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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies releases white paper on aligning emotional intelligence components to enhance building of social capital

By Sharla Hooper

Dr. Sandra Sessoms-Penny explores 2023 Career Optimism Index® study findings and JFF social capital research to inform guidance for organizations and workers

University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies announces the release of a white paper by Sandra G. Sessoms-Penny, Ed.D., faculty member of the University of Phoenix College of Education and fellow of the University’s Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR), highlighting the alignment of emotional intelligence components with practical methods for building social capital: “Building Professional Connections and Networking to Enhance Social Capital.”

Drawing upon data from the 2023 University of Phoenix Career Institute® Career Optimism Index® study and the shared project of University of Phoenix and Jobs for the Future (JFF), Building professional social capital for Black learners and workers, Sessoms-Penny explores cultural and social capital constructions and how emotional intelligence components can be adopted to support more formal efforts in building social capital in the workplace.

“Emotional intelligence and its key elements – self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, compassion, and social skills awareness and relationship management – are needed to build and foster trustworthy relationships in all segments of society,” states Sessoms-Penny. “To increase the effectiveness of their trust-building efforts and achieve long term success, organizations will need to align their emotional intelligence practices intentionally and transparently with their strategies to increase their social and cultural capital practices.”

Sessoms-Penny served as a teacher, school administrator and instructional leader in the public sector at the elementary, middle and high school levels for 13 years in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and earned a Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Administration and Policy Studies from The George Washington University. She served over 21 years in the United States Air Force, culminating her military career as a senior-level non-commissioned officer and paralegal superintendent in military law offices throughout the United States and in Europe.

Sessoms-Penny has been a faculty member with the University of Phoenix since 2009.

The full whitepaper is available at the Career Institute® webpage or as a direct link here.


About the College of Doctoral Studies

University of Phoenix’s College of Doctoral Studies focuses on today’s challenging business and organizational needs, from addressing critical social issues to developing solutions to accelerate community building and industry growth. The College’s research program is built around the Scholar, Practitioner, Leader Model which puts students in the center of the Doctoral Education Ecosystem® with experts, resources and tools to help prepare them to be a leader in their organization, industry and community. Through this program, students and researchers work with organizations to conduct research that can be applied in the workplace in real time.


About the Career Optimism Index®

The Career Optimism Index® study is one of the most comprehensive studies of Americans' personal career perceptions to date. The University of Phoenix Career Institute® conducts this research annually to provide insights on current workforce trends and to help identify solutions to support and advance American careers and create equity in the workplace. For the third annual study, fielded between December 9, 2022 – January 13, 2023, more than 5,000 U.S. adults were surveyed on how they feel about their careers at this moment in time, including their concerns, their challenges, and the degree to which they are optimistic about core aspects of their careers. The study was conducted among a diverse, nationally representative, sample of U.S. adults among a robust sample to allow for gender, generational, racial, and socioeconomic differences and includes additional analysis of the workforce in the top twenty DMA markets across the country to uncover geographic nuances. The study also explores insights from 500 U.S. employers who are influential or play a critical role in hiring and workplace decisions within a range of departments, company sizes and industries to provide comparison between the workforce and those who hire, train, and retain them.


About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix innovates to help working adults enhance their careers and develop skills in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, skills-mapped curriculum for our bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a Career Services for Life® commitment help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit