Reconsidering the Profit Motive in University Continuing Education

April 5, 2016

When I conducted my aboriginal continuing apprenticeship academy through Cal State Los Angeles, we had a arresting army appearance up.

I anticipate the admirable total, including those I solicited personally, came to 6 or 7 people.

And our affair was a accident hit.

Okay, something’s amiss with this picture-is that what you’re thinking? How can a assembly of six or seven be advised even a bordering success?

I acquainted it was a big champ because:

(1) It was the aboriginal time I had conducted a academy on that topic;

(2) Those that abounding were blessed with the class. They enjoyed it and said they’d acclaim it to others;

(3) Admitting the enrollments, the academy recovered its costs, fabricated a baby surplus and I accustomed a bashful honorarium for administering it; and

(4) The chic was heuristic, breeding several books and accompanying seminars and consulting paradigms.

Could the chic accept been even better? Of course, and it bigger with time, eliciting about absolute evaluations from participants beyond the country.

Could the registrations accept been added numerous? Absolutely, and the actual next time I ran the class, in Terre Haute, Indiana, we had a assembly of about 45 people. The ABC-TV associate even did a limited articulation from the academy site, interviewing me afterwards the affairs concluded.

So, those antecedent registrations were not at all accompanying to the superior or even to the abeyant cartoon ability of the course.

They were, at best, basic results, and if I had placed disproportionate accent on their number, insisting, a priori, that a chic had to accept 15 or 20 bodies in it to be meritorious, I apparently wouldn’t accept had the assurance to action it again. And that would accept been a disappointment to the bags of humans that after begin abundant amount in it.

The abstraction that advance enrollments associate with advance superior is fundamentally flawed. In the clandestine area we charge to awning our costs and again accept abundant larboard over to acquit the amount of basic and bear a profit.

But university continuing apprenticeship providers, admitting operating beneath aldermanic mandates to be self-supporting, mustn’t use profit, or as they alarm it, a surplus, to be the acute aspect in free their advance offerings.

There are several affidavit I say this:

(1) Artlessly put, university cadre are not able of earning a constant profit. Administrators and agents are awfully risk-averse and green in ambitious methods. Another way of putting it is they don’t accept what Dr. Sidney Lecker alleged “The Money Personality.” A adept apostle of seminars in the clandestine area already told me, “Universities action some abundant classes, but they artlessly don’t apperceive how to bazaar them. They’ll forward out a few hundred brochures if they should be commitment 100,000.”

(2) The university is a abode dedicated, in abundant part, to bookish and pedagogical experimentation. As Peter F. Drucker acicular out, new knowledge-based ventures charge to be protected, nurtured, and sheltered, and they cannot be accepted to about-face an burning profit. If they’re pressured to accomplish appropriate away, they are crushed.

(3) The accumulation motive distorts the all-embracing goals of education. For example, we apperceive that classroom admeasurement is inversely activated with learning: the beyond the group, the beneath humans appear abroad with a absolute and abysmal acquirements experience. But if we’re gluttonous profits, we’ll try to ample the allowance with paying customers, short-changing them on learning.

(4) Acquirements is a multi-way process, admitting we myopically accept the capital mission of a lot of universities is to advance students. Faculty charge to be cultivated, as well, and their abilities are bigger by advancing new knowledge, and again by presenting it and accepting it be critiqued and congenital upon. Without the appearance of new courses, about abstruse some may assume initially, we wouldn’t adore abounding of the breakthroughs that appear from them.

At present, a lot of universities don’t accept a alive agreement for free which “struggling” classes to action the additional time. Typically, continuing with a chic is a action of the amount of first-time enrollments and array on apprentice evaluations.

But beneath what affairs should administrators faculty if to accord a chic a additional adventitious to acquisition its audience? If should they boldness to advance a chic added vigorously, or to artlessly let it be conducted with beneath than a abounding abode because its agreeable is new, its adviser is abnormally credentialed, experienced, or abnormally meritorious?

These are educational, not bartering decisions.

Administrators and legislators that accredit continuing apprenticeship budgets should

define what makes a chic a success with abundant acumen and sensitivity, acumen the raw amount of enrollments is not a comprehensive, convincing, or final measure.

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