This is part of my ongoing commentary about University of Phoenix (UOPX). I have long known that University of Phoenix has been the subject of complaints but I never knew to the degree that University of Phoenix is hated. Yes, I use the word “hate” because the hundreds of complaint comments are quite venomous.
To be sure, my comments will not win me any Good Samaritan awards but to see the number of unhappy students is quite sad. It is especially sad since they are on the hook for thousands of dollars in student loans and financial aid that cannot be swept away.
I get the feeling that Apollo Group Management (the folks who own UOPX) simply cannot get it under control. They have been the subject of controversy after controversy for nearly 10 years. They keep claiming they are improving things but bad things keep happening.
I have a couple of friends that work at University of Phoenix and I know them well. They try very hard to do their parts to do a good job. There are probably others who honestly want to do a good job and do right by the students and faculty. However, it will never be enough. Too much damage has been done.
My advice to the good employees is to just continue doing a good job but just understand very few on the outside respect the University of Phoenix name. I originally thought it might be for my bio to be an instructor there but now I am convinced you are better just leaving it off your bio. And if it is on your resume, be prepared to have a good explanation to work there. I would tell people that the economy was bad the last 4-5 years, you needed a job but you did what you could to improve University of Phoenix.
One friend of mine enjoys teaching and making a positive impact on the students but I almost don’t want to tell him that in some circles, he really needs to hide his affiliation with University of Phoenix. To me, do a good job, earn the money, but don’t brag or even talk about being part of University of Phoenix.
I still haven’t written my complaint letter to Apollo Group Management because I think it is a waste of time and it wouldn’t do any good. I feel my time is actually better spent on this blog post to provide commentary to those people who might consider becoming a faculty member and teach University of Phoenix or those who are already in it but need to get the heck out while saving their professional reputations.
It really is sad. Students with degrees from UOPX will never get much respect academically. Faculty who work at UOPX will not get much respect professionally but at least they will get a paycheck. That is ok but for gosh sake, don’t brag about it. Just tell people you did it for the money and the recession motivated you to do it.
I think it is amusing how UOPX tries so desperately spams the search engines trying to bury complaints and all the negative stories that have been reported for nearly a decade. It only makes them more pathetic looking. Maybe they should think about Apollo Group Management should consider abandoning the University of Phoenix name altogether and start anew.
During my faculty recruiting and application experience, most of the information you need regarding University of Phoenix’s Faculty Telephone Interview Questions comes from the Faculty Written Interview Questions.
It seems a bit strange that there would be repetition but I am guessing faculty recruiters want to hear how you verbally communicate to see if you speak and articulate well. Perhaps, they want to see if what you say is congruent and consistent with what you wrote in the written interview.
My bimbo faculty recruiter was Courtney Hopper who sounded out of breath during the reading of her script to me. There appears to be a loose script faculty recruiters have to follow and it was apparent that mine had done it at least 100 times before and she was just trying to get through it as quickly as possible. She told me that my interview would be around 30 minutes. It was certainly a packed and fast-paced 30 minutes.
She claimed there would be time for me to ask questions but from the overall speed and tone of the telephone interview, it felt awkward to get too involved or ask too many questions. I also get the feeling they don’t welcome phone calls at all. They much prefer email communications.
As I stated, my telephone interview questions came from the written interview questions. Specifically, the questions that seemed most important to Courtney Hopper was:
How would you know if a student was overwhelmed and what would you do?
Give an example of how you have resolved a difference with a student/coworker/employee? Describe the steps you used to resolve the issue.
How would facilitating the attached course fit into your personal/professional goals?
Why do you want to teach at University of Phoenix? (something to that effect)
At the end of the telephone interview, Courtney Hopper did let on that she would be getting back with me within 2 days to let me know if I was invited to go forward in the process. Somehow, the way she said it, I took it in a positive way to expect a callback and invitation to move forward.
It turned out my instincts were right and she did call the following day to invite me to continue and I would be sent two more emails with instructions to follow which primarily consisted of registering myself within the University of Phoenix eCampus system using my newly-assigned IRN (Individual Record Number).
