Thread regarding DeVry Inc. layoffs

CEO Has "Sense of Urgency" With DeVry's Meltdown

Peter Appert

Got it, thank you. And I’ll direct all my questions to Pat. Yes. The DVU numbers continue to look like challenging frankly, in terms of the enrollments or here what you’re saying in terms of repositioning, et cetera. But it’s hard to see from our states that you are seeing any improvement in terms of the attraction in that business. Where are you in the process of thinking about, strategic options for DVU?

Lisa Wardell

Yes, so I would start by saying, look, we don’t – I don’t believe in miracles other than what happened in the wake of the hurricane to get folks out those islands. But beyond that, that there’s no silver bullet for DVU. You guys know all that. You got the facts that we have and we’re being transparent with that. That’s why we continue to manage the cost. That’s why we made management changes and significant bold move, as it relates to our marketing spend, reallocation to digital as well as some of the programming that we talked about for sometimes.

But I want to be really clear that we hold ourselves accountable to this portfolio management lend that we’ve been talked about now for several quarters. And we have seen what you’re seeing and, while we do see the positive, particularly, as it relates to DeVryWORKS, that percentage of our new student enrollment going up 3% to 4% to close to 15% of our new student enrollments. We recognized that it’s been slow going here. And as a result, we have consistently said that we look at this quarter-to-quarter, this is not something that we take likely, as it reflects on the portfolio. So we understand the sense of urgency there.

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We all answer to Wall Street. All of us. Every day. I fear the wrath of Wall Street more than the wrath of God.

Goldman Sachs created the for-profit industry because they realized they could tap into an easy money stream - federal loans - and offload the risk onto the shoulders of those least respected and least worried about in our society.

If a bunch of wealthy hedge fund managers found out that they had worthless degrees and diplomas the schools handing those out would be crushed and pounded into the ground.

If thousands of simple, naive, poor, Americans eventually find out they had mortgaged their futures for a piece of worthless paper, nobody cares. And Betsy DeVos gets put into office to make sure loan forgiveness is not going to happen and for-profit schools continue to operate.

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I agree with the the below list, except I would argue that it is not a socialist organization. Socialist organizations don’t aim to profit like this. This is as capitalistic as it gets- free money is a good business model! The problem goes beyond owners and managers. The main problem is the system that allows and encourages companies like this to exist in the first place. The system was initially designed to allow for poor people to get educations, but has turned into a system to allow the rich to further exploit the poor. Devry is one of many corporations that do this, and is no better or worse than the others. The managers and directors may be different but deep down they all answer to the same God: Wall Street.

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I had a student at a FP school, who'd get up during the various lectures, walk up front, spit in the trashcan, and sit down like it was a very common thing to do. None of the students even seemed to notice--I must be old-school.

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Points 4a and 4b are spot on!

My students in the business classes are allowed to hand in drivel, platitudes and random crap and I have to use our joke rubrics to give them a passing grade for their junk contributions. Why? If I don't I get yelled at for 'not working with our students so they can achieve'. Or I get to sit through some come to jesus meeting because a student filed a complaint against me because they felt 'harassed, discriminated against, unfairly treated..."

I don't get paid enough to put up with that sh!t. I hand out As and Bs and get more classes. The 'I'm a real professor and hand out real grades' guys have smaller and smaller classes because students start avoiding them. Then, all of a sudden, they don't get booked anymore. Hmmmmm.

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Yes and points 4a and 4b specifically are unsubstantiated rubbish. Students work very hard to pass my technical classes, it's not about filling out paperwork by any means.

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Don't the students care at all about this? Why would they put up with your supposed statements or keep re-enrolling for another term...something here doesn't jibe. You make it sound more like a prison camp or mental hospital than a place of learning.

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Here are the bottom lines for DeVry:

  1. DeVry is not a university or college, it is a for-profit corporation designed to enrich its owners and managers by delivering a service.

  2. DeVry does not have students, it has customers.

  3. DeVry’s service is substandard and overpriced, which has caught the attention of current and potential customers as well as hiring managers in industry.

