One of the questions I want answered is when going for a job, project, or assignment that requires my personal work, services, or talents, is: What are you looking for in an ideal candidate? In this case with University of Phoenix, I asked, “What is the ideal faculty member?”. The answer I received came from a variety of sources that included the University of Phoenix FAQ, employees, interviews, and what I was able to figure out on my own.
You might be surprised with the list I come up with.
1. UOPX prefers part-time faculty. In fact, the majority of the faculty is part-time which is one of the big criticisms from traditional academia. But that argument carries little weight with me because I have seen and met many full-time faculty over the years and those people couldn’t survive the outside world for more than a year. They like the protective, insulation of academia. In any case, I digress. There is no big commitment or promise needed to keep part-time faculty around. No benefits needed to pay. Easy to hire, easy to fire.
2. They prefer faculty that work in areas in which they teach. They want faculty to have at least 5 years in relevant areas. I don’t have anything bad to say. It makes sense and I can get onboard with that.
3. They prefer faculty members that have PhD degrees. People with PhD are relatively scarce as far as the general population goes. In the world of academia, the higher the degree, the better. It looks good on paper and good for its reputation as a university. Goodness knows UOPX need all the help they can in the reputation department. For UOPX, this means PhD faculty gets paid more and have a better chance of being promoted into administrative and leadership positions. They get preference for teaching the courses they want.
4. They want faculty to go through a “Faculty Indoctrination Program”. By going through their indoctrination program, UPOX will more likely have new faculty do things the UOPX way. Interestingly, I have noticed a large number of UOPX employees that were indoctrinated simply because they were UOPX graduates then became UOPX employees themselves.
5. They want faculty members to happily and enthusiastically attend extracurricular department meetings, graduations, and other important social functions to represent the local UOPX campus. It makes for good PR in the local community and local campus cohesiveness. However, it is my understanding that many part-time faculty struggle with this and really do not like this. These extracurricular events tend to be “inconveniently” scheduled since most part-time faculty have full-time jobs and family obligations. It is already all they can do simply to meet and teach their courses much less attend additional functions with little or no pay. If you become UOPX faculty, be prepared to put on a happy face at all these extra activities and meetings especially if you want any hope of being promoted to an administrative or leadership position.
6. UOPX says they want “real-world” professionals as part of their faculty. I would say that they want the corporate employee types, not business owners or entrepreneurs as faculty. In theory, they may say they want them but the faculty recruiting process has little or no clue how to attract or deal with business owners or entrepreneurs. Time is their greatest asset and they have little patience for unnecessary bureaucracy especially from faculty recruiters who have far less experience than the people they are recruiting. Freedom and independence are also very important qualities for business owners and entrepreneurs. Too much structure discourages them. UOPX’s “faculty indoctrination process” is simply too much for most business owners and entrepreneurs to take. In any case, most students really want to be employees for a large organization. Having an entrepreneur or business owner teach them may not be appreciated nor helpful.
7. While compensation is certainly part of being a faculty member, UOPX does not want faculty to be primarily driven by compensation. They want faculty to be driven by the desire or love to teach. I think that is fine except that I thought the compensation plan is ridiculously low for the “faculty indoctrination process” they make every faculty candidate go through. It is certainly their right to do so. And it is certainly a good way to find out who the most committed people are. You have to want to teach at UOPX desperately to go through the lengthy faculty indoctrination process and work for so little pay.
There are a probably a few more items I have forgotten. If I remember them, I will come back and update this post. But for now, that is how I see University of Phoenix operates.