Thread regarding ITT Educational Services Inc. layoffs


How to destroy your own "product"

The one factor which stories by and others tend to miss in this whole saga is exactly how ITT degrees came to be considered sub-standard by employees and academic faculty.

In their determined effort to run the business by the numbers the management measured all sorts of KPIs such as student module completion rate and student module pass rate and used these factors when determining which academic staff could teach which modules. Likewise, the overall student completion rates and pass rates (along with other measures) were used to fire departmental chairs and deans. By these actions, ITT Tech lost many academic staff who were actual great instructors and/or academic administrators but who would not reduce academic standards simply to meet a quota target.

The use of the word "quota" above is fully justified. The one measure that ITT Tech did not make was any relative measure of the abilities and aptitudes of incoming students. Without that measure, target completion and pass rates were then made the responsibility of the academic department. That is a quota system pure and simple. Meantime, the recruiters were congratulated on meeting their recruitment targets no matter where the recruits were found.

With all of the above it was inevitable that too many students were passed without the level of knowledge that the degree might have otherwise suggested and as a consequence the reputation of the degrees suffered with employers.

As ITT Tech's reputation suffered it became harder for it to attract either capable students or capable instructors but despite that HQ still wanted the same pass rates thus creating a spiral effect as the value of the degrees themselves were largely destroyed.

None of the above means that there were not many individual success stories. There were still many great teachers passing through ITT Tech's doors - just not enough of them. Likewise, some hard working students had enough exposure to great teachers that they made something of the opportunity. Those success stories could however not overcome the fact that on average the quality of the education offered by ITT Tech had fallen while at the same time as the price of graduating was rising.

Kevin Modany and his team at HQ were presumably either too blind to see the above or understood what was happening but chose to ignore it and lean on ITT Tech's respectable past while depending on intense lobbying to provide a smoke screen for their activities.

It could have been so different, but that would have required a management team who actually cared about education and understood the balance between their duties as educators given access to a publicly-supported funding system and their duties to shareholders. Kevin Modany and team appear to have only understood their duties to shareholders and the result is the inevitable culmination of the past few weeks.

This is a sad ending for what started as The Sams Technical Institute founded in Indianapolis in 1963. The Sams publishing house published many technical books for many years and were known to electronics hobbyists and professionals alike. It is hard to imagine that the institute's proud history has been largely destroyed, but it has indeed been destroyed apparently at the hands of a bean counter who forgot to count all the relevant beans.

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anybody else on this blog?

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"and had no respect for the institution that was paying him a salary !!!!"

Do you seriously think that those of us with graduate degrees, current industry experience who were there to actually teach students had any respect for any of the Kool-Aid drinking parts of ITT Tech? Seriously? I had to mark and correct their exam answer sets before I used them and regularly removed or reworded question because of mistakes. If that makes you think I reckon my knowledge was superior to whoever set the exam then yes it was!

Of course ITT Tech didn't think I should waste my time by correcting their exams. They would far prefer I just give everybody As and Bs and be done.

I actually thought that the administrative side of the house behaved like a cult. The only sane conversations in that place were those in the academic area when the doors were safely closed.

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I can't believe somebody posting that didn't obey any rules. No midterm or final ??? Definitely somebody who thought that he is right in everything and had no respect for the institution that was paying him a salary !!!! I wouldn't like somebody like that in my company. Whenever you are hired in a company you either adopt the culture or you just leave or get fired. It seems unlikely there was such a lack of supervision on such employee. Anyway I think it's fine bashing Itt, it was the failure of its executives establishing a culture of corruption which was reinforced with such ridiculous mandatory assignments established by lisa Burr. But reading the post about someone who basically was stolen his salary from Itt makes me think why Lisa Burr had to create those mandatory assignments. An instructor as rogue as the one described in such post is not a good fit for any company.

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When we did phoneathons to encourage previous students to return to school, I faked my logs and rarely ever talked to students..

How dare you---now look what happened, the school is defunct. You should be on corrective action & have to pay for the coffee.

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I put my job on he line every day for over a decade by conscientiously objecting to all of the ridiculous rules and regulations imposed on us by headquarters and ACICS. This is not to say that I disobeyed every rule, and I certainly did not break any law. I could not AND would not reduce the standard of education that was expected of my students in industry.

