Students as ‘customers’

By Buchtelite Editorial Board


UA President Scott Scarborough recently appeared on the cover of the November issue of the Akron/Canton SmartBusiness magazine.

A business magazine? Figures.

But “smart” business? That’s questionable.

Regardless, UA administrators have been far too fond of likening the University to some company lately.

At the last Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 14, Ted Curtis, UA’s vice president for capital planning and facilities management, gave a speech on how to better serve the University’s “customers” — er, students.

In a recent interview with The Buchtelite, Vice President for Advancement Larry Burns spoke about UA’s many rebrandings and brandings with allusions to the success of Coca-Cola.

And in the SmartBusiness feature article, Scarborough is attributed as saying this: “Students are both our customers and our products. Customer doesn’t fully capture what they are to the institution, but neither does product.”

He also had this to say about experience: “You can’t learn to dance by reading a book. You have to dance. You’re not going to be a great engineer by reading out of a textbook, you have to get your hands dirty and work in a cooperative work assignment where you’re doing things…”

But rest assured, nothing more than a book is needed to see that students are far, far more than mere customers.