Ashford University Reviews

Updated August 27, 2014
Updated August 27, 2014
284 Reviews

2.5
284 Reviews
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Ashford University President Richard L. Pattenaude
Richard L. Pattenaude
100 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The company offers relatively good benefits (in 26 reviews)

  • Pay and benefits-good enough to sustain you while you actively seek different employment (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • It is a sales job regardless of how they spin verbiage (in 15 reviews)

  • Of those, more than 100 were Admissions Counselors (in 14 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 4 people found this helpful  

    Potential Instructors-If you have any ethics or value education, you will not work here

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Faculty (Online)  in  San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Associate Faculty (Online) in San Diego, CA

    I have been working at Ashford University part-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Absolutely none, none, none, none.

    Cons

    I am shocked that the score on this site is actually so high!

    A bit about me so you know where I am coming from: I teach PT at a bunch of Community Colleges in NJ and also teach PT at a major name University in Philadelphia, so I have skills and am a good instructor. I have been teaching PT for about 11 years, almost finished with a doctorate and am licensed in my specialty. I care about teaching and care about my students. I started teaching at AU because the life of an Adjunct fluctuates wildly. I teach year round and you do not always get classes. A lot of things factor into scheduling. I need steady income so I teach at many places, not always at the same time, every semester.

    I am always sourcing new places in the hopes of finally landing a FT position. I get good evaluations at legitimate schools and horrible ones at schools where students are treated like consumers and that payment for the course infers an "A" grade (e.g., Ashford). I take what I do seriously, and as a licensed professional, teaching at Ashford, this has challenged me on an ethical and moral level. I feel that the students do not learn much and that they are seriously ill prepared for any job in the field and they are certain majors which are ridiculous degrees that traditional schools do not offer and will only lead to an entry-level position, if that. Undergraduate degrees in things like Homeland Security are just NOT appropriate specializations for undergrads in non-military schools. A specialization as a grad student, sure, not as an undergrad.

    The following are the issues that I have experienced as an Adjunct at AU.

