Help, advice please (a bit long, sorry)

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by HR Gal, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. HR Gal

    HR Gal New Member

    Hello everyone.

    I am new to this website, but am very happy to have found it. I am hoping I can get some input regarding choosing a grad school.

    Here is my story and questions.

    I have a BA in Human Resources and Psychology. I have over 12 years of exempt level HR experience, some of which has been in training and development. I am currently a stay at home mom (also running a small, part time HR consulting biz) and plan to do so until my daughter (now 2 1/2) goes to school full-time. I do not plan on returning to HR because I'd like to have more flexibility with my schedule once my daughter goes to school. So.... I am going to try to "break into" teaching on an adjuct, part-time basis (community college or university level- hopefully online). I know the money isn't necessarily fabulous, but it could allow me great flexibility with our family goals, bring in some extra money, and do something I enjoy. I would like to try to teach HR, management, and general business classes since these are my areas of expertise, so to speak, and I hopefully have what is considered to be "teaching" experience, sort of, with my training stuff.

    Of course, I have discovered that getting into adjunct teaching requires a Masters in most cases. But because I will (hopefully!) be using my Masters to secure adjunct work, I feel it is pretty important to be selective in my grad school choice (as much as I can be based on financial and other limitations). I know in the world of academia folks can be pretty picky. (If I was simply getting an MBA to advance my HR career, it wouldn't be as critical probably as most employers don't put as much emphasis on where the MBA came from.) So I am looking at only regionally accredited schools (already learned about the limitations of DETC schools) and want an MBA with an HR emphasis, 100% online, no GRE requirement, decently priced, etc. Based on all of this, I have narrowed down my choices as follows and noted the pros and cons based on how I see them. (BTW, they are very close in price.)

    Baker College
    pros: well thought of school (I believe); completed in 18 months; appears to be well rounded program
    cons: very fast paced (6 week long classes); lots of Blackboard time with daily requirements; concerned about stress level with these requirements (can you say "two year old?")

    Northcentral University
    pros: self-paced program (can finish courses sooner than 16 weeks allowed, if desired, and begin another class); appears to be well rounded program; less stress: no Blackboard requirements, self-paced
    cons: Take longer to complete program. NCU just recently accredited. Their affiliation with SCUPS. (I have already read the threads here and elsewhere.)

    NCU offered the following when I was very honest about my concerns when I spoke to them today:

    *They are two distinct and separate schools
    *They don't even accept transfer credits from SCUPS students because SCUPS isn't regionally accredited.
    *They had to address similar concerns from the regional accreditor that accredited them about their affiliation with SCUPS including proving they are totally separate entities: separate finances, instructors, board, etc. They were simply started by the same person. (They obviously addressed the concerns effectively because they received their accreditation in a pretty short time frame, which is somewhat unusual from what I've heard/read.)
    *When I told them that the main reason I wanted an MBA is so I can "break into" adjunct teaching and I am concerned if I'll have a problem with having an MBA from them (e.g. their reputation being an issue for me down the road), they offered that several of UofPhx's instructors are currently doing their PhD with them. They also directed me to a list on their website that has the names of students I could contact as references.

    I also emailed the folks who publish the Bears' guides and a gentleman at Degree Finders. Both wrote back indicating they would have no problem recommending NCU now that they are RA. One even went to so far as to state that the owner goes to a great effort to keep the two entites quite separate and so should everyone else.

    Based on the self-paced aspect, I am leaning more towards NCU. However, I don't want to wind up with an MBA that impedes me from securing adjuct work even though it is RA. I wonder if NCU is viewed in the same light as SCUPS in the majority of academia and will it manifest when I try to secure work? Or as time goes by (since NCU was just recently accredited), will NCU come into their own without any issues?

    I welcome all thoughts and if anyone has opinions on how NCU might affect how my credentials are viewed later by prospective academic employers, I'd love to hear about it. Also if anyone has any comments on the intesity of Baker's Blackboard and 6 week classes, I'd love to hear about that too. Maybe it's not as crazy as I think it will be. Maybe it would be worth it in the end. Is Baker highly thought of?

    TIA very much. Sorry this is SOOOO long!
  2. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Outside of Degreeinfo and similar forums, SCUPS is an extremely obscure school that most people have never even heard of. Unless NCU were to somehow lose its accreditation, the SCUPS connection shouldn't be a factor at all. My concern is that you do seem to be looking for a "name" school, and NCU is very new and very nontraditional.

    If I were in your shoes, I would probably pick Baker of the two, but then I thrive under a tight course schedule (and, perhaps more importantly, don't have a two-year old!). I would definitely encourage you to look into more schools--the subject index I whipped together for the 15th edition of Bears' Guide lists master's-level HR programs at Colorado State, Florida Tech, Indiana State, Keller (DeVry), RIT, and the University of Maryland, as well as a good number of lesser-known and non-U.S. schools. If you're not comfortable shelling out $25 for a new copy of the book, you could probably get one through interlibrary loan. Peterson's may also have a new guide out, and I see Vicky Phillips has a new, free 120-page downloadable e-book on graduate programs in business.

