Western Governors University Reviews | Glassdoor

Find your next job here

Western Governors University Reviews

Updated February 15, 2018
453 reviews

Filter

Filter

Full-timePart-time

3.3
StarStarStarStarStar
Rating TrendsRating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Western Governors University President Scott D. Pulsipher
Scott D. Pulsipher
92 Ratings

453 Employee Reviews

Sort: PopularRatingDate

Pros
Cons
  • Some of us are required to work from home office, and it's frustrating to listen to others with same jobs who travel while working (in 30 reviews)

  • Very political and work/life balance can be difficult (in 13 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 Western Governors University full-time

    Pros

    Heavy company support for employees

    Cons

    Pay is lower than a single parent needs

    Advice to Management

    increase pay


  2. "Program Mentor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Program Mentor
    Current Employee - Program Mentor
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Can work remotely from home

    Cons

    Getting too big too quick

  3. "Assessment Security Investigator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Western Governors University full-time

    Pros

    Friendly working environment, supportive team mates, flexible work hours, work from home, great technical support, provides the equipment (PC and peripherals)

    Cons

    The starting salary is not great, the benefits are limited, working from home restricts the physical activity in a substantial manner


  4. Helpful (8)

    "A Tough Place to Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Devops Engineer
    Former Employee - Devops Engineer
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Western Governors University full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    WGU, as a whole, is a very important business. It's not a degree mill, as some might say; it's actually a really tough school to get through, though only some of that can be attributed to it being very self-starter. It feels good to go to work every day knowing that you're helping students achieve their dreams.

    It's also a very friendly environment, at least at the ground level. I made a lot of friends and had to deal with very little drama from upper management, which my managers almost always shielded me from.

    Recognition is not hard to come by, though. Employees are encouraged to recognize one another, and frequently you see small awards and tokens of appreciation passed between coworkers of the same level. It's part of the culture to recognize your peers who do good work.

    Cons

    WGU is notorious for using its "non-profit" title to underpay its employees. Based on the work me and my coworkers did, I would say WGU averages anywhere from 40% - 70% of market value, depending on the team. It's tough to find quality talent for half of the average pay for a position. That doesn't stop executives from cashing in pretty paychecks, though, which can be really discouraging to see from the ground level.

    WGU also breeds a culture of mediocrity. Since they can't (or won't) use monetary incentives to reward excellence, it takes an intrinsic sense of "self value" to work hard, and that's increasingly rare. In IT especially, WGU skates by on the heroic efforts of a few, and the remaining workers try hard to keep the status quo and avoid or delegate work wherever possible.

    As of late, WGU has also been really pushing for a more "for-profit" feel, maximizing numbers and increasing expectations regularly. If your supervisor doesn't take direct action to stop or alleviate the pain, it's not unusual to see some employees putting in 12+ days, and weekends, to try to keep up with the ever-growing workload with no improvement in resources or incentives.

    It's difficult to get help when you need it. People who call for better training, more resources, or a more realistic workload often get lip-service but no action. WGU moves government-slow when it comes to HR and upper management, often waiting for months or even years for major problems with pay, low resources, or title and access changes to be resolved.

    There's also some shady favoritism going on from upper management. Watching managers and directors lose their positions to "downsizing" and then immediately backfilling those spots with friends and relatives from Amazon (where the CEO and a significant portion of IT is now from, unsurprisingly) should raise some red flags.

    Advice to Management

    When someone is being a squeaky wheel, pay attention. Odds are good that person has had a complaint for months or even years, and if you're hearing about it, then they're at the breaking point. Move quickly to avoid losing star talent.

    Also, if you're going to increase expectations, then you either need to improve systems or increase compensation. Putting goals higher and higher without providing any other changes is going to drive away anyone who can actually make the goals out of sheer frustration.

    Lastly, try not to bring all the bad from Amazon - it is notoriously a difficult place to work in Tech, with a lot of negative reviews and burned out talent. Learn from those mistakes, don't just keep them going.


  5. "Enrollment Counselor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Western Governors University full-time

    Pros

    the incredible support system in place

    Cons

    benefits aren't my favorite


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Student Mentor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Student Mentor - Faculty
    Former Employee - Student Mentor - Faculty
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Work from home, help students

    Cons

    Totally numbers driven, management is chaotic, no advancement opportunities once you've been there more than a year


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Growing pains and low pay"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Trainer in Riverton, UT
    Current Employee - IT Trainer in Riverton, UT
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Western Governors University full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Students love it at WGU. They get a great education and it’s affordable. Countless students saw me with my WGU shirts over time and always had great things to say. Hiring managers at companies told me how WGU graduates performed better than graduates from more prestigious Universities. It’s great to be a part of that.

    Schedule is flexible and benefits are good, I really enjoyed my time at WGU and I was a little sad to leave.

    Cons

    Pay is bad. I make well below what I’m worth. I applied for an outside position and got an offer for more money with a decent increase. I would have stayed for a match and my Supervisor and his Manager were on board with it. However, the Director with the decision declined. The match in pay would have put my pay within the market so it was very affordable. I worked there at the low pay for longer than I should have so don’t make that mistake. Get in, get experience, get out.

    A lot of the University has a student focused attitude but sadly, IT lacks far behind there. No discussion on how the IT decisions affect our students, ever. It was there when I started but all the focus is now everywhere but on students.

    Advice to Management

    I would have loved to stay. However, decent pay is important. If another company knows I’m worth more, then there should be a solid consideration to match that. Even if my pay wasn’t there, work with me on a performance plan to get my pay where it needs to be. A 3% annual raise maximum won’t keep anyone there.

