Academic Entitlement in Pharmacy Education

Jeff Cain, EdD, MS; Frank Romanelli, PharmD, MPH; Kelly M. Smith, PharmD


Am J Pharm Educ. 2012;76(10) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The constructs of academic entitlement and student consumerism refer to students' attitudes toward education as a commodity and the underlying belief that as consumers, they should be catered to and given the opportunity to participate in the education process according to their preferences. Most discussions regarding these attitudes are anecdotal, but the pervasiveness of these accounts and the troubling effects that ensue warrant attention. Grade inflation, student incivility, altered classroom practices, and decreased faculty morale are all potential aftereffects of teaching students who hold academic entitlement beliefs. Numerous factors are posited as attributing to academic entitlement including personal issues, societal pressures, and broad academic practices. This paper discusses these factors and offers faculty members and administrators recommendations regarding practices that may curb or alleviate issues associated with academically entitled students.


Higher education literature, both peer-reviewed and popular press, is replete with accounts of faculty disgruntlement over some students' seemingly consumeristic attitudes toward education. Common complaints include references to students who expect faculty members to actively cater to their desires and meet their demands for an education that is convenient to them and requires little to no effort. Students' lack of personal responsibility for their own education is a common and contemporary theme expressed by faculty members. These conversations often arise during discussions of the Millennial generation, those students born between 1981 and 2000.[1]

This paper provides an overview of the aforementioned issues through a summary review of the primary literature regarding the associated constructs of academic entitlement and student consumerism. Published research on these topics originated from various fields and disciplines, but the discussion is framed for pharmacy education. The authors discuss the variety of factors that contribute to entitlement attitudes and the implications they have on professional education. The paper concludes with recommendations for pharmacy faculty members and administrators to consider with regard to alleviating or curbing this phenomenon in professional schools.