due to the performance assessment drive in many colleges, faculty may loose control over the syllabus, the requirements of the course, and assessment in clear infringement of academic freedom (Liedtka, 34).

            Together with these trends goes the drive to put curriculum and other learning decisions on the students as customer model. This business model supports the loss of revenue, and demand for flexibility and effective programs as driven by the market demand. One of the trends develops to satisfy customer demand is the introduction of the distance or online learning. This program allows institutions to do more for less. Fewer faculty, technology, and dependence on adjuncts, can derive efficiency. In the business model environ, college managements develop profitable online courses while controlling their right to course materials. This trend encourages students to view grades and degree as commodities and it devaluate the educational process within our colleges (The Cornerstones Report).

            The client or student’s satisfaction has become more important in this competitive education market. If the students are well satisfied then they will definitely persevere at the institution, the graduation number will be high and the reputation level of the institution will also improve.

            Most of the Americans between 18-22 years old spent more than six hours every day at school. The fact that the school is the main formative experience should not be disregarded. However, despite of believing in the effectiveness of education and that education can provide technical skills and resolve social issues, academicians are hesitant at best and blind at worst to the impacts of the behavioral models which is being supported by most schools at all levels (Traib, 114-123).

            This fact is more common in the higher learning environment. Because of the needs to satisfy the accountability of external agencies as earlier mentioned, most colleges for many years have changed the link between the students and the institution by considering students as the consumers who assessed the instruction just as the depositors rate their bank’s services. Based on 1960s student’s revolution, colleges have placed their role for determining the instruction and the curriculum quality in the control of students who are less competent to evaluate. This does not imply that students have no say over the instructions they received, but it is a critic of the student’s assessment instruments, which are poorly built, and that hold hostage the opinion of the students. This might result to turning the members of the faculty to supplicants for students and caused imbalance between the faculty power and the students, thereby affecting the teaching process (Traib, 114-123).

            Moreover, when colleges imposed business models to boost enrollment or to compete for the best students, the result may have a serious impact to the society. When for instance, luxury hostels, attractive cafeterias, and exaggerated grades substitute purpose, entitlement culture and the need for gratification is created.

            Traditionally, the main purpose for joining the colleges or university was to move the young individuals away from their usual environments so as to be able to re-invent as an independent, responsible and effective members of the society. When colleges are trying to replicate or sometime exceed pre-adult’s student’s existence conditions, one may wonder what the students are learning. In fact, children are the main interest of the parent’s world and can be spoiled accordingly.  However, what the term adult imply in this case is not clear. Indeed, in the current society, adulthood cannot be determined by age alone (Wall, 6).

            Although 18-year olds have been given specific rights and privileges, most of the societies have an ambiguous comprehension of what adulthood is. Extending childhood to an individual of 20s years old has been a recognized trend. The identification of parents of college-age children who fearfully drift over their children as they send them to colleges is a nuisance of most of the administrations of the college.

            Since parents or guardians need the best for their children, they demand more of their money in terms of improved materials and services delivery. Although one cannot anticipate us to returned to the severe conditions, which were there in the previous century, it is important to remind ourselves the rationale in which those conditions were based on (Liedtka, 34).

            Why, then are institutions involved in these practices? Really, it is irrational for them to believe that it improves education. Somewhat, just as a for-profit customer enterprises believe that they have to satisfy those who cater for their services, institutions likewise does not aspire to annoy parents who pays the fee. It is this idea for profit and distorted consumer’s satisfaction notion, an expression of a business model that is regarded effective for colleges.

            Lastly, use of business model at the community college is clearly seen in conflict over the governance of the faculty. Faculty, in the business model is regarded as the commodities used in search of flexibility or an outcome driven education. The administrators will see that the goals of the business is achieved, however, there decisions make shared governance with faculty inappropriate. . In this trend, business-oriented administrators with few credentials or experience replace faculty-elected managers.

            In order to resolve the problems created by the use of business model in colleges, many experts have emphasized on the labor union activism at the local and state levels. Continue education should be encouraged to inform the society and the government the danger of adopting the business models. Gouillart (14-20) argued that the college academicians should take the lead on their college and through their professional departments. Thus we must work with history and colleagues of the colleges and with our professional organizations to promote the meaning and the liberal arts of learning.

            Individuals must stop their uncontrolled wishes for something they do not recognized, and instead contemplate on the education model. Really, business model is a wrong model for educating our students. The colleges should reiterate more beyond the technical knowledge of what their students are learning.

            Colleges should engage dislocation by assisting the students know that they are not the center of the world, but of their own, in that their ignored opinions and skewed ideas, will have least weight and that there is least occurrence of instant gratification on demand.

            Higher education should not be just a place where one get skills and credentials, but a place and experience in which students learn literature, mathematics, and also how to shift to an adult civilized world in a responsible manner. Their immature believe concerning life and nature should be resolve through extensive dialogue. The colleges should involve training for life the way it is, but not as imagined the mind of the child. Higher education creates worst anticipations for their students and less service to the society when it imposed business models (Liedtka, 34).

            In conclusion, the world is now facing economic crisis. Countries have lowest rate of savings and highest personal debt. For many years we believed that we get what we want when we want it. The biggest challenge has been due to this assumption that permeate community at all levels. It is time our higher educations institutions adopt leaning that teach students to live and serve the society with high responsibility and prudence.

Reference:

Gouillart, F. The day the music died: Journal of Business Strategy, 16(3), 14-20, 1995.

Liedtka, J. M.  Relating strategic thinking with strategic planning: Strategy & leadership, 26,     30-36, 1998.

The Cornerstones Report, CSU. www.calstate.edu/cornerstones/reports/cornerstones_report

Traib, J. Drive-thru U: Higher education for individual who mean business. New York, 114-123,          1997.

Wall, S. J.  The evolution (not the death) of strategy. Organizational Dynamics, 24         – 2, p. 6, 1995.

 

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