Factrak: an economic innovation

I, for one, am very pleased that Consumer Reports magazine and Zagat’s Survey have teamed together to bring us factrak. I read Saul Kassin’s and Alan Whites’ criticism in last week’s Record and I think I understood everything they had to say – even though their comments were not very funny or enjoyable. Clearly these two professors dwell in an anachronistic, romantic view of the academe. Factrack would be easier for faculty to swallow if they just embraced their natural role in today’s service economy.

If I were to go buy a VCR I wouldn’t want to hedge a bet on the machine’s quality; I don’t want to hear any nonsense about the chance a lowly-regarded Hitachi might be “the best one for me” when everyone likes Sony; I don’t want any challenges in dealing with my VCR – I want to be entertained day in and day out without any static, dirty heads or malfunctions.

If I go out to eat at a restaurant, I don’t want to have to think critically about or analyze what’s on my plate; I want my waiter to bring me what I ordered and I want it to taste good – end of story.

And that is why when I am shopping for classes, I want to know that I’m going to get my money’s worth. When President Schapiro began his tenure he told us to respond to any “false advertising” we noticed. Well, I’ve seen lots of shiny Williams Catalogues filled with photos of happy, smiling people, clearly having fun and enjoying all of their classes. I’ve taken several classes that were a whole lot less fun than hard; I can’t get the taste of some of them out of my mouth and they keep confusing me with all their ideas that won’t go away – even when I’m trying to enjoy myself. I feel it is my right, as a consumer, to report offending, unentertaining professors to Factrak, if not to the Better Business Bureau. I see facktrak as one of the many innovations that the efficient, fair business world could bring to our stodgy old College.

Morgan Barth ’02