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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies’ Research Centers provide comprehensive research services to business community

By Sharla Hooper

Three centers leverage experts and practitioners across industries to advance organizational research, understanding, and opportunities

University of Phoenix Research Centers, housed within the University’s College of Doctoral Studies, provide practical, problem-solving-focused services for organizations and companies seeking to better understand workplace challenges, needs and trends in the areas of leadership, workplace inclusion and diversity, and technology. Services include bespoke research, professional development and industry whitepapers.

“University of Phoenix is focused on helping our working adult students and employer alliances find career pathways and solutions that fit into their lives and workplaces,” states John Woods, Ph.D., provost and chief academic officer. “Our Research Center model provides a framework that understands the business community and is well-positioned to inform and advance organizational research, understanding, and workforce opportunities.”

The Research Centers are led by professional researchers and industry experts with long-standing careers in both academia and industries. In addition, each Center has an affiliate base of researchers conducting studies and serving on various goal-specific projects.

“The mission of our Research Centers is to lead, integrate, and deliver multidisciplinary, rigorous research and development solutions in the core areas of leadership, workplace inclusion and diversity, and technology,” states Hinrich Eylers, Ph.D., P.E., vice provost, College of Doctoral Studies at University of Phoenix. “We have a rich tapestry of talent, of leaders and practitioners who are uniquely prepared to help companies better understand environmental forces at work, as well as their own workplace issues, that may be impacting desired outcomes.”    

The Research Centers are Center for Leadership Studies and Organizational Research (CLSOR), chaired by Rodney Luster, Ph.D., LPC; Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR), chaired by Mansureh Kebritchi, Ph.D.; and Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR), chaired by Kimberly Underwood, Ph.D., MBA. The College of Doctoral Studies also houses the Career Institute®, chaired by Woods. As a university Research Center, the Career Institute® is focused on better understanding careers and workforce issues and fields the annual Career Optimism Index®. CWDIR and the Institute also work together with external partners such as Jobs for the Future (JFF) to address workforce challenges and opportunities.

Underwood and CWDIR recently completed a whitepaper project with the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AzHCC) examining opportunities for workplace inclusion.

“I am grateful for the thorough work of Dr. Kimberly Underwood, as our subject matter expert and co-author of our recent white paper, for working with our team to take these words – diversity and inclusion – and give them actionable meaning in the context of organizational culture,” states Monica Villalobos, President & CEO, AzHCC. “We look forward to additional opportunities to work collaboratively with the Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research on future projects.”

Luster has served frequently as an expert speaker, and in 2021 led a virtual presentation for school district employees, providing insights on generational differences in the workforce as well as how leaders can most effectively deal with the potentials for positive integration, better communication, and understanding while managing to the strengths of each generation.

“Dr. Rodney Luster’s presentation on “Generations in the Workplace” provided a valuable perception on generation gaps,” states Jose Villasenor, strategist with Irving Independent School District. “He explained how groups of people born at distinctly different times experienced key historical events that influenced a distinctly different outlook and work ethic. Dr. Luster’s even-tempered delivery kept us interested and encouraged participation.”

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. She recently led a project supporting the University’s College of Education to help upskill faculty in their assessment technology use.

“Dr. Kebritchi and other Center chairs working with her provided the College of Education with their expertise,” shares Jonathan Lewis, assistant dean of operations and faculty, College of Education at University of Phoenix. “Together, they created a comprehensive and modular training product that brought clarity and competency to our participating faculty.”

Learn more here about the services and contacts at the University of Phoenix research Centers.

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 puts students in the center of an effective ecosystem of 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