  4. Learning is not necessary for service delivery and continued operations, all that is necessary is for (a) customers to type some characters on documents and submit them, (b) customers to participate at a bare minimum level at other activities, and (c) employees to be pressured to change grades as necessary to retain unskilled customers.

  5. DeVry is the definition of a socialist organization, almost entirely dependent on the federal government for its existence. It is capitalist only to the extent that it extracts private profit from a public resource, e.g. student loans and grants, and imposes external costs on society, e.g. the production of functionally illiterate people incapable of critical thinking.

  6. The game at DeVry is to keep employees and customers confused and unaware of these realities through doublespeak, lies, and obfuscation. The lies have resulted in large fines but awareness of the real nature of DeVry’s services is growing, thus layoffs and a shrinking customer base.

  7. Customer retention equals cash flow, which drives the need to change grades to keep funds flowing. Grades are related to cash flow, not customer performance.

  8. Employees at DeVry are considered only a variable cost and are not viewed as human beings. The company manages through P&L statements and uses bullying and fear to intimidate employees.

  9. DeVry is a morally bankrupt company with inept managers. Incompetence extends to all management levels.

  10. These factors are causing the company to collapse from within, regardless of the efforts of employees who want to treat customers decently.

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Thank you for the insight and responses. The whole "inhuman resources" problem has been puzzling me for some time since I don't work in that field. But here's the thing: I do fail students when they need to fail. I flunked 1/3 of an intro class a few sessions back--they couldn't/wouldn't do the work. I agree with you about providing guidance, particularly in freshman and sophomore years, and maybe I am too generous with extensions and revisions in earlier classes. If someone is trying, I am sympathetic and help them get where they need to be, but I don't do the work for them. By the 3rd year, as you said, if they can't figure it out, they need to know that. But by then it's a persistence issue. As far as students, all management cares about is persistence, retention, graduation rates, whatever you want to call it. Keep the numbers crunching through. So I fail them early--and many instructors I know have. Thus, the concept of eliminating "killer courses" and "best faculty forward". Stop freshmen from dropping out! No, they need to fail when they can't cut it. That's the easiest and best time to do it, before the student is too mired in the 8-week-and-done pipeline.

Here's what's puzzling me, though. I would say, yes, if you gave many of my students a math test, you might see some dismal results (I am not a math teacher, and they know what they need to know for my tech classes). They aren't doing quadratic equations. But few of them are bad writers. None write at a 10-year old level. 10th grade, maybe 13th/community college level, and they need help learning citations, but it's not gibberish or nonsense that I get from my students. Yes, I have had a few bad writers. I'm sure that's the case everywhere. Some non-native speakers, of course, have challenges with the language, as would be expected. But I am at one of the larger campuses left open, is there any chance that my students are a better population than what others are seeing across the system? I'm really not trying to make a "my DeVry students are better than your DeVry students" argument here, but I am not seeing what you are seeing. Then again, we do get a lot of transfers from community colleges and folks from high schools with strong STEM emphasis. And no, it's not plagiarism, since I Google/TurnItIn everything. I've caught plenty of folks trying that, and they get automatic Fs for that assignment in my class--it's my standard Week 1 warning lecture.

And since we're having a good talk: student evaluations. There is so much push in my group to get the numbers super high, like 3.9 out of 4.0. That's unfair to the faculty because it doesn't allow us as much leeway to be harsh (realistic) without fear of retribution. In a culture of customer service, anything that gets in the way of the "I'm paying for this" student mentality threatens your own survival as a faculty member. The numbers are inaccurate at best, akin to letting the inmates run the asylum. Students want late submits, multiple tries, open book tests, occasional lectures, and easy (non-group) projects. To a student a good experience is comfortable and something that they can get through when they are working, taking care of kids, etc. I uphold the standards and help students reach them, it's the best that I can do. I understand that the Podunks are catching up to constant evaluation of faculty, particularly of adjuncts. All this is going to lead to is computer programs teaching classes--think about it, the structure is already there. Just get the AI a little smarter to accomplish grading, and the picture will be complete. I bet the AI gets great evals! Management will love it. They already have software working in customer service at other companies. Canned content + software agent + strong rubrics = less troublesome teachers and more administrator salary and shiny new buildings for everyone!

