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Mark Sunderland conducts research on performance apparel, including engineering the textiles and soft goods to fabricate the 3-D one-piece molded upper for sneakers such as the ones he’s wearing.”

Mark Sunderland conducts research on performance apparel, including engineering the textiles and soft goods to fabricate the 3-D one-piece molded upper for sneakers such as the ones he’s wearing.”

Four new academic chairs for outstanding faculty members recently have been established, which will help advance research, support projects and enhance student learning on campus.

Mark Sunderland, textile engineer and strategist and director of academic operations for Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, has been named the Robert J. Reichlin High-Performance Apparel Term Chair. The five-year, $100,000 award is the largest amount donated for a term chair at the University.

In addition, D.K. Malhotra, director of the Innovation MBA and master’s in taxation programs, was named the Nydick Family Term Chair for Finance; Rob Fleming associate professor and director of the M.S. in Sustainable Design program, was named the Salaman Family Term Chair for Sustainable Design; and Tod Corlett, associate professor and director of the M.S. in Industrial Design program, was named the William L. Jasper Term Chair for Industrial Design. Each of these prestigious chairs will provide $25,000 of support over the next five years.

The four new chairs bring the total established since last fall to seven. In all, nine PhilaU faculty members have been awarded academic chairs since the start of the University’s record-breaking Power to Innovate capital campaign.

“Academic chairs enrich the important work of our faculty as researchers, scholars and creative professionals,” said Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli Jr. “The significant growth in the number of chairs established in the last few years is yet another measure of Philadelphia University’s excellence. I am personally grateful to our donors for their generosity and support of the faculty. In doing so, they are strengthening and advancing our unique value proposition for our students.”

The performance apparel chair was established for Sunderland by Jon Reichlin, CEO of Nathan Sports, the Sharon Hill, Pa.-based market leader in performance-based products for runners and other athletes.

D.K. Malhotra was awarded The Nydick Family Term Chair for Finance.

D.K. Malhotra was awarded The Nydick Family Term Chair for Finance.

“Mark Sunderland is a man of great passion,” Reichlin said. “I am happy to support him and enable him to continue to both fuel his own passion and to share it with the Philadelphia University community. He is a remarkable and deserving person.”

Sunderland, a leading expert and researcher in high-performance athletic apparel, said the appointment is “truly an honor.” Sunderland said he plans to use the chair’s resources to enhance student learning at all levels, including through research, industry partnership projects and product development opportunities.

“The funds will be used to support a variety of projects in the area of high-performance apparel,” Sunderland said, including research on wearable technologies and new course development to cultivate transdisciplinary collaboration. One research project that will get underway soon, for instance, will measure the effectiveness of magnetic fields for washability and odor release in performance and athletic apparel.

Reichlin named the chair to honor his late uncle, Robert J. Reichlin ’47, who served as a University trustee for 17 years. “I am grateful to finally be in a position to honor him in this way,” Reichlin said.

The Nydick Family Term Chair for Finance was awarded to D.K. Malhotra by Trustee Robert Nydick Jr. ’78 H’13 and Susan Nydick ’77. Robert Nydick, a professor of management and operations at Villanova University’s School of Business, is chair of PhilaU’s School of Business Administration’s Advancement Council. Susan Nydick is vice president of Quaker Group, a property management company that owns and manages residential and commercial properties in the region.

“I am truly honored to be named the Nydick Family Term Chair. Bob and Sue Nydick are role models for our students and an important part of our community,” said Malhotra, a professor of finance and director of the Innovation MBA and master’s in taxation programs. “I dedicate this honor to my colleagues and students, who inspire me to come to Philadelphia University every day with renewed vigor and energy.”

Malhotra has written more than 100 scholarly papers and his research has been cited in U.S. Congressional testimony and by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The chair “will enable me to work towards the next 100 publications,” said Malhotra, who previously held the Thomas J. Herzfeld Term Chair in Finance.

Tod Corlett was named the William L. Jasper Term Chair for Industrial Design

Tod Corlett was named the William L. Jasper Term Chair for Industrial Design

“Having spent 35 years in the classroom, I am aware of the importance of publishing to keep current in the field and in the value of a great teacher and scholar,” said Robert Nydick. “We wanted to further that model and D.K. was an easy choice to fill this chair based on his scholarly work and character. I am honored that part of our financial support of the School of Business Administration will acknowledge the contributions D.K. has made to Philadelphia University.”

Also this fall, PhilaU Trustee Bill Jasper, chairman of the board of Unifi Inc., a leading producer and processor of multi-filament polyester and nylon textured yarns, established the William L. Jasper Term Chair for Industrial Design.

