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California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools

DeVry Responds to My '3 Suggestions for For-Profits'

04/25/2013

INSIDE HIGHER ED.  APRIL 24, 2013.  A few weeks ago I wrote a post titled 3 Suggestions for For-Profits.  I wrote this post because I am both a fan and a critic of for-profit education.

The original post was written at least in part to try to bring our for-profits colleagues into the discussion. We all have opinions about for-profit education (and I hope that you share them with us here), I’m hoping for a dialogue.

To DeVry’s credit, it is the first for-profit university that took me up on the invitation to share some specific information around transparency, faculty, and opportunities for collaboration.

I sincerely hope that my colleagues at U of P,  Capella, Kaplan and other for-profit institutions follow DeVry’s lead.

The questions below are mine, the answers come from Ernie Gibble, DeVry’s
 senior director for global communications.

As you read the questions and answers please let us know what other questions come to mind, where you’d like to learn more, and what other questions that you would ask.

Question 1: What specific initiatives and projects has DeVry taken to increase the level of transparency? What has changed?  What future work remains to be done at DeVry around a transparency agenda?

DeVry institutions have a high level of transparency and provide a wide array of information to help students make informed decisions.  Examples below are from DeVry University:

Future efforts by DeVry Inc., the parent organization of DeVry University, include our Accountability Framework which outlines performance metrics, standards of practice and a system of accountability.  I’d also add that we are required to provide an enormous amount of information to our many stakeholders.  To ensure that information is helpful, transparency needs to be partnered with what’s truly important to the students.  We would argue that outcomes are the most important information: are students learning, graduating, gaining employment in their field of study, passing licensure exams and repaying their loans?  And to have that information risk-adjusted, so we’re comparing schools with similar demographics. Comparing institutions with a similar percentage of Pell-eligible students is one way to do this.

Question 2:  What is the DeVry faculty profile? Full-time vs. part-time faculty?  

DeVry University (DVU) has a mix of FT and PT faculty.  We have over 700 FT faculty and are in the beginning stages of a major FT hiring project.  Over the past six months we have hired over 40 FT faculty, primarily within the College of Business and Management.  We hire part time (adjunct) faculty based on teaching needs.  We probably have a pool of 2 to 3 thousand part time faculty that teach for us during any one academic year.

Question 3:  What is the educational composition of your faculty?  

DVU faculty have to have a minimum of a master’s degree in their teaching discipline or a master’s degree in a closely related discipline plus an additional 18 graduate credits in their teaching discipline.  Over the past year we have moved to hiring only doctorates for our full time faculty and are transitioning to that for part time faculty.  Over 40 % of our FT faculty have doctorates.  Our faculty also meet any state higher education agency requirements for programs and degree levels.

Question 4: What is the ratio of faculty to non-faculty professionals at DeVry?

We don’t currently have that data. However, our student to faculty ratio for each campus is readily available on College Navigator – I’ve included the link to our Miramar, FL campus as an example.

Question 5:  Where can we go and learn about your faculty in terms of their backgrounds?  

We have a faculty section on our main web site and all FT faculty names and degrees are listed in the academic catalog.  A comprehensive list of adjuncts is available at: www.devry.edu/assets/pdf/uscatalog/adjuncts.pdf and a comprehensive list of employed visiting professors who teach online is available atwww.devry.edu/assets/pdf/uscatalog/onlinevisitingprof.pdf.

Question 6:  Is a faculty career at DeVry a path that you see academics from traditional institutions and graduate programs pursuing?

Yes – we have a number of folks who came from the traditional world and we will probably see more, particularly with our emphasis on doctorates going forward.

Question 7:  Can you point to partnerships with non-profit post-secondary institutions?  What would be DeVry's motivation for engaging in these partnerships?  Does DeVry see a role in sharing its knowledge around learning design, faculty training, and educational technologies with the larger post-secondary community?

Yes, we absolutely believe in partnering with non-profit post-secondary institutions.  We have articulation agreements with other institutions across the country – as well has high school systems.

As for sharing knowledge, DVU’s Associate Provost, Jesus Fernandez, recently participated in a panel titled, “Who Will Teach Tomorrow’s Workers? Models for Preparing World-Class Career Educators” at the Pathways to Prosperity conference at Harvard.

Our motivation for engaging in these partnerships, and in sharing learning, is that it’s part of our mission as educators.  You can see an example of this in a Pell Institute study from a couple years ago: http://www.devryinc.com/resources/pdfs/Pell_DeVry_Report_May2011.pdf.  Pell came in and was given complete access to our Chicago campus to interview students, faculty and administrators to learn more about how we support our students. We held a policy forum around the release of the study and made it freely available.