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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

University Inc. 

Hi! I put this up last week, but I got a call from the Toronto Star saying that they were going to run it. I pulled it down in case they got pissy about copyright. Turns out their editor turfed it in the end. Still, I thought it worthy for the public eye. For those outside of the Canadian context our Universities have become businesses, not schools, overnight and everyone seems to be getting the rough end of that one. Air Canada, another struggling national business, has completely shit its pants with how it structures airfare and makes every attempt possible to screw the dollars out of the little guy. Getting quite tired of their reckless shinanigans as well.

Bob Rae’s idea to end tuition limits is indeed in tune with how Canadian universities operate today. We’re kidding ourselves if we think that universities still approach post-secondary education as a right, because each and every school has made it clear that they are in the business, not the service, of issuing degrees. Much like a struggling national airline is in the business of offering different seat fares on a sliding scale. Today, University Inc. offers its clients packages such as the Tango BA, the Latitude BAH up to the Executive First Ph.D. Just as the airline on the verge of receivership lays-off its human resources and re-paints its planes, University Inc. has made similar restructuring and marketing decisions. It has cut faculty positions, while transferring resources to upping its image with new buildings and ad-campaigns for Super-Élite style Executive MBAs. So, from the perspective of business, university clients should have the right to pay more for service. The real question lies with the state of University Inc.’s loyalty program so that clients feel committed to remaining within the national-network instead of cashing in their reward miles on other international carriers with greater incentives and more leg-room.


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