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Finally. A debate with some meat on the bone. Thank you angry girl professor teaching tech classes.

I've taught at several for-profits, including DeVry. My experience with handing out failing grades has been discouraging. As in, I have been very actively, almost downright forcefully, discouraged from failing students. I teach both undergraduate and graduate courses. I can see the point of nursing a student along as an undergrad so that over time they get their skills up and grow. But at a certain point, say year 3, if they haven't been able to develop and just don't cut the mustard they need to hear that but I am not allowed to tell them that they still can't write any better than your average 10 year old. This is a university, not summer school. We need to draw the line somewhere. Yes they are humans. They deserve to hear that college is not for them. I am not allowed/able or even remotely encouraged by management to do that.

I have friends who are hiring managers and who have come to me to help them understand why the interview candidates from these for-profits fail the most basic skill tests. So I ask them, since I know little about interviewing for an industry job, what skill tests?? Turns out that HR departments are so over having to put effort into weeding out the hopelessly under-educated candidates applying for jobs that they are putting the candidates with the better resumes through writing and math exams just to be sure. And the candidates with for-profit education on their resumes fail these exams spectacularly. Since each job application gets upwards of 60 resumes, HR just moves the ATS filter to automatically say 'no' to for-profit degrees. These companies have neither the time nor the lack of applicants to carefully sift through the pile of resumes for some entry level or even mid-level job diamond. They can fill their open positions and really don't care about much else.

Publishing papers in academia: 99.95% of what is out there is useless, self-referencing, garbage. Those of us who are stuck in that racket know this. The few bits that are useful, published in Nature or Science or some other solid STEM journal, are useful because the research is pushing the boundaries of what we understand about our world, nature, technology. A paper on the 'Shifting the organizational paradigm of morally cultural cubicle engagement: Drivers of change' is pure, five-finger salute, garbage. If you don;t agree with that, you have the IQ of a soap dish. A very small one.

Why do we still work here? I have a mortgage, two kids in public school, a mother-in-law battling cancer living with us, and a spouse who is already working 2 jobs to help make ends meet. I am NOT going to quit this job to serve your self-righteous moral indignation about what is happening at DeVry. Pay my bills - I'll quit. Don't pay my bills - go ahead and just shut up.

Would we send our kids here? Hell no. If they want to do college, then my kids will be going to an in-state school, will be given an option to major in a STEM field and we will help them with their tuition or they can go it on their own. I'm not paying for a BS in gender studies. My oldest is on his second year of working for a master plumber in the summer and is looking at joining the plumbing company after graduation. I'm so excited about this I have to play it cool around him so as to not discourage him because an old person is thinking something he is doing is great and therefore not teenage worthy.

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I don’t see a state university saying “90% of our Philosophy degree students secured a job in their field within 6 months of graduation!”

Because they don't. When was the last time that you saw a full-time position offered for a bachelor's graduate in philosophy? "Wanted, bachelor's degree grads in Philosophy. Must be familiar with Kant, Wittgenstein, and all of Post-Structuralism. Must be able to lift 50 lbs and work alternating shifts in our warehouse." You are just proving my point. Many of the programs that students choose to study at State Podunks do not lead to "gainful employment".

Academic research papers are useless?? Wow, you are what is wrong with education today.

No, "publish or perish" is what's wrong with education today, particularly in the humanities and social sciences. There is an emphasis on creating papers instead of engaging students. Here are three current academic journal articles titles from Routledge/Taylor&Francis. Pick one and tell me how you think it's important, how it has enriched your life, or made education better or more effective.

  1. Non-state space: the strategic ejection of dangerous and high maintenance urban space

  2. Assemblage thinking as methodology: commitments and practices for critical policy research

  3. Methodological challenges in the study of stateless nationalist territorial claims

It's all self-referential word-soup in the humanities and social sciences. I've even written some of it.

Like the lost Ark of the Covent, these things are largely shelved and rarely heard from again. Google the Alan Sokal Social Text Hoax and you might learn something. A physicist wrote a paper full of gibberish and it was published in a major journal.

