Page 9 - Campus Technology, July 2017
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which is to say, a source of revenue, or we treat them as a demographic, or anything but a human being. I think the fundamental distrust of institutions will undo our institutions if we don’t know how to address it.
The only way to address it is to stop doing harm, which is to stop treating students as objects, and to begin to treat them as persons. What that means is that the only adequate definition of authentic human service is to render a unique response to the unique human being in front of you. In spite of rules and procedures and systems and regulations, how do I treat you as a unique human being?
In the community college world, it should be easier because we say we’re student-centered, and we try to stay close to our students, and we keep small class sizes. But we do a thousand things a day that dehumanize, that treat students like a number or a magnetic strip on the back of a card. The worst is when you treat them as what we call an FTE in America — full-time equivalent. I gave this talk one time in Canada. Afterward in the Q&A, a guy raised his hand. He said, “It’s worse here in Canada, eh?” And I said, “What do you mean?” “Because here we don’t call them full-time equivalents. We call them funding units — FUs ....” That’s the way the students feel.
The question I wake up worrying about most days is, how does a huge, distributed organization like ours that always feels a resource pinch treat each student each day as a

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