Columbia Southern University Reviews | Glassdoor

Columbia Southern University Reviews

Updated March 16, 2017
55 reviews

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2.7
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55 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great benefits and great people to work with (in 6 reviews)

  • The owners strive to keep the family culture (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • often work together and influence the work environment (in 5 reviews)

  • Very low pay, limited opportunities for advancement unless you know the right people (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Not the best, not the worst"

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

    I worked at Columbia Southern University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The best part of CSU are all the benefits (401K, many days off, 90% off tuition). There is a great work-life balance in most departments and leaving early on Fridays is definitely a luxury most don't get.
    You will find some great people here that care about the students and about the company, but I would suggest being cautious.

    Cons

    No matter what other reviews state, there are MANY people that work here that are related (hence my caution advice above). I personally experienced times when I was ignored for the advice of another family member, which is a huge problem!
    People that know the family or have been in the company the longest have protection. I have seen individuals get bullied and no one will handle the problem employees. Does this happen ALL the time, no - but does it happen more than it should, YES!
    I have seen great employees be fired because they upset someone in upper management. I have seen bad employees get promotions. I loved the departments I worked for and the work I did, but I had a terrible boss who was on the cusp of harassment and I was told multiple times "it couldn't be true" until someone saw it years later. I worked in a department with a bully employee who tried to insult coworkers, tattle, and manipulated. So it might not be the majority but the ones that are bad, are really bad!

    Advice to Management

    Take your advice of building good employees! You have a lot of talent that you hold back because there is a lack of advancement opportunities so know one wants to lose their job.
    Stop ignoring problems and assume all your employees are whining. Yes, some just think they are entitled - but there are others with actual issues.
    Stop thinking you are better than others. Stop having a management Christmas party during work hours - paying your top earning employees to have a day off is such a waste of funds. If you want to do something then make it after hours or just don't do it!
    Stop thinking people will leave if you don't give them everything they want! CSU wastes more money trying to make people happy and they shouldn't have to.
    Listen to your smart leaders - you have one of the smartest provost's who, with a great team could produce some great academic achievements!


  2. Helpful (1)

    "DONT!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Admissions Counselor-Glorified Call Center Representative in Orange Beach, AL
    Former Employee - Admissions Counselor-Glorified Call Center Representative in Orange Beach, AL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Columbia Southern University full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Set schedule and benefits not a lot to be a pro and cons out weigh the pro. Just don't try

    Cons

    Too much favoritism, hard work is rewarded with more work. Managers that have no idea how to manage. Will work you to death. Only way to survive the sweatshop is to just not care.

    Advice to Management

    Actually listen to those doing the job and learn how to manage.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "I've had a wonderful experience with CSU overall. There have been ups and downs, as with any place of employment."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Columbia Southern University full-time

    Pros

    While many mention the family culture and think it's all a show, they are very wrong. The owners put their heart and soul into running this organization, only to receive untrue, unfounded and uneducated backlash.

    It's unfortunate that those are unable to understand that we are ultimately a business, whose primary objective is to earn a profit. The mission of the university is to improve lives through education, without a question. Now, I'm no genius, but I suspect it would be very difficult to educate without funding. I guess people assume money grows on trees...

    It's easy to complain about low pay and then turn around and say that the organization is only concerned with numbers. These numbers are what gain you additional pay... it's simple for me, but I do understand how that many be difficult for others to digest.

    Cons

    This organization constantly gives and gives, only to receive negative comments and ungratefulness. When the small number of negatives come out, it penalizes everyone.

    It must just be today's society. It's obviously a crazy idea to have to WORK to get paid. These "working" conditions are tough too. Man, fun days with free food and paid holidays are just torture. <insert sarcastic eye roll>

    Advice to Management

    Keep your head held high. It's hard to come into work every day, worrying about motivating those who seem impossible to motivate.

    Those restless nights, stemming from all the things you need to do are worth it, even though the difficult employees make it so hard. Never question yourself after making a decision. If employee logs were only made public...

    I was raised differently. I was raised to do my best in every situation, regardless of others influence or circumstances. Fault lies within you and the choices you make. You can decide your future.

    -Do your damn job and you get paid.
    -Excel at your job and get promoted.

    Provide for your family at all costs. It is a job after all. It's not a day at the beach.

    Respectfully,

    Disappointed


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  5. Helpful (7)

    "Admissions"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Columbia Southern University full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good pay, benefits and co-workers.

    Cons

    Greed and ignorance run deep in this organization. They fired our very bright, capable, supportive director while enrollments were on the rise. It just hasn't been the same since then. The owners listen to their inner circle of people and think they know what they are talking about. In actuality, they aren't the brightest group and probably accomplish zero while we work hard to make the family richer. They tout a family culture but they don't care about us, which is fine. Just don't act like you do. We see how fake you are.

    Advice to Management

    Nothing. You are all friends with the family anyway.


  6. "CSU"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Supervisor in Orange Beach, AL
    Current Employee - Supervisor in Orange Beach, AL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Columbia Southern University full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    The culture at Columbia Southern University promotes teamwork and personal growth as an employee. The university offers excellent opportunities to all employees and encourages professional development. A great place to work!

    Cons

    Career advancement can be slow at Columbia Southern University since employee turnover is slow. Most management positions are difficult to achieve.

    Advice to Management

    Columbia Southern management does a great job and takes good care of employees at the university. Management should do a better job of encouraging all employees to take advantage of the educational benefits offered at the school.


  7. Helpful (8)

    "A Culture of Taking Advantage"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Orange Beach, AL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Orange Beach, AL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Columbia Southern University full-time

    Pros

    Good benefits. Many good people trying to make a positive impact.

