Magazine article University Business

The Road to Excellence Passes through Assessment: What Business and the Health Care Industry Can Teach Higher Education about Assessment

Magazine article University Business

The Road to Excellence Passes through Assessment: What Business and the Health Care Industry Can Teach Higher Education about Assessment

Article excerpt

TO MANY, THE TITLE University Business is an oxymoron. The world of the university and the world of business are often perceived to be two very different cultures.

Today's business leaders talk about "Six Sigma," "Black Belts," best practices, and the Malcolm Baldrige Award. In the business world there is institutional introspection driven by corporate competition. Businesses study themselves to become better and thereby to thrive.

Higher education leaders, on the other hand, champion concepts such as academic freedom, faculty governance, focus on mission, and institutional autonomy. Colleges and universities are often examples of institutional inertia driven by individual inclination. Many of them change little over time in mission and practice while allowing individuals to choose their own balance between conformity and innovation.

BUSINESS WORLD THINKING

Fighting great resistance, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has tried to bring the culture of business into the higher ed arena. Her Commission on the Future of Higher Education pushed assessment, transparency, and accountability.

In the September 30, 2007, issue of The New York Times Magazine, James Traub noted that "the University of Charleston (W.Va.) and a small but growing number of other public and private institutions" are using institutional assessment to strengthen the learning processes at their institutions. He was intrigued by the emphasis on assessment but saw it largely as a marketing gimmick--one that better known schools such as Stanford and the University of Michigan don't need to use "to prove that students are getting their money's worth." Secretary Spellings and others, however, see assessment as the vehicle for improving quality at all higher ed institutions.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

HEALTH CARE CONNECTIONS

Health care and higher education are both seen as indispensable service sectors, and both have not been treated as profitmaking businesses. Hospitals provide the environment for doctors to deliver care just as colleges provide the environment for faculty members to provide education. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.