Reputation: What’s the Cost When a Professor (or an Entire Department) Isn’t Well Organized

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How much does it cost when faculty plan and teach less effectively than they could? In this article series, we are considering the financial impact of this question because it will help you make the case for having a coach. What’s the impact on an institution’s reputation when faculty members and systems aren’t well organized and so their teaching and is affected by that disorganization?

Costly on many different levels, including financial.

Think about the times you’ve witnessed or participated in conversations about poorly-taught classes. Parents, friends, colleagues of students (and perfect strangers who overhear conversations in grocery stores or restaurants) get an earful about these professors and these classes. When it is only one offending class out of several years of undergraduate or graduate school, people give it a pass. But if the perception is that the majority of professors, lecturers, and other instructors are poor quality, then the reputation of the institution is negatively affected.

How much does this cost?

So much.

In a state like mine (Nevada) with a small population, do you think our legislators are in tune with what Joe and Josephine Citizen think about our public colleges and universities? You bet they are. Does it affect funding? Absolutely.

Sidebar: When I first arrived at the University of Nevada, Reno as an assistant professor, with a fresh, new PhD (since I graduated in August), one of my colleagues stopped and stood at the doorway of my office one morning. He barked, “Mac!” which is what he called me for years after that, I was startled since I didn’t know he was there. In his gruff way he said, “Here’s what you need to know about Nevada. If you say something in Elko when you’re there, it will beat you back to Reno. Keep that in mind.” I did. He was right (even before the internet!)

A second story related to this reality is what I always told people who were on campus to interview for a position. I would say, “One of the best things about Nevada is that if you are fabulous, everyone in the whole state ends up knowing that and you will not go anywhere without people saying, ‘Oh! I’ve heard of you!’ with excitement in their voice. And know this very clearly: If you are terrible, everyone in the whole state will know that, too. If you are hired here, please make sure that you are fabulous.” Sadly, not everyone heeded my advice.

When you start thinking about the cost of teaching that is not what it could be due to disorganization of the faculty member and the financial impact due to students talking about their experience, you can quickly see that the cost could be 1) “only” the embarrassment of a newspaper article or other negative publicity (e.g., social media), 2) thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars related to donors or others who are thinking about a particular school or area of study, or 3) millions of dollars (related to state funding).

The cost of a coach who specializes in helping academics (individually or collectively) be more peacefully and predictably productive— miniscule in comparison.

Watch this space for more articles on this topic and/or take a look at one or more of these publications which you may access free:

About Meggin McIntosh

Helping people reframe their limiting beliefs (including around productivity and “organization”) is a big part of the joyful work I do as a coach. Sometimes I offer group coaching in addition to working with individual clients. It’s amazing to watch people generate reframes for a belief that has held them back in the past.

I am thankful every day.




Meggin McIntosh, “The PhD of Productivity®”, invests time & energy with people who seek ways to be overjoyed instead of overwhelmed.

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Meggin McIntosh

Meggin McIntosh

Meggin McIntosh, “The PhD of Productivity®”, invests time & energy with people who seek ways to be overjoyed instead of overwhelmed.

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