Participation

I want to thank everyone that has taken the time to post here.  It really supports my belief that WGU has some of the best, most passionate employees that just needed a space to “have a say”.  For those of you viewing, but not posting, I’d like to ask “why”?  This is your opportunity to openly discuss what’s wrong and what we might do to fix it.  These are your peers!

In just a few short days, this blog has had more than 600 views.  This tells me others are interested, but perhaps are concerned about retaliation.  When you post, please feel free to use the name of your “alter ego” 🙂  We are all here to share our feelings and concerns and hopefully to make a bit of change.  Come join us!!!

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14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Richard on January 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Here’s a good question:

    How many of you mentors have to spend a significant time outside of your office hours working/answering emails? I remember having to work even on weekends because email would get backed up….and vacations…I won’t even start there.

    Reply

    • I’ve decided my next vacation will be to some remote jungle where unless I have a satellite phone (which I won’t), no one can reach me and THEN I might have an actual vacation! 🙂

      We’re encouraged to use our vacation, to take care of ourselves, but then the slightest issue occurs and management is calling us on our cellphone to take care of it.

      Reply

  2. LOL! Richard you really hit that one on the head! Taking vacation really penalizes you because you have to work extra hours before and after the vacation to try and stay caught up. I attribute this is our “customer service” approach and obscene student loads. Instead of teaching our students to find the answer to their question in the Student Handbook, or by calling Financial Aid, we do it for them. It creates a co-dependent relationship! But we’re driven by the fear of getting a “service complaint” from Student Services if we don’t continue the relationship status quo.

    Reply

    • Posted by Richard on January 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm

      Oh yes, the dreaded call to student services…I remember having students if you missed their appointed time to call by a few minutes they would call student services to complain, but then they would miss a call and act like it’s not their fault…

      The double standard is appalling.

      Reply

      • LOL! Or the one I experienced the other day – a phone message that said “Hey I haven’t heard from you in a while”! What! I’ve been calling you every Wednesday for weeks! After I leave a voice mail, I send an email. You haven’t responded to anything but YOU haven’t heard from ME!!?? LOL. Classic.

      • Posted by Milton on January 25, 2012 at 3:42 am

        I have an example, last week a student called me when I was on the line with another student…instead of just leaving a voice mail they called student services who called me after the student called them and told me they couldn’t get hold of me…I asked why they didn’t just leave a voicemail, they didn’t have an answer…

        Is this what student services is for, so students can narc us out because we’re on the other line helping a student but look like the bad guy because we can’t be two places at once???

  3. Posted by Milton on January 24, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    How about a thread on how mentors push students to take tests before they are ready for them for the sake of OTP? I have seen many students who are not near ready the assessment yet are “pushed” to take the test before they are ready and to just “see how it goes”…..that really doesn’t do the student justice.

    Reply

    • Great idea Milton!

      I’m asking mentors for honest (anonymous) response to Milton’s concern – do we push students to take exams (when they’re not ready) in hopes of getting to OTP? Are we using a hail Mary pass to try and get the touchdown in the last seconds of the game?? I’m going to guess the answer is yes, but I need some other mentors to weigh in. While we’re waiting for you to weigh in, here are some questions for thought.

      1) Are we possibly doing this throughout the term, or just as a last minute hail Mary approach?
      2) Are there instances where the pre-assessment and objective assessment are so misaligned that we’re using the first attempt at the objective assessment as the pre-assessment?
      3) Are we using this as a personal strategy or is this something being suggested by Program Managers? I realize some PMs are very “hands-on” directive in some instances, but certainly not all are.
      4) Are we just so stressed out by OTP that we’re pushing, pulling, and shoving students to exams regardless of preparation?

      This is a great area for consideration, so mentors (course and student) please take some time and tell us your view of it. Why is it happening? How frequently is it happening?

      Reply

  4. I would like to get everyone’s thoughts on student load, the ever fluctuating number…80…90…100…what is it?!

    We were told we would have a student capacity of 80 and would get there through attrition and yet many of us are still well above that number. Plus with the reduced load, several regular meetings were developed and student capacity started creeping above 80 again. I don’t know about you, but while I tell myself sleep is overrated, I kind of need it!

    I could sure use a few more hours to follow up on student situations that I don’t have with all the meetings and amounts of students…

    Reply

    • Posted by Milton on January 25, 2012 at 3:52 am

      Think about this…the more students a mentor has, the less mentors WGU has to hire, the more money they get from students and the less they have to pay out to more mentors.

      If you really want to blow your mind…multiply the number of students WGU has times the yearly tuition and then add in all the grants and donations.

