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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies releases whitepaper on career perceptions and emotional states of American workers

By Sharla Hooper

Educator/employer collaborations offer potential to increase job satisfaction

University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies announces the release of a whitepaper examining the correlation between career perceptions and emotional states of Americans related to employee engagement: “Career Perception of American Workers and Their Emotional States.”

Drawing upon data from the 2021 University of Phoenix Career InstituteTM Career Optimism IndexTM study, Louise Underdahl, Ph.D., a Research Fellow with the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology (CEITR) at the University of Phoenix, provides in this whitepaper the magnitude and ramifications of employee engagement on local, national, and global economies, and demonstrates how educator/employer partnerships can utilize workforce dynamics to inform self-efficacy and career growth.

“The Career Optimism IndexTM data point that 43% of workers either “hate” or “don’t think too much of” their jobs should be a wakeup call for employers, especially in the time of the Great Reshuffle,” states Underdahl. “Educator and employer partnerships can break down barriers to career advancement, help American workers reconnect with their careers, and reclaim that 43%.”

Underdahl completed her doctorate with the University of Southern California. She is currently a reviewer at the College of Doctoral Studies’ Dissertation to Publication Workshop, and has been co-leader of College of Doctoral Studies Alumni Special Interest Group since 2019. Underdahl is a recipient of multiple faculty recognition awards at University of Phoenix including a 2021 recipient of the Phoenix 500, the Distinguished Service Award for Scholarly Leadership in 2019, and the Faculty Excellence Award in 2018.

Underdahl has been teaching at the University since 2004.

The full whitepaper is available at the Career InstituteTM 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 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 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 will conduct this research annually to provide insights on current workforce trends and to help identify solutions to support and advance American careers. For the first annual study, more than 5,000 U.S adults were surveyed about 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, their advancement in the future. 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 workers in the top twenty media markets across the country to uncover geographic nuances.

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