Corporate/Organizational Interviews for
Regis Accreditation Self Study
Prepared by Ron Pevny
May 8, 2007
Overview of the Project:
As Regis University prepares its self study for its re-accreditation process, the corporations and
other organizations with which Regis has strong ties are critical sources of feedback on Regis’
perceived strengths and areas of weakness. In order to gather this feedback, Regis Assistant
Provost for Accreditation, Steve Jacobs, asked me to interview several of these corporations and
Steve developed a list of ten targeted potential interviewees and sent e-mails to them announcing
this project and asking for their assistance. The intent was to target a group of organizations and
corporations that reflects experience with a wide range of programs in the various Schools at
Regis. Eight of the ten targeted interviewees responded. I then called these individuals to set up
interview appointments. These in-person interviews took place in the Denver Metro area on
April 26th and 27th, 2007. They ranged in length from 30 minutes to one hour. All the
interviewees appeared very willing to provide input for Regis.
The Areas of Inquiry:
Steve Jacobs provided a list of questions/themes for the interviewees. He and I had an
understanding that these questions would help shape the interviews, but that the most valuable
feedback would be gained by focusing primarily on what the interviewees wanted to talk about.
Interviewee input was to be qualitative rather than quantitative. Given the time limitations and
the interviewees’ differing types of engagement with Regis, not all of the themes were addressed
with each interviewee. The following are the theme areas:
Interviewee perceptions of Regis
Perceptions of Regis among associates and colleagues of the interviewee
Areas in which interviewee engages with Regis
Regis’ history (if any) of solicitation of input from interviewee regarding curricular
Regis’ history of solicitation of input (if any) from interviewee regarding evaluation of
Regis’ academic and other services
Suggestions for improving/strengthening Regis performance
The rich details of these interviews can be found in the individual interview write-ups that
accompany this summary. The following are the key points that stood out for me.
Regis is highly respected in the Denver area. It is viewed as having excellent academic
quality. However, the theme that repeatedly emerged was Regis’ strong focus on the
Jesuit mission of service and values. Values and service are what distinguish Regis from
its competitors. These themes are seen as being woven into the total Regis experience ---
as being real and tangible, and not merely attractive tag lines for Regis advertisements.
Interviewees spoke of how they chose Regis to get a good academic education and in the
process found their lives changing at the level of deepest values and sense of purpose.
Regis personnel go beyond the call of duty in their relationships with corporations and
organizations. Many stories were told of how Regis staff do more than staff from other
schools in promoting collegial relationships.
Several interviewees contrasted Regis with the University of Phoenix, making the point
that U. of Phoenix is seen as a “diploma mill” or as a business, while Regis is viewed as a
provider of education of the whole person.
Chris James from Sun Microsystems emphatically made the point that, in dealing with
the corporate community, Regis (and other schools) need to act more like businesses ,
moving at the speed of business and with the efficiency of business and less like slow
moving academic institutions. By moving too slowly, Regis loses potential opportunities
Regis is perceived as having done little in any formal, structured way to solicit input on
curricular matters and evaluation of its academic and other programs.
In this era of tight competition, Regis was advised to develop a promotional strategy that
involves going to the highest (CEO if at all possible) level to make the case that in an age
where corporations and other organizations are increasingly concerned with how to
recruit and keep a quality workforce, Regis’ education of the “total person” can be
invaluable in meeting the need.
Some of the interviewees would be eager and willing to serve on Regis Advisory Boards
I was struck by the strength of the positive perceptions of Regis, and the difficulty several
interviewees had in thinking of ways Regis can improve. If these corporations and organizations
are reflective of the larger Denver area community (and I see no reason to think this is not the
case), I suggest that Regis focus even more on developing partnerships and strengthening those
internal qualities, such as business efficiency and fast responsiveness, that allow such partnering
efforts to bear fruit. And perhaps most importantly, in competing with schools like the
University of Phoenix and others that serve adults in non-traditional formats, capitalize on what
appears to be Regis’ greatest strength, quality academics from a school that educates the total
for Accreditation Self Study
Ron Pevny - May, 2007
American Physical Therapy Association; Ellen Caruso; 303-694-4728
Interviewee Background: Ellen and her husband, through their company “The Caruso Group,”
manage several national associations, including the Colorado Chapter of the American Physical
Therapy Association for the past 27 years and the Home Health and Hospice Association. Ellen
is also a journalist who writes about education issues. A new niche for their company is creating
audio conferences for various organizations.
