The diversity and inclusion study – published in a special edition of Phoenix Scholar™, University of Phoenix’s renowned research journal – focuses on ways to address social issues as well as the impacts of the global pandemic on the economy, healthcare, food security, wealth distribution and access to safe and affordable housing.
In 2019, the Center for Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Research was invited to develop a special edition of the Phoenix Scholar™, a quarterly research publication from the University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies. The study was to focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and was to be published alongside hard-hitting articles on systemic inequity in education and other institutions.
No one could have imagined the global events that would unfold thereafter, and the timing of the research study could not have been more prescient of the path that social, economic and political discourse would take in the months that followed. The coronavirus pandemic put long-standing calls for social justice reform and the never-ending debate on access, inequality, race and educational and economic attainment in high profile for academics, researchers, businesses, institutions and private citizens. The study findings confirm the harsh reality faced by many disadvantaged populations.
University of Phoenix is very diverse, both in terms of students and faculty. Two-thirds of the University’s population is female, and over 55 percent belong to ethnic minorities. Similarly, over 50 percent of the faculty is female and over 25 percent represent ethnic minorities.
The issues impacting minorities are very important to the University, a fact underscored by Dr. Hinrich Eylers, Ph.D., Editor-at-Large of Phoenix Scholar™ and Vice Provost of Doctoral Studies and Academic Operations at University of Phoenix. Eylers noted, “Diversity and inclusion have always been central to the research that we do in the College of Doctoral Studies, and one of our three research centers specifically focuses on this key issue. This edition of Phoenix Scholar™ really highlights that work.”
The study explores how the global pandemic shook America’s foundation and how the resulting circumstances forced Americans to discuss known disparities and inequities that have held back generations of aspiring learners for far too long. Minorities and marginalized groups have not only suffered a disproportionate percentage of COVID-19-related deaths, but they have also been disproportionately affected by the resultant furloughs and layoffs. This created further ripple effects regarding equity-related issues such as access to affordable healthcare, food security, wealth distribution, access to safe and affordable housing and the growing digital divide in the United States.
These are real issues with real impacts. For example, a recent study by the University of Phoenix Career Institute, a newly-founded institution housed within the College of Doctoral Studies, found that fewer women and people of color are optimistic about their employment and that 44 percent of employed Americans are worried about losing their jobs. These rates are higher among women and ethnic minorities. These statistics were published in the Career Institute’s first annual Career Optimism Index™, a measure of American workers’ attitudes toward their careers and barriers to career advancement.
Although the coronavirus pandemic is a lamentable part of our reality, it has had the unintended consequence of reinitiating a long-overdue reawakening to many of the systemic racial, economic, political and social inequities faced by the most vulnerable members of our society. Most subsequent discussions have focused on diversity and inclusion, two mainstays of the approach University of Phoenix takes to education and attainment for all.
As an inaugural special edition of the Phoenix Scholar™, the study critically and courageously examined diversity in various spaces and also explored inclusivity, equity, safe spaces, safe places, belonging, how to influence communities, the effect of racism on professional practice and the psychological implications of microaggressions.
About University of Phoenix
In 1976, Dr. John Sperling started University of Phoenix to provide adults with more options to achieve higher learning. This educator and entrepreneur understood the economy on a deeper level and quickly recognized that it favored those with the advanced training and skills achieved at a university.
University of Phoenix programs are designed to provide adults with the higher education they need to succeed in the workplace. A relentless focus on context-relevant training – supplemented by access to training by professionals, research labs and industry leaders – helps launch students on a lifelong journey of learning and discovery. All courses can be customized to fit around your busy schedule and can be taken at your own pace. Learn more about programs and offerings at https://www.phoenix.edu/.
About the College of Doctoral Studies
The College of Doctoral Studies at University of Phoenix focuses on a wide range of business challenges and issues, from addressing important social issues to developing effective solutions to real-world problems. The program places its students at the center of a robust ecosystem comprised of resources and learning tools designed to develop the organizational, industrial and community leaders of the future.