Here is my confession:

1) I never once gave an ITT midterm and final

2) I continually used outside textbooks and sources to supplement (and often replace) the one assigned to the course

3) When we did phoneathons to encourage previous students to return to school, I faked my logs and rarely ever talked to students. Those that I did talk to, I would often steer them clear of returning to ITT

4) I trained my new employees on how to survive inside the system and to cheat it in order to protect them from the unreasonable demands that would make them want to quit

5) I designed MY OWN curriculum and only used ITTs as a baseline. My curriculum WAS relevant to the needs of industry and local employers because I could actually listen to my advisory committee and make change at a local level that I knew would NEVER come at a corporate level.

6) I only talked students into staying at ITT if I knew they would be the exceptional ones

7) I fraternized with students

8) And MUCH, MUCH, more!

Never once did I or my faculty get caught. And I NEVER, EVER, EVER passed a student that didn't deserve it. When you got through my courses and my programs you deserved it.

How did I get away with this for so many years? I was appreciated by both my faculty and students. There were times I was investigated for wrong-doings but my students and employees had my back. As such, I had many success stories as a instructor/chair despite what was going on around me in programs I had no control over.

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At some point it seems the minds of the top executives must have gone off the rails. Due to greed, ego, whatever it was, they had to set aside their sense of basic human decency in order to keep their fraud scheme going.

It couldn't have been an accident that they did everything right -- for milking a fraud education scheme for over a decade.

Think of it this way -- if you wanted to deliberately run an education company scam, and understood the shortcomings of ACICS (or willingness to cooperate with your scam), the psychology of your prospective students, the complacency of the DOE, etc, wouldn't you do just what Modany did?

Modany had to run the business into the ground, because the company could not stand up to any real scrutiny. Once it became apparent last spring that ITT-Tech's scam accreditor was getting the ax, Modany knew he had to run the ship aground -- the company would never stand up to the scrutiny of a legitimate accreditor, because any real inspections would reveal the extent of the fraud. The nautical analogy is, scuttle the ship to hide the evidence.

Modany conveniently began ranting about DOE and political conspiracy big time, last April, when he knew he was facing real scrutiny. A brilliant touch on his part, an approach he expanded on over the summer. Until at the end actually claimed DOE forced him to pull the plug! Sounded like DOE was at the headquarters in Carmel with a sword hanging over his head!

Modany doesn't even have the balls of Madoff, who finally admitted what he was up to.

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"The famous engagement report promoted by Feichtner created an environment of corruption in academics that to this day lots of instructors try to forget."

Were Feichtner and Modany really so stupid that they didn't understand the impact of their bizarre KPI system would be? Or did they just not care as long as the money rolled in?

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The famous engagement report promoted by Feichtner created an environment of corruption in academics that to this day lots of instructors try to forget. The biggest problem is that people with no background in Academic Administration took over ITT and began to care only about the numbers. The final product which is the quality of education suffered the most. Deborah Brent was famous for firing everyone who was not in agreement with her. It is not by chance that she is mentioned in Lipscomb's whistle blower lawsuit ("dig in their pain"). Predatory practices and corruption to even the highest levels, where the executives and the board of directors never saw more than how much money they could pocket.

It was about time. Lots of students saved their skins.

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"Did anyone try contacting James Anders or Erica Bisch?"

Erica Bisch was a former district manager and campus director and AFIAK not a qualified HR professional. I doubt any approach there would have been productive.

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What about HR--- why weren't they taking action when this was going on? Did anyone try contacting James Anders or Erica Bisch?

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I agree with - it was a culture of total intimidation and a lot of employees afraid for their jobs due to the terrible economy. It will still be a mystery for a long time how a tiny narcissistic psychopath and his equally troop of numbers crooks ran this school into the ground.

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Everyone was part of the problem at ITT-Tech.

People writing in here who say "I did everything right" and then accuse others of dropping the ball were no doubt part of the problem themselves.

How can anyone seriously say they worked for ITT-Tech for many years yet say they never lowered their academic standards, or that they never coerced an unfit prospect into signing up for classes? The whole system was built on admitting as many people as possible, and lowering the bar as far as possible. No employee could have somehow avoided playing a part in it, and those of you who claim that you are innocent and your local campus was amazing are the most delusional of all.

