• Report: #590798

Complaint Review: College America

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  • Submitted: Thu, April 08, 2010
  • Updated: Tue, April 12, 2011

  • Reported By: angry_instructor — Fort Collins Colorado United States of America
College America
Mason Street Fort Collins, Colorado United States of America

College America Stevens-Heneger College Faculty Treated Poorly, poor management, unethical behavior Fort Collins, Colorado

*Author of original report: Revisted reply to Woah, there, not so fast...

*UPDATE Employee: Woah, there, not so fast...

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I worked at the school for a year in 2009 as adjunct faculty.  No training was ever given, and no performance reviews ever written, nor did anyone sit in on classes.  The director only has a bachelor's degree, yet he is running the school, which is unheard of in normal academic arenas.  Awards are given out to admin staff, but I never saw any instructors included.  A new dean of education was hired and she decided I was a threat to her position because I had been considered for her position(I voluntarily withdrew my application prior to any decision being made because of a surgery).  As an aside, I later found out the paltry amount the position paid and was glad to have withdrawn. 


After a year of positive student relationships, where I had received four bonuses for high student critiques, and full course loads to teach, I suddenly wasn't being given any courses to teach shortly after I had complained about the dean regarding an issue with my pay.  I also noticed 9 new adjuncts were hired, several in fields I was normally an instructor in, and they had courses, but I did not.  I went to see the director only to find he had been fed information by the dean such as that I had high student absences/drops in my classes and had a hard time controlling my classes, which wasn't true and he had no documentation of any kind to support his statements.  He also had a problem with the fact that I had complained when my pay was messed up even though the dean had not returned my phone calls or emails for three days, making my pay late. 


I complained at the front desk, but only in front of staff, and only that one time like that, so it shouldn't have been an issue.  I could have worked for any of the local colleges - I have a PhD - but I enjoyed the students there because they needed me in my opinion, however even though I was the highest educated there, with large amounts of experience, I was treated poorly.  After I made my point to the director defending myself against the dean's allegations about not having control of my courses, etc., with no documentation, he told me not to come back (although I had already made it clear I wouldn't be returning unless things changed).  Because I had had stellar performance, I asked for a letter of recommendation and he refused, stating that I shouldn't have complained.  My complaints, aside from the one about pay, were private conversations to him and they were all valid and only recent. 


They included: no classroom preparation for instructors, i.e. no dry erase pens, no erasers for the boards, no overheads in certain classrooms, sometimes classes with no books, not giving proper time to prepare prior to being told you have a course to teach, no instructor materials and no time prior to class starting to acquire them, no training on company methodologies, no formal recognition for instructors on achievements, no performance evaluations or progress reports, no long-term schedule so that instructors could at least prepare their work/life schedules, and the list goes on, too many to fully iterate here.  All of the complaints were failures of the dean. I do believe that their treatment of me was against the law, as well, even though I was an adjunct, based on Colorado labor laws concering adjunct type employment, but I am not of a mind to sue because of the monetary outlay.  I honestly hope the director is replaced by someone with more integrity whose concern is for quality instructors rather than a dean who does all his work for him and his subsequent repayment by defending her and her tactics at the expense of everyone else.  


He is a coward who takes the path of least resistance and the dean, by doing most of his job for him (another reason I withdrew) has made herself valuable, but at what cost?  I notice he leaves on time every evening while she stays and he has little to no interaction with the students and has never taught in his life.  He likes her because he can continue with this practice while she takes over everything for him.  I now notice on the job boards that they are losing the very instructors they just hired since they are hiring again, and it serves them right.  No one will want to teach for the dean the way she runs things with no complaints allowed and poor treatment of instructors as well as terrible management practices.  What comes around goes around.  It's a shame for the students, as well as the faculty, and they deserve better.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/08/2010 01:28 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/College-America/Fort-Collins-Colorado-/College-America-Stevens-Heneger-College-Faculty-Treated-Poorly-poor-management-unethical-590798. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 1Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Revisted reply to Woah, there, not so fast...

AUTHOR: angry_instructor - (USA)

I have wanted to get on and re-rebut the rebuttal to clarify a few points for quite some time now, in order to clear up any misconceptions.  I do know who wrote the rebuttal, however before I begin, allow me to say I was interested to have received a rebuttal from this person because I had been such a strong advocate for him during my time at CA.  Since he felt the need to rebutt my statements, I am going to lay it on the line, so to speak, and call it exactly like I saw it, then and now.

First, I don't wish to sound elitist, however the respondent leaves me no real choice.  Those who have a higher education or who are pursuing one I think will understand where I am going.  I went to school for about 10 years to earn a PhD.  It is no small task and all of my degrees are from state colleges and good schools and I paid for them by myself through hard work and sweat and I earned them all honestly.  I also taught for a major university and was a director of academics at that university for nearly two years.  Additionally, I am a veteran who served honorably in the military, and have been a defense contractor working for the military, as well.  I tell you this so that you know the caliber of person I am.  I'm honest and fair and I try to be kind to most everyone -- unless I am unfairly treated and then I will say how I feel it is, which I did do.

Now, the person who rebutted my statements about CA is educated at CA, a career college of questionable character in my opinion.  The person has a Bachelor's degree from that college and has only ever worked "professionally" at that college.  I say this because the person in question actually has the temerity to tell me my performance was not up to par, when in fact I question his experience, education or professional ability to even begin to do so in the first place.  How does a person with his background and education think he has the credentials to rate my performance in any capacity?  In short, he does not.  The idea that he would even try to say anything with even a measure of authority about my professional abilities is ridiculous and extremely presumptious.   The statement "My skills are in the same career area as yours...." is inane when you consider I have TWO degrees above him, both from major institutions of learning, plus several years working for a major engineering firm in that "career area" as opposed to simply being a tech guy at a career college.  The field isn't just being a repair technition -- and that is low man on the totem pole for that field.   

Having put that forward, I will now address his statements because I am not normally one to spout about my credentials.  It was just that when someone seeks to critique my performance, I feel they better be fully able to do so with some type of professional credential equal to or above my own, otherwise it's akin to a construction worker telling an architect how to design a building correctly just because he has some building experience.

I feel his motivation for defending the director and dean was an effort at good old fashioned "butt snorkeling", as we used to call it in the military.  He feels that by defending them, they will feel ingratiated to him, and think how wonderfully loyal he is.  Well, allow me to lend some advice.  You never burn your bridges like that because, regardless of his questionable education and professional background, if I were ever in a position to be hiring people like him, I might have once done so based only on the fact that I felt he was a nice guy and tried hard and knew a modest amount but could learn.  Also, if I were in a position to ADVISE another person about hring him for thier organization, I might have once said to go for it.  Not now.  And because of his career choice and my background and the size of this area, I can say the chances are quite high he will come across me in some way in the future as opposed to those he seeks to impress so much with his loyalty.  It was a stupid mistake, plain and simple.  I network, and I grew up here, my whole family lives here, and I know a lot of people.  A person should never think they are so secure in their position like that, either.  He isn't as secure as he thinks and I promise that those individuals would not think twice about putting him out should he do something they disagree with.

Now to address the content.  I have great understanding.  We did discuss our field, however only from a technical point of view.  The students consistently complained about your lack of knowledge, your courses being a joke, how they learned nothing from your classes.  I followed your curriculum out of courtesy to you and received complaints about it being too light when they paid money for the course.  I deferred to you on that particular course, again being nice, and defended you to everyone.  Honestly, I had to defend you at least 3-4 times a week to the students.  They would come to my classes after being in your classes and I had to teach them basic fundamental things that they should have learned in YOUR courses.  I had a difficult time teaching my class when I had to teach them basic items first because you failed to do so.  I am not being mean here.  That is the honest truth, and I say it not to be mean or spiteful.  They all liked you, but they all learned nothing from you.  To that end, because I liked you, I extolled your virtues to everyone and made sure people knew how helpful you were and what an asset.  You repay me by your rebuttal and it just goes to show you were ignorant about just who your friends really were.  So please take your contrived "offense" elsewhere.

I never said anything in my statement that was incorrect.  There is no excuse for there being no preparation for classes when they are held over and over again.  For one class, as an example, the new dean told the students the wrong course number as well as myself.  Two days prior, I found out the real course number and also that there literally was no book for that course.  I had enough experience to teach the class and have the students actually learn something credible, but there was no outline, no past notes, no book, no nothing.  I had a description from the catalog and that was it.  I asked the dean for some type of assistance on how she felt I should proceed and she just shrugged and said "It's your call."  Did you happen to miss the part about the students paying money for a quality education?  I think they deserved better than that and their money should have ensured it.

