The University of Phoenix has experienced a significant decrease in student enrollment over the past several years, but that doesn't alter the fact that many alumni say their enrollment in the school has positively changed their lives.
According to a 2015 report, enrollment was less than half of what it was in 2010.
In addition, the country’s largest for-profit university has been plagued with bad press and criticism on its recruiting techniques and high tuition. Despite the negative portrayal of the university, alumnus Kevin Williams, the director of public safety and chief of police for the University of Michigan-Dearborn, has nothing but praise for the university.
In response to a LinkedIn post by another successful graduate praising the university, Williams said attending the school was life-changing and he is proud to be a Phoenix.
“I attended traditional graduate school TWICE and never completed either program,” Williams wrote. “The classes were not relevant for what I was doing and the faculty were insufficiently engaged. Fast forward to January 2003: I started at UOP in Southern California. Just 18 months later, I completed my Master’s program and received a Master of Arts in Organizational Management (MAOM) degree.”
Williams added that his colleagues noticed an immediate difference in his communication, writing and collaborative skills, which were all honed in University of phoenix classes.
“When I competed for coveted assignments within the [Los Angeles Police Department], command officers who interviewed me were taking copious notes because what I was talking about was so cutting edge they could apply the concepts immediately,” Williams said.
The University of Phoenix offers more than 100 degree programs and is a trailblazer in online education. Along with its success have come accusations that the university preys on veterans and scams students, leaving them in an enormous amount of debt.
“I really can’t speak to the negative issues,” Williams told the Higher Education Tribune. “I have certainly seen some of the advertisements, but that was certainly not my experience. As a matter of fact, mine was just the opposite.”
Williams attempted two graduate programs at California State University -- one in criminal justice and the other in public administration-- but he didn’t complete either program.
“It was a lot of theoretical things; but in terms of practical application, there was almost nothing in (either) program that was practical for what I was doing on a daily basis," Williams said. "When I went to the University of Phoenix, they told us right from the beginning, from Day One, that the instructors were going to be professionals working in the field or who had recently worked in the field, and that we could apply what we were learning in real time and that was absolutely my experience."
Williams found that the concepts he was learning in class were current and relevant, allowing him to excel in his studies and at work.
“So that is one of the primary reasons why the University of Phoenix was a completely different experience for me," he said. "Their master’s program from start to finish was 18 months, and I went to school year-round (for) 18 straight months and I got my master’s degree."
Many graduate schools teach concepts like Pavlov’s dog -- the bell rings and the dog salivates. Such concepts, Williams said, have no relevance in his daily work. In his line of work, he needed to know how to manage and lead people, and deal with current issues occurring local, nationally and internationally.
“So I have nothing against any of the other programs," Williams said. "For the type of student I am, I needed the University of Phoenix."
Organizations in this story
University of Phoenix-Central Administration 1625 West Fountainhead Parkway Tempe, AZ 85282
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