Is the customer always right in higher education?

After writing about higher education for 14 years, Jeffrey Selingo knows the drill.
After writing about higher education for 14 years, Jeffrey Selingo knows the drill.

Before stepping into his current role as editor-at-large at the Chronicle of Higher Education, Jeffrey Selingo was a reporter for 14 years. His first book – “College (Un)bound: The Future of Higher Education and What it Means for Students” – was released last week by Harvest Books. We asked Selingo for his input about the increasingly complex world of higher education.

What has changed in higher ed since you began writing about it?
As prices go up, people have more questions about what they get from higher education. I think more and more students treat it like any other industry they consume. Although, I also argue that students have to be savvier about their
consumer choices in education. Most parents and students still pick colleges in a very emotional way.

What comes out of that emotional response?
We have a very romantic view of higher education: big time universities, quads, small classes, gothic buildings, football weekends. But in reality, students and parents are buying a product. They need to know if they’re going to graduate on time, get a job, what their debt load will be, and whose going to be teaching them.

How has this student-consumer shift changed education?
Students have a lot more expectation [than they did previously.] They are the customer, and the customer is always right. As a result, we’ve seen grade inflation. The classroom has turned into a giant favor exchange. Part time faculty need to please students to get good course evaluations. Students want to get good grades, because they’re paying a lot of money. At the end of the day, there’s not much academic rigor at some colleges.

How will technology change higher ed?
I don’t think online institutions will replace thousands of colleges. Some people really believe that. If you talk to 18-year-olds, they don’t want go to school online, they want the typical residential experience. I think [technology] will be injected into that traditional model. There will be more hybrid courses and more students will watch lectures online. Then they’ll go to class for the high impact class, where you really need human interaction.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

'Five Star': A coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang…

'Five Star' tells a coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang culture at the Tribeca Film Festival.

National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

NYPD detective shoots partner: DA

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.

Local

Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NHL

Rangers unlikely to change lineup, Steve Mason in…

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't say much, but don't expect any lineup changes.

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

NBA

Nets excited for Brooklyn fans to bring the…

Kevin Garnett has definitely used profanity while trash talking or in practices, but never to describe an entire borough.

NHL

Rangers turn up shot blocking in Game 3…

Game 3 of the Rangers-Flyers opneing round series was not a return to John Tortorella hockey.

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.