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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Goodbye University of Phoenix and Gene Wilder

Uploaded: Aug 31, 2016
Last week I received what one University of Phoenix Adjunct Online Instructor called the "Email of Death." He was being way too melodramatic, but the "death" in the title meant the death of teaching online for University of Phoenix. I too received that email notifying me that my faculty status was being inactivated.

I wasn't too upset by this. I knew University of Phoenix has a policy requiring instructors to teach at least one class every six months or be "inactivated" as an instructor. I always managed to stay within the six month window until this year. For the past six months I've been teaching three-day New Student Orientation Workshops, but no classes.

I started teaching for University of Phoenix in 2002. I received a postcard inviting me to teach online, with instructions on how to sign up for the faculty training. I was working full time as a Technical Writer for a software company in San Ramon at that time, but I thought this would be a nice supplement to my income and it would be interesting to do. It turned out to be all that and more.

I was laid off from my full time job at the end of 2002, so I was lucky to have the teaching job on the side. I started out teaching MA classes in Education. Over the years I taught classes at the AA, BA, and MA levels.

In 2005 University of Phoenix started Axia College, its two year AA degree program, I was was teaching for Axia almost full time but still considered an adjunct instructor. Then UoP hired full time online instructors, who took over teaching the Axia classes. I didn't get one of those slots.

Recently I've been teaching classes on the Arts. I taught a survey course covering theater, movies, TV, painting, music and dance. I have an MA in Theater Arts and was an Apprentice at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Conn. in the summer of 1962 or 1963. That's where I met Gene Wilder.

This was over 50 years ago, so my recollection of that summer may not be totally accurate. I remember Wilder was directing a show there, not acting in one, but he might have been doing both. I couldn't have predicted his future success based on the week he spent at the Playhouse, but he was very professional in everything he did.

He was friendly with the staff and the apprentices at the theater and worked diligently on the show. I was surprised to see him acting in the movie "Bonnie and Clyde" a few years later. That was the start of his movie career.

He became a big movie star, especially in the comedies he made with Richard Pryor. They may have been the first Black/White comedy team in the movies. I hope Gene and Gilda and Richard are together now in that big theater in the sky.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Gabe, a resident of another community,
on Aug 31, 2016 at 7:18 pm

I'm faculty at the University of Phoenix and I am still there since 2011. I am enjoying it so far. I would hate to no longer be solicited for classes. I would miss the University of Phoenix. I am sorry that happened

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 1, 2016 at 11:10 am

Hang in there...teaching can be fuN...maybe it ain't all that...


Cholo and his 2 boys...HOORAY!

 +  Like this comment
Posted by rosalindr, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 1, 2016 at 10:36 pm

rosalindr is a registered user.


I'm glad you enjoy teaching for University of Phoenix. I did too, but I'm ready to retire now. They are cutting back on faculty, which happens when enrollment slows down. Just be sure to accept any solicitations you are offered to stay within the six month threshold. Keep in touch with your scheduler and let them know whenever you are available to teach.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill,
on Sep 2, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Really liked Gene Wilder, and his "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is a children's classic. Never understood why any producers thought it was a good idea to try to update it with the more modern movie version with Johnny Depp which, from the clips I saw, had none of the charm of the original.

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