Perceptions of Regis: Ellen knows Regis only through its Physical Therapy program, and to a
lesser extent its Nursing programs. From the people who hire physical therapists, she hears that
the PT skills of Regis graduates are outstanding. She likes that Regis hires practitioners to teach,
and not just academics. Schools need to be very involved with professional associations, and
Regis serves as the model. Ellen personally is most interested in the leadership qualities of PT
graduates, important skills beyond technical competence. Regis models leadership.
As contrasted with Regis’ competitor in PT education, the University of Colorado Medical
Center, Regis faculty are always leading the way in Association activities. Regis students come
to conferences and see their professors there, and this becomes ingrained in these students. By
participating in Association activities, students learn a lot about what it takes to be a leader in
their profession She thinks (but isn’t sure) that Regis PT students are required to join the
Association and to attend at least one conference during a certain time period. This isn’t the case
at C.U. Another example: Regis sends at least a dozen students to legislative breakfasts to learn
about and advocate for legislation that affects the PT field. CU often sends none. She gives a lot
of credit for all of this to Barbara Tschoepe who heads up PT education at Regis.
In the larger Physical Therapy community, Regis is held in the same high regard.
Suggestions for Improvement:
* Ellen said she is not sure, but thinks the Regis Nursing school could be doing more of the
leadership development work for its students that she sees the Physical Therapy program doing.
* Regis occasionally brings in outstanding speakers for its PT students and faculty. Due to
financial constraints, CU is not able to do so. Ellen would like to see Regis display more
collegiality toward CU by offering to co-sponsor with CU such speaking engagements. And to
collaborate more with the Association in helping to bring in top speakers so students from both
schools can benefit. She stressed that by displaying such collegiality, the entire PT profession
and Regis will benefit. There’s no need to be concerned that Regis will hurt itself competitively
by being more collegial.
Cherry Creek Schools; Jeanne Gilbert; 720-554-4282
Interviewee Background: Jeanne is Human Resources Director for the Cherry Creek Schools,
with responsibility for hiring all the teachers for the District. She also runs the Alternative
Licensure program. She has recently begun to teach in Regis’ Principal Certification program.
Perceptions of Regis: Regis is near the top of Jeanne’s preferences. She loves Regis as “small
and hands on. Students are ready to roll when they graduate.” Cherry Creek hires many teachers
who are in their second careers having real world experience. Her principals are very happy with
Regis graduates, who show lots of professionalism and do good work with special needs
students. She hires many people who are in Regis’ Fast Track teacher certification program. In
some teacher education programs, students don’t understand standards-based systems. Regis
graduates do. Because of her respect for Regis, Regis has been chosen to be Cherry Creek’s
affiliate for its Teacher Licensure program.
Jeanne loves placing Regis student teachers. If situations arise where student teachers have
problems, other schools blame the school district, while Regis focuses on being a partner in
solving problems. In general, Regis has been very accommodating in meeting Cherry Creek’s
needs. For example, Cherry Creek now wants its application process to be online. While other
schools balked, Regis immediately adjusted to meet this need. Regis representatives always
come to Cherry Creek’s orientation for new teachers; this is not true for many other schools.
One reason Regis is so good is that its instructors generally are teaching professionals, which is
not true at some other schools. Jeanne contrasted Regis with University of Phoenix, which she
doesn’t like as she considers it a diploma mill.
She likes the values/service orientation at Regis. This is really conveyed in the classroom, where
the teaching profession is presented as a “mission”.
