Last year, University of Phoenix appeared in the latest “U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges rankings,” which highlighted the University as a Top Performer. The rankings identify Top Performers based on 439 universities and other educational institutions’ Pell Grant students’ graduation rates and graduation rate performances by calculating two-year, non-weighted average scores.
University of Phoenix dedicates efforts to helping Pell Grant students, who come from underserved backgrounds, achieve equitable outcomes. The University serves many students who come from such backgrounds: Over 50 percent of the University’s students report as ethnic minorities, nearly 60 percent report as first-generation college students, 70 percent are women and approximately 64 percent have dependents.
Here, we’ll explain how University of Phoenix makes learning opportunities accessible to students who may find it more difficult than others to access learning opportunities.
We’ll cover the University’s:
- Equitable learning environment
- Office of Educational Equity’s DEIB-focused resources and initiatives
- Skills-focused online degree programs
University of Phoenix’s Equitable Learning Environment
University of Phoenix recognizes that many individuals have dependents, jobs and other commitments and that these individuals need to fit their learning around these commitments.
By offering open-access degree programs that working adults can complete around their existing schedules, the University makes higher education possible for these individuals. In line with its flexible curriculums, the University takes steps to ensure a diverse, equitable, inclusive and belonging (DEIB) learning environment for all students.
University of Phoenix’s Vice President of Accessibility, Diversity and Inclusion Kelly Hermann explained that the University pays attention to its working adults’ challenges and identifies the solutions it can offer so that these individuals can successfully complete their programs.
The President’s Advisory Council on DEIB
In 2021, the University launched the President’s Advisory Council on DEIB, which comprises six working groups that nurture an inclusive community where everyone feels that they belong and encourage diversity of thought, culture and experience. According to University of Phoenix’s Provost and Chief Academic Officer John Woods, PhD, the University aims to provide educational opportunities that allow students to develop the knowledge and skills they need to reach their professional goals.
To make this possible, the University works to ensure equitable access and success in all efforts across its disciplines and operations from faculty training and curriculum design to student support resources. The Advisory Council identifies the opportunities and sets the goals that enable the University to continually thread DEIB values throughout these disciplines and operations.
The Office of Educational Equity’s DEIB Resources and Initiatives
To further foster a DEIB learning environment, University of Phoenix’s Office of Educational Equity (OEE) creates accessibility resources and oversees internal and external initiatives that promote inclusive practices (and the understanding of these) throughout the University.
Students, alumni, University alliances, and the wider community can all benefit from these provisions. For example, the OEE:
- Hosts the monthly Educational Equity webinar series, which features discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion not only in the University but also in the workplace and wider community
- Manages the Inclusive Café, where staff meet at biweekly sessions to engage in discussions on diverse perspectives
- Works with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), the Center for Workplace and Diversity Inclusion Research and other University departments to craft programs and services that help the University community understand and appreciate diverse perspectives.
- Oversees the virtual Inclusive Leadership Summit and Career Fair, which took place for the first time in August 2022. More than 1,400 participants from 22 countries tuned in to the online event, which offered opportunities for attendees to connect with potential employers and focused on how to develop the necessary skills to become inclusive leaders. On top of this, the Summit used research findings from the University’s Career Institute to inform the topics covered and highlight DEIB in the University’s academic fields of study.
University of Phoenix’s Skills-Focused Degree Programs
University of Phoenix not only recognizes that the workforce market has adjusted to acknowledge practical skills and close gaps for workers (including the opportunity gap, by investing in diverse talent) but also publishes insights into modern workforce needs and trends in its Career Optimism Index® study.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these workforce shifts, and employers in many sectors are starting to value skills that workers can develop without pursuing a traditional degree.
With this changing workforce demand in mind, University of Phoenix has introduced skill mapping to its curriculums. Skill mapping sees students claim digital badges when they master practical skills that can prove handy in the modern workplace (in their respective industries). They can display these badges on an online platform (Credly) to display their achievements to prospective employers.
Digital badges aside, University of Phoenix recruits faculty who are experienced professionals in the fields they teach so that students learn from instructors who have valuable experience in the fields that they too would like to work in. These instructors bridge the gap between theory and practice, having experience in both.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix supports adult and nontraditional learners by helping them further their educational goals. The University also guides students as they navigate good-fit career options and the degree programs that can help them prepare for these careers. University of Phoenix has carefully crafted its degree programs to align with an array of in-demand careers in sectors like cybersecurity, nursing and business. The University’s variety of programs teamed with flexible start dates, online classes and scholarship opportunities make it possible for anyone to earn the degree they desire. On top of this, the University’s Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and graduates provides the resources needed to be prepared when entering the workforce for no additional charge. These resources include career guidance, resume and interview support, and education and networking opportunities. Learn more about the University at www.phoenix.edu.