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University of Phoenix Leadership Joins 2023 Convergence Conference in Washington, D.C.

By Michele Mitchum

Vice Provost Doris Savron, Dean Kathryn Uhles, and College of Doctoral Studies Research Chair Dr. Kimberly Underwood join proceedings to share insights on excellence in credential innovation in higher education

University of Phoenix is pleased to share that Vice Provost Doris Savron, College of Business and Information Technology Dean Kathryn Uhles, and College of Doctoral Studies Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR) Research Chair Kimberly Underwood, Ph.D., join the proceedings of the sold out Convergence: Credential Innovation in Higher Education conference, November 1-3 in Washington, D.C. The event examines new trends and models, especially at the institutional level, in the emergent field of alternative credentials.

Presented jointly by UPCEA and AACRAO, organizations committed to the development and implementation of innovative credentials, the event brought together key stakeholders in credential innovation to define and develop institutional strategy with respect to alternative credentials.

Savron was appointed to the Convergence Conference advisory board earlier this year and says the process has been rewarding. “It has been an honor to work alongside the remarkable professionals on the conference advisory board and help establish the programming for this impactful event,” shares Savron. “The Convergence Conference presents an opportunity for leaders in higher education to embrace alternative credentials as valuable opportunities to meet the needs of students and help them to meet their career goals.”

Uhles hosts a “Stop and Share” session at the event, titled “Digital Credentials: Supporting Career Journeys Through High-Demand Skills.” The session focuses on creating a credential strategy that intentionally closes the gap between the classroom and workplace by aligning university, program, and course outcomes to marketplace skills to enable students to articulate what they know, using employer language, and differentiate themselves through digital credentials.

“Our institution, like many higher educational institutions, has been challenged to help overcome the workforce skills gap,” shares Uhles. “Our digital credential strategy, which is focused on helping to bridge skills gaps for both students and employers, is one of many ways University of Phoenix is invested in relevant and career-focused education.”

Underwood joined a panel presentation, titled “DEI + Micro-credentials: Using Alternative Credentials as a Gateway to Serving New Populations,” examines the ways in which micro-credentials can be leveraged to better serve a diverse student population in higher education.

“Fostering an inclusive educational environment includes harnessing the power of credentialing innovations in our programs,” states Underwood. “Micro-credentials are one example of how we can both acknowledge and value the experience that our students bring to the university setting. At University of Phoenix, we understand that adult learners bring with them valuable career experiences that can and should be recognized as part of their educational journey.”

Savron's career spans 30 years in healthcare, information technology and academia. In her role as vice provost of University of Phoenix, she oversees strategy for degree, certificate and course offerings, design of curriculum and student learning outcomes for the University. She works collaboratively with her team members to innovate academic solutions that enable the University to provide exceptional student experiences and learning environments to support student success. Savron serves on the Career Connectors Board of Directors and several committees and advisory councils, including the DEI professionals committee for the Greater Phoenix Chamber.

An education professional and leader for nearly 20 years, Uhles holds a Master of Information Systems and a Master of Arts in Psychology, both from the University of Phoenix. She received the EC Council Circle of Excellence Award for four consecutive years (2019-2022) for her commitment to educate members of the current and future cybersecurity workforce.

As the CWDIR Chair, Underwood guides many faculty, students, and alumni in research and scholarship focused on various aspects of DEIB in higher education and the workforce. She also serves as the Executive Sponsor of the Research, Scholarship, and Thought Leadership working group within the University of Phoenix President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. She is a highly sought after subject matter expert and consultant for various internal Colleges and departments and several external organizations to advance their DEIB strategies and initiatives. Underwood is the recipient of the UPCEA Research and Scholarship Award for 2023.

A complete schedule of the conference is available here.

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