“My main goal in funding the chair is to enhance the student experience and quality of education,” said Jasper, who was awarded PhilaU’s 2012 Leader of Innovation Medal for outstanding contributions to his field. “I’m very impressed with the University’s Nexus Learning approach to higher education and think Tod Corlett has done a tremendous job incorporating this into the classroom and student experience.”

Corlett said the chair will allow him to bring new ideas into the classroom and help propel transformative student innovations into the real world, where they can make a difference in people’s lives.

Industrial design is changing faster than ever before and operating on a global scale,” Corlett said. “Our students are building vital connections with the Philadelphia community, industry and other universities worldwide. The term chair resources will let us do all these things faster, better and much more effectively.”

Ron Kander, executive dean of the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, said the academic chairs for Sunderland, Malhotra and Corlett recognize their outstanding contributions to their disciplines and to the success of their students. “Not only does this recognition allow them to advance their scholarship and professional development, it enhances the student experience,” Kander said. “We are proud of Mark, Tod and D.K. and grateful to the donors who made these term chairs possible.”

Abraham Salaman ’58 established the Salaman Family Term Chair for Sustainable Design for Rob Fleming, a LEED-accredited architect and recognized leader in sustainable design. Fleming said the chair will not only enhance his work and provide opportunities for students, but also help to move society to a more sustainable future.

Rob Fleming received the newly established Salaman Family Term Chair for Sustainable Design.

Rob Fleming received the newly established Salaman Family Term Chair for Sustainable Design.

“It is an honor to receive this recognition and I would like to thank the Salaman family for this opportunity,” Fleming said. “This chair will allow me the freedom to more fully explore the potential for new products, processes and curricula that incorporate sustainable principles.”

Barbara Klinkhammer, executive dean of the College of Architecture and the Built Environment, said the chair reinforces the College’s position as an academic leader in sustainable integrated design and practice. “Under Professor Fleming’s leadership, the M.S. in Sustainable Design program has achieved an excellent national and international reputation,” she said.

Salaman is the president and founder of Trinity American Corp., a private investment company based in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Salaman was inducted into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012 as part of the 1957-58 men’s basketball team, the first in school history to qualify for the NCAA Division II Tournament. In 2008, PhilaU dedicated the Abraham J. Salaman ’58 Tennis Courts.

“I think the direction that Dr. Spinelli is leading Philadelphia University as it relates to innovation is one that will be copied by many institutions,” Salaman said of his support for PhilaU and the sustainability chair. “He recognizes that you have to prepare students for the real world before graduation.”

Since last fall, academic chairs also were established for Natalie Nixon, strategic design MBA program director, D.R. Widder, vice president for innovation, and Beth Mariotz, fashion merchandising and management program director. Chairs previously were awarded to Marcia Weiss, undergraduate textile design program coordinator, and Josh Owen, former industrial design associate professor.

PhilaU's campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity gives back to the community.

PhilaU’s campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity gives back to the community.

For the second consecutive year, PhilaU has been named to the national President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

“This distinction is the highest federal recognition colleges and universities can receive for community service, service learning and civic engagement,” said Ted Miller, chief of external affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the program.

The President’s Honor Roll recognizes higher education institutions whose community service efforts achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.

“This is an incredible honor to make this list for the second year in a row,” said Maryann Ernesto, associate director of student engagement for community service. “Achieving this award is a great way to acknowledge the wonderful service initiatives we are doing here at PhilaU.”

In its application for the honor roll, PhilaU highlighted such community service projects as the Philadelphia University Mentoring Program (P.U.M.P.-up), community service academic course SERVE-101 and the campus chapter of Relay For Life.

“The culture of service on PhilaU’s campus continues to evolve,” Ernesto said. “The opening of the Arlen Specter Center for Public Service this year has really allowed for some fantastic opportunities to collaborate on new service-related programs. I look forward to continuing to work with our faculty, staff and students as we strive to build on and strengthen existing projects, as well as create some new ones in the coming year.”

First-year industrial design student Jackson Gordon models part of his Batsuit replication.

Industrial design student Jackson Gordon models part of his Batsuit (photo courtesy of Daniel Pasquarello for WHYY NewsWorks).

Jackson Gordon, a first-year industrial design student at Philadelphia University, isn’t taking a break from designing over the winter break.

With more than $1,200 in funds raised from a recent Kickstarter campaign, Gordon will spend his vacation constructing his version of the iconic suit worn by Batman.

But he is not simply making a look-alike costume. “No, I don’t plan on fighting crime in my suit,” Gordon explained on Kickstarter. “But from a design standpoint, it must be able to function in that manner in order to be considered a success.”

Thus, the suit is designed to withstand hand-to-hand combat and attacks with bats and knives.

Gordon will release his designs for others to replicate once his Batsuit is complete.

Gordon will release his designs for others to replicate once his Batsuit is complete.