Jeanne’s counterparts in other Denver Metro school districts seem to share her perceptions about
Engagement with Regis: In addition to the above, many Cherry Creek teachers are drawn to
Regis for its Master’s in Education.
Regis Solicitation of Curricular Input and Evaluation: Jeanne said she would love to serve on an
Advisory Board at Regis.
Suggestions for Improvement:
* An important next step is for Regis to get better at systematizing expectations for its courses
so that all instructors for a given course produce the same outcome.
* While Regis Teacher Education does use the faculty assessment process, there is not an
orientation for new teachers about how to use basic tools like relevant technology and Regis e-
* Jeanne’s job is to go to job fairs at colleges and universities. Unlike some other schools, Regis
doesn’t have job fairs focused only on education. It should begin to offer such fairs.
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless; Kevin Cory; 303-285-5245
Interviewee Background: Kevin is the Director of Human Resources for the Coalition, which
has 400 employees in Metro Denver working in clinics, child care centers, housing units and
other services to help transform the lives of the homeless. After a long career in business
management and communication, which included being a founding partner in a large high-tech
company, he decided to fulfill a long-term dream by earning his bachelor’s degree. He is a 2004
SPS graduate. While at Regis he had an “epiphany” that led to his choosing to work in the non-
profit field. He is currently pursuing his MBA at C.S.U.
Perceptions of Regis: Kevin holds Regis in the highest regard. Its focus on Jesuit education was
a big attraction for him, but he never anticipated how this would impact him. “It changed my
life.” Before Regis, his ideas of success only included status, career growth and increasing
income. His Regis education helped him to look at values and “meanings” for the first time --a
revelation that led to his committing to a life focused on service and his unlikely entry into non-
He did half of his degree online. The quality of the online courses as well as those that meet in
the classroom is “the best” compared to the University of Arizona and C.S.U., both of which he
has much personal experience with. His brother-in-law is a department head at U. of Arizona
and sees Regis’ online courses as being far superior to those at Arizona. Nearing graduation,
Regis Career Services provided valuable help as Kevin sought to get into the non-profit sector.
In his job he has dealings with the Social Work programs at both Regis and Denver University as
well as the Nursing programs. The quality of the social work graduates he hires from Regis is
the same as those from the highly acclaimed D.U.
Engagement with Regis: Since he’s been with the Coalition, he has reached out to Regis to
encourage Service Learning Internships. There is a good, synergistic win-win relationship with
Regis. He hasn’t been inclined to do as much of this with D.U. He tries to work with Regis and
to a lesser extent D.U. to see what their social work students need and to then create
volunteer/internship opportunities. And, he works with Coalition staff to see what assistance
they need and then he contacts these schools to find volunteers/interns. His head of Nursing, Deb
Hibdon, has had a great relationship with the Regis Nursing program.
Regis Solicitation of Curricular Input and Evaluation: A year after he graduated, someone from
Regis called Kevin to ask about his experience.
Suggestions for Improvement:
* As an HR practitioner, Kevin does not see Regis as being aggressive enough in making sure
corporations and organizations know what Regis does. When he talks to HR colleagues about
where their people use their tuition benefits, Regis is seldom mentioned. Regis does the
promotional things one would expect, but it needs to find a way to stand out---to take promotion
to the next level. The best way to get a warm corporate or organizational reception is to go to the
highest level decision makers ---often the CEOs--the ones who are most acutely aware of the
needs for a well-educated and developed workforce. He mentioned a Colorado “CEO support
group” that is always talking, with concern, about the needs to grow their people. In Kevin’s
ideal marketing process, the first step is to state the problem CEO’s are facing and then compel
them with why they should talk to Regis. Show them that Regis can help them with their talent
problems that seem to be getting bigger every day. He doesn’t think any schools do this well. If
Regis finds a way to do this better than the others, it will stand out with these decision makers.
* Lots of incredible people go to Regis. Get them involved in helping to promote Regis to their
CEOs. Regis suffers from the same thing the Coalition does ---lack of sufficient recognition of
why Regis is valuable to employers and employees.
