Western Governors University

  www.wgu.edu
  www.wgu.edu

Western Governors University Reviews

Updated December 16, 2014
Updated December 16, 2014
122 Reviews
3.0
122 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Western Governors University President Robert Mendenhall
Robert Mendenhall
74 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • WOrk from home allows the cost avvoidance of fuel and business dress (in 60 reviews)

  • Flexible hours and opportunities to work from home (in 9 reviews)


Cons
  • Low pay for people with Masters degrees (in 12 reviews)

  • Upper management needs training but does not seem interested in professional and leadership development (in 10 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    WGU Really Cares about it's employees

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

    I have been working at Western Governors University full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Executive management really cares about their employees. Recently we've had several tragedies with employees and their families. I've seen top level management come to funerals, be very generous with those families in tragedy and genuinely care about the individuals.

    Never a dull moment (sometimes a con). Working with the latest and greatest technologies and approaches to learning.

    WGU has a wonderful mission and is more student focused than any other educational institution I've ever seen. I feel genuinely good about working at WGU.

    Cons

    Focus. With the innovative approach, direction is sometimes scattered. Sometimes expectations are just not realistic.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Great place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Student Records in Salt Lake City, UT
    Former Employee - Student Records in Salt Lake City, UT

    I worked at Western Governors University full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Everyone is so nice to work with and down to earth. They have parties and bring in food often , potlucks, etc. The higher up people treat you like an equal. They are flexible with schedules or if you need to come in late.

    Cons

    My department wanted to cross train everyone but it is the hardest dept. to be in. This made it hard for me to learn one specific job because they kept trying to teach new things. Not a con if you are a fast learner but if you arent..kinda stinks

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Course Mentor

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

    I have been working at Western Governors University

    Pros

    You work from home, the company offers a decent benefit plan, a good retirement plan and plenty of autonomy. The work life balance is pretty good.

    Cons

    You cannot always take time off when you want, certain times of the year are "blacked out". Sometimes there can be a lack of communication or mis-understandings between you and your manager since you are working remotely.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None at this time.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Mostly a good experience

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

    I have been working at Western Governors University full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Work/life balance was pretty good, judging by any standard. I had a single bad experience with management offset by many good experiences and good managers in the school. Overall there is great management and peers, a sign that the hiring managers were good at selecting employees in the company. I was astounded over and over again as I got to know more of my colleagues and peers at the school.

    Cons

    Compensation was not too bad but when comparing the hours required at peak times it seemed like minimum wage.

    Recommends
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    Great people to work with.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Salt Lake City, UT
    Former Employee - Program Manager in Salt Lake City, UT

    I worked at Western Governors University full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Nice service-driven people for students. Great product and seeking improvements.

    Cons

    Uncontrollable Metrics are used and good employees are put on improvement plans and fired when scores remain too low.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    have a strong potential to genuinely be a Great Places to Work, but don't truly listen to the problems from the workers at the bottom and seek resolution for a more satisfying workplace.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Enrollment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Enrollment Counselor in Salt Lake City, UT
    Current Employee - Enrollment Counselor in Salt Lake City, UT

    I have been working at Western Governors University full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    can be flexible for family. good vacation and the benefits aren't great but benefits are provided at a cost and you can earn your degree at a minimal cost.

    Cons

    Once upon a time this was a place where students mattered more than the enrollment numbers. However today, enrollment managers are horrible driven by brown nosing to get a promotion into something else. It's transformed to who you know not what you know. Micromanagement

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Relax STOP the micro management

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great University to work for

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

    I worked at Western Governors University full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    I loved my team mates and they have great training for new employees. I was a student mentor so I was on the phone all day with students. I loved being able to help my students reach their goals. There are two large training meetings a year that are really nice and are good for meeting your team mates and getting to see your co-workers face-to-face. In comparison to other university's that I've worked for they are cutting edge in their methods to help students learn and it really is a great model. They are much better than any for-proit university that I've ever worked for. The fact that they are not-for-profit and cared about the students learning says a lot about them. I would work there again in a heartbeat.