    Cons

    Columbia Southern University is a for-profit university. That, in itself, is a significant area to focus on. While the mission and vision are to provide education and opportunities to those who might otherwise not have them, the ultimate goal/aim is to increase enrollments, whatever the cost. There are no admissions standards and limited review of student progress beyond whether the student "persistently enrolls." Keywords like retention and persistence are based solely on numbers, ignoring all qualitative meaning: are students "persisting" because they're getting a financial aid check and getting 100s on every assignment regardless of effort/merit? That question is rarely asked, despite lower-level staff reporting entire course grade books that consist of nothing but 100s on every student assignment (true of a large number of courses, not just a handful). Should the retained students actually be retained? While opportunities are important, not everyone is suited for an academic environment. Often, the best service to a student is to lead them in a different direction, one that would cause the student to withdraw from the university. While that may sound negative, it is absolutely the best interest of the student. Continuing to enroll students who cannot successfully complete the coursework (because they don’t have the foundational knowledge, because they don’t speak English, etc.) is essentially stealing from those students: taking their money, but not giving them the opportunity to learn. The fact that there are absolutely no English language requirements for anyone (except international students whose highest degree came from a non-English speaking school…which is a very, very small segment of CSU’s English Language Learners) should be a giant red flag. But again, a profit-fueled company will not turn a student away, regardless of the need. Those two questions only scratch the surface of the disconnect between the company's mission and its actual business practices. The dollars and the numbers always trump the student’s needs/success. Just do a little research into the vast amount of students using cheat sites like Course Hero or boostmygrades.com and the actual quality of the education will appear as what it really is: a mirage.

    The company is owned by a family, and the company touts its family atmosphere. This is often true, primarily because nepotism runs high in the company. Husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, fathers and sons, etc. often work together and influence the work environment. CSU is very much focused on "who you know" rather than "what you know." Promotions are often given based on popularity or family ties rather than based on the best person for the job. HR exists solely to maintain the status quo, not to work to make an environment that supports and encourages successful employees. For example, after several complaints regarding the air quality in part of the building (a presumed mold issue causing excessive sneezing and congestion among many employees), the HR solution was to tell employees to “buy a plant.”

    There are many "fun days" throughout the year to build the mirage of a happy family culture. Those events, while perhaps good-intentioned, often seem to be a punishment as they occur during work hours: who wants to go to work, but not work? Those who choose not to attend these events must use personal time, vacation time, or unpaid time off. An example of a recent event was a tailgate kickoff: a two-hour picnic in the middle of the day…in August…in South Alabama. After the picnic, everyone had to return to work for the rest of the day.

    Regarding turnover, the numbers actually do reveal a lot. Today, there are 18 open positions posted on the University webpage. This does not include the positions only available to current employees. Each pay period, an average 5-8 new employees start. This should imply that the number of staff is growing. In fact, the number of employees has significantly decreased over the past 3 years, as the university, to save money, requires significant justification (need) to replace any vacated position. That means, on average, that more than 5-8 employees leave CSU each pay period (every two weeks).

    This company is very good at finding people's strengths; it is even better at exploiting those strengths without appropriate reward (compensation only being one type of reward lacking). Once an employee pushes back or asks for commensurate rewards, the employee becomes problematic to the university. The number of employees terminated for "not fitting in with the culture" of the university is much larger than one should expect.

    Advice to Management

    While I do believe the founder had and the current CEO (the founder's son) has good intentions, the distance between intentions and actual practice is vast. Those advising the CEO present often skewed data or misrepresented numbers. While he believes the university is upholding his father’s dreams of providing educational opportunities, he is painfully unaware of the implications of the actions required to do so. My advice to the president/CEO is to take a long, hard, objective look at the inner workings of the university. Interview those actually doing the jobs rather than relying on a management team that will only report what you want to hear. The façade that is a CSU family culture aimed solely at providing opportunities to students can only stand up for so long, as many of the other reviewers have implied. Perhaps getting honest feedback from the "ants" of the university (see lesson 2 of "Barry's Bob On Guide To Becoming THE Boss" that was shared with all employees in 2013...the one that required an apology after) would be helpful. And relying on a survey that all employees know is not anonymous is not good enough.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "Partnership"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Business Partnership Recruiter in Pensacola, FL
    Former Employee - Business Partnership Recruiter in Pensacola, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Columbia Southern University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Fun, employees, travel, scheduled, location, beach, gold meals, and food, cloths

    Cons

    Owners are under educated for their position. The pay scale is substantially low.

    Advice to Management

    Pay more. Sell the jet. Listen to non yes men. Listen to Todd and Duane. Less to Fire Fighters guys.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Morons are often promoted to leadership positions"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Columbia Southern University full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Decent amount of holidays off. Set M-F schedule.

    Cons

    Incompetent people often get promoted into leadership positions because of who they know and who they are friends with.

    Advice to Management

    Seek out patterns. If several people are leaving a department or the company, hello, those are red flags! People don't look for jobs elsewhere if they are happy. Put the people who have educational backgrounds and who are most qualified for the job into leadership positions. Not morons who have friends on the presidents council. You are going to keep losing great employees. You will never be as good as you can be if you don't stop promoting people who aren't qualified for leadership roles. Especially those that have a pattern of treating other unfairly. Take a hard look at those exit interviews or people will just keep walking out the door for better opportunities. Be the better opportunity for once.


  10. "Great Employer"

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

    I worked at Columbia Southern University full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    good benefits, care about the employees

    Cons

    Promote the most experienced, not always the best person for the job


  11. "Adjunct Review"

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

    I have been working at Columbia Southern University part-time

    Pros

    Pay seems on average with what you would expect in similar positions. I've been treated well and have no real major complaints.

    Cons

    Of course the pay could always be a little better, but overall I have no big cons to add. I recommend Columbia Southern.



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