    1) Constantly changing policies for teaching and administrative procedures with NO notification. Student Advisors (or sales people) and Instructional Specialists will tell PT faculty the wrong info and then not apologize or take responsibility for same.
    2) You are hyper micro-managed and receive emails and calls if you do not login into the course in a certain amount of time.
    3) Students are ill-prepared, often have little to no command of grammar, punctuation, spelling, computer skills, access to computers...I cannot discuss in-depth theory if every sentence has a spelling, grammar or mechanical error.
    4) Students often send you threatening emails if they don't receive "perfect" scores, because that is what they always have gotten from the majority of lazy instructors, who are much better, helpful, and caring than you are.
    5) The Instructional Specialists babysit you and other course managers babysit them and you. You get frequent emails if you do not respond to students in a designated time. However, sometimes those stats are inaccurate because students posted late, yet that does not matter. If you try to tell them that information, they really do not care. What you do as an instructor is tracked and evaluated without your knowledge. You must post Announcements every week, or you get an email.
    6) As faculty and someone who actually cares about education, it grates that the administration is going to tell me how to teach a student. They have no trust that we can do the job they hired us for and they want you to use the "Gold File" which are pre-written "responses" for students so that you can look like you are giving in-depth, intense responses, which the students don't bother to read anyways. They do not want you to respond in your own way, they want long and lengthy fake posts to students. Just be careful not to reuse the same one in a class, otherwise the students might catch on! They set up an expectation that students will get this deep one-on-one intense positive, hand-held engagement and teaching. Students act like these courses are supposed to be one-on-one tutoring. Think about it. If there are 30-40 students in a class, how much one-on-one time should a student expect? The students are set-up to have inaccurate expectations and then you get nailed on evaluations because they are unhappy with how you teach the course.
    7) A recent policy states that they will NOT fail students for plagiarism IF the work is determined to be "recycled". Technically, students could share work and I cannot fail them because the work may come back as recycled in Turnitin. If a students resues their own work, you cannot fail them. What is the point in that?
    8) I routinely fail 3 students a semester for outright plagiarizing. They think that if they say that they didn't mean to do it, it shouldn't be plagiarism. The majority of the students that I have encountered at AU, do not care to learn how not to plagiarize. They ONLY want a passing grade.
    9) You will tell students over and over to read a helpful document of something else, they won't do it and then when you fail them they initiate a grade appeal and you then have to prove all of the things that you did to "help" them achieve and succeed.
    10) If you have an issue with a student you better be sure to have documented everything that you have said and done. Students routinely will lie when backed into a corner and faculty is not believed by administration. You will waste hours working on a plagiarism report or documenting some type of unacceptable behavior, ONLY to have the student passed by administration behind your back, against your recommendation and the facts of what they have submitted in class.
    11) The pay at this school is the LOWEST of ANY school I teach at. I was due for some type of bump after 6 semesters of teaching. I have no idea if I ever received it (I don't think so). I had no idea who to contact to ask because the administrative side is so unorganized. We get direct deposit and I have never seen a breakdown of the pay.
    12) I have had classes with up to 50-60 students. ALL of the assessments in certain classes are written papers. The pressure for the ill-prepared students to cheat is intense. Two discussions and 2 papers a week, in five weeks. The curriculum is too intense for beginning learners and AU is setting these students up to fail. I have taught upper level courses in which students tell me that they don't know how to do a specific formatting style is. This is REQUIRED in our discipline and they are graduating! I see it as my duty to educate them on the proper writing style and requirements in this field, yet they get angry that they are being told to change.
    13) When students tell me that I am asking for more than any other instructor at AU ever, and that they have never had to do what I am asking, I know that the students have had lazy instructors who have routinely given positive "rah-rah!" feedback, passed students with higher grades, and never required them to actually do work. I understand that pressure to do that as well. I figure that when I am grading final papers in my classes, that I am making about $1 an hour. The papers are very long and in order to actually grade 20-30 of them and ONLY work 12 hours a week (which is all that we are allowed) there is NO WAY one can actually read the papers and give REAL feedback. You would have to read and give substantial feedback in about 5 minutes for each 8-14 page paper. It is mathematically impossible to do it. There is pressure to just give positive feedback and pass everyone, it is so much easier than bothering to actually read the work and give actual feedback. I cannot tell you how many of my students do not even look at the comments (just had one today) as long as the grade is not failing.

    I will stop there, but I think that you get the idea. If you care about educating students or are looking for your first teaching job, I seriously recommend NOT taking a job here, even if you are desperate. You will feel humiliated by the vitriol from the students and you will feel pressured to bend your ethical principles and morals to try and meet AUs deadlines and requirements. Much in the same way that the admissions people (sales) talk about their job, it is the same on the teaching end. Squeeze every inch or life out of us and then fire us or let us quit. They spend money to train new instructors, but it is so worthless to have classes on critical thinking when the students cannot create a single sentence and write reasonably well. Forget having them think critically. Oh yeah, they had about 200 being trained in my class. The trainers sounded so bored and checked-out, like they train a new group every week and 80% won't get through their first course. The degrees at AU, in my opinion, are worthless. Knowing what I do know, I would NEVER hire someone with a degree from this school, unless they had extensive on the job training at a legitimate organization that I am familiar with to make up for what they may not have learned within the degree. If you are a potential student or instructor, save yourself the stress and headache and find a more legitimate school or local community college. I am quitting this week.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They are not about education and their model is strictly business oriented. This does NOT work in REAL educational environments, no matter what you say or how you spin it. Don't be fooled by the lies. Any instructor who gives a positive evaluation of AU on this site is lying. They are an instructor who passes everyone, uses canned pre-created responses, and spends no time actually educating.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Company Preys on those who are desperate to change their lives leaving them with a worthless degree and debt

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Admissions Counselor  in  San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Admissions Counselor in San Diego, CA

    I worked at Ashford University full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    None Even the benefit package they tout as being something great was smoke and mirrors...
    It looks good until you try to use it...Then you start getting streams of bills...