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Some good intentions with no direction"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Enrollment Counselor in North Salt Lake, UT
    Former Employee - Enrollment Counselor in North Salt Lake, UT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Stable salary, 2000-2500 bonus, 16 hours float, accruing PTO, benefits, 403b, 75% off tuition. My team was awesome

    Cons

    The management at WGU have no clue what they're doing. There is an established system. However there's little to no understanding of what contributes to a successful enrollment. The claim is to treat students like people and accommodate. However there is no accommodation for the EC if a student decides they do not want to start.

    That is typically understandable however, most are told to be at or above average. Anyone with a basic understanding of averages knows that if someone is average there is always someone below and someone above. How is an EC supposed to be at or above average with consistency? Besides that the scheduling software used lists EC's alphabetically which ensures that some folks get many leads and some of us get next to nothing. That was a common complaint logged multiple times by many EC's that fell on deaf years.

    If a manager has a personal vendetta against you, they will nitpick your work endlessly. The enrollment goals at WGU constantly move around without any understanding of changes to enrollment levels through the year. You’re just told to perform no matter what.

    A great example of this is the data analytics team who provided the enrollment team with a statistics regarding successful students at WGU. One of their statistics displayed that students who enrolled in 30 days or less had a much higher rate of acceleration and graduation. Now this is certainly the case when one has a driven student who is interested in enrolling and graduating as soon as possible. Those students typically tend to have their transcripts, and financial aid complete by the time an initial call is even conducted. Now given those facts, drive and motivation are a huge reason for these student’s success. Anyone who has interacted with students who are determined understand this. The enrollment team apparently deduced that any student who enrolls in 30 days has a higher chance of success. So instead of focusing on program development and eliminating enrollment hurdles, they decide to push EC’s to enroll students in 30 days or less. When a majority of our students are turned away due to a lack of prior college or certifications, how are EC’s supposed to enroll students in 30 days or less. The 30 days or less push shows a worrying lack of basic reasoning while setting enrollment goals.

    Some programs at WGU basically disqualify students the second they apply to certain programs, which would be fine if there were ways to guide students towards making their way in. Unfortunately WGU would prefer telling students to pursue options outside of the school to then transfer back and then start which annoy's most students. We weren't allowed to advise students on which certs to choose at one point. Then they changed it recently to allow us to suggest certifications. The irony is people have been warned or worse fired for trying to advise students on which certs to take. To add insult to injury, they decide to make this standard operating procedure to advise students on certifications after certain EC’s were warned about suggesting options.

    Getting promoted in the company depends on who you know and whether they like you. Now while that may be true at most companies, this takes it to another level. People get promoted to train EC's within months of being employed here as opposed to people who have had tenure and actually understand a full enrollment cycle. The dependence on those who are competent at WGU does not change however. You will be warned and told your performance isn't great and on the flip side you are still consulted over issues related to student enrollment. If an employee is treated as a subject matter expert on the one hand and then treated like they can't do their job on the flip side there's obviously a problem.

    The mobility in the enrollment college is limited given the favoritism that occurs. Their most recent system of leveling is a pure joke in its implementation and has failed on quite a few different levels. They initially had EC's reporting their accomplishments on paper to receive a raise and create a layered system in order for us to "earn" certain benefits like being able to work from home. They even require folks to be at a certain level to be eligible to apply for jobs when the irony is the people they promote to training or management, if liked, can bypass these systems.

    Overall it's a terribly managed place. Enrollment is low on the totem pole and are treated as such. Bad systemic issues lead to performance problems for some and biased promotion processes. Their systems ensure that competent talented individuals eventually leave while middle management spends its time maintaining the status quo. It's a cyclical system of promoting mediocrity and having to adhere to antiquated, short sighted processes rather than trying to improve the system.

    Bottom line, if you're a logical intelligent person with the ability to examine a broken system and propose solutions to try and improve it, don't bother. Work at a place that actually values your skill.

    You will work at WGU constantly questioning your own competence and eventually sanity.

    Advice to Management

    They've gotten a lot of advice over the years. If they wanted to solve problems they would've done it by now. I believe upper management beyond direct managers are trying to make a cultural shift. Hopefully WGU will go back to it's roots. But for right now the middle management there needs a lesson in NOT FOR PROFIT vs FOR PROFIT. They clearly can’t seem to tell the difference.


  9. Helpful (26)

    "It *used* to be a great place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Student Mentor - Faculty in Salt Lake City, UT
    Former Employee - Student Mentor - Faculty in Salt Lake City, UT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    WGU cares about students. A lot of money and resources are invested into technology and services for students. You can count on solid integrity when it comes to doing the right thing.

    Cons

    I used to love working at WGU. But, as seems to be the case for all online schools I've worked for, management starting moving into a business model instead of a collegiate model. Bringing on high profile senior management members is all well and good, but they lost the vibe and soul of the institution. There are little to no opportunities for advancement unless you know someone. There is no real professional development - only product training, product training, product training. As a student mentor, I had to be an expert on a degree product that I had no professional background in. This lead to my downfall. There was no support provided; only criticism of all the things I was doing wrong. I used to highly recommend WGU as a place to work, but now I would not.

    Advice to Management

    Stop running WGU like a for-profit business. Allow employees the freedom to do their job and provide them the support they really need.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Great school, poor employer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Western Governors University full-time

    Pros

    You do great things for people.

    Cons

    Management is give or take, and they pass off helping students as a justification for low pay.

    Advice to Management

    Pay your employees a livable wage.


Showing 453 of 460 reviews
Reset Filters