PhilaU’s New Nexus Learning Hubs Foster Active Learning

Health sciences majors Daniella Rosen (left) and Kiana Lavery brainstorm on individual whiteboards.

Just in time for the start of the academic year, Philadelphia University opened two Nexus Learning Hubs in Hayward Hall designed to foster active learning and support deeper student engagement through advanced technology.

The new flagship learning spaces merge state-of-the-art technology and furniture to facilitate the ability of students and faculty to share ideas and collaborate more effectively. Hayward 111, the larger of the two spaces, serves all academic disciplines, while Hayward 211 is dedicated to science and health education.

Nearly everything in the Nexus Learning Hubs is mobile, so that chairs, tables, monitors and whiteboards may be positioned to best suit the needs of a variety of learning experiences.

Hayward 111 features a media lounge equipped with a touch-sensitive, flat-screen monitor and an interactive whiteboard.

“Nexus Learning Hubs leverage a great instructor’s strengths with the unique and thoughtful integration of built environment, technology and pedagogy,” said President Stephen Spinelli Jr., who with his wife, Carol, made a generous gift to make the Hayward 111 space possible.

Hayward 211 was transformed through the generosity of Eileen Martinson ’86, CEO of Sparta Systems Inc. and chair of the PhilaU board of trustees, who said she believes the Nexus Learning Hubs are enhancing the University’s physical environment to better support its already cutting-edge curriculum.

“As a business executive, one issue that is so important to me is that students graduate from college with relevant skills that are in demand by 21st-century employers,” said Martinson. “That is exactly what’s happening at Philadelphia University.”

Hayward 111 features a media lounge equipped with a touch-sensitive, flat-screen monitor, and an interactive whiteboard that allows faculty and students to jointly compose, edit and share documents. Using two mobile media centers, students can connect and share content on HD monitors from any device. Four screens allow content to be viewed from any location in the room. A vivid green wall, orange seating and clean white work surfaces set the tone for creativity.

“These Hubs shift the learning process from an instructor-centric to a student- and learning-centric environment, where instructors can seamlessly toggle between many forms of active learning,” said Jeff Ashley, director of chemistry and biochemistry programs and coordinator for the Nexus Learning spaces initiative.

Jestin Joseph, a junior health sciences major on the accelerated M.S. in Occupational Therapy track, waters chive sprouts in his medicinal plants class.

Anne Bower, associate professor of biology, has all four of her classes this semester taking place in Hayward 211. “I love that room,” she said. “I’ve used every technological feature in it—including the interactive whiteboard to compile field data for classes in medicinal plants and ecology and the individual whiteboards that students use to write on, place information around the classroom and collaborate on ideas.”

In addition, the laboratory space in H211 has grow lights and humidity and climate controls that are allowing her class to grow 20 different medicinal plants from both tropical forest and desert climates. “It’s the best room I’ve ever worked in,” Bower said.

The Nexus Learning Hubs are supported with a grant of $74,000 for furniture from the Steelcase Education Learning Innovation Hub program, which supports investments in educational institutions that promote the advancement of active learning principles. Steelcase is a 100-year-old global leader in workplace products, furnishings and services.

“PhilaU has done a lot of wonderful work developing its Nexus Learning approach to education, and I think we’re able to complement it with this space,” said Marisa Sergnese, Steelcase Education professional learning initiatives leader, who led a faculty training session in August. “Faculty will now be able to facilitate Nexus Learning using a variety of spaces and technology to support student discovery.”

Jeff Klemens, visiting assistant professor of biology and environment science, is teaching a course in eco-innovations and sustainability in H111 this semester, and said his students are enthusiastic users of the small whiteboards. “The erasable boards let the students feel freer about scratching down something provisional,” he said. “They encourage first drafts that we can revise as we go.”

In addition to classroom learning, the space also will serve as a valuable resource for industry-sponsored projects, in which partners such as Johnson & Johnson, Verizon and Unilever work with students to develop creative solutions to real-world problems.

The Nexus Learning Hubs are part of a campuswide initiative to upgrade classrooms, laboratories, studios and common spaces, including new architecture studios in Search Hall and a Ravenhill Dining Hall renovation that includes a new campus center and convenience store.

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PhilaU’s New Nexus Learning Hubs Foster Active Learning

Health sciences majors Daniella Rosen (left) and Kiana Lavery brainstorm on individual whiteboards.

Just in time for the start of the academic year, Philadelphia University opened two Nexus Learning Hubs in Hayward Hall designed to foster active learning and support deeper student engagement through advanced technology.

The new flagship learning spaces merge state-of-the-art technology and furniture to facilitate the ability of students and faculty to share ideas and collaborate more effectively. Hayward 111, the larger of the two spaces, serves all academic disciplines, while Hayward 211 is dedicated to science and health education.