      Then ask yourself: Where does it all go?

      Reply

    • I don’t have a definitive answer to this, but I did notice in the new job postings we say 80 to 100 students. I’ve also heard some of the colleges were told that mentors would be (and stay) at 100.

      What has everyone else heard?

      Here’s another question…has anyone personally suffered a reduction in their OTP (or other KPI) since moving to larger student loads?

      How many hours per week are you working with the new loads? Let’s get some clarity on this issue because I have the feeling many are working extra hours and taking a hit to their KPIs, but since we’re not really talking about it in meetings, people are suffering in silence.

      Reply

      • Posted by Richard on January 25, 2012 at 4:39 am

        When I was at WGU, they had 100 students, but then told us they were going back to 80 because 100 was too much..you had little to no time to talk to students enough to give them the attention they needed, and you basically had no life outside WGU because you were spending your free time catching up on email and missed calls from students…you could easily get stuck working 60 hours a week.

        Think about it, 30 minutes per student call per week for a new mentor with a full load after four months amounts to 50 hours a week blocked out…maybe you’ll have a few students who don’t want a weekly call but you see what I mean….if you reduce it to 15 minutes per student call then you don’t have to spend as much time on the phone, but what does that do to the relationship with a student when you only spend 15 minutes per week on the phone with a student?

        Also factor team calls, training, etc…do you even have time to breathe??!?! It looks to me like the mentors are still being treated like telemarketers.

  5. Posted by Atticus on March 1, 2012 at 6:24 am

    I am so glad I found this site. I watched every single heavy-hitter person on my team leave one by one and now we’re left with hardly anyone on our team. Each one of them told me they were either driven out unfairly or saw the OTP coming and concluded that it was either impossible, because FA only requires 67% SAP, or so much more of a job stressor that they would not subject their professional lives to a fast food mindset. I have never ever EVER been employed by an institution that doesn’t give a RAT’S ARSE about your incredible student load or how hard it is to get people to study when they don’t WANT TO and are only there for FA. The change from SAP to OTP is obscene and an IVORY TOWER decision…it reminds me so much of my professors who made us eat, drink, and breathe Dewey or Kant because “nothing helps you in the classroom like a good philosophy” and now that I have taught for nearly 20 years I realize those idiot s were so far removed from practice in the real world that they created their own reality. They’re always announcing something new and they don’t give a CRAP at the carnage, or ruined lives of the employees they now have. if you are a new employee of WGU, you’ll LOVE IT. But just wait. Give it about three to four years, when your students have lives that interfere with their studies and the fire is no longer there, and they have about six to seven terms of work and then find out they are pregnant, or a family crisis occurs, or a million combinations of things occur and then your mentor numbers drop like a LEAD BALLOON. Guess what? Your program manager will wonder what the freak is WRONG WITH YOU. You’ll go on a PIP and labeled as a threat. It doesn’t matter that you can’t do jack squat about it.. But what they want is new mentors who are thrilled and can boost their “Great Place to Work” survey up to media status. Two years later you’ll be fired.

    Shame on WGU. Who in their RIGHT MIND would hire young, newly-grad MA’s or BA’s in business, who haven’t taught a DAY IN THEIR LIFE, to manage a crew of teachers with 15 to 20 plus years of experience? The idiocy is BAFFLING!!!! And if you take the problems inherent to a higher court, they tell you to “take it to your program manager” who is PART OF THE PROBLEM. This institution doesn’t have a CLUE as to what is happening in their own back yard; and the sycophants suck down their “thoroughness” and kiss their manager’s ARSE and will NEVER make you feel that you are someone worthwhile and valued, no matter how you try, or how many calls you cover for other mentors, or what programs you institute…it’s all BULLSQUAT. Then at the academic meetings you finally feel you can communicate your problems to WGU because “THEY CARE” then they cut you off at the knees, tell you “we’re aware of the problem” and don’t allow you a VOICE WORTH SHEET! They WANT to qualm you so they can obtain their precious “Best places to work” award…what a freaking JOKE! So they ask, what can YOU do to make this a great place to work…but they REFUSE to acknowledge that the same problem is on everyone’s mind and they won’t do SQUAT about it. No one on any team DARES mention how to improve the workplace because they’ll be fired for not being a team player. So I get to hear all their criticisms on a daily basis while their program managers and managers live in their own self-created utopia of “progress.”

    Reply

  6. Posted by Milton on July 5, 2012 at 4:25 am

    Atticus the PMs are cowards who are afraid of the mighty Mallet…fortunately I have an ace in the hole if I ever need it.

    Reply

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