Who cares? Exploring the dichotomy between customer care and care of the learner in UK higher education

Roed, Jannie (2015) Who cares? Exploring the dichotomy between customer care and care of the learner in UK higher education. ICERI Conference Proceedings 2015. ISSN 2340-1095

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The introduction of tuition fees to United Kingdom (UK) Higher Education in the late 1990s saw a distinctive marketised discourse evolve in which to describe higher education and its activities. Government papers, the media and even Higher Education itself started to refer to students as customers and universities as places where learning was delivered. Moreover, the quality of the student experience and their satisfaction are measured annually through the National Student Survey. This paper argues against this view. It seeks to re-position academic practitioners as educators rather than service providers, and in doing so, also re-position students as learners, rather than customers. In making this conceptual shift the authors are exploring an aspect of personal ethics in relation to academic practice – something which is often neglected in the literature. The paper draws on the conceptual framework of Nel Noddings (2003). who describes education as a process where the learner and teacher enter into a unique relationship with the purpose of promoting the well-being of the learner. The paper is based on and structured around in-depth interviews with twelve early career academics across six disciplines. A key finding from this small study is that although early career academics adopt a marketised discourse when discussing their practice, they also distance themselves from the values underpinning it. The early career academics in this study were challenged by the dichotomy between expectations of customer care from the institution in which they worked (macro-level) and the actual care for the student through their own practice (micro-level).

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Education > Academic cultures
Education > Higher education
Depositing User: Jannie Roed
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2016 09:59
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2016 09:51
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/2938

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