You sound angry, and your most recent post says it all.

Of course I'm angry. My career was destroyed by profiteering and an exploitative marketing campaign. Why can't you people see that the teachers had nothing to do with the marketing? We don't approve the marketing. We don't write the marketing. I had no idea what the marketing was. I would never have approved it, but I was busy teaching classes. My recent post says much more than you managed to read. You might not have that much time or ability to comprehend, based on your own perceptual blindness, so here's the fourth grade version. DeVry teachers and students are people. Humans. You judge too fast, and too harshly, because you have already made up your mind. And that's unfair. We call it prejudice.

You are defending this fake “University” to save your own job.

No, I don't want to save my job. I want to get out an get a different job as soon as possible. The place is collapsing around me and there are tons of layoffs every year. But you are only reading what you want to read. I am defending my classroom, and the work that I put into helping my students learn. I am defending my students. They are learning technical concepts that they came for. What do you think that we do all day, sit around and do nothing? My students are working on technical projects or learning how to implement them. Incidentally, I would never have changed the name from DeVry Institute. To me, a university has multiple campuses, or at least one massive one, and offers comprehensive doctorate-level learning. Tons of State "Universities" don't fit the bill. They are glorified colleges who offer a few master's degrees.

Kind of selfish, isn’t it?

No. I am sick of self-righteous people talking about what I do like it's fraud. That's not the case at all. I am teaching people how to do things in ways that they would not be able to do otherwise. You couldn't sit through one of my advanced classes and pass. I'm sorry. It's just true. I am sick of people throwing away my students like they are junk when they see the school name on their resume. They are people--human beings--and moreover, ones that I invested time and effort in. I am sorry if you are an elitist and only value top-achievers. To me all of my students are important. I am making their lives better, no matter where they start from, and even if it's remedial. I wouldn't be a teacher otherwise.

You wouldn’t send your kids there.

I explained that. I am sorry that you weren't able to understand the answer. Reading comprehension is a high-level skill, I suppose (see my comment above about surviving one of my higher level technical classes). I wouldn't send them to a community college, or a military academy, or an Ivy...all for different reasons. In philosophy, what you are doing is called a "reductionist" argument, or more specifically, the logical fallacy called reductio ad absurdum. You are taking one statement, out of context, as a summation of my arguments. As I mentioned, the damage to the brand is too great now, even if my kids were second-chance students with employer-sponsored tuition remission. People like you, who treat the place like a diploma mill, devalue their work too much. Decades ago, I would have sent them to the DeVry Institute. And once, long ago, I was even moderately proud to work there. I still do good work to help the people that I can, while I can.

Finally, you wouldn’t recommend it as a workplace, but since YOU work there, you subscribe to the DeVry way, it’s all ok!

Oh, hell no. As a workplace, none of it is okay. Why do you think that there are tons of employees gathered here discussing when the place is finally going to shut down for good, be sold, or go online? The system is broken and failing and we all know it. All of the decisions made are made for short-term profit and few of them benefit students. There is nothing that we can do about it except leave, only getting hired is difficult. Most of the folks I know are trying to find jobs. I am applying to jobs that pay half of my salary. I'm not just quitting and going on unemployment and into bankruptcy. In the meantime, I am doing my job, the only part that I enjoy, sharing my love of deep technical concepts with my students. I want you to understand that I am not a bad person. Is that too much to ask?

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“By "real", do you mean the ones that charge $200,000 - $250,000 for a useless bachelor's degree in art history or critical studies, bankrupting the students and their parents for decades?”

You are free to learn what you want and use it the way you want to. I don’t see a state university saying “90% of our Philosophy degree students secured a job in their field within 6 months of graduation!”. Academic research papers are useless?? Wow, you are what is wrong with education today.

You sound angry, and your most recent post says it all. You are defending this fake “University” to save your own job. Kind of selfish, isn’t it? You wouldn’t send your kids there. Finally, you wouldn’t recommend it as a workplace, but since YOU work there, you subscribe to the DeVry way, it’s all ok!

