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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chris Woodward balancing life of a college student, baseball player with the Las Vegas 51s

Minutes after the Las Vegas 51s finished this extra-inning baseball game, infielder Chris Woodward rushed to the clubhouse and cracked open his laptop computer.

The 35-year-old Woodward, who has played in parts of 12 seasons in the big leagues, is preparing for life after baseball by attending online course at the University of Phoenix. After nearly three years of taking classes, he’s a few credits away from a degree in business management. Make no doubt about it, balancing the responsibilities of a professional ballplayer and attending college hasn’t been easy.

Paul D(uda) Posted: May 22, 2012 at 04:59 PM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays

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   1. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: May 22, 2012 at 07:18 PM (#4138102)
Why doesn't he coach baseball at the University of Phoenix? I mean, Arizona and Arizona State have pretty good programs, so why not Phoenix?

Wait, what?
   2. Tripon Posted: May 22, 2012 at 07:28 PM (#4138110)
A degree of the University of Phoenix is not looked upon highly.

Agree, or disagree.
   3. McCoy Posted: May 22, 2012 at 07:29 PM (#4138112)
Why doesn't he coach baseball at the University of Phoenix? I mean, Arizona and Arizona State have pretty good programs, so why not Phoenix?

Wait, what?


He can be the coach of a OOTP team.
   4. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: May 22, 2012 at 07:48 PM (#4138133)
A degree of the University of Phoenix is not looked upon highly.

I'd like to know what happened to the $5MM or so he made in his baseball career...
   5. McCoy Posted: May 22, 2012 at 08:47 PM (#4138213)
taxes, agents, lawyers, trainers, life, and investments.
   6. Darren Posted: May 22, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4138246)
Also, whatever he has left of it, he'd probably like to hold onto and possibly build on.
   7. Dave Spiwak Posted: May 22, 2012 at 09:29 PM (#4138259)
I know he's already 35, but he's gonna have to play about 75 more years in the minors to pay off his student loans.
   8. Bob Evans Posted: May 22, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4138286)
A degree of the University of Phoenix is not looked upon highly.

I would totally hire him...if I had no suitable applicant from the Hollywood Upstairs Medical College.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: May 23, 2012 at 12:47 AM (#4138363)
His skills on the softball field will probably open some doors.
   10. Papa Squid Posted: May 23, 2012 at 01:00 AM (#4138367)
I was at his 3-HR game... seems like just yesterday. It was 10 years ago!
   11. Derb Posted: May 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM (#4138524)
A degree of the University of Phoenix is not looked upon highly.

Agree, or disagree.


Depends. In some fields, no. In others, more so.

Everything else being equal, a candidate from a "traditional" school will get the job over a University of Phoenix graduate. But a UP (do they go by that?) grad won't, or at least shouldn't, be dismissed entirely because of where their degree is from.

My ex took a few classes at Kaplan, which is similar. The courses were tough, and were taught by licensed profs looking to make a few extra dollars. So they knew what they were doing...
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: May 23, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4138528)
Everything else being equal, a candidate from a "traditional" school will get the job over a University of Phoenix graduate. But a UP (do they go by that?) grad won't, or at least shouldn't, be dismissed entirely because of where their degree is from.


If I'm hiring, I'd probably look more favorably on the fact the guy was working on his degree while still playing professional baseball and worry less about whether the institution had ample parking and a cafeteria.

   13. BDC Posted: May 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4138535)
Depends. In some fields, no. In others, more so

That's what I was thinking. For me the question is just as much "is a degree in management looked on highly?"
   14. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4138555)
A degree of the University of Phoenix is not looked upon highly.

Agree, or disagree.


My wife, the radiant Mrs. Redneck, has worked in higher education her whole career in both traditional and for-profit institutions and currently designs online coursework for Colorado State, so she's been asked this question before. In terms of institutions offering advanced degrees online Phoenix is apparently one of the best ones out there and probably isn't considered any worse than a degree from any other small school by HR professionals. The curriculum is supposedly well-vetted and at the very least has the advantage of consistency across instructors.

I dunno, I never really understood the emphasis on the name of the institution in assessing candidates; I went to state schools (Deep South state schools no less) for undergraduate and graduate school and once in the workforce found myself working alongside Ivy Leaguers, and I never felt for a moment that my knowledge or capabilities were lacking in comparison.
   15. BDC Posted: May 23, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4138566)
In terms of institutions offering advanced degrees online Phoenix is apparently one of the best ones out there

U of Phoenix has a very low graduation rate. Ironically, this has earned them criticism from people who see it as a sign of predation (ie "they're taking all this money but not giving out many degrees in return"). But one could just as well see it as a sign of high standards and tough courses. (Or alternatively, of the challenges of going to college online while leading an entire parallel real life.) Anyway, a diploma mill Phoenix distinctly is not – probably much less so than some brick-and-mortar colleges.
   16. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4138578)
U of Phoenix has a very low graduation rate. Ironically, this has earned them criticism from people who see it as a sign of predation (ie "they're taking all this money but not giving out many degrees in return").


It's a potentially legitimate criticism. Mrs. Redneck worked for a for-profit school for a couple of years (no names, but they advertised in women's magazines and changed their name every few years) and that specific criticism was seen as a very profitable feature, not a bug. She found the whole operation shady beyond belief and gave up a fair bit of money to return to "real" academic work.

Phoenix is a different animal, for whatever its faults it doesn't seem to be a out-and-out scam.
   17. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: May 23, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4138597)
Or alternatively, of the challenges of going to college online while leading an entire parallel real life.

No ####, even though I'm going to college offline. Been plugging away at my Masters in Applied Math for 4 years now while working full time as a telecom engineer and in the last year had the added bonus of going through a divorce as well. Still, I'm on track to finally graduate in the fall. It hasn't killed me yet, so I'm going to sign up for the PhD as well which I reckon will take another 4 years + dissertation.

Yes, I am a glutton for punishment who has zero social life.
   18. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: May 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4138606)
U of Phoenix has a very low graduation rate. Ironically, this has earned them criticism from people who see it as a sign of predation (ie "they're taking all this money but not giving out many degrees in return"). But one could just as well see it as a sign of high standards and tough courses.

It's more likely a reflection of the academic commitment of incoming students.
   19. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 23, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4138628)
In the John F. Mabry thread, someone suggested that the A's would have been much better off trading Jeremy Giambi for Chris Woodward.
   20. just plain joe Posted: May 23, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4138635)
Why doesn't he coach baseball at the University of Phoenix? I mean, Arizona and Arizona State have pretty good programs, so why not Phoenix?


Maybe he could coach the football team, I know they have a stadium so they must have a team.
   21. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: May 23, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4138639)
If Woodward wanted to, could he have a job in baseball after? Does every baseball player that isn't a dick get a shot to coach or scout?
   22. zonk Posted: May 23, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4138645)
U of Phoenix has a very low graduation rate. Ironically, this has earned them criticism from people who see it as a sign of predation (ie "they're taking all this money but not giving out many degrees in return"). But one could just as well see it as a sign of high standards and tough courses.


It's more likely a reflection of the academic commitment of incoming students.


Nah, I think it's more a reflection of UP's business model -- schools like this are first and foremost a profit-making firm. Their profits simply don't depend on educating people or churning out degrees, they depend on simply milking the lucrative educational grant and loan market for upfront cash. Doesn't mean they don't actually educate - but it's peripheral to raking in the tuition dollars.

FWIW, as someone who does a bit of hiring for a mid-level IT/ops group, I generally don't weigh the school that handed out the degree all that highly at all (something I wish I'd known 20 years ago!). The right skillset, a good interview, and right history/recs -- I don't care if the candidate has an associates degree from the Hollywood Upstairs Medical College and a Bachelors from U of Phoenix. I've hired three people in the last year -- and I honestly couldn't tell you where any of them got their degrees at this point.... granted, my group occupies a weird space that's much more on the analytical side of IT than development or system management, so the best candidates are usually liberal arts degreed exiles who have a knack for technology (and thus, really good at operating in between non-technical business owner and technically-oriented "true" IT/development teams), making the whole "degree" thing more of a jumping off point for conversation/interview questions.
   23. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 23, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4138646)
It hasn't killed me yet, so I'm going to sign up for the PhD as well which I reckon will take another 4 years + dissertation.

Wow, that's a tough road. After getting my Masters I decided against going after a PhD, which turned out to be a great decision looking back. There is no career peak that you can't get to with a Masters that somehow a PhD is going to help you reach unless, I suppose, you plan to toil in academia. Take all that energy you would poor into a PhD and instead turn it towards your actual career and I'll bet you'll come out ahead at the end.

   24. Johnny Slick Posted: May 23, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4138649)
I went to a U of Phoenix style place - Strayer - for a couple of years and... meh. I was trying to get a BA in Computer Science but the coursework just wasn't challenging enough for me. It was also really, really expensive for the quality of coursework offered; fortunately, work was paying for it, but when you're given $8,000 a year and you can still only take 4 courses before having to pay for part of tuition out of your own pocket, that's not a lot of bang for your buck.

I ended up stopping that and taking continuing-ed classes at my local junior college instead. Fortunately, my local junior college is literally 2 blocks down the road from Microsoft and as such they've got a pretty comprehensive .NET program. I'm still finding myself competing with people with actual degrees and not a "certificate in software development" but I think the degree itself is a lot less important than a good portfolio in this case, and on top of that local businesses are aware of this college's curriculum.

