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How to Improve Teaching Quality

In: English and Literature

Submitted By MILLET
Words 7432
Pages 30
Quality Management Journal, 6(2), 9-21 (1999).
Richard M. Felder
Department of Chemical Engineering
North Carolina State University
Rebecca Brent
College of Engineering
North Carolina State University
An announcement goes out to the faculty that from now on the university will operate as a total quality management campus. All academic, business, and service functions will be assessed regularly, and quality teams will plan ways to improve them. A campus quality director and a steering team are named, with the director reporting to the Provost. All university departments appoint quality coordinators, who attend a one-day workshop on quality management principles and return to their departments to facilitate faculty and/or staff meetings at which quality improvement is discussed.
Many faculty members are irate. They argue that TQM was developed by and for industry to improve profits, industry and the university are totally different, and talking of students as "customers" is offensive and makes no sense. They make it clear that they will have nothing to do with this scheme and will view any attempt to compel them to participate as a violation of their academic freedom.
What happens then is…practically nothing. Some changes are made in business and service departments, some curricula are revised, and a few instructors make changes in what they do in their classrooms but most go on teaching the way they have always taught. After two or three years the steering committee writes its final report declaring the program an unqualified success and disbands, and life goes on.
Higher education discovered total quality management in the 1980s and quickly became enamored of it. Books like TQM for Professors and Students (Bateman and Roberts 1992) and Total Quality Management in Higher Education (Sherr and Teeter 1991) declared that TQM…...

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