University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies curriculum changes help increase student retention and satisfaction

Changes to the curriculum and faculty structure within the College have yielded positive results

PHÉNIX, November 03, 2021– (BUSINESS WIRE) – University of Phoenix Doctoral Studies College Reports Increase in Student Retention and Satisfaction Following Implementation of Changes to Further Improve the Doctoral Student Experience and their academic background.

The College of Doctoral Studies, formerly known as the School of Advanced Studies, introduced a new faculty model and structure and related dissertation process in 2019, followed by redesigned doctoral programs in January 2020. Since launch Implementing these changes, the College experienced approximately 10% increase in retention rates. As of January 2020, the sentiment scores of students with dissertation experience have exceeded 55% positive and 81% positive, mixed or neutral.

“The College of Doctoral Studies saw opportunities to enhance the faculty and student experience and was successful in identifying the necessary steps and implementing the changes that met those needs,” says John Woods, Ph .D., Rector and director of studies at the University of Phénix. “We have been able to evolve our programs through evidence-based practices to accurately meet the needs and opportunities of students and faculty who are practitioners in their fields.”

The College of Doctoral Studies offers doctoral programs for practitioners in the fields of health, education and business, with the Scholar-Practitioner-Leader℠ learning model. While a doctoral degree program focuses on the development of new primary knowledge, the College’s practicing doctorate focuses on the practical application of that knowledge in one’s career. The Scholar-Practitioner-Leader℠ framework combines classic cognitive conceptions of the doctoral fellowship – including great rigor of inquiry, academic study, and practical applications – with affective domains of learning. This learning model helps working mature students develop a deeper awareness of who they are, how their learning is changing them, and to apply existing knowledge to solving real-world problems in their field and their field. community.

“Practitioner doctoral programs must evolve to adapt to the changing work environment of our practicing academics,” says Hinrich Eylers, Ph.D., PE, vice-president of doctoral studies and academic operations at the ‘University. “We have seen an immediate impact and continue to see positive results from these changes in each of our degree programs.”

New redesigned doctoral programs released in January 2020 aligned with faculty structure and responsibilities. They offer an improved thesis path and faculty support. Some of the changes implemented include:

  • Reduce the number of primary programs from 8 to 4 with elective path options to accommodate changing career paths and student interest.

  • Align post-master’s certificates with elective program tracks to enable students to earn an additional degree on their way to their doctorate.

  • Improve the convenience and predictability of class schedules with measures such as a standard 8 week class length and moving residences previously on campus to an online format to reduce personal expenses for travel and the need for take time off from work.

  • Reduce the minimum program duration from 62 to 54 credits to better support the three-year goal to completion. This is supported by changes such as introductory courses that can be canceled (aligned with accreditation requirements where applicable), reducing the required research courses from 5 to 3, and aligning content with the needs of students. practitioners, reducing content courses from 8 to 7 and adding 4e Thesis coursework required to support writing and reduce the need for extension courses. Additionally, students can now transfer applicable credits from a previous doctoral program.

  • Continue to teach degree-specific content area courses by practicing professors active in the field, but support students in the thesis phase with a newly created team of over 50 professors, selected from over 600 applicants.

  • Further enhance thesis support resources including CDS Central, Thesis Guide, Thesis Criteria Assessment (DCA).

These changes have yielded other positive results, such as program stability and increased faculty satisfaction and focus. Additionally, the college has seen an increase in the number of graduate students as all but thesis (ABD) students have returned to complete their degrees.

Continuing the focus on supporting doctoral students, the College of Doctoral Studies organized the first WE RISE doctoral path success workshops in October 2021. The virtual event took place on a Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. MST and was designed to provide support to students, alumni and faculty as COVID-19 cases remain at high levels in Arizona. The workshops included five virtual sessions with up to four tracks each covering a range of critical topics based on the current phase of the students’ doctoral journey or the alumni career path. The sessions were open to all participants, regardless of the current phase of the doctoral journey. Attendance at the five combined sessions was 263 people. Through the event, University of Phoenix students and alumni networked and connected with fellow CDS doctoral students, faculty, and leaders from UOPX and CDS.. An in-person conference is planned for spring 2022.

About the College of Doctoral Studies

The University of Phoenix Doctoral Studies College focuses on today’s challenging business and organizational needs, from solving critical social problems to developing solutions to accelerate community building and the growth of the community. ‘industry. The College’s research program places students at the center of an effective ecosystem of experts, resources and tools to prepare them to become 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 real time in the workplace.

About the University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix continually innovates to help working adults improve their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible hours, relevant classes, interactive learning and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue their professional and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information visit

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Sharla hooper
Phoenix University
[email protected]

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