Canada vs. USA: Enrolment Management

Check out the interesting article in College & University, “Enrollment or Enrolment: Strategic Enrollment Management in the United States and Canada” by Clayton Smith and Susan Gottheil.  This quote in particular caught my attention:

“Although participation in postsecondary education has continued to increase in Canada, there is an increasing reliance on tuition income and increased public accountability (in the form of key performance indicators and national newspaper and magazine rankings), which has resulted in increased competition among institution. Although many enrollment practitioners have turned to American colleagues and consultants for “best practices” and ideas for new tactics and strategies, many Canadians remain uncomforatable with SEM’s market orientation.”

The article doesn’t particularly discuss why Canadians remain uncomfortable with the predominantly US focus on markets; however, the introduction hints at one possibility when the authors mention that Canada has retained its cultural and political connection to the UK and Europe. In my opinion, the US education model is clearly influenced by US politics and US commitment to a more pure form of market capitolism. Canada’s socialist and multiculturalist leanings have (I think) caused Canadians to try to mute the market pressures on our educational institutions.  Canada’s commitment to big government is shown by all the clamoring for more funding by universities and colleges during federal and provincial budget times.

Our connection to the UK and its educational model has perhaps had a more obvious influence on Canadians’ concern about being market driven. The European education tradition is one of disinterest and separation from market concerns. The loudest clamoring for academic freedom can be heard from Canadian universities compared to the US for precisely these reasons.

Of course, these are broad generalizations, as there are exceptions on each side of the border.


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