A #SHRM21 Interview with University of Phoenix

Many moons ago, as a young single mother of two children, I began looking to pursue a degree, and the options for online learning were minimal then. The University of Phoenix literally saved the day! The experience was so amazing, I went all the way through to my Master's degree. Without their flexible learning options, I would have never been able to do it! I am a “Phoenix” and proud of it!  Please enjoy my “interview” with the University of Phoenix!

Who is the University of Phoenix? 

John Woods: We are one of the first universities to offer fully online programs designed to help make higher education accessible for working adult learners. Our mission is to help people effectively advance their careers through education by offering flexible, highly individualized, and interactive learning.

What makes the University of Phoenix unique among other colleges and universities?

John Woods: We are focused on addressing the career needs of our working adult students – we do this through understanding both their experience and the evolving needs of industry. Our curriculum and faculty are quite special; the curriculum has been created with input from industry advisory councils and subject matter experts, including our faculty, who average well over 20 years of experience in their respective fields, yet are current in their fields, many holding very senior positions while teaching for us. And, they average more than 13 years of tenure with us, and that longevity is something from which our students really benefit.

What would our attendees be most surprised to learn about the University of Phoenix?

John Woods: That we are well into a project where we will tag the skills students learn in every single course and program, and reflect those learnings in a skills dashboard, as well as with badges they can share with employers and others on social, professional platforms and their resumes. This empowers our students to better track their skills development and to broadcast it to their employers, prospective employers, and their network.

We all know that COVID-19 has changed the way we look at work, life, and our future. Many people may be considering a degree or adding to their knowledge through higher education programs. What’s the best advice you’d give folks who are considering higher education or pursuing a degree?

John Woods: Earlier this year, the University of Phoenix Career Institute launched a Career Optimism Index that surveyed 5,000 adults to gain a better understanding of Americans’ personal career perceptions – how Americans are feeling about their careers, what barriers they face, and what they need in order to overcome those barriers. What we found is that optimism is prevailing! 

So when folks are considering higher education, pursuing a new degree or finishing one they started or upskilling themselves in their current position, we know they are hopeful about the future of their career. What we also saw in the Index results as a top need was social capital – professional networking, mentoring, and the opportunities that emerge from those kinds of connections and relationship-building. 

So access to that kind of networking is critical to making decisions about career advancement or changes. It’s part of what the University of Phoenix has been passionate about since our founding. We know that our students need support in networking, mentoring, and advocacy, and we make that part of our holistic approach to learning and career advancement. 

We offer our students and alumni comprehensive career services from enrollment to retirement because we know a career is a lifelong journey and we believe the role of higher education is to support students every step of the way.

For anyone who won’t be able to make it to the University of Phoenix booth, West Hall, #12063 in Las Vegas, what do you want them to know?

John Woods: I want them to know that our innovation goes beyond our virtual learning environment. We align our curriculum with workforce and employer needs. 

For example, to support HR professionals, we have a certificate program aligned with the SHRM exams, for undergrad with six five-week courses and 18 credits, as well as graduate with five six-week courses and 15 credits. Both certificates cover content that’s part of the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams. 

We also form key alliances, externally, so that we can leverage the information, data, alignment, and access that our students need to succeed as part of the workforce right now and into the future. 

University of Phoenix today is about leveraging innovation, alliances, expertise, student support and workforce knowledge to help today’s adult learner succeed in today’s fast-evolving workplace.

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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