CAMPUS PROFILE University of Phoenix

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					Campus Profile

UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX
T
          he University of Phoenix             ter for Distance Education or enrolling                 and learning model. Thus, proposed
          (UOP) was founded twenty             through the Online Campus.                              technology investments are accompa-
          years ago in Phoenix, Ari-                UOP is one of three major subsid-                  nied by cost/benefit analyses, a signifi-
          zona, as a private, for-profit       iaries owned and operated by Apollo                     cant component of the planning and
higher education institution whose mis-        Group, Inc., a for-profit higher educa-                 budgeting process.
sion is to provide high quality adult          tion corporation also headquartered in                       Planning at the University is very
education (students must be 23 years of        Phoenix. The other two are the recently                 much driven by the goal of growth within
age or older and employed to qualify for       acquired Western International Univer-                  the framework of continuing to offer
admission). Accredited in 1978 by the          sity and the Institute for Professional                 quality adult education. Technology is
North Central Association of Colleges          Development (IPD).1                                     seen as making a major contribution to
and Schools, UOP currently enrolls                                                                     both of these ends; according to UOP
31,000 students and employs approxi-           Technology—a strategic resource                         President William Gibbs, “If we want to
mately 4,000 faculty. The University of-            The University of Phoenix is unique                keep growing and improving our pro-
fers undergraduate degrees in business,        in its focus on delivering higher educa-                grams, technology must continue to be a
management, information systems,               tion to working adults, using a highly                  significant resource for the University.”
nursing, and accounting, and graduate          interactive and experience-based edu-                        Debra Kelin, vice president of the
programs in business, management,              cational model (see sidebar, facing                     University’s Mountain Region, describes
nursing, education, counseling, and            page). To the extent that technology                    technology as a “tool to help us achieve
computer information systems.                  supports that focus and educational                     three areas of importance to the Univer-
     Through innovative methods, in-           model, it is viewed as a valuable strate-               sity: quality, knowledge, and innova-
cluding distance education technolo-           gic resource in which UOP is willing to                 tion.” At the Colorado Campus, an Infor-
gies, the University offers educational        make major investments. All technol-                    mation Systems Advisory Committee has
access to working adults regardless of         ogy acquisitions and applications are                   been charged with envisioning the
their geographical location. Programs          directed at solving a business problem                  campus’s future in the Information Age
are offered at physical campuses and           or enabling a better way of doing busi-                 and proposing appropriate technology
learning centers in Arizona, California,       ness, as well as supporting the teaching                investments to enable that future.
Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana,                                                                       According to Todd Nelson, UOP’s
Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah,                                                                    executive vice president, while many
                                                    1
and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.                   IPD is a consulting company that                functions of the University are decentral-
Degrees are also offered through dis-          contracts with four-year colleges and uni-              ized to the campuses, there are nonethe-
                                               versities to market and/or run adult educa-
tance education programs to more than                                                                  less a number of key functions that are
                                               tion programs on their behalf. Currently IPD
3,100 students in all fifty U.S. states and    has eighteen such contractual agreements,
                                                                                                       highly centralized, and for which effec-
abroad, using the directed study and           serving more than sixty sites in eighteen U.S.          tive information systems are critical. “Ev-
teleconferencing options of UOP’s Cen-         states.                                                 ery problem we have, we try to address


                                                                    Information Services Organization

                                                                           President/Chairman of the Board
                                                                                  Apollo Group, Inc.
                                                      University                                                    Western        Institute for
                                                      of Phoenix                                                  International   Professional
                                                                                                                    University    Development
                                                              Learning               Vice President
                                                              Resource               for Information
                                                               Center                    Services


From the top, left to right: UOP President
William Gibbs, UOP Executive Vice Presi-                            Administrative     Consulting          Computer       Telecommunications
dent Todd Nelson, Online Campus Vice                                  Services          Services           Operations          Services
President Terri Hedegaard, Vice President
for Information Services Jan Baltzer, Learn-
                                                     Campus System            Customer           Network            Software
ing Resource Center Executive Director
Kurt Slobodzian                                       Administrators          Services           Services          Engineering
http://cause-www.colorado.edu/information-resources/ir-library/html/cem9636.html
                                                                                   CAUSE/EFFECT                  Volume 19 Number 3 Fall 1996

