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Is University of Phoenix right for you?


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Ever considered teaching part-time at University of Phoenix? This guide is designed to help you decide.

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Is University of Phoenix right for you?

  1. 1. Is Universityof Phoenixright for you?A guide for faculty candidatesPictured top left to right: Gemma O’Donnell, RN, MSN, CCM, Faculty, College of Nursing /Pilar Vargas, Psy.D., Faculty, College of Social Sciences/Ellis Jones,M.A., Faculty, School of Business/ William T. O’Donnell, Ph.D., Faculty, School of Business/Ben Pundit, NMD, Lead Faculty, College of Social Sciences
  2. 2. Table of Contents Welcome! 3 Our beginning 3 What makes University of Phoenix so different? 3 Course scheduling 3 The academic model 4 Practitioner faculty 4 Curriculum development and assessment of student learning 5 For-profit status 5 Mission and purposes 6 2
  3. 3. Welcome! What makesWelcome. As faculty candidates for University of Phoenix, you University of Phoenixwill be assessing your fit with our culture, just as we will beassessing your fit with our unique teaching and learning model. so different?We understand that for many of you, taking the steps to teach University of Phoenix is so different from traditional educationalafter spending years in your profession is a big milestone. Even if institutions that we raise both questions and praise among theyou have taught at other institutions University of Phoenix requires traditional higher education community. University of Phoenixthat you participate in a specialized certification program that will was founded on the basic principle that teaching non-traditionalprepare you for a successful teaching experience with us. You want learners requires a fundamentally different approach. The principleto make sure that if you invest your time in us, you are making is not a new one — it has been validated over and again bythe right decision. academic research and literature on learning theory.Hopefully after reading this material, you will have a better It is well-known that once young adults enter the workforce, theyunderstanding of who we are and why we are different from other are no longer “empty vessels” waiting to be filled. They arrive touniversities. While it is not intended to be all-inclusive, it should class already having formed opinions, concepts, and values andprovide you — along with the other materials in our assessment they want to share them. They have conflicting priorities rangingprogram — with additional information to help you in your from family to professional to civic responsibilities and little timedecision process. to accomplish them all. They have a need to learn concepts that they can immediately apply to their jobs or lives. They are also notOur beginning tolerant of bureaucracies that take up more of their precious time and make them feel powerless or diminished. The followingIn 1976 University of Phoenix reinvented the way working adults observations explain how University of Phoenix responded tocould achieve a higher education and made academic innovation, these learner concerns, with particular emphasis on where wequality and accountability our hallmark. University of Phoenix parted from tradition and why.pioneered an educational and service model specifically gearedtoward the way adults learn best and made our programs widelyavailable to working students using common-sense scheduling Course schedulingand fresh new approaches to academic delivery. How does the shorter, more focused course scheduleUniversity of Phoenix questioned the status quo in every aspect of employed by University of Phoenix better meet adultour academic culture and operations because we were focused on students’ needs?becoming a university with teaching and learning as the center-piece and adult learners as the highest priority. This revolutionary It is impossible to discuss the University of Phoenix teaching/approach extended to the University’s early decision to organize as learning system without mentioning its departure from thea for-profit entity, an act that has propelled our growth, widened traditional semester schedule. The University’s unique courseour outreach to students both nationally and internationally and schedule is essential to providing working adults access toprovided the resources for continuous improvement, academic education. In essence, University of Phoenix departed from theaccountability and assessment, and excellence in our classrooms. agrarian-based academic calendar with long semesters and frequent holiday breaks and in its place, developed a courseToday, University of Phoenix is the largest private university in calendar in keeping with an adult pace and lifestyle. StudentsNorth America. We have over 200 campuses and learning centers take one course at a time, each course lasting five to six the United States and Puerto Rico. We are regionally accredited Additionally, because courses begin and end so frequently atby the Higher Learning Commission and are a member of the University of Phoenix, students can begin a program of studyNorth Central Association ( We have been the almost any month of the year.recipient of awards for quality, the focus of academic researchon “good work” and a leader in online and adult education. This adult-centered schedule enables learners to complete their undergraduate degree requirements in about three to four yearsWe are a non-traditional university, attracting a great deal of (depending on credits needed on entry) and their master’s degreeattention and controversy in spite of, or perhaps because of, our in about two years, even while they continue to hold down jobssuccess. University of Phoenix emerged as an institution of higher and raise families. The schedule benefits our faculty members too,learning for working adults at a time when there were almost as they can schedule their teaching assignments in shorterno options for adults to complete a bachelor’s degree without increments around their personal and professional obligations.dropping out of the workforce. Our devotion to serving workingstudents and the strong need for our services has driven ournon-traditional education model and provided the impetus forcreating a different kind of university. 3
