Monday, January 05, 2009

Selling Ad Space: a K-16 Program!

A couple weeks back on Washington Teachers I made a post about a math teacher who was selling ad space on his exams; apparently that works for the mighty University of Montana as well. From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

First it was the long-distance phone calls. Professors in the history department at the University of Montana at Missoula were told this past spring that the university could no longer foot the bill. Then the annual travel budget was slashed to $350 per person — enough to get as far as Lansing, Mich., but just barely, as the department chairman, Richard Drake, puts it.

"I think they would expect us to parachute in to Lansing and then hitchhike to wherever else we needed to go," Mr. Drake says.

Finally came the copy machine. When the toner ran out, the department had to finish the semester without it.

In the midst of this economic mini-crisis, one of the professors, Kyle G. Volk, came up with a bright idea: Get a local business to sponsor a course. After all, advertisements and sponsorships have become commonplace on campuses, so why not in the classroom?

Mr. Volk cut a deal with El Diablo, a locally owned taqueria, to sponsor his course, "The Americans: Conquest to Capitalism." In exchange for $250, Mr. Volk plastered the restaurant's logo on the syllabus, handed out the stickers to the course's 250 students and, on the first day of class, projected its stick-figure devil image, with horns, tail, and pitchfork, on one of the classroom's walls. His plan was to use the sponsorship as seed money for a department newsletter and other projects.
Subscribers can read the whole article at the link above; the upshot is that the university came in and said to cut it out.

I say they should have been applauding the guy. That's pure capitalism, right there, and it was taking some of the burden for running the department off of the taxpayers shoulders. Plus, it was for a place that makes burritos. Hooray for burritos!

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