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Feb 01

University of Phoenix: Faculty Written Interview Questions

University of Phoenix requires a written interview to be completed after you submit your cover letter and resume. It is fairly lengthy but forces you to demonstrate your abilities to communicate in writing. You are judged on your responses, grammar, punctuation, and writing style. It was a challenging step in that it required a lot of thought and frequent self-review and self-editing.

It took me over 3 hours to complete this. Much of that time was spent trying to recollect the many tasks and achievements I completed over the years.

I listed the more meaningful questions on the written interview I was asked to answer. The answers are of an essay nature. The answers I provided was sufficient to earn me a telephone interview. For those of you interested in going through the faculty recruiting process, you might find my answers to be helpful.

Questions 1-6 were Yes/No questions about your eligibility to work in the U.S., having a Social Security card, and any prior contact and involvement with University of Phoenix.

7. Describe the ideal classroom climate for the course attached to the e-mail. What actions do you think an instructor should take to create that climate? What would you do to energize your students?

 The syllabus provided is for course MKT/421: Marketing.

By nature, most business courses in college are highly theoretical and use vocabulary oriented towards very large organizations and businesses, not smaller organizations and businesses. As such, I believe instructors of working, adult students must quickly establish relevance of the course to the “real world,” “real business,” and their own personal situations. I would take a two-pronged approach by using actual case studies throughout the term.

First, I would require students to identify how marketing fits to each student’s existing work environment and organization. What are their employers doing (or could be doing)? Marketing is a “universal” and necessary business function. By directing student attention to their existing employers’ and organizations’ marketing activities, it creates opportunities for them to incorporate new-found understanding gained within the course into their jobs. By doing this, students will be compelled to develop a heightened awareness of the marketing function and its impact within the organization for which they work.

Second, every student is surrounded by the impact of marketing endeavors by organizations large and small, profit and non-profit, physical and virtual, famous and not-so-famous. This is most self-evident through the well-established presence of famous companies and brands. Students love to discuss famous organizations and brands because of their comfort and familiarity with them. In many ways, it is a “spectator sport”. However, my job as a facilitator is to guide students’ dialog from a “spectator” activity into one where they become actively engaged. The comfort and familiarity of discussing famous organizations and brands would enhance the dialog.

To create interest and energize my students, I would take an approach that is somewhat unique to my own personal teaching style. As a business owner, I live and die by my ongoing marketing efforts both large and small. By necessity and from an intense personal interest, I am an avid student of business, marketing, and branding. It has been said that “enthusiasm is infectious.” My love and enthusiasm for the subject matter would definitely be displayed.

Working with peers in a group setting is an integral part of the UoP educational philosophy. This can be an energizing and stimulating, especially when you have class members want to excel in the course. They will often set high standards for the team members to follow.

8. Tell me how you would set goals and expectations for students. How would you know if a student was overwhelmed and what would you do?

Different students have different styles and preferences in learning. I would engage in multiple communication styles that would be reinforced throughout the term. As most instructors know, the instructor syllabus is generally the central document to express goals, expectations, and standards of the course to the student. That syllabus remains with the student the entire term. However, the goals and expectations expressed in print must also be reinforced verbally using adequate time and emphasis to ensure that every student fully comprehends what is expected of them. Additionally, I would encourage them to reach out privately to communicate with me via phone and email as needed.

Despite all this, some students will be quieter, withdrawn, and less participative when they become overwhelmed. I would be continually watchful for these outward signs during each and every class session. I also believe in reaching out to each student to do quick “spot checks” by engaging in quick dialog before class, during breaks, and after class.

9. Give an example of how you have resolved a difference with a student/coworker/employee? Describe the steps you used to resolve the issue.

As a business owner and real estate investor, I am frequently in a position of authority to set goals, expectations, and standard of work. My preference is to keep lines of communication open and to encourage those under my authority/management to contact me when small differences or challenges arise, and not wait until a situation becomes large or more challenging to resolve. It is better to be proactive and resolve smaller differences than when they have become bigger issues.

During the communication process, I make a concerted effort to listen carefully to what is being said as well as what has NOT been said. Communication goes beyond the verbal and what is actually being said. In order to effectively read and interpret nonverbal communication, the person needs to know that I am taking them seriously and paying close attention to what they are saying. Further, I prefer not to take on a dictatorial or condescending style of conversation. I prefer a collaborative approach when possible. It is far more pleasant and effective when you are speaking WITH the person instead of TO the person.

When all else fails, as an instructor, I expect professionalism, respect, and appropriate behavior from my students. With a classroom of many students, my job as the instructor is to ensure that the greater good is served and that the class and course objectives are met. In extreme situations, I might be compelled to plainly assert my authority as the course instructor and expect the student to respect that decision and to fall in line. There can only be one leader of the course and it is the instructor.

10. Please review the attached course description(s) from the e-mail. Do you believe that you would be a good fit for this (these) course(s)? Please explain in detail how your background has prepared you to facilitate this (these) course(s) successfully.

I believe I am an excellent fit for MKT/421.

