Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

An Examination of Professor Expectations Based on the Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

An Examination of Professor Expectations Based on the Kano Model of Customer Satisfaction

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) project indicates disappointing results in the frequency of student-faculty interaction and the amount of time that students prepare for class. Both of these discomforting facts illustrate the need for educators to do a better job of communicating expectations. This study uses a paradigm of the "professor as the customer" and the Kano Model of customer satisfaction to clarify and quantify professor expectations. Professor expectations are examined in terms of "basic needs", "satisfiers", and "delighters" as well as a variety of demographic variables (e.g., gender, age, discipline, course level and teaching experience) from 95 faculty members across five disciplines at a state university. Further, gap measures are taken between the professor's expectations and the students' perceptions of those expectations in an attempt to explore a variety of performance hypotheses. The findings indicate consistent and quantifiable differences in the levels of professor expectations and a relationship between a student's performance and his or her understanding of the professor's expectations. Recommendations are offered to improve the communication of expectations between professors and students.

INTRODUCTION

Perennial questions of higher education are: How are we doing?; and How can students and faculty members improve undergraduate education? The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) project was chartered to answer these questions on a continuing basis. The NSSE project is intended to foster a discussion of collegiate quality through an annual survey of college students. The project's first national report (NSSE 2000: National Benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice) was released in November 2000. The report suggested five benchmarks to examine the effectiveness of educational practice: level of academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student interactions with faculty members, enriching educational experiences, and supportive campus environment.

Although the benchmark report highlights a number of promising aspects of student engagement, the frequency of student-faculty interaction and the amount of time that students prepared for class was particularly disappointing. For example, students on average reported only occasional contact (once or twice a month) with their teachers. The amount of time students spend preparing for class is only about half of what is typically expected-and, according to most faculty members, not nearly enough to perform at acceptable levels. Both of these discomforting facts illustrate the need to do a better job of communicating expectations.

While all would agree that learning is a shared responsibility, it is the teacher's primary responsibility to influence his or her students to engage in learning activities. The clear communication of expectations is central to this process of influencing or motivating the students. While most faculty members understand their responsibility to communicate expectations, the students may not understand how critical it is that they understand the teacher's expectations. In a sense, the student must view "the professor as the customer." As such, students are the providers and their responsibility is to determine and satisfy their professor's (customer's) expectations. However, it is not enough for the students to merely understand customer needs or expectations; they must be able to quantify them. All needs or expectations are not created equal, and the resolution of all needs does not have the same impact on customer satisfaction or in this case, the student's acceptance by the faculty member and the performance rating/grade.

The purpose of this study is to help faculty members (customers) qualify and quantify their expectations for their students. Additionally, the relationships between various professor expectations will be examined across a variety of variables (e. …

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