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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies releases white paper urging higher education institutions to align curricula to skills required by employers

By Sharla Hooper

Author Dr. Mansureh Kebritchi examines how findings of 2023 Career Optimism Index® indicate opportunity for alignment between universities and employers

University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies has released a new whitepaper, “Skills-based Education: Shifting the Focus of Higher Education,” by Mansureh Kebritchi, Ph.D., chair, Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR), urging higher education institutions to shift their curricula to include skills required by employers in order to remain relevant. 

The University of Phoenix Career Institute® 2023 Career Optimism Index® study found that 70% of American workers say if their company gave them more opportunities to apply new skills, they would be more likely to stay throughout their career.

The white paper reviews the current state of skill development for American workers and employers based on the 2023 Career Optimism Index®. It shares some approaches to bridge the gap between universities and industry and discusses Simultaneous Constructive Alignment as a practical framework to revise universities' curricula to become more aligned with the required industry and students' skills. 

“Many higher education institution graduates do not possess the industry-specific skills required for employment, which highlights the need for educational institutions to revise their curricula and incorporate these industry-specific skills,” states Kebritchi. “Higher education Institutions can tap into the current context to better serve workers’ desire to be challenged to learn new skills and employers’ need to hire more skillful workers.”

Kebritchi is the founder and chair of CEITR, where she supervises more than 300 faculty members, alumni, and students to conduct research in the field of education. Interested in studying innovative ways to improve quality of teaching and learning in K-12, higher education, and corporate settings in online and face-to-face formats, her recent publications address topics such as critical thinking, meditation and higher education, social media and cultural competency, diversity in higher education, promoting STEM in K-12 and higher education, issues and challenges for teaching successful online courses. Kebritchi has supervised dozens of doctoral students in completing their doctoral dissertations. She completed her doctorate in Instructional Technology at the University of Central Florida.

Kebritchi has been a faculty member with the University of Phoenix since 2010.   

University of Phoenix has progressed its skills-tagged curriculum and digital badging with associate, bachelor and master degree programs now open for new enrollment being 100% skills-mapped. The university works with labor market researchers and experienced faculty in their fields, to identify, tag, and map employer sought-after skills in curriculum. Students’ progress are made visible through their profile dashboard. 

The full whitepaper is available at College of Doctoral Studies research hub and 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