I also looked into Kaplan and U of Phoenix before deciding on Strayer. I think I ended up choosing the latter more because they appeared to have a degree based strictly on s-dev moreso than the others (actually, U of Phoenix has this PITA thing where you can't even browse their classes without giving them your email address and phone number so that someone can call and bug you, so they probably have a decent school but I could never get far enough to tell). I have a friend who blew out of CS at a regular 4-year school (also in MS country) because the 100-level classes assumed folks were already coding in their spare time, so I was a little scared stuff would be too fast-paced. As it turns out, the opposite was true: Strayer in particular assumed you had zero experience with programming and next to nothing with computers in general, making the early courses a massive pain and even the more advanced ones (I ended up getting a couple levels deep with OOP - with C++ nonetheless!) weren't all that advanced.

So the moral of the story is: online universities can work depending on your style of learning and also depending on the university and your willingness to learn. That being said, there is something to be said for going to an old-fashioned brick-and-mortar style school that gets you into the proper learning mindset. It's similar, I think, to the way some people choose to wear suits so that they feel more professional at their jobs.
   25. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: May 23, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4138749)
After getting my Masters I decided against going after a PhD, which turned out to be a great decision looking back. There is no career peak that you can't get to with a Masters that somehow a PhD is going to help you reach unless, I suppose, you plan to toil in academia.

Well, that's the thing. I'd like to leave the corporate engineering world for good and settle in at a regional comprehensive university to teach math for the rest of my days. Teaching with a PhD would be a small step down in pay, but one I could manage. Teaching with just a Masters would be too much of a pay cut.
   26. OCF Posted: May 23, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4138785)
settle in at a regional comprehensive university to teach math for the rest of my days.

Let me sound a word of warning, from the math department of just such a university. In the first place, we're not hiring right now, and aren't particularly likely to be hiring for some years to come. Our budgetary situation is dire, and since the vast bulk of our budget is for salaries, the only way to cut expenses is to cut people. We're not even hiring new non-tenure track people, and some of those who have been with us for a while aren't continuing. When we have hired in recent years, we've had pools of 300+ applicants. You've got to get noticed in a pool like that to even have a chance. And the Ph.D. has to be in math - we're not going to consider anything else.
   27. zenbitz Posted: May 23, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4138793)
There is no career peak that you can't get to with a Masters that somehow a PhD is going to help you reach unless, I suppose, you plan to toil in academia. Take all that energy you would poor into a PhD and instead turn it towards your actual career and I'll bet you'll come out ahead at the end.


Actually at many Pharma, Biotech, and big Chemical corps (DOW) you cannot really get past the ground floor in Research without a PhD. And probably not one from U o Phx, either.
I actually couldn't get an interview out of grad school at pharma companies WITH a PhD, for a real researcher position they want a post doc. Because just having a PhD is not really an assurance that you are a competent independent researcher! However, once I had some experience outside of Grad School (and a personal connection) I got a job at a small pharma company.
   28. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 23, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4138834)

Well, that's the thing. I'd like to leave the corporate engineering world for good and settle in at a regional comprehensive university to teach math for the rest of my days.


So a tough road to an even tougher one. Best of luck, I hope it works for you.
   29. Zach Posted: May 23, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4138878)
I actually couldn't get an interview out of grad school at pharma companies WITH a PhD, for a real researcher position they want a post doc. Because just having a PhD is not really an assurance that you are a competent independent researcher!

It's tough to get any kind of independence. Postdoc positions are usually advertised with a specific project in mind, and permanent positions are generally in very specific areas. I've been doing a lot of independent work as a postdoc, but that's *very* unusual, and I'm spending a couple of years in Germany to get the opportunity.

While teaching at a regional school is an admirable goal, my impression is that it's like trying to make the major leagues as a defense-first first baseman. Supply is bigger than demand, and it's not a position where employers want to spend a lot of resources.
   30. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: May 23, 2012 at 04:46 PM (#4138888)
Nah, I think it's more a reflection of UP's business model -- schools like this are first and foremost a profit-making firm.

I'm fairly certain the data shows that UP incoming students are in the lower rungs of academic preparation. Not that UP cares. If you're eligible for a loan, they want you.
   31. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: May 23, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4138891)
After getting my Masters I decided against going after a PhD, which turned out to be a great decision looking back. There is no career peak that you can't get to with a Masters that somehow a PhD is going to help you reach unless, I suppose, you plan to toil in academia.

In the social sciences, there is plenty of think tank/policy evaluation job or federal government research jobs where having a PhD is a huge advantage or a must.

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