And to tell me that you teach in the real world -- well, I suppose you didn't realize I had been a defense contractor so perhaps you thought I was only "entrenched" in academia, but that is not true at all.  So spare me the lecture about how the students come first there and the tenets of eduction, of which you clearly are not very knowledgeable about or you wouldn't have written what you did.  Since my background was very similiar to the very students you taught there, I had a true connection to them and most had the highest regard for me, of that I know.  Because as I mentioned, the only awards I received were from them.  I never got any from the school and never saw any instructors get any either.  To think that you can have enough experience to tell me what the real world is all about when I served in the military and have a husband who was special operations is just ludicrous.  Plus I lived all over the world.  You humiliate yourself by trying to tell me how to do a job properly, you honestly do.  I am also about 10 years your senior.

As to your direct observations -- I let class out early only with permission and only because we honestly worked together outside of the classroom and I felt guilty even then, which is why I mentioned it to you at all.  I never let class out without completing everthing that was required of me and I never let it out without first telling the dean that I had done so and received the OK.  I always provided a complete update to the dean of what we had done and my classes had the highest student ratings out of all of the instructors and I wasn't the only one letting them out early.  I also never let them out beyond 45 minutes early out of a 4 hour class, so I hardly think that's a big deal, and usually it was without them having had a break during coursetime.  It all evened out in the end and I guarantee my students learned a heckuva lot more than yours did.  Classroom discussions were sometimes not relevant to the material in order to break up the monotony.  I would like for you to tell me that you never did that.  I know that others did it, as well.  GS did it ALL the time -- where are you on that one?  And how could you possibly know how often we went off course when you weren't there?  You were a participant in a single class of mine and only because I was being nice about following your curriculum instead of what was originally supposed to be taught since it was what was normally done for that course.  And because I didn't know the school computer software yet, and that was the class subject, I allowed you to come in and be ringleader for that one, so if I I didn't discuss relevent items in that class, it was only due to that. You weren't in my classes otherwise so you have no clue what you are talking about.

For clarification, I was pretty good friends with the previous dean and actually I still am.  She was let go because she also complained.  What you didn't understand was that the director was one of those individuals who doesn't like to interact with students.  He told me this himself.  He doesn't like conflict and he likes for the dean to handle all the student affiars while he handles the "business" side of the house.  This is what I meant by the dean doing all his work for him.  Since I was a director at a major university, I can say with some authority that his job is not just running that school as a business.  Or it shouldn't be.  Obviously he would disagree with me on that, and that's ok.  If those above him like him, more power to him, however I don't think it's an effective way to run a college and I have never seen it done that way before, either.  In fact, I haven't even seen it done that way at the other CA's that I have been to.

Also, you really had no business getting involved or saying anything about what didn't concern you just because you felt the need to be chivalrous.  If you really were being chivalrous, it would be ok, but I suspect your motive was just what I said it was, which was to ingratiate yourself to them so your position is secure.  If you were smart, you wouldn't have said anything at all because it can't help you in the end.  But you are entitiled to your opinion.  Now that some time has passed since I left, allow me to say that I left of my own accord.  It was only when I asked for the opportunity to come back one day when/if the dean left that I was told I couldn't come back.  I was never "fired".  I even told you I was leaving, as well.  It was no secret.  And I distinctly remember you agreeing with me about several of the things I mentioned in my original letter here when I spoke with you about them -- then you rebutt what I said as if you and I never had conversations about those issues where you expressed your opinion about the same things happening to yourself and others.  To act as if you are now the supreme defender is very dishonest of you, especially with regard to the dean.

And allow me to say, I wanted to like her.  I really did.  I was no threat to her.  I didn't want her job.  She and I could have been friends had she not been so threatened by everything I said to her and taken it as if I was telling her she wasn't doing her job.  I offered to take her to lunch, to hang out sometime, to girl-chat, etc., but she was very standoffish.  And I have to now ask myself why someone would leave a state position paying almost six figures with no commute to work at a job an hour away for less than half that pay.  Especially when it takes nearly an act of congress to fire a state worker.  That tells me she had problems and that it wasn't just me.  And I know for a fact I wasn't the only female she had a difficult time with.  A year has passed now and there are several that are no longer there that had been there a long time.  But because she takes care of all the student issues and the director doesn't have to, he just adores her, doesn't he?  Well, more power to them.  I also genuinely liked the director, too.  Until he began listening to little poisons about me that weren't true or were blown out of proportion and he never bothered to investigate or speak with me at all.  I was just accused, with no documentation or proof -- because most were untrue, such as the lack of control over my classes, or the high drop rate he told me I had.  And yet I had the highest instructor score, I mention again, by the students, out of any instructor there. 

