Category Archives: Higher Education Marketing

Reforming Higher Ed #3: Teach Differently

Student using smartphone

Student Texting

Faculty anecdotes about the “cell phone follies” abound. Increasingly, students text one another, interact through Facebook or Twitter, or surf the Internet rather than attend to what is happening in class. They often disrupt others, and learning prescribed material comes to a halt. When called to account, as one of my friends reports, a student might respond with a loud “F#%&k you!” What is going on? Is this generation of students merely a bunch of rude, spoiled brats? Perhaps, but I’m more inclined to think that they merely regard what happens in class to be irrelevant to their lives and, worse, boring. Continue reading


Reforming Higher Ed #2: Demand Rigor

Mathematics Lecture

Mathematics Lecture

In a previous post, “Adrift without a Paddle,” I noted “an ever deeper descent into an anti-intellectualistic, narcissistic culture in which students pursue pre-employment, technical training with single-minded purpose while, nevertheless, they expect to be rewarded with high grades and degrees apart from real achievement.” This phenomenon of empty degrees worries government officials, business and community leaders, and the general public. What should be done to restore real achievement on the part of college students generally? Continue reading

Adrift without a Paddle

Academically AdriftWhile it is always good to examine evidence for or against one’s views, I strongly suspect that most college faculty greeted the recent publication of Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa with a high degree of “I could have told you so!” As reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Huffington Post, some 45% of students “did not demonstrate any statistically significant improvement in Collegiate Learning Assessment [CLA] performance during the first two years of college.” Moreover, 36% demonstrated no improvement after four years. After 30 years of teaching, none of this surprises me. In truth, my experience would have predicted more dismal results. Continue reading

How to Market the Humanities

The culture war is nearly lost, and the philistines are winning. No, I don’t mean the culture war between social/political conservatives and liberals. That war rages on. The truly desperate struggle that cuts across the conservative/liberal divide is the fight against consumerism whereby consumers are, themselves, consumed by the search for lower prices, better deals, and the never-ending corporate hunt for exploitatively cheap labor anywhere in the world, resulting in greater concentrations of wealth for those at the top. And this consumerist culture finds overwhelming support in what I call educational philistinism. Continue reading

Preparing to Market the Humanities

However desirable or necessary, marketing the humanities is, at best, difficult. We live in a culture increasingly bent on individual economic survival and seeking “practical” education or training as a means to that end. Moreover, the culture suffers the consequences of unethical business practice Wall Street: Money Never Sleepsand increasingly demagogic public debate (witness the timely success of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). As college students become older (average age of undergraduate students in the U.S. is 26) and as they seek certification of skills to improve their career and employment prospects, of what use are the humanities? Many students and employment hiring officers regard study of the humanities as a waste of time and money, as a luxury that only the few can afford. And some institutions agree with them! Those who believe, as I do, that Continue reading