                                                                                                          This article is based on a visit to the Univer-
                                                                                                          sity of Phoenix headquarters by editor Julia
                              “Education that Goes to Work”                                               Rudy. The magazine’s Campus Profile de-
                                                                                                          partment regularly focuses on the informa-
                                                                                                          tion resources environment—information,
                        In a time of stabilization for many higher education institu-
                                                                                                          technology, and services—of a CAUSE
                        tions, why is the University of Phoenix experiencing signifi-                     member institution, to promote a better
                        cant growth, both in terms of new campuses and numbers of                         understanding of how information re-
                        students? John G. Sperling, founder and president of Apollo                       sources are organized, managed, planned
                        Group, Inc., the corporation that owns the University of                          for, and used in colleges and universities of
                                                                                                          various sizes and types.
                        Phoenix, attributes much of their success to focus , and to the
                        application of a teaching and learning model that is very
   John G. Sperling     attractive to working adults: “We specialize in delivering
       Founder                                                                                           vices, capturing input from the president
                        higher education to working adults. For twenty years, we have
                                                                                                         of Apollo Group, presidents of the three
known our mission and not varied from it. We also saw the demographic and social
                                                                                                         subsidiaries, Apollo Group’s chief finan-
trends—an increasingly older, more mature population in need of professional and
                                                                                                         cial officer, heads of the IS departments,
continuing education—and took aim at them. And from the beginning we treated our
                                                                                                         directors of major corporate depart-
students as customers. The most precious thing working adults have is time, so we
                                                                                                         ments, and several UOP regional vice
deliver education in a way that recognizes that, and also recognizes and comple-
                                                                                                         presidents. The committee focuses on a
ments their maturity, experience, and personal and professional responsibilities.”
                                                                                                         different topic at each meeting, so in
    Phrases such as student-centered learning, facilitated learning, lifelong learning,
                                                                                                         addition to the standing membership,
and learning outcomes and assessments have been part of the vocabulary of the
                                                                                                         additional areas are represented, de-
University of Phoenix from its inception. These concepts reflect the philosophy on
                                                                                                         pending on the topic under discussion.
which it was founded, a philosophy responsible for the use of a teaching system in
                                                                                                              According to Jan Baltzer, Apollo
which lectures are minimized, and simulations, seminars, group discussions, and
                                                                                                         Group’s new vice president for Informa-
student work-related projects constitute the primary methods of learning.
                                                                                                         tion Services (IS), until last year the IS
      Because the learning model also recognizes the importance of integrating
                                                                                                         organization had been reactive, rather
theory and practice, the curriculum for each UOP degree program is designed by a
                                                                                                         than proactive, in terms of meeting tech-
task force of both faculty and industry professionals, and all courses are taught by
                                                                                                         nology needs. But the creation last fall of
working professionals with advanced degrees and current experience in the subject
                                                                                                         her chief information officer position
areas of their courses. The carefully planned curriculum identifies specific learning
                                                                                                         with a direct reporting relationship to
outcomes for each course, stated in terms of skills, competencies, and other
                                                                                                         Apollo Group’s president enabled a total
performance-based measures, and a system is in place that enables consistent
                                                                                                         reorganization of Information Services
evaluation of both students and faculty.
