Weather Forecast for Philadelphia

Thursday 03/05 100%
Cloudy with snow. High 31F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 100%. Snow accumulating 5 to 8 inches.
Friday 03/06 0%
Sunshine and some clouds. High 28F. Winds light and variable.
Saturday 03/07 10%
Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny. High 39F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.
Partly Cloudy
Sunday 03/08 10%
Partly Cloudy
Partly cloudy. High 43F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.
Monday 03/09 10%
Sun and a few passing clouds. High 43F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.


Starting March 9, students and others can learn the guiding principles of sustainable design as part of a free online course offered by PhilaU’s pioneering M.S. in Sustainable Design program. To enroll, click here.

The seven-week graduate-level course, Principles of Sustainable Design, explores the demand for resources, energy systems, the duality between self-interest and altruism, and employs new methods of gauging sustainable practices that will allow people to transition from superficial greening to authentic sustainability. Check out the course syllabus for more information.

“This course provides a knowledgeable look into the very foundations of sustainability and sustainable design,” said Rob Fleming, director of the M.S. in Sustainable Design program, who teaches the course. “In this way, students can become change agents for the kind of future they are envisioning.”

This is the second time PhilaU is offering the popular massive open online course, or MOOC, in sustainable design. Some 500 people took the online course when it was first offered in June 2014. This year, the course material will be offered in two separate MOOCs to provide students the opportunity to probe deeper into the course content.

Weekly lessons will be taught entirely online through high definition videos, narrated PowerPoint presentations, text-based learning modules with interactive quizzes, and faculty moderated and peer-to-peer online discussions. For the final class, students will collaborate to design and implement an impact project addressing issues and opportunities relating to sustainability.

“This course is best suited for industry professionals who would like to continue their educations in sustainability, but learning modules containing foundational knowledge are available for those with little or no background in sustainability, but who are interested in taking the course,” Fleming said.

Beginning in May, a second MOOC, Methodologies of Sustainable Design, will build on the foundational knowledge from Principles of Sustainable Design. This course will cover rating systems and standards, integrated design behaviors, large-scale sustainability and more.

Learn more about PhilaU’s MOOC offerings here.

Philadelphia University will be hosting a series of East Falls community meetings so that residents can learn more about the University’s institutional zone planning process and discuss the current draft of the plan.

As part of the process, the University will also review plans for a new health science center facing Henry Avenue, a new residence hall and upgrades to our athletic facilities, as well as longer-range concepts that are part of the institutional zoning conversion.

Meetings will be held in the Arlen Specter Center for Public Service at 3240 W. School House Lane through an RSVP process.

Monday, March 9 – 7:30 to 9 a.m.

Tuesday, March 10 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 11 – 7:30 to 9 a.m.

Thursday, March 12 – 7 to 8:30 p.m.

To reserve space at one of the meetings, please go to or call 215.951.2945. Parking will be available in the Downs Hall lot.

Learn more here or view a state-of-the-art 3-D version of a proposed master plan here.

PhilaU recognized excellence in teaching Feb. 26 during Celebrate Nexus Learning Week.

For their efforts to incorporate the tenets of Nexus Learning into their teaching practices, Evan Laine, law and society program director, and Megan Fuller, chemistry faculty member, will have the opportunity to attend the international Lilly Conference on college and university teaching and learning in Bethesda, Md., in May.

The runners up for this award, Katie Gindlesparger, assistant professor of writing, and Jack Suss, DEC core faculty member, received $200 in course funding.

Valerie Hanson, associate professor of writing, Susan Christoffersen, associate professor of economics, and Christopher Anderson, visiting assistant professor of mechanical engineering, were recognized for their participation in the open classroom program, for which they invited colleagues to observe their class sessions and discuss teaching methods.

The winners of the 2014-15 Nexus Learning Grants were:

Anne Bower, associate professor of biology, and Frank Wilkinson, associate professor of biochemistry, for designing and implementing professional development training for biology faculty.

Wendy Watcher-Shutz, assistant professor of occupational therapy, for her research on the effects of reading assessment tests and task-based learning.

Lisa Phillips, assistant professor of architecture, and Alex Messinger, professor of interior design, for their work on online teaching and learning experiences.

Jeff Klemens, visiting assistant DEC core professor, for his research on bridging the gap between faculty and student expectations in online learning.

Industrial design student Jackson Gordon demonstrated his functional Batsuit on Fox29′s “Good Day” morning show on March 3. Gordon said the design and prototype process he used to build the Batsuit was critical to its success. Besides his interest in Batman, Gordon said he tackled the project “because I just like problem-solving.”

Jackson Gordon's completed Batsuit has garnered global media attention.

Jackson Gordon’s completed Batsuit has garnered global media attention.

After five months of work and a successful Kickstarter campaign, industrial design student Jackson Gordon has completed his Batsuit, garnering lots of media attention and viral sharing both in the U.S. and abroad for his efforts.

Built to withstand punches, baseball bats and blades while still being flexible enough to move with ease, Gordon said the Batsuit at its core was a problem-solving design challenge. “It taught me more about utilizing the design process and specifically stressed the importance of prototyping,” he said.

