New Director Announced for Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning

After more than 30 years of dedicated service to Philadelphia University, Marion Roydhouse has announced her retirement, effective Jan. 1, 2016. She will step down as the founding director of the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning on June 30, and will continue to serve as special advisor to the provost through the fall 2015 semester.

Marion Roydhouse

Marion Roydhouse

Roydhouse, who has left her mark in many ways since joining PhilaU in 1984, will be named professor emerita of history and founding director emerita of the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning.

Jeff Ashley, professor of chemistry, will assume the position of director of the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning on Sept. 1.

“Both Marion and Jeff have had a significant impact on the success of Philadelphia University, playing critical roles in the development and implementation of our Strategic Plan and Strategic Build,” said Provost Randy Swearer. “They have worked to provide the faculty with the support to ensure that Nexus Learning is delivered across the curriculum, ultimately providing our students and graduates with a competitive advantage in the real world. Their efforts have solidified our reputation as one of today’s most innovative universities.”

During her time at PhilaU, Roydhouse served in many impactful positions, including professor of history, dean of general studies, dean of the School of Liberal Arts, interim vice president for academic affairs and provost and, most recently, director of the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning. In the latter position, she helped create Nexus Learning grants, started PhilaU Celebrate Teaching Week and developed the Nexus Learning Advocates program.

“Being able to support faculty to experiment with teaching teams to work collaboratively across disciplines has been an unmitigated pleasure,” Roydhouse said. “Few other institutions of our size have such well-supported places where teaching is central to the mission of the university.”

Seeing students, as well as faculty, excel and thrive using the Nexus Learning curriculum has been particularly rewarding, she added.

Roydhouse played a key role in developing PhilaU’s former general education College Studies curriculum and later helped create the University’s model for professional education infused with the liberal arts.

Chemistry Professor Jeff Ashley will take over as director.

Chemistry Professor Jeff Ashley will take over as director of the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning on Sept. 1.

Matt Dane Baker, executive dean of the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts, said Roydhouse has had an immense impact on Philadelphia University on both personal and professional levels.

“She has been a trusted friend, colleague and mentor to many on campus,” Baker said. “Marion preached and implemented active pedagogy for many years prior to Nexus Learning. Under her leadership Nexus Learning was defined, inventoried and disseminated through workshops and seminars.”

Ashley, who will take over as director of the Center on Sept. 1, credits Roydhouse with leading the campus-wide adoption of Nexus Learning through designing new courses and encouraging self-reflection in faculty.

As interim director for the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning last year when Roydhouse was on sabbatical, Ashley continued to foster the University’s commitment to Nexus Learning and its reputation for academic excellence. This year, he has served as coordinator of Nexus Learning Spaces to help deliver PhilaU’s innovative brand of education through several innovative new Nexus Learning Hub classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology.

Ashley said he is eager to continue to build on the Nexus Learning model. “Teaching well, or continually wanting to teach better, seems to be the common denominator among faculty members at PhilaU,” he said. “The Center and its director are the essential catalysts for making that happen.”

Posted in University Headlines