* Regis struggles at its satellite campuses to get enough quality instructors. As Regis grows, it
is critical to maintain instructor quality. Make sure there is a dynamic process in place to
* His closing words: “Constantly push the envelope and challenge yourselves.”
Deloitte and Touche (now called Deloitte); Brigette Bustos ; 303-312-4748
Interviewee Background: Brigette is the Campus Recruiting Manager for Deloitte. Prior to
joining Deloitte, Brigette worked for Inroads, a non-profit whose mission is to help place
minorities in corporations and to sponsor programs to help develop these minority employees. In
this capacity she dealt with some 70 companies. For Deloitte, her job is to recruit accounting
graduates from colleges and universities., including Regis.
Perceptions of Regis: For Brigette, Regis University teaches values and not just curriculum. Her
friends speak of Regis as driven by a values system that strongly stresses social responsibility.
She sees Regis as being “higher class” than “a commuter school for professionals” such as the
University of Phoenix. To her mind, Regis is a place for education while U. of P. is a business.
Deloitte doesn’t recruit U. of P. but eagerly recruits Regis. She doesn’t like the way U. of P.
Regis does a great job of serving adult learners. There is value in appearing to be a “traditional”
school to companies that find traditional schools easy to understand and places like U. of P.
difficult to grasp.
Engagement with Regis: While with Inroads, this organization held trainings for their minority
students at Regis. She worked with Lynn Montrose and Karen Metzger and was very happy with
how the Inroads group was treated. She was also invited to be part of a roundtable panel
sponsored by the Regis Career Center for the Career Counseling staff. She has not had
experience with Regis’ satellite campuses.
Regis Solicitation of Curricular Input and Evaluation: She has not been asked to formally give
input to Regis on curricular matters. However, she has done so informally as she has been asked
to talk to accounting classes and, due to her relationship with certain Regis staff has been able to
express Deloitte’s needs. She has received some paper and e-mail surveys from Karen Metzger
regarding career services, but has never received surveys re: curriculum. Regis has been very
good at follow up after career fairs and recruiting sessions. Brigette would very much like for
Regis and other schools to approach Deloitte to talk about how to assure that the accounting
curriculum is state-of-the-art.
Suggestions for Improvement:
* Brigette sees Regis students being ill-equipped to engage in the recruiting process in the filed
of public accounting. She can see Regis accounting grads being very successful in industry.
However, the career path in public accounting with companies like Deloitte is different. Regis
doesn’t prepare its students to understand the career path differences between industry and public
accounting. Generally, traditional-aged students do better in public accounting than adults
already having career experience, because these adults don’t want to start at the bottom of a
totem pole, while 21 year-olds are willing to do so. She doesn’t think Regis SPS accounting
grads understand these realities, and she would be willing to talk to Regis accounting instructors
about this issue.
* Beta Alpha Phi is an accounting professional development group that should have a chapter at
Regis but doesn’t. She highly recommends starting a chapter.
* She believes that Regis’ Adult Programs should focus in their marketing more on the quality
of a Regis education, including the values emphasis, and less on the demographic factors and the
fact that SPS programs are for working adults. To her mind this approach makes Regis look too
much like University of Phoenix and similar schools.
Exempla-St. Joseph Hospital System; Barb Manor; 303-837-6500
Interviewee Background: Barb is the Director of Health Information Management for all three
hospitals in the Exempla-St. Joseph system. This department has about 120 employees. Many
employees go back to school to upgrade their skills, as this hospital system has a great tuition
reimbursement program --better than most hospitals. She has taught in the Regis School for
Health Professions for 15 years, currently teaching a capstone class. She is president of the
Colorado State Association for Health and Information Management.
