SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 07/03/13 -- As John D. Murphy writes in his seminal new book Mission Forsaken: The University of Phoenix Affair with Wall Street (www.missionforsaken.us) : "The high-profile success of the University of Phoenix is both admired and reviled, but the real story lies in the Herculean struggle to create, refine, and institutionalize cutting edge and enduring educational innovations to serve working adult learners, and the diligence of the hard political will necessary to protect and defend those efforts."
Part history lesson, part trenchant analysis, Mission Forsaken: The University of Phoenix Affair with Wall Street, is very much the tale of two unlikely and visionary friends from different sides of the tracks: the book's author, John D. Murphy and University of Phoenix principal founder John Sperling. Mission Forsaken is the only insider account about the University of Phoenix since Sperling's 1997 book on the subject.
"The history of the University of Phoenix is an odyssey of educational entrepreneurship in a sector of society with a congenital resistance to innovation and change," writes Murphy, 66. "It is a cautionary tale of what can happen when the financial values of the corporate world are applied to the provision of postsecondary education with an outmoded regulatory system."
Dedicated to the "hundreds of thousands of University of Phoenix working adult graduates who have been subjected to the scandal-ridden decline in the well-earned reputation and standing of their alma mater," Mission Forsaken reads like a novel as it lays out a visionary educational utopia now threatened with the dystopian possibility of loss of accreditation.
According to Murphy, the University of Phoenix has abandoned its core principles: "Stock valuations appear to have eclipsed the founding mission. It resulted in the hiring of executives -- if measured by graduation and student loan default rates, regulatory fines, and legal judgments -- with unrealized commitment to the optimum operation of an academic degree granting institution solely for working adults."
As he outlines in the book, the University of Phoenix went astray when it eliminated admissions standards with the stated goal of fulfilling its founding mission: solely serving working adult learners. With the elimination of entry standards, a new generation of University of Phoenix attendees now depend almost exclusively upon taxpayer-funded student loans and grants from other governmental sources. When the University of Phoenix went public, 80 percent of its working adult students had some or all of their tuition unwritten by their employers.
As Murphy writes in the book: "From its founding in 1976 and continuing until 1998, the University of Phoenix never received a federal or state regulatory reprimand, censure, or fine, or was the target or victim of lawsuits or legal judgments. Between 1999 and 2013, the University of Phoenix and Apollo Group paid for or are liable for $242 million in regulatory fines and whistleblower judgments."
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