  4. 4. The academic model Collaborative Learning University of Phoenix students are required to take responsibilityWhat are the academic fundamentals at not only for their own learning but for that of their classmates asUniversity of Phoenix? well. In most courses, students work in learning teams of three to five students. The small classes and even smaller learning teamsWhile the “features and benefits” required meeting the needs provide assistance, encouragement and motivation. The teamsof our learners — small class size, rapidly paced courses and accommodate various learning styles, as members contribute theirconvenient class schedules — it is not our academic model. strengths and receive assistance with their weaknesses, whetherDelivering education that inspires and motivates adult students academic or interpersonal. Collaborative learning creates theis much more complex. push-pull of both peer pressure and peer support.Our academic model was conceptualized several years prior to The Use of Practitioner Faculty in Professionalthe development of the University of Phoenix. After a decade of Degree Programsresearch on teaching and learning, University of Phoenix founder, Adult students have a particularly strong need to make connec-Dr. John Sperling and his collaborators at San Jose State and U.C. tions between the theoretical and the practical. The integration ofBerkeley, made a fundamental academic decision that shaped all knowledge is both empirically and conceptually linked with its useelse; divide the learning objectives equally between the affective and aids in an understanding of its value. In turn, knowledge thatand cognitive domains. This was essential in designing a learning is valued is more likely to be remembered, extended, refined andenvironment that was both compelling and engaging for adult transmitted. Based on these principles, the decision was made forlearners. the professional degree programs to appoint faculty membersWhile cognitive learning is generally understood as the domain who are professionals actively working in their field. Our facultyof knowledge, facts and information, the affective domain is less members are masters at making the connection between theunderstood because it encompasses the realm of values, attitudes theoretical concepts presented in the literature and their contextand interpersonal skills. The cognitive skills and knowledge in the world of work.required for a field of study are clearly identified by the Universityof Phoenix in degree program handbooks and curriculum.However, it is the less tangible affective domain that is central to Practitioner facultythe motivation of adult students, and key to overall success. What are the advantages of academically preparedHow are learning objectives addressed in faculty who also hold industry jobs?the affective domain? University of Phoenix employs a number of core (full-time) facultyFrom the world of work, the skills normally classified as affective — members who oversee curriculum and instruction and participatecooperation, motivation, responsibility, teamwork, loyalty, in scholarly research. Some content areas, primarily in thecommitment, leadership, and self-confidence are often more liberal arts, are taught by faculty who are educators in those areas,highly linked to a person’s success than their cognitive skills or and not necessarily employed in them. However, the majority oftechnical knowledge. Within the affective domain, students’ our faculty members are associate (part-time) faculty who arepassions are aroused and their cognitive knowledge becomes experienced practitioners — usually working full-time in theirmore fully integrated. The affective domain is addressed in the professions and teaching part-time for the University. BeingUniversity’s academic model using a variety of learning strategies, currently employed in their fields and/or staying current throughjust as multiple methods are employed in order to impart participating in scholarship, and maintaining licensures and/orcognitive learning. However, the following University of Phoenix certifications allows faculty to stay current in industry knowledge,methods are central to addressing the affective domain: practical application and other trends among their fields. In addition to teaching, University of Phoenix faculty membersSmall Group Facilitation participate in academic governance, make professionalThe preferred instructional choice at University of Phoenix is presentations and/or hold offices in their communities.facilitative versus didactic. While brief lecturing is appropriate tocertain subjects or topics, long lectures are generally not conduciveto engaging the learner in the learning process. Keeping classessmall and using discussion/facilitation instructional techniquesacross an entire degree program provides students with a place topractice, to try out new ideas, to validate their assumptions andto test their communication and leadership skills. In turn, thisactive involvement contributes to the building of self-confidence. 4