Perceptions of Regis: A very good school that teaches much needed and often missing critical
thinking and writing skills. She hires Regis grads as well as grads from Regis’ only competitor
in the HIM field, Arapahoe Community College. She tends to offer positions to Regis grads prior
to opening them up to the wider world. As President of the State Association, she knows most
HIM Directors and says they regard Regis highly. A Regis student serves on the Association’s
Board. Barb does not know enough about Regis Health Professions programs other than HIM to
offer an evaluation.
Each Regis HIM student does two, three-week internships at two hospitals, with many interning
at Exempla-St. Joseph. Increasingly, students are also doing internships in non-hospital but
Regis Solicitation of Curricular Input and Evaluation: Barb contributes input about curricular
matters and offers evaluation of Regis’ Health Professions courses via her role as a Regis
instructor. She has had many opportunities to help revamp Regis’ Health curriculum to add more
computer courses. The Regis HIM program is as state-of-the art-as such a program can be. A
couple of years ago, someone from Regis came to the Hospital to film a video for marketing
purposes. She was asked for her perceptions of Regis and the quality of its Health Professions
Suggestions for Improvement:
* Regis is doing a better job than three years ago at weeding out students who won’t be
successful in the HIM field. It formerly seemed like they would take anybody. She has made
suggestions for how to do this and it appears Regis has listened. She would guess Regis
graduates now have a better pass rate on a national exam than previously.
* Barb would like to see Regis develop a HIM program that markets to high schoolers and not
just adult learners. Regis seems to feel adults are more successful in the HIM program. She
disagrees. Many of these younger people are excellent students, and the field needs younger
blood who will have long careers in the field. The State and National Associations and trying to
work on their national outreach. She would like to see Regis promote HIM at college fairs for
high schoolers. She acknowledges that it might be difficult to find instructors to teach HIM in a
more traditional format for younger students.
King Soopers; Shenia Ivey; 303-778-3073
Interviewee Background: Shenia is the Community Relations Manager for King Soopers. One
of her roles is to serve as Education Liaison. She earned her undergraduate degree and MBA
from Regis. She teaches “Leadership Management Challenge” (MBA 604) in the Regis MBA
program and will soon teach Professional Communication.
Perceptions of Regis: While she doesn’t hire many Regis graduates, because in the grocery
industry education is not as well embraced as it should be, she knows and respects Regis. It has
a culture that inspires every student at some level. She took a course on “Spirituality” that
changed her whole perception on service to others. For a required project, she and several other
overly-committed students volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House and loved it. In the
larger community, Regis has a great reputation. She seldom hears negatives except occasionally
complaints about price. However, Regis is competitively priced vis a vis University of Phoenix.
In her instructor role she has met many students who have transferred from U. of Phoenix to
Regis. They seem to expect and want a higher degree of accountability than they experienced at
U. of P.
Shenia spoke very positively about her experience with quality control for SPS faculty, including
the assessment process, faculty development opportunities, and opportunity for new faculty to
shadow experienced faculty before being assigned their own class.
As an instructor, she feels she can pick up the phone and call an appropriate someone and get
action if she feels something isn’t right. She cited an example of a tough situation involving the
way she held a student accountable. SPS supported Shenia’s decision in the matter and this
made her feel very good about working for such a school.
Regis Solicitation of Curricular Input and Evaluation: Shenia will occasionally call a King
Soopers employee who is a Regis student to ask how things are going. She has a good
qualitative sense of how Regis is doing. Her colleague at King Soopers, Steve DeCroce, is the
one who inspired her and her friends to pursue their degrees at Regis. She thinks he is a
Business Chair for SPS and sits on a Board that advises Don Schierling regarding corporate
needs for skills in Information Systems graduates.
Suggestions for Improvement:
* She has taught online classes and wonders if Regis can build some real-time interaction into
the classes. This helps build community. University of Phoenix has something in its online
protocol that requires that students log in during certain limited time periods ---a positive even if
it’s not “real time.”
Local Education Adult Resource Network (LEARN); Kathryn Tisdale; 303-735-
Interviewee Background: Kathryn, who works for the Office of Continuing Education at the
University of Colorado, is the C.U. Continuing Ed. Liaison to LEARN, which has been in
existence for two decades and is housed at C.U. She formerly served as LEARN president.