    Good luck!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 28, 2003
  3. HR Gal,

    From my experience as an adjunct at three different CC's, a Master's is nice but a BA can be quite acceptable for an adjunct depending on what they want you to teach. What's important:

    1. Do they need your skills? I'd call the relevant depts (not HR) and speak to the Dept Chairperson and find out.

    2. Are you reliable, dependant, can be counted on, etc. NO ONE wants to hear any excuses for late grades, missed classes, etc.

    3. Have you teaching experience?

    4. Will you take what they offer? i.e. money isn't great but IS OK.

    At many schools, different Depts will have similar instructor needs. For example, Ivy Tech's weekend program is a different Dept that the M-F program offerings.

    Do your research, put together a nice resume that stresses ANY teaching experience and DRESS PROFESSIONALLY any time you visit the school. Perception IS reality.

    Check out the benefits at the 2 year AND four year schools. 4 year schools need adjuncts also (mine couldn't exist without them) and often allow you to take classes for free. Probably 1/2 of our adjuncts are adjuncts for that reason.

    Good luck!

    Dave A
  4. Mike Albrecht

    Mike Albrecht New Member

    AZ programs

    HR Gal:

    Your info lists you as being in Phoenix, AZ, as such have you looked at the online program from ASU ?

    Or the one fromThunderbird
  5. HR Gal

    HR Gal New Member

    Wow! I am so happy that I found this website and posted. I do appreciate the responses, so far, and look forward to hearing from others as well.

    I want to quickly address a few comments that have been kindly shared with me.

    Hi Dave,
    I have actually looked into teaching adjunct with just my BA. Yes, some schools list in their requirements that to teach that a BA with loads of experience will be considered for some occupational type courses. However, after contacting several CCs around the country that offer a large online cirriculum, I have found that (1) many do not consider business classes to fall into this category and (2) even though they will accept a BA, they prefer a masters and usually have many masters candidates to pick from.... so I don't know if I will break into adjunct with just a BA, but I WILL keep trying, that's for sure!

    I have been in contact with my local CC district, have made the appropriate connections, etc. I have also snazzed up my resume to include all of my training/instructional experience as well. I will keep plugging away at it, but, in the meantime, I will move forward with the masters. In my field (HR, business) it may be the only way to break into teaching. Thanks again, Dave, for your input. I reallly appreciate hearing from a "real, live" adjunct. Any other thoughts you have re: breaking into teaching, please share!!

    HR Gal (Jill)
  6. HR Gal

    HR Gal New Member

    Thanks Tom!

    I'm not really concerned about a "name" school. I just don't want to find out later that in the academic world, the place I got my Masters from is not well respected or something even though they are RA. If NCU is only considered "non traditional" I think I can live with that. It's the wave of the future, you know? And considering I'd be targeting online CCs and universities for job opportunities, I would HOPE that they would not feel that way. Kind of scary if they do.

    I have purchased the 15th ed of Bears' Guide, one of the Petersen guides, and have downloaded the PDF you mentioned. I also have done many online searches at various sites. My criteria is an MBA with emphasis in HR at a RA school. That skims down the list quite a bit already. Also some of the schools are more expensive then I can consider. Since I am a SAHM, my hubby is the sole income and although we exist comfortably, I don't think I can talk him into a ton of debt at this time. So I kind of set the limit of $10-14K plus books. That also cut the list down.

    However, just in case I overlooked one by accident, I will recheck the ones you mentioned. There could be one out there I missed. Wouldn't be surprised since I normally have a toddler crawling all over me while I'm online!

    Thanks again for the info. I really appreciate it.


    P.S. I am glad to hear that the affiliation between SCUPS and NCU isn't widely known. That helps to alleviate my concerns somewhat. But I also haven't dismissed Baker yet either. I just need to hear more about their Blackboard requirements to feel comfortable.
  7. HR Gal

    HR Gal New Member

    Re: AZ programs

    Hey Mike,

    Thanks for the suggestions. ASU has some pretty heafty admission requirements and I don't think I'm interested in jumping through those hoops right now. I'm not lazy about my coursework by any means (graduated MCL), but I really am not in a place in my life right now with other responsibilities to go through the process they impose for admission. Hope that makes sense and I don't sound lazy!

    If memory serves, Thunderbird is VERY expensive, but I will check into them again because I don't want to overlook any good possibilities.

    Thanks again for your input. I think I've found a goldmine in this board!

    Jill :D
  8. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    Jill --

    It sounds like you've really done your homework!

