As I stated on my home page, I spent over twenty years working in the world of academia. During that time I worked at colleges and universities (public and private, and all of them were nonprofit) until I was hired for a Director position at a for-profit institute back in 2008 that only lasted seven months (ending in early 2009). It was my only foray into the for-profit educational arena which is much more business-oriented then traditional non-profit colleges and universities. A brief description of the differences between nonprofit and for profit organizations (of all types and not just educational institutions) is as a follows:
All companies have a distinct purpose, but this is where the difference between a nonprofit and a for-profit is the starkest. While for-profit organizations may have a variety of goals, their primary mission is to generate profit and develop effective products and services that are valuable to consumers. Companies develop products and services that either directly solve a problem or increase overall efficiency, such as the case with mobile phones or autonomous vehicles.
A nonprofit, by contrast, doesn’t prioritize profits and is instead dedicated to promoting a social cause or advocating for a particular standpoint. Examples of nonprofit services often include assisting with basic human and environmental needs such as food, water, education, endangered species, forests and wildlife. These services strive to solve important, potentially life-threatening problems and issues. Therefore, success for nonprofits is measured based on an organization accomplishing its philanthropic mission. (Quote source here.)
After twenty years of working in nonprofit colleges and universities, the culture at the for-profit institute was quite different and much more focused on making a profit as it’s primary goal. In the nonprofit environments the primary purpose was meeting students’ needs. Hence, the corporate culture is very different between the two, and of the two, the climate in the for-profit environment was rather chilly.
In the world of higher education, the differences between nonprofit and for-profit colleges and universities, and the challenges facing for-profit higher education are well known (see January/February 2017 article titled, “The Rise and Fall of For-Profit Higher Education,” by William Beaver, Ph.D., professor of social science at Robert Morris University, in “American Association of University Professors” (AAUP). Some of the main challenges regarding for-profits are stated in this article.
After my seven months at the for-profit institute, I started a nationwide search for another student affairs/student services position. I had several very successful interviews in my first few months of unemployment, and I was one of the final candidates in several searches, but something kept me from getting the job. However, not one of the search committees had any concerns regarding my brief experience at the for profit institute as “for profits” are known in the industry to be somewhat of a different “breed of cat.” And in my twenty-year career in higher education, I had never encountered a problem finding another position until I lost this particular job.
After an extensive job search that lasted for several years, I was never able to find another job in my profession. I was (and I still am) at a total loss to understand why I was not able to secure another Student Affairs position again considering that I had a stellar twenty-year career in Student Affairs/Student Services; excellent credentials including a Master of Science degree in Education with an emphasis in Higher Education/Student Personnel Services from a state university; and doctoral studies in Adult Education at a private university where I had been awarded a one-year doctoral fellowship. I also had a very strong work ethic, and excellent references.
Prior to my career in higher education which began in my mid-30’s when I went back to college to earn a master’s degree, I had worked since high school in mostly secretarial/clerical positions both before and after I joined the U.S. Army at the age of 21 so I could get the G.I. Bill and go to college. The U.S. Army had a two-year enlistment at the time, so I signed up, went through Basic Training, AIT, and I was stationed in South Korea. My Company Commander where I was stationed in South Korea called me a stract trooper. In rank I went from E-1 to E-4 in one year, and I earned an expert badge firing the M16. I received an honorable discharge, and once I got out of the Army I started college using the G.I. Bill. I also worked during the time I attended college, and the first two years I was in college I attended college full time during the day, and I worked full time as a supply technician on the 3-11 shift at a local hospital while earning my Associates degree at a local college in 1979. Upon receiving my Associates degree I was promoted to departmental secretary at the hospital and worked the day shift full time until 1983.
It was in August 1983 that I started working in higher education (colleges and universities) when I enrolled in a state university to complete a bachelor’s degree which I received in 1985. I continued to work in secretarial positions until 1990 when I went back to the state university to earn a Master’s degree, which I earned in 1991 (in one year and eight months).
Since 1990, I have worked specifically in the area of Student Affairs/Student Services at colleges and universities in three different states. The degrees I have earned are as follows–I earned an Associate’s degree (A.A.) in Art in 1979, and a few years later I completed a Bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in Art and Design in 1985. I went on to complete a Master’s degree (M.S.) in Education (“Higher Education/Student Personnel Services”) in 1991. In 1992 I was awarded a one-year Doctoral Fellowship in Higher Education/Adult Education at a private university in another state, and I completed all the requirements with the exception of the dissertation for a doctorate (Ed.D.) in Adult Education. Finances and a time limit kept me from completing the doctorate. I worked at colleges and universities from 1983-85, and 1990-2009 until I lost that job mentioned above in April 2009.
On a personal note, I am a Christian and I have been since the age of ten. My faith plays a major role in my life and it has been instrumental especially in these past nine plus years since I lost my job in 2009. I’ve also been engaged twice in my life but since I was not in love with either of the two guys (they were almost a decade apart from each other), I felt it was best to wait to marry someone until I was in love. And I haven’t given up on finding love yet… 🙂
Thanks again for taking the time to check out my blog!
YouTube Video: “Revelation Song” by Phillips, Craig & Dean:
Photo credits: My personal photos
If you wish to contact me, please fill out the form below and click on submit. Thanks!