    Cons

    Its a high pressure sales job disguised as a counseling position. No matter how hard you work or how many students you sucker into school...you make the same amount. The managers are taught tactics to get employees to produce including bullying. Management is beyond dysfunctional...the turnover is insane! They lose 50 admissions counselors PER MONTH! ITS THAT BAD!!! No matter what they say the job is...I assure you it is a daily harassment of poor people who may have had the idea that they wanted to change their lives and go back to school. You will stock these poor people EVERYDAY until they get so angry at you for blowing up their phones everyday that they will blow up on you or block your number...Some people you call that do sign up are just out to scam the system and get fin aid money. Its a horrible way to make a living.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat your employees like people not like machines. Look at the blatantly obvious problems and do something about it! There is a reason why the turn over is ASTRONOMICALLY high.
    I know the management doesn't care so this portion will do no good.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    Corruption runs deep

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous  in  San Diego, TX
    Current Employee - Anonymous in San Diego, TX

    I have been working at Ashford University full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Benefits and coworkers. There are some great people in positions that are going no where.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, there is no hope for this company. The mid-level management is manipulative and corrupt. The company uses trickery to scare the employees into enrolling more people into their programs. It is well understood that it is a business and they are there to make money. The students and lower level employees are who suffer. I would not recommend this company or the school. Trust me you can find a better job overall, don't be inticed by pay. And the truth is, if you don't preform they will FIRE you anyway. Save yourself the anxiety of working for a place where you can never win. Don't believe me, google their reviews: students, staff and the government. Abandon Ship!!!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get a clue. Read what your employees and students are saying and stop promoting peoples friends. Just because you can enroll a student doesn't make you management material!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    A good experience in the beginning but that changed drastically.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate Faculty  in  San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Associate Faculty in San Diego, CA

    I worked at Ashford University part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Good pay for the amount of time put in.

    Cons

    When I first began teaching for Ashford in 2008, it was a great experience. I enjoyed the curriculum and I worked with several students that I really felt would make great teachers. As time when on, I began to notice that the students admitted to Ashford University were coming in with serious academic deficits. As an instructor for Ashford's undergraduate education program, I was horrified by the inability of these would-be/future teachers to put together coherent, grammatically correct sentences. This started to make sense as the media began to pick up stories about Ashford's less than ethical diploma mill practices.

    About 2012, the focus of the program shifted so instructors were given "suggested" responses to provide students when giving feedback or following up on online posts. If the scripted responses were not used and, heaven forbid, you responded authentically and individually, the instructional specialist overseeing your class would give a negative evaluation for the class. From 2008 to 2012, I had near perfect reviews from the students and corporate. When the canned responses became the expectation, the students weren't happy and unhappy students mean that corporate isn't happy either. I was asked to teach a class in early 2013. It was clear that the curriculum wasn't fully developed. I felt it was a disservice to the students, both academically and financially. I also received complaints from students in my class about the lack of coherence in the program which I passed along to the corporate office in San Diego. When I was "encouraged" to use the canned responses and basically stick to the script, I informed the faculty member who had written the class that I would continue to respond in a manner that would help my students and further more, I would not be issuing any failing grades for that section since I didn't feel the students should be penalized for Ashford's lack of planning. Shockingly, I was not asked to teach any more classes....