The only way to move forward from this mess is to recognize that we all played a part. You can't get off the hook by claiming you personally never did anything wrong yourself, and just try to blame others. Questions to ask are how come it was so hard to change anything, when we did see things were not being done properly?

The first quarter I worked for ITT-Tech as an adjunct, several years ago, an old timer who was showing me the ropes gave me some advice. He told me to change whatever I needed to in the curriculum on my own, without telling any supervisors or anyone in the administration. That was how he coped with the system, and he was considered an excellent teacher by all measures, and was still teaching for ITT-Tech until it closed down.

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You don't say what position you were in. If you were on the academic side then in "20+" years you saw lowering of academic standards. Did you call them out? Probably not. Those who didn't were part of the problem.

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I've become so weary of reading the miserable experiences of my colleagues at ITT Tech. Certainly no job is without its drawbacks or annoyances, but I seem to remember far more "positives" in my 20+ years. Regardless of the reasons it failed, most if us went to work every day and concentrated on helping potential and then active students realize their dreams and goals. I, for one, enjoyed my experience and all that I learned. I feel proud of the countless success stories in which I had even the smallest part. Please don't think for one moment I not angry at and disappointed with the people who brought it down. I was "laid off" with no notice, no severance and no insurance. But I decided to take all that I learned and move on and NOT to dwell on the negatives. I will keep in contact with many of the spectacular people who've become my friends and I will make new ones. I lost a. great job as did so many but a new one is right around the corner. Dwelling on the past will prevent me (or anyone) from embracing the future and I urge all of you to try to do the same. ITT gave us a wonderful experience and we need to use rest experience to learn, grow, and go on to productive and fulfilling lives.

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The SE DM insisted my director write a formal final warning as she believed writing a manager up would ensure the manager and their department meet budgets. She thought it was motivating.

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"In what way were you lacking to warrant a final written warning? I'd picture someone who was chronically absent, didn't do their work, unreliable, poor team player, etc. This seems rather far-fetched, but I suppose it is ITT."

That dean was not lacking in any reasonable sense, but this is how ITT corporate grades their full-time academic staff. I was a chair, and got "3" on the only PP&E I received while working there (scale of 1-5 where 1 is perfect and impossible to attain, and 5 means you're about to be fired). The metrics used were often outside the control of the person being measured. For example, chairs were measured on the number of reentry students we got (from a number quota system generated by HQ each term). Miss your quota, your measure on the PP&E gets dropped. Dropped students gave up on their program and you couldn't get them to reenter? That was your fault!

Deans had it worse than chairs, as poor measures on chair evaluations deducted also from the dean's.

I was with ITT for under a year (7 mos. as a chair, and 3 mos. as adjunct), and my experience was somewhat enjoyable only as an adjunct. The student success rates and engagement rates were bulls#!t, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the set-up-to-fail annual performance evaluation system ITT used for full-time academic staff.

Discuss with HR? LOL! You obviously never worked full-time in an academics role with this clown college...

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The SE DM insisted my director to do it

---why?

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I got written final warning in 2012 as my year end PP&E was a 4.

In what way were you lacking to warrant a final written warning? I'd picture someone who was chronically absent, didn't do their work, unreliable, poor team player, etc. This seems rather far-fetched, but I suppose it is ITT.

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I got written final warning in 2012 as my year end PP&E was a 4. The only 4 in all my years with the company. My second final warning write-up was in the March 2015 quarter as we exceeded drop budget in the December 2014 quarter. The SE DM insisted my director to do it and HR approved so why would I discuss with HR?

I have stories about the SE HR Manager.

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Wonderlic was required for VA and foreign students, passing score was 13. Had a foreign student that scored a 2, told the rep to move on, oh the DOR was pissed. Just another day at ITT. LOL

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I agree with prior comments. Every time we heard a speech (or 'town hall') meeting, Modany would repeat that our priority is the students. His actions defied his words. His priority was his bonus and perks, and nothing else. It is reprehensible how the board allowed him to continue to pat himself on the back and approved his bonuses the past few years while enrollment and stock was going down.

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I was written up on final warning twice during my 7 years as Dean.