To cover the costs of materials, 3-D printing and mold-making, Gordon posted his project on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding website. After receiving media coverage in Philadelphia magazine, 6ABC, WHYY NewsWorks and other outlets, donations began coming in from interested strangers, in addition to the family and friends who initially contributed.

By Dec. 10, the close of the month-long campaign, Gordon had raised $1,255 from 17 backers, exceeding his original goal of $1,000.

With the additional money, Gordon is able to incorporate Kevlar, a strong and expensive fabric, in the suit to make it more slash-resistant against knives.

Any remaining funds after the suit is built “will be used for more gadget upgrades like proximity sensors in the helmet to help cover my blind spots,” said Gordon.

Gordon, a martial arts devotee from Devon, Pa., said he is pursuing the project both out of personal interest and as a learning experience to expand his skills as a designer.

“Gordon’s natural curiosity and passion for design are always evident in his class work.” said Mark Havens, assistant professor of industrial design, who teaches Gordon’s undergraduate studio course.

Gordon also learned valuable lessons from his freshman integrative design processes class. “IDP has taught me how to create concept maps and to ask what is most important in this suit,” he said. “Using this thinking processes, I prioritized that the only places hard-plating is required are the shins, wrist and chest.”

Gordon said he has used techniques learned in class, such as concept-mapping, prototyping and materials testing, and sought the expertise of students in other disciplines. For instance, he consulted with a fashion design student on the stitch pattern for the pants and the most efficient way to sew zippers. “This is the first time I’ve sewn anything this intricate,” he said.

While he does not plan to sell the finished Batsuit, Gordon has promised to release his designs, patterns and fabrication techniques to anyone interested in replicating the process.

So, why Batman?

“He’s a fascinating character,” Gordon said. “As far as superheroes go, he’s the most practical because he doesn’t actually have any super powers. He uses his intelligence.”

PhilaU men’s basketball coach Herb Magee had a chance to talk basketball with Sixers Coach Brett Brown at a 76ers practice this week, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Dec. 19. “I’ve known about him for years,” Brown said.  “The winningest coach in college basketball history.”

PhilaU freshman industrial design student Jackson Gordon launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to help him build a better Batsuit, WHYY Newsworks reported Dec. 18.

Read the PhilaU Today story here.

Philadelphia University will launch the following academic programs in 2015.

SPRING 2015

B.S. in Information Technology Management Online
PhilaU Online
Designed to give students a competitive edge in this essential and growing field, the B.S. in Information Technology Management degree enables graduates to meet the demands of today’s technology-driven workplaces. Students will understand the role of the IT manager in both needs assessment and project management as they move from introductory material in networking and programming through applications in web development and database management. Learn more.

B.S. in Accounting Online
PhilaU Online

The B.S. in Accounting will prepare students to pass the CPA exam upon graduation and begin a path as a sought-after professional in this in-demand career. Students will learn to incorporate the latest accounting technology, keep up on tax law changes and understand government regulations, making them an asset to any organization. Learn more.

Accelerated B.S. in Accounting
School of Continuing and Professional Studies
This program is best suited for students pursuing or advancing a career in accounting and is intended for adults who have a minimum of 30 credits to apply to their bachelor’s degree through the transfer of credits from accredited colleges or universities. Students will complete nine accounting courses in conjunction with the requirements needed to acquire a bachelor’s degree. Learn more.

Certificate of Advanced Studies in Trauma Counseling
College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts
Professionals who have already earned a graduate degree in counseling or a related mental health discipline will gain advanced trauma competencies and knowledge with PhilaU’s three-course certificate program. To meet the needs of working professionals, courses will be held two Saturdays per month for a total of eight four-hour sessions. Nine continuing education units may be earned upon certificate completion. Learn more.

SUMMER 2015

Master of Architecture
College of Architecture and the Built Environment
Philadelphia University is accepting applications for its new Master of Architecture program that will launch in summer 2015.

The M. Arch. is a first-professional degree program that prepares students for careers in architecture and to pursue professional licensure through the development of sustainable design and technology skills, knowledge of project management and collaborative experiences in an interdisciplinary environment.

The degree may be completed in two or three years depending on prior experience, and offers multiple starting tracks. Students without a degree in a design discipline will typically begin the program with a two-course summer program in design basics. Students granted advanced standing, typically those with a four-year pre-professional architecture degree, will join the sequence in the second year. Learn more.

Other previously announced programs starting in 2015 include the M.S. in Modeling, Simulation and Data Analytics and the M.S. in Surface Imaging.

In an interview published in Print magazine Dec. 17, Maribeth Kradel-Weitzel, associate professor of graphic design communication, discussed her Posters Against Ebola project.

Kradel-Weitzel has curated more than 20 posters on the Ebola epidemic from graphic designers around the country. All profits from the sale of the posters will benefit Doctors Without Borders.

