My 2cents on Student satisfaction LO13447

Ray Evans Harrell (mcore@IDT.NET)
Fri, 02 May 1997 18:31:21 -0700

Replying to LO13407 --

Pandora L. Patton wrote:
> Is the student a customer of Higher Ed? Of course, but he is also the
> product which receives the value added.
> The problem is the system has exalted the administration and instructional
> staff above student input, so the idea of student as customer has become
> anathema. The 19% Drop in College enrollment is proof of that.
> Pandora


This is the kind of nonsense that drives people from universities. 1.)
Most students are between the age of 17 and 25 and have not done the work
to know whether what they are receiving is useful, correct or not. They
are not consumers or customers, they are STUDENTS. They are also not a
product. STUDENT is a category all its own. PRODUCTS are supposed to be
reliable and predictable. That is why the slavery quality of machines is
so preferable to real people. Even owned people (slaves) have always been
unreliable. STUDENTS are supposed to grow whether they are reliable or
not. This is their "Prime Directive." That is what makes them so
dangerous as private pupils. Sometimes their growth needs can lead a
serious teacher to the brink of their own oblivion. If you reduce it to a
simple business transaction quite frankly no one could pay me enough to do
what I have gone through at times to develop a serious world class
performing artist.

2) As for student input, I will tell a story that I am sure everyone here
knows already. A nuclear plant was going "meltdown." Everyone on the
staff had been trying to stop it to no avail. They quickly flew a noted
engineer in from Saudi Arabia where he was a consultant for the Saudi
government. He walked to the reactor and put his hand on the wall at
several places with a different facial grimace for each place. He finally
turned to the plant engineer and asked for a new "Ballpeen Hammer." They
had none so he took one from his tool box and said "You will have to pay
for this" and they agreed. At which point he whacked the wall of the
reactor and the cooling rods began to withdraw and the core was safe.

The ecstatic plant manager shook his hand and asked him to send his bill
and to include all expenses as well. Two weeks later the bill came. It
was for $100,000.00 The plant manager fired back a letter and asked for it
to be itemized. Two weeks later he received the bill.

Round trip plane ticket to Saudi Arabia (1st class) 7,576.00

Food (2 days) 202.35

Hotel (one night) 178.98

Auto Rental 85.39

One Ballpin Hammer (new with no reactivity) 25.99
(Hammer purpose: for reactor strike to restore
bearing alignment in reactor core removal
unit magnetically stuck to outer wall
of reactor)

Cost for knowing where to strike and application
of force 91,931.29


The cost of an inadequate teacher can never be estimated due to the damage
they cause. On the other hand students are often as stuck as that
reactor, however, unlike the reactor, their job is to learn how to fix
"stuckness" themselves. Universities have always demanded more of the
students as individuals. It is the Universe of the Univers-ity that sets
up the possibility for the student to help themselves in whatever way they
need at the time.

Private study and apprenticeships are different in that they are more
intense and demand a highly directed student obsession with the discipline
and challenge of the work. Private study is generally vocational or
recreational. Either way the heat is on and both student and teacher are
dedicated to finding ways to make the proficiency happen both more deeply
than a class and quicker.

Ray Evans Harrell, artistic director
The Magic Circle Chamber Opera of New York


Ray Evans Harrell <mcore@IDT.NET>

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