                                                                                                         and initiation of the strategic planning
                                                                                                         effort. With a more strategic and unified
                                                                                                         view, Baltzer says, “IS can focus on being
with a technology-based solution.                         As we look at the critical mass in the         ‘out in front’ of needs. We are much
There is without doubt a concerted                        major population areas, while at the           better positioned now to work with cam-
strategy for significant investment in in-                same time having a mission to provide          puses in determining their technology
formation technology to enable greater                    access wherever students have needs,           needs and, in the process, help cam-
efficiencies and cost savings. From the                   emerging network and communications            puses plan for and budget for these in-
top down and bottom up there has to                       technologies make a lot of sense for us to     vestments.” Nina Omelchenko, vice
exist a mentality that you are willing to                 help maintain the University’s growth.”        president for University Services at UOP,
spend money to be more effective. Then                                                                   believes the creation of the CIO position
you need the money to do this. We’ve                      Planning for information services              and the consequent reorganization and
been fortunate in that we have a corpo-                        While a formal, written strategic         refocusing of Information Services was a
rate culture that embraces technology                     plan for information technology is not a       key decision: “It has made technology
as a solution to the future, and because                  critical activity, an ongoing strategic        not just a tool, but a part of the strategic
we are a successful for-profit enterprise,                planning effort is. This effort is being led   direction of the organization.”
we also have the resources to invest in                   by the central Information Services orga-           As part of the strategic planning pro-
the technology.”                                          nization, in conjunction with the enter-       cess, Information Services staff created a
     Tony Digiovanni, vice president of                   prises it supports— Apollo Group corpo-        mission statement and identified eight
the UOP’s California Region, agrees:                      rate offices, IPD, Western International       major goals and a series of tasks related to
“Being a for-profit institution is an ad-                 University, and the University of Phoe-        those goals within Apollo Group:
vantage, as it keeps us extremely ac-                     nix central offices as well as all of the      • to establish networking as the
countable. It forces us to watch the                      UOP campuses.                                       cornerstone technology;
economic trends, to see how the tech-                          An Information Services Steering          • to promote and support the use of
nology continues to go down the cost                      Committee at the corporate level serves             information technology to improve
curve, to know when to jump on board.                     as an advisory board to Information Ser-            all aspects of communication;
•   to increase the technology literacy         promoting the use of technology to im-         consult with administrators at UOP cam-
    level of all employees;                     prove communications and business              puses, Western International University,
•   to provide information technology           processes. Addressing these goals has          and IPD sites to help them determine
    support for delivery and support of         been facilitated by reorganizing IS,           how technology can be applied to solve
    instruction;                                which is now much more “customer-              their business challenges, as well as pre-
•   to provide high quality customer            centric.”                                      pare them for technology that will be
    service;                                         The new Information Services orga-        rolled out at the corporate level. Betty
•   to establish and maintain high              nization has seven units: consulting ser-      Maisel, director of this new unit, ex-
    quality data management applica-            vices, customer services, administrative       plains the importance of creating service
    tions and processes;                        services, software engineering, tele-          level agreements: “In the past, IS has had
•   to assume a leadership role in              communications services, network ser-          conflicts with the campuses because of
    process improvement; and                    vices, and computer operations. Direc-         different levels of expectations; we
•   to establish Apollo as a leader in          tor of Administrative Services John            haven’t communicated very well. So
    the use of information technology           Lewis has worked closely with Apollo           managing expectations is a large part of
    in higher education.                        Group’s human resources department in          what consulting services will be doing.”
                                                rewriting every job description and re-             As part of this effort, a research and
Managing information services                   vising the organization’s performance          development function has also been cre-
     While all of these strategic goals are     management system.                             ated in IS. Once the consulting services
important, Baltzer says the highest priori-          The new consulting services unit, in      unit has worked with the customer to
ties are establishing networking tech-          particular, will facilitate the goal of        identify business needs, R&D will work
nologies as fundamental to the support of       aligning technology with business              to find the best technology to meet those
both administration and instruction, and        needs. A major function of this unit is to     needs. Three new technology projects