  5. 5. Curriculum development ment of learning outcomes provides assurance that students have learned what they should learn and know what they should knowand assessment of at the completion of any class or degree program.student learning For-profit statusIs it possible for faculty who are not tenured to haveacademic freedom — especially when each instructor How does a for-profit university balance its profitdoes not develop his or her own curriculum? goals with its academic goals?The University’s practice of using centrally-developed curriculum For-profit institutions are relatively new on the scene in higherthat can be customized and tailored, rather than having individual education, and negative myths about mixing education and profitsinstructors create their own curriculum for each course, is another die hard. Critics had academic concerns about public land grantdeparture from tradition. Course goals, learning outcomes, institutions in the mid 19th century and about community collegesmaterials and readings are selected by the University of Phoenix in the 1950s and 60s, but these were soon replaced withcentral curriculum development department. University of Phoenix recognition of their place in the landscape of higher education andfaculty members have the academic freedom to express their own for-profit universities are now finding their place as well. Researchideas about the material, its importance (or unimportance), how it has shown, for example, that for-profit universities are as con-fits within the field, or any other issue they deem significant. They cerned with academic accountability as their non-profit peers.are always required to teach to the learning outcomes which are University of Phoenix balances fiscal and academic goals by makingspecified in the developed curriculum, but they are not expected both fundamental to our culture and organizational reach those learning outcomes in the exact same way. Every So while strategic management controls focus on fiscal responsi-faculty member brings his or her own experience, opinions, and bility, strategic academic controls focus on academic integrity andexpertise to the material. Each class is different and may require accountability. This is accomplished by providing faculty with adifferent approaches. governance process that ensures and requires their input, provid-How does curriculum consistency benefit students ing students with appropriate services and materials for learning,and their employers? and institutionalizing learning outcomes assessment and other mechanisms for both external and self-examination.The curriculum of University of Phoenix has its roots in bothpracticality and academic accountability. Associate faculty Being organized as a for-profit institution compels University ofmembers who work at their professions during the day and teach Phoenix toward growth. Growth is part of what feeds our cultureat night generally appreciate the efficiency and quality of a of innovation, providing development opportunities for our facultycollective process where both content experts and curriculum and staff, and ensures that physical and human resources are avail-design experts contribute. They recognize that for an institution able for academic programs and improvements. It is critical to ourwith multiple campuses and delivery systems across the nation, identity. However, profit-making is not the University’s sole missionutilizing common course goals and outcomes in a given course is or even its key institutional driver. Like many traditional collegescrucial to maintaining academic integrity and accountability. and universities, our mission is socially informed and encompassesIt is important for students and employers to know, for example, making positive change and growth in our students and societythat a course taken online is the same course offered at a local as a whole. This is what gives meaning to our employees and whatcampus; that a course completed in one state is of similar quality motivates our faculty to a course completed in another; and, that a course taught by onefaculty member will include the same learning outcomes if thecourse is taught by another. Mission and purposesMost importantly, the central reason behind the University’s useof common course goals and outcomes is to be able to measurestudent learning. Because learning outcomes are specified, theycan be measured, enabling the University to be more accountableto both our internal and external constituents. Widespread mea-surement (by program, by course, by campus, etc.) has enabledUniversity of Phoenix to norm itself against others (in the disci-plines that have been normed) as well as against itself. These mea-sures tell the University how well our students are performing, howwell the institution is performing, and where improvement effortsand financial resources should be placed. Moreover, the measure- 5
  6. 6. The Mission of University of Phoenix is to provide access to higher education opportunities that enable students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their professional goals, improve the productivity of their organization and provide leader- ship and service to their communities. Our purpose is to– acilitate cognitive and affective student learning, knowledge, skills F and values, and to promote use of that knowledge in the student’s workplace.– evelop competence in communication, critical thinking, D collaboration and information utilization, together with the commitment to lifelong learning for enhancement of students’ opportunities for career success.– rovide instruction that bridges the gap between theory and prac- P tice through faculty members who bring to their classroom not only advanced academic preparation, but also the skills that come from the current practice of their professions.– rovide General Education and foundational instruction and P services that prepares students to engage in a variety of university curricula.– se technology to create effective modes and means of instruction U that expand access to learning resources and that enhance collaboration and communication for improved student learning.– ssess student learning and use assessment data to improve the A teaching/learning system, curriculum, instruction, learning resources, counseling and student services.– e organized as a for-profit institution in order to foster a spirit B of innovation that focuses on providing academic quality, service, excellence and convenience to the working student.– enerate the financial resources necessary to support the G University’s mission. © 2012 University of Phoenix, Inc. | All rights reserved. 6