Thursday, January 23, 2014

What University Administrators Want

Earlier, I commented on the term used by college administrators helicopter_parents.  These were viewed by these august staffers as parents who (from their perspective) continue to insinuate themselves into their offspring's university experience instead of fully cutting the ties and showing up at graduation or perhaps to drive them home for Christmas or the summer.

Here's a few more terms that the people in Divisions of Student Life or Services bandy about:

Suitcase college -- An institution where a sizeable part of the student body returns to their home town on weekends, leaving the campus setting largely to the fraternities, sororities, graduate students, and students that come from far away.  (Think LSU, Alabama, Georgia, or North Carolina, where significant numbers of students decamp on weekends.)  And they see this as a bad thing, when instead they could remain on campus and have deep discussions regarding the great ideas of Western or World philosophy:

"I wonder how big is his thing?"

"What would happen if I drank beer through a straw?"

"They must be double D's, at least."

"Do you think Professor Kindly is straight or gay?"

"There's no way that Kentucky will win the NCAA Championship!"

The reality often is, there's nothing to do but drink and watch television on weekends.

Then there's the  commuter college.  These are largely viewed as inferior institutions in which students live at home and drive to campus, sometimes for an hour or two.  Usually, they work part-time as well, as checkers in big box stores, wait staff, baristas, or sometimes heavy duty work.  It would seem to me that these students should be admired for their ambition and gumption to go to such an effort.  But noooooo!  It just doesn't fit in with some outdated, elitist view of what should constitute a higher education.

These student life people have their faculty counterpart in the tenured faculty member who has a distaste for teaching introductory level classes, seeing those as appropriate for the poorly-paid part-time help and teaching assistants.

Whether they like it or not, college and university students have their own needs and agendas in attending their institutions.  Somehow, providing a raison d'être for Student Life staffers is not in their program.  Obviously, there's a lot of self-interest on their part.


MarkD60 said...

This post reminds me of a song by some band I can't remember the name... "Birth, School, Work, Death"
Or a line from another: Rich boy goes to college, poor boy goes to work.

Anemone said...

I think that they don't like part-time students, either. Or older students. Although community colleges are more encouraging than traditional four--year institutions, they have an image problem not helped by that television program Community.

Mike said...

I can imagine the TA's are looked down on by the professors just like the classes they are teaching.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Mike is right. TA's are regarded as indentured servants.

The Student Life people primarily serve 18-22 yr old frat boys and sorority sisters.

And student government is a creature of them.

Cloudia said...

You oughta be Dean (at least).

I like your vocab and attitude!

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

The Bastard King of England said...

Those administrators simply want to protect their job security.

Bilbo said...

The King is pretty much on target. Most administrators are interested in students only in so far as they continue to pay their tuition and enable the university to field sports teams. Higher education is big business, and the product is diplomas, rather than education.

Clarissa said...

What Bilbo said........