If it becomes wrong, we’ll just change it.

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Very good comments!...These school were often good strong places to go to get more of a real-world-usable education, both practical and in demand. I know many grads who are very sharp and would be successful, partly because they were determined individuals, showed up, did the classwork & generally went above & beyond what was needed. So to lump all grads into the wastebasket of shame is truly sad and very shortsighted. These students should not be sullied by the foolish, short-sighted system baloney instituted during recent years of survival mentality.

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Glad you enjoyed it--someone needs to cut holes in the self-righteous church-lady moral outrage that is destroying my future chances of continued employment, and that of my students. So I will confirm what you already suspect. The answer to your question is "no". I don't recommend it for my own children--they are going to traditional colleges because that's what makes the most sense for them. They are moderately-high achieving mainline students with potential for semi-competitive schools. That's not who DeVry, Phoenix, Strayer, Kaplin, Capella, Western Governors, ASU, SNHU, or any of the rest of online/for-profit serve best.

If my children were 27-33 year-olds who were taking their second chance at college, and had an employer paying for them to complete a degree at night or online, it would be a different story. That's who onlines and FP schools serve best. But now, of course, after Daniel Hamburger's recent betrayals, I can't honestly recommend it to anyone. It's not for the quality of the classes, as I've mentioned before. I don't pass those who don't deserve it, and I don't cut corners.

Keep in mind that after all the talk about poor quality students, open admissions, rushed instruction, outdated curriculum, that it's overly judgmental HR folks who will see to it that the education in question has no value. Their prejudice against DeVry and other FP students may have basis in their experience with previous candidates, but it's a prejudice nonetheless. It's a judgmentalism that blames students for go through an educational attempt at all. The self-righteous indignation against DeVry alums--all of these horrible comments about people throwing away resumes as soon as they see DeVry on them--you can see who's helping to wreck DV from the outside. It's all of you looking down your noses even if you don't have cork-sniffer degrees yourselves--and maybe because you don't have them--that are crumpling up the hopes of those just try to make something of themselves, to get ahead of where they had been. Isn't that what education is for--to move forward, no matter where you started from? When you throw away a resume, you throw away a person without even giving them a chance.

And no, I really don't recommend it as a place to work.

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I think someone who is serious about learning & getting a good education can do so at Devry, at least if they don't get rid of all the good faculty. The issue is flooding the school with too many students who are not serious or too lacking in fundamentals needed, or are there just to pick up some financial aid. Good students improve the school reputation, bad student do the opposite--so where do you want to spend your money.

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hey :

That's a very amusing rant. Would you recommend kids in your family to go to Devry then?

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There are certainly difference between the types of schools (taught many years at both), each with their advantages. What is most appalling are many of the students at the FP schools could barely be called students. Gave a hwk assignment to 40 students and maybe 5 handed in on time, mostly as illegible garbage. Taught similar class at a college, maybe 5 didn't turn in at the due dates & the 35 that turned in were very clear, thoughtful, and correct. Really just NO comparison at all. It is not that the FP schools can't get good students, but they spend far far too much time trying to get ANYONE they possibly can to attend. Those may need several months or years of remediation before they should even consider taking college classes. Has nothing to due with buildings, tenure, etc...I had too many FP tech students who had NO idea how to even multiply 2 numbers, let alone anything technical. Again, massive remediation, not forced enrollment, is needed in such cases.

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Finally, someone with a freaking brain.

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"My classes were good classes, and my students got good experiences."

There are opportunities for you in the online teaching platforms. It will take some time to put distance from your DV association. Why? The new employer wants to avoid the possibility that the employees from this employer will not taint their operations with DV concepts.

I wish you the best

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Real colleges and universities hate for profits.

By "real", do you mean the ones that charge $200,000 - $250,000 for a useless bachelor's degree in art history or critical studies, bankrupting the students and their parents for decades? The ones that coldly calculate your "expected contribution"--every last cent that they think you can possibly give them--when your child applies? Do you mean the ones that have graduate assistants teaching classes in large lecture halls, because the professors are too busy writing useless academic "research" papers that make no difference to anyone except their own publication lists? The ones that constantly hound alumni for donations so that they can pay administrators more and hire more adjuncts instead of full-time faculty?