Kradel-Weitzel told Print that she wants the project “to enhance knowledge and encourage discussion about the Ebola virus and the many controversies that surround it.”

Read the full interview here.

City employees receive Academy of Municipal Innovation certificates at a Dec. 2 ceremony in the  Lawrence N. Field DEC Center Forum.

Philadelphia city employees receive Academy for Municipal Innovation certificates at a Dec. 2 ceremony in the Lawrence N. Field DEC Center.

Philadelphia University graduated the second group of Philadelphia city employees from the Academy for Municipal Innovation (AMI), a unique educational program that gives the workers the knowledge and tools they need to innovate in their jobs.

“We think that innovation in all aspects of society is important,” said PhilaU President Stephen Spinelli Jr., who told the AMI graduates that they now are part of a revolution in municipal government. “You have to be leaders in this revolution.”

The Academy is a collaboration with the City of Philadelphia that incorporates PhilaU’s unique culture of innovation through a seven-week curriculum that includes classes in the creative process, discovering opportunities through design thinking, analyzing complexities through systems thinking and developing value propositions through business analytics.

The final weekly class focused on developing innovative solutions for the city of Philadelphia.

President Spinelli presents Philadelphia's latest group of innovators with Academy for Municipal Innovation completion certificates.

President Spinelli presents Philadelphia’s latest group of innovators with Academy for Municipal Innovation certificates.

“We have so many day-to-day opportunities for innovation,” said AMI graduate Darryl Watson, research and information analyst for Philadelphia’s department of revenue. “I think one of the benefits of the Academy is being able to recognize those opportunities and then find a way to do things differently.”

One of Watson’s major takeaways is a systems-thinking technique he said would help him prepare revenue reports and forecasts from a more critical and insightful perspective.

Watson and 18 other city employees, representing such departments as commerce, emergency management, finance, health, parks and recreation, police, revenue and water, received AMI certificates at a Dec. 2 ceremony in the  Lawrence N. Field DEC Center Forum.

“In today’s resource-constrained and increasingly competitive global environment, innovation offers a promising path for survival and growth,” said Philip Russel, associate dean of PhilaU’s School of Business Administration, who helped develop the Academy’s curriculum. “It is our hope that Academy graduates will plant seeds of innovation throughout their organizations and lead efforts to develop innovative solutions that will improve the quality of life for Philadelphia residents, businesses and visitors.”

Nathaniel Eddy, strategic initiatives librarian at the Free Library of Philadelphia, said he enjoyed learning different techniques to foster innovation in the workplace and plans “to share those learnings with my colleagues,” he said. Since attending the Academy, Eddy said he is interested in incorporating the concepts of white space and flexible workspaces into upcoming renovations of the city’s library facilities as a way to foster creativity.

The Academy for Municipal Innovation, likely the first such collaboration between a city and university to teach innovation principles, was named StateScoop 50’s Innovation of the Year this spring. Read more.

Andrew Buss, director of innovation management in Philadelphia’s office of innovation and technology, addresses the graduating class at a certificate ceremony.

Andrew Buss, director of innovation management in Philadelphia’s office of innovation and technology, addresses the graduating class at a certificate ceremony.

Andrew Buss, director of innovation management in Philadelphia’s office of innovation and technology, said the city partnered with PhilaU because the University’s transdisciplinary curriculum is designed to promote innovation.

Buss, who was in the first cohort of AMI graduates last spring, said the city already is reaping benefits from its investment in innovation education and infrastructure. “The first group of graduates still works together across departments because of the relationships they formed through the Academy,” Buss said.

In addition, many of them are involved in the city’s Innovation Lab, where new ideas and solutions are discussed and developed with support from the $100,000 Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia.

Recent AMI graduate Moria Miller, internal communications manager for the department of parks and recreation, already is putting her newfound skills to use in the Innovation Lab. She’s working on a team that is developing a product from reused plant material that could provide a cost-effective way to green more of the city.

In a similar initiative last summer, PhilaU adapted the AMI curriculum to offer an industry-focused, innovation-based curriculum for Independence Blue Cross employees.

“It’s about teaching the PhilaU innovation process,” said D.R. Widder, the University’s vice president for innovation and Steve Blank Innovation Term Chair.

Read more about the Academy for Municipal Innovation here.

Philadelphia University is offering a new M.S. program in modeling, simulation and data analytics, Inside Higher Ed reported Dec. 16.

Dan Pancoe, a graduate of PhilaU’s M.S. in Industrial Design program, and his firm, Likuma Labs, is “behind some of the coolest hardware startups,” Technical.ly Philly reported Dec. 12. He and partner Kurt Swanson have designed the hardware component for Biomeme’s smartphone diagnostic lab and Smart Vision Labs’ iPhone eye exam kit.