What do you mean? It sounds like you were doing great. What would warrant being written up? did you discuss with HR?

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"Well, he chose clones."

Some clones then got further promotion. Those layoff letters were signed by Erica Bisch the VP of Human Resources, a former district manager and former director. Qualifications for any of these positions? A BA in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science.

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We always had a Wonderlic test at Levittown, PA. Even at the bitter end.

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Don't think Modany was blind. He was so self-centered he had to have curricula changes get his approval. He had the yes or no in EVERY decision even though he was a clueless moron when it came to education (sounds like most campus director's doesn't it? Well, he chose clones.)

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I started as Dean before the changes to curriculum and open enrollment. These were two big factors in losing the best VP of Academic Affairs, Dr. Michael Linzmaeir. He saw the writing on the wall and resigned. They then hired the moron Dean Kempter, and a bigger moron could not be found. I once received an email response from him that started with "seriously". I asked him who he was speaking to as I thought he meant to respond to a friends email.

As the Dean, I had amazing staff, school chairs and faculty. We never lowered our standards for students, and we didn't just pass them through. I was written up on final warning twice during my 7 years as Dean. I never changed my management style or what I expected from my team or students. If they wanted to fire me, so be it.

These same students were assisted for days after we were terminated on September 6th. Their concern was how we were doing. We let them know that the most important thing was helping them through the mess Modany and his henchmen created.

For those campuses that lowered their standards and student expectations, you helped Modany get what he wanted, millions of dollars at the expense of many.

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Employees that really succeeded at ITT-Tech, moving up the ladder, had to be pathological liars. And the number one person they had to fool was themselves. Then the students.

Clearly ACICS was not equipped to handle this mess. Anyone who was basically honest and had background in legitimate education could have reasoned out that the picture was not adding up.

Of course, the problems go way back to high school, middle school, elementary school teachers who say they don't really get math, parents who say the hate math or just aren't around at all. Many of the students admitted at ITT-Tech were passed along through the grades most of their lives. Modany and his ilk were shrewdly capitalizing on all these previous failures, to put a system in place that was basically just one more failure.

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So many levels of irony here. My personal library of math books has a SAM text on vocational math, that I acquired 20 years ago at a community college, used for students enrolled in diesel mechanic program. I kept it around for so long because it was well written in many ways -- great explanations and practice for basic math skills, plus lots of real world problems in a variety of disciplines.

At ITT-Tech I mainly taught science and physics, and my students had obvious problems with math. It turns out they are really not held accountable for knowing basic math, at the level of my vintage SAM book. Basic math and elementary algebra is a component of a first quarter problem solving class, but they can pass the class without passing the math portion. Then the next quarter they are dumped into a two quarter series on algebra and trig, with a standard college level textbook.

Most of these students would have been better off using the SAM book for the first quarter, then using an elementary algebra text the second quarter, etc. In my mind, admitting students of all academic levels, then not addressing their individual academic needs responsibly, is criminal fraud.

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Spot on!!! I worked during the good old time days at ITT Tech when certain levels of academic standards mattered. It was good!!! At the time ITT Tech produced success, but those days ended eith the "open enrollment" no admissions exams invented student success rates that put pressure on academics to pass them all just to keep jobs and lets not forget at the end we were counting beans that should have never been counted in the first place.. Greed of upper level management is also something not to forget about. In the 90's students were paying 24k for Associates and obtained 30-35k in field jobs.Now that was a ROI.... At the end studendts paid close. to 45k for an Associates degree and majority were not even qualufied to get the 30-35k in field jobs.... Feel bad for students and for hardworking employees working on invented spreadsheets tracking the untrackable. .

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Good summation. One thing I would like to add is the open acceptance policy. If you had a HS diploma or GED you were qualified to start. Unless the student had a foreign diploma a minimum Wonderlic score was not needed. Longer tenured employees spoke about a minimum score of 21, then 17, then 13, and poof no test required. Education for all. Is that true?

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I was at ITT 10 years and never once was there an improvement or update to the product. Every aspect of the classroom experience was cheap and dated. Heck...remember the spelling errors in the course catalog...carried over and over, year after year? I remember our library assistant going to Goodwill to buy old computer instructional books...just to have something on the shelves.

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