For the record, there are only about 50 "real" colleges in the US (some would say that there are only 11), check the elite rankings...your local Podunk State U. is probably just as much of a joke, and a bad one at that. There is likely little "noble" about it. I gave a test lecture at one of them a few years back, and their students were too unprepared to understand the content--the teacher had been wasting their time for weeks with simple math instead of the tech concepts that they were supposed to be learning. He was about to retire, you see, and they were too nice to put him out to pasture yet. Tenure, and all that. Slide slowly into senility and incompetence, and no one notices....

Devry Collects state and federal grants, military aid and Pell grants (read: free money for 'students' that goes back into the Devry upper management and shareholder pockets.

And all of the oh-so-noble college presidents elsewhere work for free? Is that true? They don't collect any money? Chancellors, Provosts, Deans? They are the 'upper management' of your Podunk State U. and you can bet that they are just as well paid, if not more so, than anyone in a similar position at an FP. SCs take tons of money from students in the form of tuition and line their own pockets with it as they destroy the notion of maintaining a college 'faculty'. Adjuncts are cheaper. Or the new twist...sadistic "temporary" faculty appointments to get around union regulations. One-year renewable contracts, driving this profession down further into its grave. People with the highest educational achievements possible in the US...what do we do with them? Let's throw them away, they are a dime a dozen. Those are your heroes. They hate educational achievement and resent the folks with doctorates, and so treat them like a cheap labor force of cattle.

This money could be going to state funded colleges and u's that really need it.

Sure! It could also be going to start business franchises, or to save the whales--it isn't. What are the state colleges going to do with it? Buy new buildings instead of fixing old ones, grease a few palms, hire more admissions folks, pay administrators better, and hire more adjuncts. If you are an "actual" (tenure-track or tenured) faculty member you have to get your own grant funding, and even that has nothing to do with making teaching better. Elite profs do "research" while their students are neglected by TAs for a four-year binge drinking fest. Not to mention campus s-xual assaults, and fraternity hazing deaths. That's quality education! So much better than DeVry! Your system is broken, too, in different ways. You could argue that it's far more broken. You shouldn't idolize what you don't understand.

Students are also funneled away by slick sales techniques.

Selling is illegal? Oh no! Better tell the *sshats who call my phone 24-7 with telemarketing scams. Better not get a job in retail. Selling is bad! What a stupid comment. Your local Podunk State U. will hound students relentlessly when it smells blood. They send email constantly--tipped off by the SAT and ACT folks, and send tons of printed material in the mail. It's shameful what your local state Podunk is doing to the environment. And yet you should be so proud! They are so noble! And they use emotional pressuring just as much. Belonging, achievement, knowledge....it's all emotional blackmail used on minors. Again, the goal seems to be to collect $200K per student to build new buildings and attract more expensive administrators. That's what your hero schools are about. They never lower tuition, they only raise it. They hire fewer and fewer tenure-track faculty every year. But the buildings are so nice and shiny! Your heroes are destroying the future of our children and their parents through economic emotional manipulation and the pointless demands of a job market that insists on everyone having a bachelor's degree.

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Real colleges and universities hate for profits. Devry Collects state and federal grants, military aid and Pell grants (read: free money for 'students' that goes back into the Devry upper management and shareholder pockets. This money could be going to state funded colleges and u's that really need it. Students are also funneled away by slick sales techniques. The states should be ashamed of themselves for giving away taxpayer money to them.

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why are any faculty or staff, who have to be aware of the situation, choosing to remain?

I have been applying to other jobs for the last four years. I came close last year to almost landing something. I can't walk away when I know no one will be willing to hire me. It takes about a year to get an academic job, and it's an uphill battle with DeVry on my resume (even buried on page 2 in a single paragraph). I feel like employers want us to be "punished" for working there, and so it may be easier to get a job after being laid off by the company than while you are still working there. They want you to do the march of shame down the unemployment line. Then you will have done your penance and can be rehired for a lower position. Some of the most awful, judgmental people I have met have been in HR. Excessive HR judgmentalism is its own kind of stupidity, but it is the gauntlet we all have to run now.

