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“The Promotional University” by Andrew Wernick

The problem that Wernick is discussing is the rising competition between universities for private funds (157). There is a shortage of funds and the only way out in this case is fundraising a very common method of attaining funds, but one which is becoming a lot of problems. These are funds to be used in the building, running, and managing of the university. More suggestions are coming up as to where to get more funds and therefore the university has to choose the best option to hustle for donors even though there is competition among universities to acquire funds from a common source. The university gathers fees from the students but that is not enough they are also subsidized through grants that the government transfers regularly (160). University governance and management is also another issue addressed. Beyond fundraising, there are issues of academic activity in which promotionalization can be said to have occurred, student recruitment, accreditation faculty career competition, and academic publishing (158).

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As Wernick points out as cited by Rectanus promotional culture exists on the boundary between the symbolic and the material the boundary that cannot frequently be discerned (70). Wernick’s analysis of advertising within promotional culture traces the erasure of boundaries between advertising entertainment and politics. In this case, it’s a positive idea that promotional culture is enhanced and it is relevant. This is because the issue for instance it is important for a university to have guidelines as to how they will be undertaking their curriculum like a course outline, reading materials a lecture schedule and all these provided beforehand will enable the students to be well prepared. Another relevant issue is the numbers that a university can admit and maintain. This is because the number determines the extent to which a university’s facilities will be utilized. To ensure a somewhat balanced equation between revenue and expenditure a university should first ensure proper utilization of resources, underutilization would only lead to a strain. This strain results from the fact that a very small number is trying to maintain a very big facility. On the other hand, a university should watch out for “over admission” this puts a strain on existent facilities something which may reduce the quality of services rendered. This harms the university in the long run as individuals rethink enrolling in institutions that are performing dismally.

The teaching method being used will enable student and lecturer close interaction as per this case students are consumers, so when they pay hefty amounts of money, in terms of fees this should be able to be reflected in their performance and the value of their money reflected. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and students often get short-changed. They have to do with substandard education which is not commensurate with the number of fees they pay to the universities. This is largely because universities have failed to come up with defined teaching practices that will ensure quality education at all times. As mentioned earlier if a University requires the use of course outlines by the lecturers, and provides reading materials continuously then it is quite obvious that the interaction levels between the students and teachers would improve, and in turn, productivity would increase. Therefore, it remains largely a responsibility of the universities to provide guidelines that favor students’ teacher interactions by improving teaching methods and providing the right environment for continuous contact and delivery of educational material.

During grading students should be accessed in terms of behavioral and academic terms to reflect a students’ performance. Admitting the students based on their previous academic records is very important and selecting those with good or high academic records will help the university to accord more prestige. It is expected that students who performed well in the past will bring the same level of competency into these universities. If this level of performance is brought into the University the institution stands a better chance to have its name regarded highly. It is not good however to bank on academic excellence only but on admission, other attributes such as participation in sports should be accessed to give the institution an upper hand in other fields apart from academics. As Wernick states that students are not just customers they are property, a bankable asset and so the higher the quality of student intake the more prestige is accorded to the university, therefore, the higher the university’s reputation the greater the career. A higher reputation means a sustainable future as the institution would be in a position to attract more individuals who bring in a variety of skills as well as boost the university’s ability to generate revenue.

Aldridge quotes Wernick (1991.172) saying university students, academics and managers have a shared interest in boosting the promotional capital of their university Wernick captures this terming it as a blend of consumerism and managerial discipline (153). The issue of choosing the content with which to use is given to the students during their learning is also relevant. For instance which books to put on a course and for students to look through the outline and see what it is they can read.

It is important to note that extracurricular activities have also greatly impacted learning for instance promotional self-interests like music groups, student unions, and sporting activities these are issues to be mentioned somewhere on resume and will earn the student a lot of credit while job hunting as it is a form of career preparation (168). As the corporate world changes face they want to be competitive in every face, this prompts them to look for all-rounded individuals. Thus it is the responsibility of the university to provide an environment fit to develop these extra aspects. It is widely believed that students who participate in extracurricular activities have better socialization skills and in most cases than not are extroverts. These qualities are particularly useful in the workplace as corporate look for team players and outgoing individuals who are not shy to criticize or put forward ideas. Besides acting as “supplements” in resumes some individuals develop an immense interest in them and they may take them as lifelong careers. In such cases, those activities during learning motivate the students as they can also undertake those activities as part of their careers. It should be noted that such activities are not only fun but educative and contribute to a greater part of learning both in school and in life.

The promotional culture of completion between students of different departments’ enlight the students and equips them with different skills not only academically but also socially and students learn a lot and display a clear image not only to themselves but to the departments. This ensures enhanced interactions between students as well. Any interaction between students will enhance their lives as they exchange ideas and develop personal ambitions. Close contact between students has an intrinsic value not only to them but to the university. This is because it increases the chances of innovativeness and creativity, if this happens the university stands a good chance to rise above similar institutions which may not have an enabling culture that supports innovativeness and creativity. Better even, if this interaction is enhanced right from the departments there will be a better chance as the instructors help in shaping innovativeness as they continuously hold interactive sessions with the students. At the end of the day, it becomes a win-win situation for students, it improves their ability to develop new ideas, and the university gains from these innovations building on its image and fame.

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Another promotional culture that has changed the structure of the university along with the delivery of higher education, is the mode in which they recruit, students will apply in large numbers and this leads the university to be choosier, as such they get some limiting factors like who applied first, the academic records of the applicants to woo quality students (161). Having these elimination methods ensures that they only admit the best and admit a number that fully utilizes the available resources. Being choosier cannot be avoided as many more individuals now seek entry into universities this is large because of the job standards which rise every day. These external factors directly affect promotional culture. This calls for leaders in these universities to be well informed of these external factors and try to create a balance between the need to produce a workforce to support the economy and the need to ensure proper utilization of resources within the universities.

Another issue is that of the book trade. This is particularly done where the lecturers write books and then sell them not only to the university but to other institutions. This greatly helps in sharing of materials and research thereby connecting the learners, this also helps to expose talent by including them in the course outline. This will serve the student in terms of the curriculum. Integration of knowledge is invaluable, especially where different lecturers come up with reading resources. This helps in two ways, it gives students a chance to access knowledge promptly without having to look for the lecturers, and secondly, it has an economic benefit as the universities breeding these lecturers benefit from a book published within them. This contribution to knowledge is essential and forms part of promotional culture.

After qualifications, one now has stepped into another level of being awarded a degree that goes beyond mere possession. It is a method of evaluation for all that one has been doing. This then exposes the candidate to the world with more than just academic knowledge but also how to tackle life in different dimensions.

Works cited

Alridge, Alan. The market. London: Polity publishers, 2005.

Rectanus, Mark. Culture incorporated: museums, artists, and corporate sponsorships Culture incorporated: museums, artists, and corporate sponsorships. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.

Wernick, Andrew.Promotional culture: advertising, ideology, and symbolic expression. New York: Sage publications, 1991.

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