            Online Campus—A Natural Fit for the University of Phoenix


T
         en years ago, when the University began to re-                      While classes that meet in physical locations have an
         search the idea of reaching students using elec-               average of sixteen students, the average online class size is
         tronic communications, it found that some early re-            eight because of the intensive nature of the online interaction.
search done by the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education fit            More than 200 faculty are currently teaching online, with
very closely with the teaching and learning model already in use        50 in training. Faculty training is also intense, consisting of
on UOP campuses. Computer-mediated communications are                   eight weeks of online training, followed by practice teaching
very supportive of the highly interactive environment that is the       and observation of an experienced faculty member teaching a
hallmark of a UOP degree—a teaching model that revolves                 course. The first time faculty teach an online course, a mentor
around students sharing ideas as opposed to students listening to       is assigned to advise them and monitor their class. From start to
a lecture. The University realized that the facilitative nature of      finish, it takes about three months to train a faculty member.
UOP’s learning system would actually be enhanced by the ability              For online students, the curriculum is the same, but oral
to be asynchronous.                                                     presentation skills are not included in the outcomes sought.
     Thus in 1989 the University launched its Online Campus,            However, writing skills and online communication skills are
succeeding in building a computer-based delivery system that            greatly enhanced. Students enrolling in the Online Campus
provides interaction of the same quality as that found in its           take a brief communication skills class before taking courses.
traditional face-to-face classrooms. According to Terri Hede-
gaard, vice president of the Online Campus, UOP was careful to
adopt only mainstream technologies to deliver online education.
“We wanted a cost-effective and rugged system that would be
accessible and cost-effective for students as well. We could get
‘glitzier’ but our primary evaluation criterion is, does it add value
to the learning environment. That’s why we aren’t doing ‘talking
heads.’”
     Currently, UOP is delivering online education using com-
puters and modems and a computer conferencing system called
Alex (Apollo Learning Exchange, based on a product from
Convene). Students access Alex on a host system by calling direct
via modem or through Internet service providers or other Internet
gateways. As increasing numbers of students gain access to the
World Wide Web, this will become a more universal resource for             The Online Campus is enabling hundreds of working adults to
delivering online courses.                                                 work toward degrees at their convenience.
                                                                                          adapted it to the Internet for student
                                                                                          access. A million articles are housed on
              Current Technology Environment                                              1,500 CD-ROMs that can be manipu-
                                                                                          lated to deliver documents to students.
Hardware Standards:                                                                       UOP has a fully automated access point
   Sequent minicomputers at the server level                                              for students and can deliver full image,
   Compaq microcomputers at the desktop level with Windows operating system               rather than full text, which Slobodzian
   Toshiba laptops                                                                        thinks is more useful.
                                                                                               Students can do their own searches
Software Standards:                                                                       through the University’s World Wide
    UNIX                                                                                  Web interface to the Center’s online
    Oracle 7 relational database management system and development tools                  databases and CD-ROMS and automati-
                                                                                          cally retrieve the articles, using fax-back
Applications:                                                                             delivery, or they can phone or fax in their
   Oracle financials                                                                      search request and have professional
   OSIRIS (in-house student records system)                                               librarians do the search and return the
   Contact management and enrollment tracking (in-house)                                  results. There is a charge for the assisted
   Financial aid (in-house)                                                               document delivery, but not for the
   Student and course scheduling (in-house, interacts with OSIRIS)                        searches or consultations. UOP has cho-
   Faculty scheduling (in-house, interacts with OSIRIS)                                   sen to use fax as the delivery mechanism
   Online transcript evaluation (in-house)                                                because of its mainstream properties—
   Oracle mail (to be replaced shortly)                                                   all students have access to facsimile
   Multiple desktop applications                                                          technology, but many do not have the
   Transcript exchange through EDI (under development)                                    capability to download imaged docu-
                                                                                          ments for local printing.
Networking and Telecommunications:                                                             Many UOP campuses have work-
   Local area networks at campuses (Novell servers) are tied together in an               stations connected to the Internet so stu-
       administrative wide area network (frame relay through AT&T)                        dents can access a service from EBSCO
   Student wide area network (frame relay through MCI) provides Internet access           that provides full enhanced text. Slo-
   PBX and key systems manufactured and supported by InterTel                             bodzian has also built a collection of
   Voice mail                                                                             links on the Web, a kind of “virtual”
   Integrated voice response (IVR)                                                        library collection aligned to UOP’s pro-
                                                                                          grams and available to the public.

                                                                                          A changing technology environment
                                                                                               At a recent 20th anniversary cel-
are currently under way: enterprise-        CD-ROM databases as well as full-im-          ebration, President Gibbs spoke of a
wide electronic communications (new         age documents. Ironically, he says, one       vision for UOP’s future that includes
groupware products, such as Microsoft       of the reasons UOP has been able to           more intensive use of network technolo-
Exchange, for faculty and student inter-    proceed so rapidly with electronic infor-     gies, especially the Web: “The face and
change); a videoconferencing pilot in       mation delivery is its lack of a massive      nature of education is going to change
conjunction with the Salt Lake Campus;      print collection, for which it has been       dramatically in the next five years.
and wireless technology for use in the      criticized in the past. “In moving into       What’s different is the ability to have
classroom to support such activities as     electronic delivery,” Slobodzian says,        open systems, seamless communication
recording student attendance.               “traditional academic libraries are hin-      and exchange of information. This is a
     A staff member within the central IS   dered by their massive legacy systems.        huge paradigm shift; nothing in our his-
organization is responsible for assisting   It’s not easy to convert collections of       tory has ever been like this before. Tech-
in the selection, training, and coordina-   several million books! Also, because          nology will play an important part in the
tion of the work of Campus System Ad-       UOP’s content area is very focused, we        classroom of the future, enhancing our
ministrators (CSAs), who manage the         don’t have to build a collection of           ability to put not only the faculty mem-
information services functions on their     chemical engineering or art history, so       ber in front of the classroom, but also key
campuses and serve as liaisons to IS.       our collection can be smaller and we          subject experts via multimedia, and to
                                            can really emphasize currency of the          facilitate faculty sharing of best prac-
Learning Resource Center                    collection and full image. Unless they        tices. But it will be important for us to
    According to Kurt Slobodzian, ex-       are working on a final thesis-type            marry these technologies to face-to-face
ecutive director of UOP’s Learning Re-      project, our students have little reason to   interaction, providing students a combi-
source Center, the University has been      delve into archival literature; they are      nation of distance, online, and class-
“on top of” electronic delivery of infor-   much more interested in currency.”            room education that will continue to
mation resources for some time, offering         The University purchased a system        reflect their professional world.”
an impressive collection of online and      called Powerpages from UMI, and                                                      C/E