    NCU may well be your best option; it's always possible that a school will go south, but their accreditation was hard-won enough that I can't imagine they'd ever do anything that would put it in jeopardy. Folks who have been around this forum for a long time will remember me essentially offering to eat my hat if NCU actually made it through the accreditation process, but they surprised us all (well, most of us) and did it anyway. I wouldn't dare bet against them now.

  9. majkutp

    majkutp New Member

    You may also want to check out Amberton university.

    They have very cost efficient graduate degrees:

    Master of Business Administration:
    Strategic Leadership

    Master of Science in Human Relations & Business

    $200 per credit.
  10. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

  11. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    By the way, I am far from an expert regarding AACSB Accreditation, I just remember reading the post I am directing you to.

    If I am wrong, someone please correct me.
  12. aa4nu

    aa4nu Member

    Hi Jill,

    Lots of good information to ponder has already been posted.

    Here's another point or two ...

    You mentioned you would like to teach HR, management,
    and general business type topics. That's great ...

    I would suggest that you check NOW to see EXACTLY
    what the rules are to be able to teach those topics.

    Here in my state, you have to have 18 hours at the graduate
    level to teach in the field. So ... for management, you need
    18 hours at the graduate level or higher ... for HR, 18 hours,
    and so on ... some course work may overlap, but be sure!

    My point is just having a RA MBA may not be enough, so plan
    out your needs now and create an academic course track
    that will support your goals.

    As to AACSB ... check the past threads ... if the local schools
    are all AACSB, and they are where you want to teach, then
    weigh that into the mix when selecting your program. If not,
    then weigh that also.

    DISCLAIMER: <OK, plumdog?> I am a current TUI student
    in their CBA Ph.D. program.

    One other option to add to your list: Might be Touro, as
    they DO offer a MBA with a HR emphasis ... and their
    program should come in at or below your price range.

    So, there's even more ideas to ponder!

    Hope this helps,

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2003
  13. Tom Head

    Tom Head New Member

    I'm afraid I can't speak either way to the importance of AACSB accreditation, but Billy makes a very good point--at a lot of schools, adjuncting is all about credit. Generally you need at least 12-18 graduate semester hours in the field you want to teach in, so it makes sense to ask around and see how much credit (and what kind of credit) your prospective teaching schools expect of their adjunct professors in HR.

  14. DaveHayden

    DaveHayden New Member

    I remember someone posting that to teach a Master's was significantly more valuable than a MBA? Can any of the current adjuncts verify this? Thanks!
  15. uncle janko

    uncle janko member

    The Carpathian peasant extends his best wishes to the Acronym Goddess.
  16. decimon

    decimon Well-Known Member

    HR Gal,

    Not considered so far is your teaching at non-RA institutions. State-licenced vocational schools and DETC accredited schools would be possibilities.

    You wouldn't need advanced degrees for that teaching but could acquire those credentials while teaching should you wish to switch to RA teaching. And you would gain teaching experience for your resume.
  17. HR Gal

    HR Gal New Member

    Wow, again!

    Lots of good suggestions, things to ponder, things to research, additional schools to check out. I reallly do appreciate everyone's input.

    Not sure about the AACSB accreditation. It will be interesting to hear from other adjuncts as to whether it's critical or not. But I also will be looking into teaching at DETC schools, community colleges, etc. So hopefully it won't be a deal breaker. I will try to market myself to RA universities, but with the huge amount of PhDs available, well, I won't hold my breath, you know? (But once I am done with my masters I do plan on blanketing my resume everywhere I can think of!)

    As far as teaching now with just a BA.... well I've done a lot of research and, yes, some schools will look at you, but since they prefer grad level people, the competition is pretty stiff. But I will continue to plug away. It can't hurt, you know? If anyone has any particular suggestions of schools to contact, I'm all ears. :)

    I am planning on getting at least 18 hours in HR classes and the other "core" classes will be business classes, so (hopefully) I will be set to teach both HR and general business. Considering I want to teach mostly online, I imagine it would be pretty difficult to find out exactly what is needed to teach because schools can vary quite a bit. If anyone has a suggestion on this one, please let me know. Right now, I'm basing my plan on the research I've done to date. Basically, 18 hours grad level in the subject matter I want to teach from an RA school. Hopefully I have the bases covered. (I can always take an additional class or two if I need to.) My local CC has this criteria. I have already been in contact with the dept head so I will continue to keep him abreast of my progress.

    Well, thanks again everyone. I look forward to hearing more from folks on this great board. What an awesome resource.

    Have a great day.

  18. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Great point. I wanted to see if teaching would be something I would be interested in and I was hired as a sub at a computer school that offered 9 month certificate programs. I also plan to apply at a local college that offers AS and BS degrees online. They are not RA but they are accreditied.
  19. GENO

    GENO New Member

    I too wish you calm seas and may the trade winds fill your sails with much wisdom and guidance. (what?)

Share This Page