Nearly everything in the Nexus Learning Hubs is mobile, so that chairs, tables, monitors and whiteboards may be positioned to best suit the needs of a variety of learning experiences.

“Nexus Learning Hubs leverage a great instructor’s strengths with the unique and thoughtful integration of built environment, technology and pedagogy,” said President Stephen Spinelli Jr., who with his wife Carol supported the Hayward 111 space.

Hayward 111 features a media lounge equipped with a touch-sensitive, flat-screen monitor and an interactive whiteboard.

Hayward 111 features a media lounge equipped with a touch-sensitive, flat-screen monitor, and an interactive whiteboard that allows faculty and students to jointly compose, edit and share documents. Using two mobile media centers, students can connect and share content on HD monitors from any device. Four screens allow content to be viewed from any location in the room. A vivid green wall, orange seating and clean white work surfaces set the tone for creativity.

“These Hubs shift the learning process from an instructor-centric to a student- and learning-centric environment, where instructors can seamlessly toggle between many forms of active learning,” said Jeff Ashley, director of chemistry and biochemistry programs and coordinator for the Nexus Learning spaces initiative.

Anne Bower, associate professor of biology, has all four of her classes this semester taking place in Hayward 211. “I love that room,” she said. “I’ve used every technological feature in it—including the interactive whiteboard to compile field data for classes in medicinal plants and ecology and the individual whiteboards that students use to write on, place information around the classroom and collaborate on ideas.”

Jestin Joseph, a junior health sciences major on the accelerated M.S. in Occupational Therapy track, waters chive sprouts in his medicinal plants class.

In addition, the laboratory space in H211 has grow lights and humidity and climate controls that are allowing her class to grow 20 different medicinal plants from both tropical forest and desert climates. “It’s the best room I’ve ever worked in,” Bower said.

The Nexus Learning Hubs are supported with a grant of $74,000 for furniture from the Steelcase Education Learning Innovation Hub program, which supports investments in educational institutions that promote the advancement of active learning principles. Steelcase is a 100-year-old global leader in workplace products, furnishings and services.

“PhilaU has done a lot of wonderful work developing its Nexus Learning approach to education, and I think we’re able to complement it with this space,” said Marisa Sergnese, Steelcase Education professional learning initiatives leader, who led a faculty training session in August. “Faculty will now be able to facilitate Nexus Learning using a variety of spaces and technology to support student discovery.”

Jeff Klemens, visiting assistant professor of biology and environment science, is teaching a course in eco-innovations and sustainability in H111 this semester, and said his students are enthusiastic users of the small whiteboards. “The erasable boards let the students feel freer about scratching down something provisional,” he said. “They encourage first drafts that we can revise as we go.”

In addition to classroom learning, the space also will serve as a valuable resource for industry-sponsored projects, in which partners such as Johnson & Johnson, Verizon and Unilever work with students to develop creative solutions to real-world problems.

The Nexus Learning Hubs are part of a campuswide initiative to upgrade classrooms, laboratories, studios and common spaces, including new architecture studios in Search Hall and a Ravenhill Dining Hall renovation that includes a new campus center and convenience store.

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Career Connections Job Fair Hosts Top Employers

A PhilaU student (center) speaks with Destination Maternity representatives.

Some 200 students from a variety of disciplines networked with representatives from nearly 50 top firms seeking employees and interns at Philadelphia University’s annual Career Connections event Sept. 18 in the Gallagher Athletic Center.

“We’ve seen growth in the number of recruiters seeking PhilaU students and graduates this year,” said Tracy DePedro, director of career services, noting that 40 firms attended last year’s event. “We have top company representatives here today interested in hiring students from all three PhilaU colleges.”

Several new employers attended the career fair this year, including the BuildaBridge International, Charter School Services LLC, East River Bank and Sherwin Williams.

And some who have attended in the past are looking for students in new majors. For instance, performance apparel company Under Armour, which has employed many PhilaU graduates in its design department, for the first time came to Career Connections to recruit fashion merchandising and management and textile engineering majors.

A construction management graduate student networks with a Gilbane Building Company representative.

Many of the firms return to PhilaU recruiting events because they have had success hiring PhilaU graduates and interns in the past. Chelsea Morris, recruiting coordinator at Destination Maternity, the world’s largest retailer of maternity apparel and a longtime recruiter at PhilaU, said, “Close to 70 percent of our internship body is made up of PhilaU students, and they do a great job. Our designers and buyers have been very impressed by PhilaU students.”

Many firms were represented by a PhilaU alumnus.

“We have a very strong alumni network in our Philadelphia office,” said Henry Buchholz ’08, tax manager at national public accounting firm CBIZ MHM LLC. “We have about 15 associates who have a tie to PhilaU,” added Buchholz, who interned at the firm as a student.