Once I registered myself, I was asked to input my academic and professional credentials and experience. Essentially, they wanted the contents of your resume in a standardize format within their system. Additionally, I was required to fill out an online application form with agreements to submit to an employment history check, criminal background check, and credit check.
For more of my commentaries regarding University of Phoenix (sorry, most is not good), click here.
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.
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.
According to a University of Phoenix FAQ I received, the University of Phoenix Faculty Pay & Compensation Plan is as follows for the Columbus GA local campus. (I would be surprised if compensation does not vary from state to state or even city to city. I speculate compensation is higher in larger cities and high cost-of-living areas but the overall structure is likely to be the same.)
Payment is disbursed into two payments of 66% and 34% respectively. The first payment is issued after they have met the 1st week of attendance in class. The final payment is issued after the faculty has posted final grade upon completion of the course.
If you have a PhD, you will be on a different and higher compensation plan than if you “only” have a Masters degree.
For faculty with Masters degrees, the compensation schedule is listed below.
For undergraduate courses that have 5-week terms and 3 credits:
Starting pay is: $1,015.
After 1 year & 5 courses: You get a whopping $36 increase to $1,051.
After 3 years & 7 courses: You get a whopping $74 increase to $1,125.
Each of those sessions meet for 4-hours each. That means a total of 20 classroom hours.
Assuming you put in an average of 4 hours of course prep, follow-up, and grading work per week, you will be putting in a total of 40 work-related hours during the term. Taking the math further out, it comes out to a little more than $25/hour starting out and a little more than $28/hour at the top of the scale. All of this is considered W-2 taxable income. If your travel time or outside class hours turns out to be unusually high, your calculated hourly rate goes down dramatically.
I asked Courtney Hopper, the faculty recruiter I dealt with, if faculty pay could be issued to my corporation (so I could deduct related business expenses, if any, and I had better control over my taxes). They said no. You cannot be an independent contractor, you have to be classified as a part-time employee. That was a strike for me.I would rather be an independent contractor anytime. As a part-time employee, you can be let go for any reason anyway and you receive no meaningful benefits but you get penalized more heavily from an income tax point of view. Hence, my preference to be an independent contractor in these assignment-based, project-based situations.
For graduate courses that have 6-week terms and 3 credits:
Starting pay is: $1,300
After 1 year & 5 courses: You get a whopping $46 increase to $1,346.
After 3 years & 7 courses: You get a whopping $95 increase to $1,441.
Each of those sessions meet for 4-hours each. That means a total of 24 classroom hours.
Assuming you put in an average of 4 hours of course prep, follow-up, and grading work per week, you will be putting in a total of 48 work-related hours during the term. Taking the math further out, it comes out to a little more than $27/hour starting out and a little more than $30/hour at the top of the scale. All of this is considered W-2 taxable income. If your travel time or outside class hours turns out to be unusually high, your calculated hourly rate goes down dramatically.
For faculty with PhD or JD degrees, the compensation schedule is listed below.
For undergraduate courses that have 5-week terms and 3 credits:
Starting pay is: $1,165.
After 1 year & 5 courses: You get a whopping $36 increase to $1,201.
After 3 years & 7 courses: You get a whopping $74 increase to $1,275.
Each of those sessions meet for 4-hours each. That means a total of 20 classroom hours.
Assuming you put in an average of 4 hours of course prep, follow-up, and grading work per week, you will be putting in a total of 40 work-related hours during the term. Taking the math further out, it comes out to a little more than $29/hour starting out and a little less than $32/hour at the top of the scale. All of this is considered W-2 taxable income. If your travel time or outside class hours turns out to be unusually high, your calculated hourly rate goes down dramatically.
For graduate courses that have 6-week terms and 3 credits:
Starting pay is: $1,600
After 1 year & 5 courses: You get a whopping $46 increase to $1,646.
After 3 years & 7 courses: You get a whopping $95 increase to $1,741.
Each of those sessions meet for 4-hours each. That means a total of 24 classroom hours.
Assuming you put in an average of 4 hours of course prep, follow-up, and grading work per week, you will be putting in a total of 48 work-related hours during the term. Taking the math further out, it comes out to a little more than $33/hour starting out and a little more than $36/hour at the top of the scale. All of this is considered W-2 taxable income. If your travel time or outside class hours turns out to be unusually high, your calculated hourly rate goes down dramatically.
