University of Phoenix Tackles Systemic Inequality in the Fight for Real Change

When University of Phoenix was first founded in the 1970s, it sought to give adult students the chance to acquire a college education even when they had more real-world responsibilities than a traditional 18-year-old college student. Today, the University’s fight for equality is taking on new challenges as it deals with some of the more difficult issues in the educational system today. This change starts with concrete plans to ensure that new voices are heard and playing pivotal roles in the process.

Collaborations Across Industries

To get to the heart of the problem, one must look beyond higher education. In October 2020, the National Diversity Council partnered with University of Phoenix to present a four-day webinar called “Essential Conversations in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”. From criminal justice to healthcare, this seminar delved into why so many young people do not get a fair chance to thrive. When the odds are stacked against people from the very beginning, the impact is reflected in how many individuals go on to achieve higher education.

The event was staged to help leaders start a new kind of conversation, one that approaches the issue from multiple angles. When you identify the real inequities, you have a much better chance of addressing them at their roots.

A Needs Assessment

A needs assessment is designed to give industry leaders the deeper details of what they specifically need to do in order to change. For instance, if a board of directors is composed of a homogenous group of people, they are inherently missing out on the perspectives of other cultures and ethnicities.

The education system is designed to let some people get ahead but not others. While condemning this is easy, taking action to change the established norms is challenging. University of Phoenix is asking difficult questions and exploring how old practices may have contributed to the problem of inequity to begin with. The University is also asking department members to work with each other as well as related departments to improve how the University’s impact on both students and their communities is influenced by the University’s decisions.

The Real Power of Change

Change starts with conversations. Problems need to be identified, and solutions need to be supported by people agreeing that action needs to be taken. At this point, there have been plenty of discussions about diversity and equity. The time has come for measurable steps forward at the University and around the world.

University of Phoenix plans to stay open and flexible, reframing the problem when necessary, and to allow the focus to change as new needs are addressed. The University certainly cannot solve the problem in its entirety by itself, but it can lead by example. By opening its doors to new ideas, the University can influence its staff and students who may eventually go on to change the world.

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