“McDonaldization” of UConn puts too much focus on standards, favors quantity over quality

Tim Goral's picture
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

When you think of a Big Mac, the University of Connecticut may not come to mind. It may seem that they have no similar characteristics, but in fact there’s a resemblance between the fast food chain McDonalds and the public university.

Society advances on a key characteristic of rationality, with the end goal of being rational. A rational society is one that is 100% efficient, predictable, calculable and has complete control over uncertainty. This process of rationality, or rationalization, is occurring globally, specifically in American societies. A microcosm of this process of rationality can be seen in the McDonalds business model, also known as McDonaldization.

We go to McDonalds because its of rationality. It is predictable, efficient and calculable. No matter which McDonalds we go to, whether it’s in Storrs or San Francisco, the Big Mac will taste, look and cost the same. The same principle can be applied to the process of learning at a higher educational facility.

McDonaldization favors quantity over quality. The quality of the hamburger is difficult to assess, thus McDonalds creates a number of values that can be quantified to act as surrogate for quality. Likewise, UConn has done the same.

Students are now numbers, judged by statistics and grades; their educational experience reduced to numbers ranging from grade point averages to SAT scores.

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