Designing and building the Batsuit was a personal pursuit for Gordon, a cosplay, superhero and martial arts fan. It cost about $2,000 to make, including the cost of such expensive materials as kevlar, 3-D printing and mold-making, much of it raised from the Kickstarter campaign.

Jackson Gordon, an industrial design student, models his original Batsuit.

Jackson Gordon, an industrial design student, models his original Batsuit.

Gordon completed several design iterations, including three jacket prototypes before finally constructing the final Batsuit. Read more.

The project has captured considerable media attention appearing in such well-known publications as BuzzFeed, Esquire, Time and USA Today College, as well as internationally in The Daily Telegraph (UK), Perth Now (Australia) and Yahoo! Hong Kong.

Gordon’s Batsuit also garnered coverage from ABC network digital, and locally from CBS3 and 6ABC. “Late Night” host Seth Meyers and “Saturday Night Live’s” famed Weekend Update segment referenced the Batsuit in the past week.

“Having the project go viral is an amazing compliment to all the work I put into the suit,” Gordon said. “It feels great to know how many thousands of people really appreciate it.”

Gordon said dozens of requests for custom protective suits have poured in from all the publicity, and he will try to streamline his construction process to produce larger numbers of similar suits in a cost-effective way.

The Batsuit was built to fit Gordon perfectly, based on a duct-tape model that was wrapped around and then cut off his body. The Batsuit currently resides on a handmade manikin in Gordon’s residence hall room, but he plans to wear it at costuming and comic book-related events in the future.

Watch the Fox29 interview with Gordon here.

Industrial Design student Jackson Gordon and the functional Batsuit he created was featured on ABC network digital sites, including WABC (NY), ABC7 (LA) and 6ABC (Philadelphia), as well as Metro (UK).

“Gordon, who attends Philadelphia University, spent six months designing and building the suit from materials that include foam padding, kevlar, plastic and Lycra. The 21-year-old tells ABC the Batsuit resists attacks from bats, knives and most other bladed objects,” according to the ABC report.

Seth Meyer, host of NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” joked about the Batsuit created by PhilaU industrial design student Jackson Gordon in his Feb. 25 monologue. Hey, Seth, that’s what we do at PhilaU — design cool things! Watch the clip here.

PhilaU’s Design X fashion show featuring innovative designs made with unusual materials was “a student showcase of concept, creativity and excellent execution,” The Roxborough Review wrote in a Feb. 27 story.

Strategic Design MBA Director Natalie Nixon offers seven principles to help lead using design thinking in Feb. 26. “It is helpful to access tools and lenses that help us navigate unpredictable terrain when attempting to lead with excellence,” Nixon says. “Design thinking is one of those lenses.”

Rebecca Kuypers' red dress cotnians carboard, plastic plates and foam core.

Rebecca Kuypers’ red dress cotnians carboard, plastic plates and foam core.

Elegant dresses made of not-so-elegant materials, including mirrors, pipe cleaners, plastic utensils, pumpkin seeds and chicken wire, electrified the runway at PhilaU’s annual Design X show Feb. 26.

The fashion show featured more than 30 experimental designs made with unusual materials by fashion design juniors and seniors for a fashion problem-solving course.

Senior Lauren Casale created a stunning black gown from 150 garbage bags. “The biggest challenge was getting rid of the garbage-bag shine,” she said. “So, I added sparkles and spray paint to achieve the look I wanted.”

Casale said the challenge forced her to think outside the box in terms of body coverings, learning that “even garbage bags can be fashionable.”

“We’re always astounded by the creativity of our students at this show,” said Sheila Connelly, fashion design program director.

Lauren Casale's stunning black ball gown is made of 150 garbage bags.

Lauren Casale’s stunning black gown is made of 150 garbage bags.

Faculty member and “Project Runway” winner Jay McCarroll, who emceed the event, told the audience in Downs Hall auditorium that students in his class needed to be resourceful to be successful. “Students have under three weeks to produce their pieces, which must be made using little to no fabric and a budget of no more than $20,” he said.

Carly Kusy, assistant fashion design professor who also taught the course, said, “The parameters of the projects provide exciting opportunities for students to experience similar constraints that they will be faced with in the industry. As always, they exceeded expectations.”

“Designing in this class is a really fun experience because you can go in whatever direction your imagination takes you, and you can be as creative as you want to be,” said junior Susannah Huffer. For her Design X dress, she used vibrantly painted cardboard to mimic the look of a lionfish’s venomous rays, which was inspired by an aquarium visit.

Samantha Park's pigeon-inspired design is made of coffee filters, pipe cleaners and card stock.

Samantha Park’s pigeon-inspired design is made of coffee filters, pipe cleaners and card stock.

“It’s challenging at first,” senior Brittany McFadden said of the design process. “You have to think very abstractly. Anything goes.” McFadden created an avant-garde head covering, inspired by the Japanese ceremonial teahouse at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, by incorporating materials such as wicker baskets and wooden dowels.

Design X was produced by members of the student group Fashion Industries Association. Senior Taryn Scala, FIA president, worked behind the scenes to direct the show, including selecting the music and determining the lineup. The experience, she said, “gets us ready to produce the Annual Fashion Show in the spring.”