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Phoenix Forward

Your silent partners: Meet some of the people behind the scenes at University of Phoenix

Sure, you know your Graduation Team and faculty members are there if you have questions. But the University employs more than 14,000 people, and many of them work indirectly to help students every day. You may never meet them, or interact with them personally, but they work in a myriad of ways to serve you. A few thoughts from four people who eagerly help students at University of Phoenix:

Susan McCormick


I'm a prior student of the University as well as a University employee and a single parent. I definitely understand the stress of many of our students who work to divide their time among those vastly different roles! That's why I believe my role is to work to assure our students are provided with the best possible customer service to allow them to start, and to complete, their education with us. I lead a team that works behind the scenes to ensure student accounts are accurate and adjustments are completed in a timely way to ensure student satisfaction.

Garland H. Williams


My commitment is to enable our military students to reach graduation and to knock down any procedural roadblocks that may be in their way to reaching their goal. We have mountains of letters of appreciation from students who praise their advisors for overcoming these roadblocks. These include everything from a simple thanks for fixing a small finance or academic problem that arose, to a giant thanks for being there with advice when personal circumstances could have derailed their college studies. Our advisors are not trained “counselors” in the clinical definition, but they help each student figure out how to successfully fit college education into a life that may be full with work and family commitments. This help is the day-to-day work of our advisors in the Military Division, but it is life changing for our students.

Barry Feierstein



I tend to think of the movie, “The Wizard of Oz” as the way we should serve students. When solving their problems or collaborating with other areas on their behalf, we are striving to provide a transparent, personalized experience that never causes them to need to look behind the curtain. We have many technology projects coming online this year that will help make this a reality, so we can better serve students and move them seamlessly behind the scenes regardless of communication channel (phone, email, text, chat, social media).

Bill Pepicello



I once read an article titled, “It takes a campus to graduate a student.” I like that, and I totally support that concept. The way I try to ensure I help our students is to surround myself with good people who know their jobs, share my commitment to the University and our students, and are not afraid to speak their minds if or (more likely) when they disagree with me. The success buck definitely starts as well as stops at my desk.

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