“I talked to an alumnus at Kohl’s,” said Victoria McDougal, a sophomore majoring in fashion merchandising and management. “It was really cool to talk to someone who is enjoying success in the same industry I want to pursue.”

Fashion merchandising and management students (from left to right) Victoria McDougal and Regan Huffman discuss positions with a representative from Kohl’s Department Stores.

Nicholas Schlitzer, a marketing major who will graduate in December 2014, attended the fair looking for a spring internship. “It gives you experience talking to employers in an interview setting,” he said. “I worked with Career Services last week to freshen up my resume. They talked to me about how to present myself and gave me some background on the companies I was interested in.”

Career Connections provides networking opportunities primarily to non-design majors. In the spring, design majors will have two opportunities to meet with top employers on campus at the Career and Internship Fair and Design Expo.

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Register for Kanbar College Scholarship Day on Sept. 20


Students interested in careers in design, engineering or business are invited to attend Kanbar College Scholarship Day on Saturday, Sept. 20, to learn about these programs, participate in a collaborative group project and be considered for a full-tuition scholarship to Philadelphia University.

Click here for more information and to register. Space is limited.

Prospective students for fall 2015 who are interested in academic programs in the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce are encouraged to attend the event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At Kanbar College Scholarship Day, students will experience the Nexus Learning difference—a hands-on, collaborative, real-world approach to higher education that’s infused with the liberal arts—through a project with PhilaU faculty and other prospective students.

Participating students will have the opportunity to earn a full-tuition scholarship to PhilaU. To be considered, they must participate in the day-long event, submit an application by Sept. 20, and complete a follow-up assignment by Oct. 10. Learn more.

Parents also are welcome to attend and will have a chance to learn about our programs and meet faculty. Students and parents will start the day in Kanbar Campus Center Room 200.

Academic programs within the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce include:

Animation
Business, concentrations in: AccountingFinanceInternational BusinessManagement and Marketing
Engineering
Fashion Design
Fashion Merchandising and Management
Graphic Design Communication
Industrial Design
Interactive Design and Media
Mechanical Engineering
Textile Design
Textile Materials Technology

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Philadelphia University Officially Dedicated The Arlen Specter Center For Public Service And Its Newly Restored Home, Roxboro House, In A Sept. 11 Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

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PhilaU Dedicates Arlen Specter Center for Public Service: The Roxborough Review

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Men’s Basketball Ranked 8th Nationally for Small Colleges by Sporting News

Photo

The Rams score on Chestnut Hill College in the 2013-14 season.

The Sporting News 2014-15 Small College Report, released Sept. 12, ranked PhilaU’s men’s basketball team eighth nationwide in Division II and named junior forward Peter Alexis to the Preseason All-America second team.

“It is great for our players and our University to be mentioned as one of the top 10 teams in the country,” said Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer and head men’s coach Herb Magee, who is on target to reach his 1,000th career win this season, his 48th at PhilaU.

Last season, the Rams won their third Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference championship and reached the NCAA Tournament. Four starters from last year’s team, including Alexis, return for the 2014-15 season.

Alexis, who excels in the classroom as well as on the court, was named to the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Men’s Basketball Team last year.

The Rams open this season with an exhibition contest at James Madison University on Nov. 2.

Read more.

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Ryan Hayes Alumni Visit and Lecture

news_alumni_ryanvisit2The PhilaU Graphic Design program was delighted to welcome back alum (and former Adjunct Professor), Ryan Hayes (PhilaU GDC, 2007), for a visit and lecture. Ryan graciously shared his words of wisdom with the current students, spoke of his experiences since graduating, and showed some of the recent projects he has worked on as a book designer at Chronicle Books in San Francisco.

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news_alumni_ryanvisit3

news_alumni_ryanvisit4Ryan Hayes is a designer/illustrator/ideator/formatter currently working at Chronicle Books in San Francisco, California. As part of the Children's Publishing group, he works on a wide range of books, spanning a wide range of ages and audiences. He also oversees the development of new formats (non-books) within the program. Before working at Chronicle, Ryan graduated from Philadelphia University in 2007. During his senior year, he freelanced with the Heads of State creating posters, illustrating t-shirts, and designing a book that would ultimately lead to his first job. With a Top Five Portfolio and a School of Design and Media Writing Award in his back pocket, Ryan took the first job he was offered at Running Press Book Publishing in August 2007. After working there for four and a half years (and living in the Philadelphia area for 27), he uprooted and took his current job at Chronicle Books. Ryan is an eternal optimist, an admirable home cook, and a craft beer enthusiast. He rides a Fuji into work, reads primarily fiction, and throws a mean change-up. He is also terrible at writing in the third person.

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