Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The University of Phoenix’s Crazy Hiring Practices

The University of Phoenix (UoP) revamped its hiring procedures for part-time faculty for 2011, making it much longer while it expropriates an applicant’s free time. I documented the UoP hiring stages to show the idiocy that infects universities and colleges. The current hiring stages apply to ground courses (actual classroom) and online learning courses.

Stage 1: I submitted a resume to a recruiter. They were interested in me, and a recruiter scheduled a telephone interview.

Stage 2: The telephone interview was simple and straight forward, and I passed with flying colors. Then the recruiter sent several documents via email for a written interview. I filled these forms and returned to the recruiter. The questions asked hypothetical situations such as rising tension and conflicts between workers and colleagues, managing difficult students, and the methods I used to resolve these conflicts.

Stage 3: The UoP was still interested in me, and the recruiter requested an official transcript to be mailed to their corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona from my alma mater.

Stage 4: Now, the UoP wanted a campus interview that spanned four hours. I prepared a 15-minute presentation that UoP staff evaluated. After I had passed the interview, UoP pulled my credit report from TransUnion. You must be kidding? I guess a professor with bad credit translates into a terrible teacher. I could argue a worker with bad credit may need the job more than someone with good credit does.

Stage 5: If the interview process stopped here, then UoP would be reasonable. However, I have just started. Now, UoP required me to attend a four-week Faculty Certification course that meets four hours on Saturday morning. The UoP did not pay me to attend his course. The two facilitators, UoP speak for a professor or teacher, taught the class well at the Little Rock campus. I completed reading and writing assignments every week and passed the exam before the last class. The exam had 12 multiple-choice questions and 18 short essay questions.

Stage 6: After I had passed the certification, the recruiter requested the standard documents - bank deposit form, W4, and proof of your right to work in the United States. The UoP also does a criminal background search. I guess an applicant’s credit report was not good enough.

Stage 7: I did not make it to this stage because this stage was not clear to me. At this stage, UoP assigns the courses to the facilitator, but he or she is not a faculty member. The facilitator has a mentor who reviews your syllabus, assignments, lectures, etc. The facilitator must meet with the mentor before the course begins. A mentor is not bad because he or she advises and guides the facilitator, but this last point was fuzzy. As I understood, if the facilitator taught the class poorly and UoP did not want to hire the facilitator, then UoP does not pay the facilitator for teaching this course. Unfortunately, the undergraduate courses are five weeks long, and the facilitator must devote a time segment daily to this UoP online learning system, where the facilitator inputs all assignments, grades, questions, and feedback.

Once an applicant passes all seven stages, then they become a PHOENIX! However, faculty members must participate in annual development seminars without pay. I have never seen an employer expropriate an employee’s free time, just to have the privilege at teaching part time for UoP. The Little Rock campus director commented they needed PhDs, especially for the business school. I have a PhD in agricultural economics, and I stopped at Step 6. I thought I could teach two courses before I left the United States to teach in Malaysia. Ironically, I would earn far more in Malaysia than at UoP teaching full time. My credentials impressed the university in Malaysia that they skipped the interview and sent me an appointment letter and contract immediately.

Just to traverse from Steps 1 to 5 required three months and possibly another three weeks for Step 6. I would expect UoP to have faculty recruitment problems for PhDs for a while, unless UoP revamps it recruitment practices. I know colleagues who want to teach part time, but no way in hell he or she would dedicate large blocks of time for a part time job.

The sad news is I worked for UoP between 2003 and 2006 at the Houston Campus, and UoP did not exempt me from this long, drawn out hiring process. If a facilitator switches teaching from one campus to another, or transfers from a ground course to its online degree program, then he or she must start at Step 5 with the Faculty Certification, which seems terribly inefficient. Why does UoP require its faculty to repeat the same course continuously because they had changed campus or learning environment?

I believe this long drawn out process indoctrinates the applicants into UoP’s clique, and an excited applicant has completed another stage. Then they become part of the team, where UoP can pay low wages to its part-time teaching faculty, even though the founder, John Sperling, is a billionaire. Furthermore, UoP terminates all difficult, complaining applicants, ensuring they do not complete a stage. UoP cannot have independent-thinking faculty that questions the administration.

Some applicants should complete the UoP training. The rumor is the other for-profit schools do not have this long, time intensive certification program, and they hire UoP faculty who passed this certification. Thus, the certified UoP facilitators are valuable to UoP’s competitors, and the competitors pay better.

Finally, I read an interesting fact about UoP. It reported a 42% enrollment drop for 2011. Which organization would hire workers if they lost 42% of their customers? Furthermore, if the U.S. economy continues to stagnate and college students cannot find jobs, then the student loan program will take a huge financial hit. UoP relies heavily on student loans with student debts often exceeding $40K per student. UoP charges the students high tuition, pays faculty low wages, and has the lowest graduation rates of all universities. It sounds as if UoP is sinking faster than the Titanic. Once the U.S. government revamps the student loan program, then say farewell to the University of Phoenix.


  1. This may hold true for some careers that do not rely heavily on scientific theory, but I want my doctor to have that degree, as well as the geotechnical engineer who calculated a load bearing capacity for the foundation of the building I'm living in, and even the materials engineer who aided the design of my automobile. Education is necessary, maybe not for all however.

    Read about Colleges That Graduate Students Deep in Debt

  2. The steps were well explained making recruitment easy.. MGT 498 Final Exam

    1. That is not entirely true. No one gave all the steps. Once I completed a step, then they informed me about the next step.

      UoP hurts itself. I know many professors who would not mind teaching a course on the weekend or weeknight, but many would not go through this process.

    2. The whole jumping thru 100 hoops is depressing and true. I recall during Hurricane Katrina, I was asked to show up at the hospital with my license and was put to work that night. That is a real need.

      As far as the 500 jobs in the paper? It's called "propaganda." Oh, and it's always YOUR fault if you don't have a job. blah blah blah

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