    If you are an educator who invests deeply in your students, avoid Ashford. You will not be allowed to truly teach. If you're looking for an easy side job and ok with sticking to the script, then I would say go for it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Let teachers actually teach and if you want satisfied "customers" then stop setting students up for failure by enrolling them in college level courses when they lack the basic skills needed to be successful.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Please do not work here!!!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Admissions Counselor  in  San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - Admissions Counselor in San Diego, CA

    I have been working at Ashford University full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Pay and benefits-good enough to sustain you while you actively seek different employment

    Cons

    This place is a joke! You can't get a hold of departments, you are treated like crap and told that you have to deal with it, poor managers and directors. This place is money driven and that is it. You are constantly stressed out to meet unrealistic sales goals. You are putting poor people in debt just to keep your job because if you don't sign a certain amount of people up a month, you are fired. You are constantly told how you suck and are worked like you are in a modern day sweat shop. Please don't work here!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Take accountability, stop playing favorites, learn how to do your job, treat your employees like people, stop acting like you are too busy to do your job, and act like you graduated from high school.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Bad Company Practices

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Ashford University full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    There is not a single Pro about this place

    Cons

    Benefits, Culture, No Perks, Company encourages us to Lie to students looking to get an education. Poor moral due to the culture.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Re-Think the way you treat the students and employees... It is poor practice to be this unethical and it will catch up

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Out of a hiring class of 100 Admissions Counselors, only 20 will make it past the probationary period.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Admissions Counselor  in  San Diego, CA
    Former Employee - Admissions Counselor in San Diego, CA

    I worked at Ashford University full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    The best part of working at Ashford is the students developing and changing lives.

    Cons

    Dealing with the management. No matter how well you do, it is always prefaced with how close you are to failing. They also recently restructured their firing process getting rid of verbal warnings, written warning, write up, then firing to verbal to fired.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You should develop individuals instead of tossing individuals aside and filling them with another larger hiring class. It is apparent that management will fight for their "favorites" so maybe managers should put all that tenacity into all employees since this is their livelihood.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    whats else can I say

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Ashford University

    Pros

    it was ok...goog while it lasted. Not for profit schools days are numbered now that tradtional colleges are going online as well. Why go to Ashford when you can go to OU, FSU, Rutgers just to name a few.
    i wish i wish they would only hear...im sure they wont...not could care less

    Cons

    its based on perfomance. other schools are not like that

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    get a real school

  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    University Advisor

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - University Advisor  in  San Diego, CA
    Current Employee - University Advisor in San Diego, CA

    I have been working at Ashford University full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The only good thing about this place is the paycheck. Period.

    Cons

    This is the most mismanaged organization I have ever been a part of. They constantly change procedures on just about every aspect of the enrollment/advisement process which creates a continuous state of confusion among different departments, they have a history of lay-offs and lawsuits and they have one of the worst morale problems I've ever seen. Bottom line- YOU don't matter... Only your enrollment numbers do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get some people in leadership who actually know what they are doing. Send out an anonymous climate survey to your employees... You will be surprised how dissatisfied your employees are. There's a reason a high percentage of admissions has taken a stress leave of absence.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Admissions Counselor

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Admissions Counselor  in  Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Admissions Counselor in Denver, CO

    I worked at Ashford University full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    -Nice location.
    -Meet great people.
    -Decent benefits

    Cons

    -Don't let them fool you, this is a high pressure telemarketing job.
    -Highly unethical company. CEO voted one of the greediest in America. High student fees with a very low percentage of that money actually going towards education.
    -In spite of what you are told, there are quotas you are expected to meet. The catch is they are not allowed to tell you what the quota is, so you have to guess and hope you meet it.
    -No incentives
    -I was encouraged to lie to prospective students on multiple occasions to try to get them to enroll.
    -I once got called into a meeting with two managers and a director to discuss my posture and they way I sat at my desk. They wanted me to "look" more engaged as I talked on the phone.
    -I had 10 bosses. All telling me to do things differently, all getting upset if I didn't do it their way, all looking over my shoulder constantly to monitor every minute of my day.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give your employees some space and trust they know how to do their job. Treating adults like children creates poor moral and decreases productivity and employee satisfaction.

    Place employees in positions that match their skill set. It makes no sense to force employees to prove themselves in a position that is a poor match for their skills in order to get into a position that does match their skills. It's poor utilization of the skills of your employees and leads to a higher turnover rate than is necessary.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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