University of Phoenix: Faculty Recruiting & Application Process

univ-of-phoenixMy 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.