    Cons

    The metrics that you are evaluated by can be stressful sometimes to an extreme. If you're a student mentor you have to work some evening hours in order to meet students availability. The pay was not as high as I would have liked so I still worked a part-time job to supplement my income.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find another way to evaluate your mentors. The people that you have love their jobs and are always looking for new ways to help their students.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 9 people found this helpful  

    Fear based and unrealistic demands

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Student Mentor in Salt Lake City, UT
    Current Employee - Student Mentor in Salt Lake City, UT

    I have been working at Western Governors University full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Colleagues genuinely want to make a difference, benefits were ok

    Cons

    Where to start? When I first started working for WGU, as with many of my colleagues, I was excited about the opportunity to work from home, everyone around me seemed to genuinely love their job and the staff in the training office I was in did their best to shield us from the reality of the job the longer you are there. Everyone I interacted with generally had only been working there for a little over a year at the beginning. Once I finished training after 3 months and had an opportunity to meet some other folks, I quickly learned that there are VERY FEW employees still there after 3-4 years.

    You are expected to work at least 10 hours of your work week outside of normal 8-5 time frame with the majority of them being in the evening or weekend. My Program Manager expected me to follow up with my students if they missed their weekly call until I could get them. That meant if they blew off my call I had to call, email, text, blow up their phone until they responded to me and document it. If they went inactive or withdrew it was a reflection on my performance. There were many weeks that I worked at least 60 hours a week just to try to respond within their ridiculous 4 hour response time.

    As many others have indicated the way that employees are evaluated on their performance is designed to make you fail. A student mentor after 6 months is evaluated on their KPIs. The percent of students that make OTP (on time progress- do they finish their 12 credits in their 6 month term), SAP (satisfactory academic progress - do students at least complete 66.67% of their coursework) Retention - how many students am I retaining in a 6 month period, student satisfaction scores with their student mentor from a survey they send to students twice a year, and student satisfaction with the overall university. If any 3 of those are below the bottom 30% you go on a performance improvement plan. For the first year and a half you perform well because your students are doing well, but the longer you are at the university the harder it is to impact your KPIs to move up. Students are struggling with classes you have absolutely no control of as far as content or the competency of the "Course Mentor" that is supposed to be supporting them. You are told to push them to the Course Mentor and the Course Mentor will not respond, give a canned email response, or completely blow off the appt all together so that you are left making up some excuse and working overtime to get the student the help they need in a subject you may or may not have any experience in.

    My Program Manager's response was just do your best and it won't matter - the numbers will increase. If you're doing everything for your student the numbers will be high. That is not the case. While I believe that a Student Mentor can directly impact the student and help him or her be successful, it is up to the student to choose to want to succeed. We were told that we needed to call them more, conference on Course Mentors on the phone with them, all the while even though we were documenting our efforts, it makes no difference at the end of the day. The longer your students are there the lower your KPIs are going to be. Classes get harder, life happens, and you have little impact over how a person chooses to spend their time or motivation.

    We were always encouraged to come up with "new ideas" and had these brainstorming sessions where the administration would come in and change policy on a dime. It came very apparent that if you brought attention to a flaw in an idea or policy that you would be labeled as a trouble maker or someone who was very negative and management would turn against you. For instance, they want to tell you that they "train you" on how KPIs are calculated, but they really don't. You ask questions and you are told not to worry about it - as long as you do a good job you will be fine. You try to calculate them yourself and have questions about errors in reporting and are shut down with threats of backlash and unemployment. There is nothing transparent about this process that every Student Mentor is evaluated on. Who is responsible to make sure there is no errors in reporting? Especially when it is brought up and immediately shut down? Every Student Mentor and Course Mentor cannot fathom why WGU still evaluates staff on the existing KPIs, however, it still continues. It is still used to keep staff in fear of being written up or put on a performance improvement plan.

    There are no opportunities for professional development. They tell you there are, but in the IT college unless you want to go for a certification or read a book you pretty much are told no. I am a professional with a Master's Degree and feel that I did not advance my career by being in this roll. Call it what you want, but it's a call center. Students are not held accountable for their behavior by you or your Program Manager. They know that they don't have to answer your calls all the time, they don't have to do much of anything you say, and they can talk to you however they wish and generally nothing will happen. You can involve your manager, but there is not much that will be done about it.

