University of Phoenix College of General Studies Leadership Publish Article on Strategy Uniting Academia and Industry to Bridge Skills Gap in Curriculum-to-Careers Programmatic Mapping

The article offers a model for integrating traditional scholarly community and practitioner knowledge

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–University of Phoenix College of General Studies Associate Dean Jacquelyn Kelly, Ph.D, together with Dianna Gielstra, Ph.D., instructor, Tomáš J. Oberding, Ph.D., instructor, Jim Bruno, MBA, college curriculum manager, and Susan Hadley, Ph.D., associate dean, published an article on a curriculum mapping strategy that integrates knowledge from the traditional scholarly community and practitioner in the workforce, “Uniting academia and industry to bridge the skills gap: Incorporating industry advisory councils in Curriculum-to-Careers Programmatic Mapping in undergraduate environmental science programs,” in the Sage Journal, Industry and Higher Education.

“Our teams designing programs have built a curriculum to help meet the needs of working adults,” states Doris Savron, vice provost. “This article provides critical evidence that the curriculum to career skills gap can be bridged by thoughtful, focused collaboration between scholars, faculty, and practitioners in the workforce.”

The article outlines the steps taken by University of Phoenix as an online institution of higher education, serving non-traditional adult learners, to better prepare students for the environmental science workforce by bridging the college-to-career gap between academics and industry.

“The process of programmatic mapping is intense and traditionally rather rigid,” shares Kelly. “To ensure the needs of industry are represented in a degree program, for both foundational curricular knowledge and sought skills, we first established a communication mechanism and feedback loop between industry needs and institutions of higher education. Our study shows how we shifted the traditional process for the environmental science program, understanding that in order to address the college-to-career gap, an education-informed program map must integrate skills. This in turn, becomes a skill-informed program map that informs the creation of a curriculum-to-careers programmatic map.”

The article was previously published as a white paper by University of Phoenix.

Kelly has more than 15 years of experience in science and math education. Her expertise is in translating STEM education research into practice at institutions of higher education. Kelly earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Science Education and her master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Arizona State University. Her undergraduate degree is in Physics and Chemistry from California State University, San Marcos. She has been with the University of Phoenix since 2014.

Gielstra is a biogeographer and Antarctica Service Medal awardee for scientific achievement with research interests in human and environmental connections, polar and mountain geography, and riparian environments. A course designer and an instructor for the University of Phoenix College of General Studies Environmental Science program since 2005, Gielstra’s current research work includes geoinformatics and the use of technologies to engage K-12 learners in geoscience education using virtual reality. They are a founding team member and content contributor to GeoEPIC.

Oberding is a coastal ecologist, course designer and an instructor for the University of Phoenix College of General Studies Environmental Science program. His work has taken him from the UNESCO world heritage site of HaLong Bay in VietNam to the Permian oilfield of New Mexico. His research interests are in the fields of hydrology, mariculture, coral ecology, and environmental remediation.

Bruno is the College Curriculum Manager for the College of General Studies with over 20 years of experience in course design, process management, and the scholarship of teaching. He operationalizes transformative practices in higher education to best meet the needs of nontraditional learners.

As an associate dean at the University of Phoenix, Hadley has oversight of the Bachelor of Arts in English degree as well as the non-STEM general education catalog, including ‘first year student experience’ courses. She earned her doctorate in psychology from Saybrook University, a Master of Arts in English from Emporia State University, a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hastings College, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Bellevue University.

The published article is available online at Sage Journals, Industry and Higher Education.

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® commitment help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit


Sharla Hooper

University of Phoenix

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