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There’s No Business Like Edubusiness

You may have gotten a Ph.D. because, like Lloyd Dobler, you didn’t want to “sell anything, buy anything, or process anything.” But if you think you can avoid the corporate world by going into college teaching (or kickboxing), think again, says Jeanne Zaino, a political-science professor at Iona College, with tongue firmly in cheek. Those people in your class who you thought were students are customers shelling out big bucks, who you must therefore please, she writes. Zaino offers a few tips for Ph.D.’s on navigating this brave new corporate world of higher ed.

First, know this: The president living in the mansion on the hill is the CEO of [insert college name] Inc., and what s/he really cares about is numbers—i.e. the number of customers in your classes or program, she writes. If you don’t have the digits, how can you justify your continued employment?

So how do you get customers (aka students) to enroll in your classes? By advertising, of course! Zaino says. While you’re at it, ditch the boring course title for something snazzier: “Instead of ECO 101, try ‘The Economics of Sin,’” she suggests.

Next, channel Sally Field and do whatever it takes to get students to like you, she says. “Flip, spin, dance, & sing”—teaching is a kind of performance, after all—and throw in a dash of technology for good measure, Zaino writes, on Academe Blog. Then hope like hell they give you a good online rating, so they’ll come back for more and tell their friends, too, she concludes.

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