    If a student calls Student Services and complains, it's immediately put into your record. The student talks to your Program Manager and most likely will get a mentor change. Your manager tells you that it doesn't matter, but if you ever go on a pip they will use it against you.

    WGU is designed to be a very flat organization with very little upward mobility. There are a large number of entry level Student Mentor Positions and very few Program Manager positions. From there you have one Senior Program Manager in a college and then the Director of Mentoring. Unless you can completely switch departments there is not a lot of growth.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Number one - change this culture of fear. Start treating your highly educated, competent staff as professionals and not employees that just need to be watched and caught not doing their job. Allow them to utilize their skills and grow.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 7 people found this helpful  

    Pipe Dreaming of being BEST PLACE TO WORK

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Course Mentor in South Salt Lake, UT
    Former Employee - Course Mentor in South Salt Lake, UT

    I worked at Western Governors University full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good health benefits and retirement

    Cons

    In his quest to have WGU be named a 'Best Place to Work,' the CEO micro-manages to the point that he is actually involved in curriculum development! The organization is a business and expresses distain for traditional universities (often called 'brick and mortar' institutions). Therefore, faculty are not given any autonomy, are not supported in professional growth such as attending professional meetings, workshops, writing, publishing, etc., and they are poorly paid. WGU's rationale for low pay is that you get to work from home!

    If you are in management, you will work non-stop, weekends, evenings. Learn how to eat at your desk. There is no such thing as work-life balance. Plan on gaining at least 15 pounds as you spend every waking minute in front of a computer.

    I witnessed at least three 'mass firings' under the umbrella of 're-organization.' Groups of long-term, loyal employees sent home with pink slips to face their families, mortgages, bills, etc. Of course, there really wasn't any re-organization. New people were hired to replace the old, doing the exact same job but with a different title. Naturally this sent a wave of fear over the remaining employees who were assured, each time, that there would not be another re-org.

    The day I turned in my resignation, I felt like this huge weight had been lifted from my back. I had no idea how much stress I had been under. Oh, and I lost 15 pounds in 6 months. Happiness is seeing WGU in your rear view mirror.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Visit a 'brick and mortar' university. Try to understand what education is about; why research is important; what universities offer. Ask yourselves where technology comes from and where new medications are discovered and how great literature inspires the human race. Try to understand why academic freedom is essential to a free society. Actually, I have better advice; start thinking about a new, healthy work environment and check-out the want ads.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 3 people found this helpful  

    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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

    I worked at Western Governors University full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The only benefits are being able to work from home. But, it's a false illusion. You don't really operate on your own; you have managers looking over your shoulder all the time. And, students are also looking over your shoulder - all the time. Yes, virtually or by phone. I cannot really think of another benefit to working for this organization.

    Cons

    A lot of micromanagement and poor integration of employee feedback and input. Essentially, student input is more important. Managers are ego-heavy and hang in a huddle, which means you're out of luck of you get on someone's bad side. To get any advancement, you essentially have to play politics and smooch your managers. There can be manipulation, lying and even bullying here at this organization, by managers. Very unhealthy. I have heard of complaints to their human resources department and even to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    Your performance is based on what students do or do not do. If a student leaves the university, it's your fault. If a student doesn't complete X amount of units per term, it's your job on the line. The job is very heave on metrics and metrics that do not make sense. It is constantly being pressured to get students to graduate or complete their academic units. Student mentors are essentially at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to the importance of the workforce. Student can complain at any moment, and at any time. Be prepared to defend yourself because it'll be assumed you were in the wrong.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hold managers accountable for their behavior, and promote based on quality of work, not on a popularity contest.
    Train managers more on treating employees fairly, equitably and respectfully. Train student mentors to do the same, as they too will double-cross at any chance they get to stomp on someone else to get ahead themselves. Bottom line: it's a very unhealthy workplace created by many, many factors.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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