In the eye of the beholder

Greetings, colleagues. . .

This month’s post is about something we all have to deal with as advisors: budgets. I’ve written and talked in many venues about the positive and not-so-positive things that can happen when education borrows ideas from business; in the case of budgeting, I think most folks view it as a completely necessary, and completely burdensome, task–especially in these days of dwindling funds for many in higher education.

That being said, I was intrigued by this article I found through my LinkedIn account (“The Customer Is Always Right?” by Scott Jaschik posted 29 January 2013 at Inside HigherEd).  Here’s an excerpt from the brief, yet interesting, article:

Research released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research (abstract available here) suggests that four-year colleges that want to attract the vast majority of potential students (those who can’t aspire to enroll in highly competitive institutions) may be making wise investments by spending on “consumption” preferences, even if that essentially defines higher education as (in the paper’s title) “college as country club.”

I think about my own university’s activity in this area, and it’s pretty significant–a major renovation of the student center a few years ago was both expensive and a good investment.  Thankfully, we also have an administration that recognizes the importance of academic advising, so the latter doesn’t get short shrift in favor of consumption preferences.

What’s the balance like at your institution?  Of course, we’d all say we could use more funding for academic advising; but do you think your school is throwing money at consumption preferences to the detriment of academic advising?  Please add your comments below and / or take a moment to respond to a three-question survey about this topic.  (The survey is not officially sponsored by NACADA–just something to collect opinions.)


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