LEARN’s purpose is to coordinate three or four education fairs per month at Denver Area
corporations and at public sites like malls and libraries. LEARN members are a tight-knit, non-
competitive group who know that these education fairs benefit everyone. Most of the colleges
and universities that serve adult learners belong to and participate with LEARN.
Perceptions of Regis: Kathryn said it is always a pleasure to work with Regis and its LEARN
representatives. The process is easy and enjoyable. She thinks her colleagues would agree. She
feels confident in recommending Regis to potential students because she hears good feedback
about Regis. However, her familiarity with Regis is not comprehensive. The only negatives she
hears is that Regis is expensive. Her perception is that Regis SPS is more traditional in scope
than the University of Phoenix and other members.
Her positive impressions of Regis were enhanced recently when she read an article about a
woman who tried to start a gay/lesbian support group on campus and received much harassment
from certain students for doing so. While Regis did/could not lend its official support to such a
group, it stood up for this woman and denounced the hostility directed toward her. In the article
this woman expressed her respect for Regis for working to stop the harassment. Kathryn was
amazed at the stand for human dignity that Regis took, even though it could not support the
Other: Kathryn does not know enough about Regis to offer any more feedback.
Sun Microsystems; Chris James; 303-272-8877
Interviewee Background: Chris is the Sun Microsystems Chief Learning Officer for the
Americas, with responsibility for overseeing education and training for a large number of Sun’s
35,000 employees around the world, including 5,000 in Colorado. As Sun rotates its people
through high level positions, Chris, has held this position for three years, will be replaced by
someone else in three months.
Perceptions of Regis: Chris describes Regis as “a boutique university --small but beautifully
formed.” It executes what it does well. He has never heard a negative word about Regis’
academic programs, and hears more positives about Regis than many other schools. The
negatives he does hear have to do with organizational efficiency. See recommendations below.
Engagement with Regis: Chris’ biggest engagement with Regis has been in relation to the
“Wired Grant” which Regis SPS asked Sun to partner on. Again, see recommendations below.
Regis Solicitation of Curricular Input and Evaluation: Chris thinks Sun has had one contact in
the last three years with Regis asking for curriculum input. A colleague of his who formerly held
Chris’s position was (maybe still is) on an SPS Advisory Board and provided input in that
capacity. Chris believes that when people at corporations change roles, being on advisory boards
should go with the job description. Therefore, when his colleague changed roles at Sun, Chris
should have automatically taken his place on the Advisory Board. He feels it is the responsibility
of corporations like Sun to actively help universities, as this benefits the corporation, community
and schools. Several of Sun’s senior staff are on the advisory boards of various schools. Other
colleges, including C.U. Boulder, have asked him for help with curriculum ideas. He’s eager to
help, as long as the process is conducted professionally.
Suggestions for Improvement:
* Based on his experience with SPS and the “Wired Grant”, Chris recommends that Regis act
more like a business and less like a college in its partnerships. If this happened, there would
have been monthly reviews of progress rather than once or twice a year reviews. Then he gave
an example of how such more frequent contact would have benefited both Sun and Regis.
Recently, Chris needed an intern with certain skills. Sun advertised through its normal channels
and received few applications. Were there ongoing conversations with Regis, he would have
thought to bring up this need and Regis and its students would have had an inside track.
* Colleges in general don’t do enough to help students understand the realities of the workplace,
e.g., individual differences ala Myers-Briggs, how to start and manage a career, dealing with
transition, working in teams, working remotely, working internationally. Regis could get an
edge if it focused on such subjects.
* If there is not a Sun senior manager on a Regis Advisory Board, call Chris and ask for one.
They will be happy to comply.
* Web-based learning has become the “way of the world”. Blended learning experiences (with
both classroom and web-based components) is the ideal, and is the format Sun uses in its
trainings. People need the in-person interaction as well as the flexibility offered via online