One of the reasons I lost interest quickly is that the compensation plan was very low to begin with compared to all the work and the lengthy indoctrination process to become UOPX faculty. The responsibilities involved was simply not commensurate with what I have been accustomed to in creating and receiving business income vs. actively working as a part-time employee under the heavily-taxed W-2 income structure.
While money was not my highest reason to pursue a part-time faculty position with University of Phoenix, the moment I lost enthusiasm for the idea of teaching for UOPX, it quickly became a no-brainer to simply leave it behind. I decided I could have more fun and make more money working on my own projects.
To read more of my commentaries about University of Phoenix (sorry, most of it is not good), click here.
My 1st experience with the University of Phoenix Faculty Recruiting & Application Process began in May 2011. A friend who was on the adjunct faculty encouraged me to apply to see if they were interested in my credentials for an adjunct instructor position. I emailed my information into a local campus contact who, in turn, contacted a faculty recruiter at University of Phoenix.
I received an email from Courtney Hopper, Faculty Recruiter for University of Phoenix, asking for a copy of my resume and unofficial transcripts. I emailed in my resume and cover letter and that was the extent of my experience. Even when I sent an email follow-up, I got no reply. I was surprised that I didn’t even receive one email reply from her even when I asked. It wouldn’t have bothered me if they didn’t need me or they didn’t have a position available. However, it would have been nice to get a reply of any kind. That was my first sour experience of the faculty recruiting selection.
During mid-December 2011, the same friend had told me that they needed additional instructors for Marketing courses. Given my professional marketing background in recent years, he felt I might be a good fit. I agreed with him. I was open to the idea but cautious. He knew I didn’t much care of overly-bureaucratic policies and procedures, nor did I care to work with traditional employers. And because of my 1st experience went nowhere by going in blind, I told my friend I needed more information and an assessment of local needs before I began. If the local campus had no immediate needs, I saw no point in making any effort to apply once again. After all, I receive no reply whatsoever back in May 2011.
My friend contacted the Head of Business at the local campus on my behalf. Later that week, after my conversation with the Head of Business, most of my questions were answered. He needed marketing instructors and it was an area I was qualified and interested in. I was encouraged enough to move forward with application process again. This time around I redesigned and reformatted my resume to one that was a bit more “friendlier” and highlighted my marketing background vs. my managerial background. I emailed him my cover letter, resume and MBA transcript. It was quickly forwarded to University of Phoenix to the Faculty Recruiter. That faculty recruiter was once again, Courtney Hopper. I later found out through her Linked in profile she is in charge of faculty recruitment for Columbus GA, Savannah GA, and Little Rock AR campuses.
In that email, includes the UOPX Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). For some reason, there seems to be secrecy surrounding the faculty recruitment and application process. Despite my own Google searches, I found very little information. Even on the University of Phoenix website itself, there really aren’t specifics like the information that I will present in this post.
I did not copy and paste the email I received because I have reason to believe that University of Phoenix patrols the Internet for such information and would attempt to have it removed. However, they cannot stop me from reporting in my own words the information I received. Why am I sharing this information? Because I would have wanted it beforehand and I could not get most of it until I was well into the faculty recruitment process. I think people need to know what they are going to get themselves into BEFORE they waste any unnecessary time like I had going through it.
The UOPX faculty recruitment process is a lengthy one with many hoops to jump through. From what I have been told, this has not always been the case. But the faculty recruiting process I outline below is what I went through. I thought I might be able to “go all the way” but I will tell you right now that I didn’t. The reasons why will be covered in another post.
1. Although not a requirement, from what I can tell, unless you have a local campus contact or know someone within University of Phoenix, to help sponsor or vouch for you, going through the “front door” using the UOPX website is going to be like applying blind to any large organization. Your information (along with thousands of other applicants) will simply be submitted into some large internal database. Unless you have a specialty field they need at the campus local to you, you will probably not get any kind of response. And even if you do, you will be in the very early stages.