Mostly, I feel like the 'silver bullet' is the one that's going into my head on the day that I get laid off. I will live stream it. At least someone will know that I tried, that I cared for my students and did the best that I could for them. I am collateral damage in Daniel Hamburger's profit-mongering and Rob Paul's incompetence. The two of them raped my career and I was too stunned to do anything but just step outside of myself and pretend that it was happening to someone else. My classes were good classes, and my students got good experiences. But I am a piece of human refuse now and none of it matters. I don't matter anymore. I've come to understand that now.

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On the subject of what are the faculty waiting for, I can only speak for myself. I'm waiting to be let go so I don't have to pay back the hefty tuition benefit! The cursed golden handcuffs that keep me -- and apparently several others -- chained to this disaster.

In the meantime, I am already working to distance myself from the DeVry name. I've temporarily put my dissertation on hold and taken on a couple of part-time jobs so I'll have some recent, relevant experience in my field outside of my work for DeVry. Because of that, DVU is no longer the top entry on my resume, nor the only recent academic position on my CV.

My advice is to not keep all your eggs in the DeVry basket. Show the world that you're a capable professional who is not defined by the misdeeds of one employer. That way, there's a chance that you won't be irrevocably s---ed under when it finally goes down. By the sound of the recent earnings call, that day is looming near.

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If you listened to or read the transcripts of LW’s earnings report last week, in which she mentioned that as of yet, no ‘silver bullet’ has been found to reverse conditions, then you know it’s time.

The search for the solution has included layoffs, the contraction of the university’s physical footprint, and a reduction in ad buys. None of that seems to have worked, although it’s likely that in an attempt to ‘right-size’ by downsizing, management will continue the process. Maybe the ‘silver bullet’ will turn up. Do you really want to wait to find out?

Maybe the ‘silver bullet’ can be found in the form of a ‘white knight’, a company which will swoop in and buy DeVry. There would have been a time when owning DeVry would have been a real coup: a top-tier, if not the top career education facility in the country, with a storied history and a sterling reputation for helping students achieve their dreams, and the home of cutting edge educational technology. But don’t count on the phone to ring. Years of management incompetence, due in part to poor leadership choices, hubris displayed by management at all levels in dealing with faculty and staff (can any of you recall a meeting where you were consulted, and not informed of a new policy?) not to mention greed and sloppiness trumping vision have made us so ordinary, that in the recent spate of mergers within the for-profit sector, it’s doubtful DeVry is even part of the conversation. And, don’t forget, the university paid a fine for conduct unbecoming; that’s saddled us all with some kind of invisible scarlet letter and forced us all into some kind of academic ‘perp-walk’ for the next year.

Then again, perhaps the ‘silver bullet’ could be found in the form of a sale for parts? A transfer of proprietary technology, or that certain je ne sais quoi which gave DeVry its cachet. At one point faculty probably counted as an asset sure to catch any suitor’s eye. But the last three years of staff reductions, some really dubious personnel choices about who stayed and who went, and the brutal mishandling of faculty who were left has probably obliterated that attribute. And, a buyer might ask, if the company is in such sad straits, why are any faculty or staff, who have to be aware of the situation, choosing to remain? Two of the board members are leaving; they must know something; what are faculty waiting for?

The longer faculty remain in place while the university declines in value, so do their fortunes. Sinking ships create a suction effect as they go under, pulling down with them anything or anybody not far enough away.

by | Post ID:

She's saying "We'd like very much to be done with the old DeVry segment of our business. We're taking 'cost reduction' (i.e., layoff and campus closing) steps in that direction. We expect this to keep up indefinitely, until this segment burns itself out".

by | Post ID:

Would someone kindly disentangle the gibberish and bus-speak? 3, 4, or 15% of nothing is still nothing...so, I don't see the hope implied on behalf of DeVryWorks. What is the "urgency"? Thrive or collapse? Swim or sink? Fish or cut bait?

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