In browsing the UoP marketing courses, there are actually many courses I feel qualified to teach. However, being new to UoP, teaching an introductory marketing course such as MKT421 allows me to focus my energies in better understanding the culture and methodology of UoP. A nice benefit is that starting with a group of students at the introductory level and being able to set the foundation and nurture them into the higher-level marketing courses allows me to share the educational journey with them.

Regarding my personal and professional background and experience as it relates to teaching this course, there are several points I would like to highlight. First, my marketing experience as a business owner is both diverse and extensive.

Beginning in 1995 when I left the corporate world to launch my own I.T. consulting and training business, my ongoing marketing efforts led me from one fantastic opportunity to another in quick succession.

In 1995, my marketing efforts led me to simultaneously teach at two community colleges and a technical training center. Later in 1996, I began teaching certified Microsoft and Novell networking technology courses throughout the U.S. and Europe. Because of my continued success and high visibility, I was appointed to the Novell’s CNI Advisory Council in 1997 and Seminole State College’s Network Specialization Advisory Committee from 1996 to1998.

In 1997, I was quoted in Contract Professional Magazine discussing market positioning for technical trainers. From 1998 to 2000, I was a contributor to McGraw-Hill’s three editions of “Get Certified & Get Ahead” book series as an innovator in webpage marketing for independent trainers. These high-profile accomplishments led to a special extended assignment with Microsoft as technical course writer for Microsoft Proxy Server. It was later published into a book volume within the Microsoft Internet Information Server Training Kit by Microsoft Press.

The culmination of my ongoing I.T. marketing efforts led to my “final” I.T. training assignment as Lead Instructor and Adviser of the Microsoft Certification Training Program at Trident Technical College’s Continuing Education division from 1997-2000.

After I left the I.T. industry, I started my real estate investing business. In 2001, I launched and developed a customized marketing system to buy and rent out 60 rental homes using a combination of print marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, online marketing, radio marketing, and “street” marketing. Our marketing presence is so well-established today, that we no longer utilize or pay for print marketing services.

In 2003, I launched my publishing business that has since published over 20+ book and audio titles and generated sales of thousands of copies sold with tens of thousands of dollars of residual income over the years. This publishing business continues to be marketed passively using natural-search marketing, affiliate marketing, reseller marketing, and video marketing techniques.

In 2008, I launched a cause-based website that generates well over 10,000 unique visitors per month using natural-search marketing techniques. It has attracted 500 new clients for a New York lawyer in addition to creating hundreds of dollars of residual income each month. I used a combination of video marketing, natural-search marketing, and online forum marketing techniques.

Most recently, I am writing a “Web Domination Strategies” course manual that will be marketed nationwide. This course manual will describe in-detail the marketing technologies, strategies, and techniques I have used to market my own and other business owners’ businesses. It will be sold to private business owners such as lawyers, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and optometrists. I expect that this project will be completed by Summer 2012.

Second, I have taught and presented courses and seminars in many environments and formats including technical training centers, community colleges, private roundtables, seminar workshops, teleseminars, video recordings, and even onboard a cruise ship! I have taught in many locations throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Caribbean. The number of students I have presented and taught to have been as few as one-on-one and as many as 300.

Third, I was a working student during the entire 10 years I collectively invested into higher education to earn a Bachelor of Science and MBA. In fact, I slowly and painfully paid my way through the entire 10 years without financial aid. Hence, I can directly relate to adult, working students because I was one for so long.

In summary, I enjoy learning about and teaching marketing. It is a big part of what I do and what I am currently known for in many circles. I feel absolutely qualified to teach MKT/421.

11. How would facilitating the attached course fit into your personal/professional goals?

I am an active businessman, serial entrepreneur, and real estate investor. I also publish, write, and broadcast professionally reaching an audience that numbers in the ten thousands on the Internet. What I rarely have the opportunity to do is to actually share and teach what I know on a personal level with a live audience. Teaching at a university will allow me the fulfillment of personally touching and positively impacting lives.

It has been said (and also my own experience) that the more an instructor teaches, the more an instructor himself learns. I believe the reason why this occurs is that the live and unpredictable interactions between student and instructor stimulates and challenges instructors in subconscious ways. In my publishing projects, I find that my best sources of inspiration and new ideas often come from listening to others and their perspective.

I believe teaching will “feed” my publishing and creative projects. I am interested in expanding the base and network of people I know in Columbus GA in an organic way. Teaching courses and interacting with new students is congruent with those goals.

Finally, I like that UoP has an amazing network presence in the U.S. If one day, I should choose to move away from Columbus GA, I would want to continue my affiliation and involvement with UoP. The potential benefits for an ongoing affiliation are tremendous and can only enhance my bio, credentials, and reputation.

Obviously, I was much more enthusiastic about the University of Phoenix at the time I answered the questions. I no longer feel that way and have been soured in the experience by the Faculty Recruiting Bimbo, Courtney Hopper and Bimbo Faculty Services Manager, Sarah Hightower.

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For more of my commentaries regarding University of Phoenix (sorry, most is not good), click here.