2. The FAQ outlines the 4 stages to the faculty selection process. It states it could take up to 6 months to complete. This is definitely true once I reveal where the hang-ups are.
The preliminary evaluation includes: the written interview, phone interview, application materials review, and the Candidate file approval.
During my written interview, it took me well over 3 hours to complete simply because I wanted to be thorough. There were many professional experiences that I had to recall with dates and chronology. Because I did not have individual employers as most people do in their history, I had to clearly communicate and integrate the tapestry of my various experiences over the last 20+ years into paragraph format.
My telephone interview with Courtney Hopper was rushed. While she attempted to be pleasant and professional, she often sounded out of breath and blazed through her spiel. Because of the information that had already been emailed prior, it was relatively easy to follow along. But I could tell that she had conducted this interview and said her spiel at least a hundred times prior. And while she claimed to allow me to ask questions, I did not get the feeling extensive talk time was encouraged. She wanted to spend her 20-30 minutes with me and get off the phone. However, I was encouraged when she said she would likely contact me within 48-hours to let me know if I would continue to the next stage.
3. In the new faculty assessment, there are two core assessment activities during what they call the “candidacy process”. First, you have to prepare a lesson with a presentation length of 5-20 minutes. The presentation is supposed to be related to the course or field you plan on teaching in. The local campus staff evaluates your presentation and instructional skills. They call it your “facilitation skills”. They want to see how well you present and interact in front of a group. In my case, they wanted me to prepare a 10-minute lesson using a Powerpoint presentation and have it emailed in to them the Thursday prior to the Saturday morning session when this is supposed to happen. I was told that I could bring visual aids to the assessment session. Although I never completed this step, I did not see creating a 10-minute lesson with a Powerpoint presentation as being difficult to do.
The other part of the new faculty assessment is participating in a group activity that simulates a learning team exercise.
4. If you make it past the prior steps, an employment verification background check, a criminal background check, and a credit check will be done. However, the information your provide for this is completed prior to the Faculty Assessment stage during the preliminary evaluation. The online application primarily consists of several disclaimers that gives UOPX (through a 3rd-party) permission to verify the information you provide but also to seek information about you.
5. If you make it past the background check, you will continue on to the New Faculty Certification process. Although the FAQ states that New Faculty Certification is one night (one night=4 hours) per week for 4 weeks, my schedule was supposed to be 4 Saturday mornings from 9:30am to 1:30pm. As a student of the New Faculty Certification course, you are expected to do outside class work and activities (homework/teamwork) of approximately 10-20 hours per week. The homework/teamwork include outside assignments, reading, and prep work.
6. Assuming you don’t miss any of the New Faculty Certification sessions and you receive a positive recommendation by the facilitator, you should be able to continue forward.
7. At this stage, Human Resources will require you to fill out various forms. Since I have not seen these forms, I assume they will be related to agreeing to UOPX rules and policies as well as standard government and payroll forms required of all U.S. employees.
8. Going into the Instructional Mentorship stage, you are expected to spend 2 weeks with a UOPX mentor to prepare for the first course. (UOPX makes a point to say that there is no pay for this prep time.) The instructor will be shadowed by the mentor (supposedly a “seasoned faculty member”. It’s the job of the mentor to provide supervision and feedback to the instructor. One week after completion of the course and final grades are posted, the mentor gives his final recommendation. If all goes well, the faculty candidate will be invited to become a faculty member and be eligible for course solicitations.
In closing, what I have written is a generalized overview of the University of Phoenix Faculty Recruiting and Selection process. I did not go through all the stages for reasons I will cover in another blog post but the mystery of what system University of Phoenix uses to recruit new faculty instructors has finally been satisfied. It is a very time intensive and lengthy process. Personally, I did not care enough nor was I inspired enough to continue on. I have no regrets having gone through what I did. Would I recommend this to someone? I would only recommend this to the desperate or highly motivated. The rewards vs. the returns of being a UOPX faculty instructor seemed insufficient to me for what they want and ask for within a faculty candidate.
UPDATE: Since I wrote this post, I have added much more commentary about University of Phoenix. Unfortunately, most of it is not good. The more I learn, the more depressing it gets. Get informed by someone who signs his name to the messages he posts.