This article explores the implications of the discount store metaphor as it is commonly used and understood, and considers its implications for how academic departments are led and administered. The metaphor of the discount store is often offered as an implicit criticism of the legislators, trustees and administrators who demand that academic departments justify their curriculum and methods in financial terms. It is also sometimes offered as an implicit criticism of the students and parents who ask about the relevance or usefulness of course content, choose courses and majors with an eye to career and earning potential, complain about the high cost of tuition and books and demand that courses be scheduled around work and family obligations.
Ritchie, D. (2000). The communication department in a state of perpetual crisis: Discount store university? Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, 29(2), 177–184.