So I will now end this and say that my original complaint stands.  I was treated poorly, I really was.  I had actually forgotten I wrote anything on this site and was asked by the director about it and I told him I would admit if I wrote something if he told me where, but he never did, however this can stand as confirmation.  He can be hurt all he likes and question my Christianity, which he did do, but if he let go of his personal feelings and instead looked at it from an outside point of view, and then reread my emails to him, he would know in his heart he was wrong.  All he ever had to say to me was he was sorry for all the misunderstandings and then give me a good letter of recommendation and we would have been square, but instead I have a year of my life I cannot claim -- and for what reason again?  You don't get to answer that question.  You know why?  You aren't qualified to.  And you weren't in the position to know everything that went on, either, yet you felt the need to add your two cents unnecessarily.  What kind of a person does that?  I guess you do.  Let's hope it doesn't end up biting you in the rear end in the future job market.
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Woah, there, not so fast...

AUTHOR: Angriest_Instructor - (United States of America)

I am a staff member at CollegeAmerica in Fort Collins, CO. I really feel the need to rebut this report; it is clear to me who the author of the report is. The author will no doubt be able to identify me as well based on the following. I write this response directed to her:
Your report, while highlighting some issues that have been, and are being worked on, was more than a hit piece, it was a betrayal. No work environment is perfect, but I have never worked with so many people that are as committed to student success as the folks here. I am an employee as well as a grad of the school. My skills are in the same career area as yours. In many ways, your skills surpass mine, but there is one thing you are sorely lacking: understanding. We had what I thought was a good working relationship; we would discuss our field, what was going on in the world, places we had worked in the past, etc. I had no problem listening to your complaints and woes, but to turn around and attack the dean, director, and the staff in general is a personal offense that I cannot let go by unanswered.

Yes, its true that sometimes, an instructor will not have as much time as wed like to prepare for our classes. In my experience here, this has always been due to hasty shifts in class schedules for the benefit of the students. They come first; not you, not me, nor any other instructor. That is a tenet of education anywhere; I learned that from my instructors when getting my lowly bachelors degree here.

    While were talking about degrees, lets talk about accomplishments and awards. A few letters at the end of your name might get you bumped in pay grade in academia, but we are firmly rooted in, and teach, the real world. The real world is achievement based. Your degree gets you in the door, and a bit of earned respect. You must then do the job properly. This is the step that counts most, and in many ways, you failed in that here. You claim only one incident of complaining in front of staff only. I was there when you complained inappropriately in front of your students twice. Once regarding your displeasure with the classes you were or were not being assigned, and once speaking about your personal life. Both were during class time. I did not mention this to anyone else, as I assumed you would come around, or work your way out. I kept quite a few of our conversations private, out of respect for a colleague, and someone I thought understood that sometimes, you just have to make a situation work.

    You state that Awards are given out to admin staff, but I never saw any instructors included., then later crow about the fact that you received 4 bonuses. Which is it? I would call cash quite an award.

    The personal attacks on the Dean and Director were completely uncalled for. A site such as this is for sharing information about dishonest business practices to potential clients; not employee grievances and sour grapes.

 I quote: I honestly hope the director is replaced by someone with more integrity whose concern is for quality instructors rather than a Dean who does all his work for him
That one was from the Twilight Zone, I think. All staff works as much as needed. Ive watched the Director and Dean work 60+ hour weeks when they had to, and it sure wasnt because they were bored.  I can guarantee that the Dean does not have time to do the Directors work. Where did this accusation come from, anyway?

Now, my direct observations: You frequently let class out early, directly taking value from the students. You let classroom discussions veer off of relevant topics far too often.  This was not stellar performance, as you claim; whatever the outside observations were. I saw this with my own eyes.

I could continue on too, as you say; I state, that I dispute most, if not all of the claims made in the previous report. Theres a bitter part of you that we really dont understand, but if you wish to air your grievances in a way that presents us in an unflattering light, be prepared for the same yourself.
You wished for a Director whose concern is for quality instructors; you may want to consider the possibility that we do have such a Director and that this was the exact reason that you were let go.

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