Spinnaker on Attendance

Question asked anonymously vie email

Question posed to Simon J Rhode, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

The Spinnaker article on attendance (01/08/2020) quotes Jay Coleman as encouraging students to attend class because they pay for classes. He says, “You’re paying for a service or a product or however you want to look at it. It’d be kinda like paying for a movie ticket and not going or paying to go to a football game and then reading the scores in a paper as opposed to going to experience the game.” This view encourages students to view themselves as passive consumers, instead of active participants in their education. Does the administration view education as entertainment? As faculty members, does the administration think that our primary focus is to please customers?


Answer by email from Dr. Rhodes. Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

Thank you for the question. It’s not a clean yes or no answer. When a student needs help with a financial aid or advising question, we should show that student the best in customer service. When a student is working several jobs to pay for tuition and fees, we should accept our responsibility to create the best learning and support environment for that student and by being as accessible and engaging as possible: I believe that we do owe both them and the State that. However, in the classroom and in the many other places where learning and development take place on our campus, the relationship is different; in those places, I believe that it is a joint responsibility of faculty, staff, and students to create an interactive environment of learning, discovery, responsibility, and personal development. As a friend of mine once said, and I am not sure if she was the first one to say it, overall in college the student is not a customer, they are the product.