“Teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say.” – Author Unknown
“Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back.” – Chinese Proverb
There’s really no substitute for experience. With that in mind, University of Phoenix (UOP) requires its faculty members to have both the academic background to teach and, just as importantly, experience in the field they are teaching. Unlike many education institutions, University of Phoenix places great value on real life experience and recruits individuals who have a gift for educating as well as the talent to excel in their own chosen professions. That “dual-talent” pairing ultimately fosters successful students.
The University faculty all hold advanced degrees in the field in which they teach in addition to being working professionals within those fields. Thus, many of the faculty works part-time in their teaching role. Instead of simply teaching their students by the textbook, they teach through their own experiences in the marketplace. A faculty member at University of Phoenix doesn’t just explain why doing something one way works better over doing it another way, they give examples from their own profession to illustrate those concepts to their students.
Benefits of Experience
The benefits to this approach are obvious. Faculty benefit because their subject matter is not only familiar to them academically, but also tangibly. They know what’s around the bend for their students professionally and can provide that preparation, whether the student already works in their chosen field looking to advance or wants to break into the market for the first time. The students benefit because they are getting a unique and distinctive insight into what is to come.
Life Long Learning
Like their students, faculty are also learning and advancing their own education. The University places considerable emphasis on professional development for its active faculty members. This allows them to understand the latest trends in their own professions and to pass that information on to their students. No one at University of Phoenix is learning or teaching from an out-of-date textbook that has no current applications. Students and faculty both have access to the dynamic online e-library that contains over 20,000,000 articles along with textbooks, scholarly journal databases and current industry journals. All of this is readily available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Having faculty who do more than just teach is paying off for both the University and its student base. Currently, the University as a whole has graduated over 538,000 students since its inception in 1976. In fact, 84 percent of University of Phoenix students say that the school helped them acquire job or work-related knowledge and skills. Ninety three percent applauded faculty effectiveness in its end-of-course surveys.
In the end, instructors with experience in the field they teach find that their subject matter is more alive to their students. This engages the students to have a better understanding of the challenges they will face in their chosen professions. Having someone who has been there and has had the experiences you may face in the future is invaluable to anyone still developing their career goals. Experience does matter ultimately to the student, instructor and the marketplace.