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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies faculty publish framework on graduate employability in online education doctorate programs

By Sharla Hooper

Conducted by scholars in the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research, the new framework for employability recommends partnerships between educators and employers in developing curricula to bridge industry specific skills gaps

University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies scholars in the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR), published a framework for employability of education doctorate programs resulting in Ed.D. credentials, based on a study examining the experience of the College’s education doctorate students and alumni. The framework was published as an article, “A Framework to Enhance Graduate Employability,” in the publication, International Journal of Doctoral Studies, by authors Louise Underdahl, Ph.D., Patricia Akojie, Ph.D., Myrene A. Magabo, D.Comm., Rheanna Reed, D.M., Shawishi Haynes, Ed.D., Maureen Marzano, Ph.D., MBA, Mar Narvarro, Ph.D., and Margo Patterson, MD, DNP-C.

“This study is an excellent example of how our practitioner scholars conduct research that can help solve real-world issues surrounding employability in the current workplace,” states Mansureh Kebritchi, Ph.D., chair of CEITR and faculty with the College of Doctoral Studies. “Continuing research can build on these findings to explore opportunities to synthesize discipline-specific skills with generic ones that help individuals succeed in the workplace.”

Alignment of academic curricula and employer needs is widely discussed yet implementation lags. With the approach that research on Ed.D. curricula has universality for other academic programs and may prompt academic innovation to promote employability in other disciplines, the authors conducted a mixed method study of current Doctor of Education (EdD) students and employers of Doctor of Education (EdD) graduates commenting on the alignment of the EdD curriculum with industry-specific needs.

The study findings indicate that educators and employers partnering on developing curricula can bridge industry specific skills gaps as well as enhance students’ understanding of the professional workplace and capacity to communicate, be empathetic, and solve problems.

The study informed a framework for this partnership between educators and employers, with recommendations for practitioners, in education and in the workplace, as well as researchers.

“Our study contributes evidence-based data on how to strengthen the career relevance of academic programs,” Underdahl states. “The value in this is simple – improving graduate employability creates positive outcomes for all involved.”

The published article is available online at International Journal of Doctoral Studies.


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 University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit