Strategic Build

Philadelphia University’s Strategic Build is based upon our accomplishments and collective view of the future of Philadelphia University as a transformative force in higher education. It is a natural extension of the University’s bold Strategic Plan, adopted in 2008.

In 2008, after 13 months of research, administrative planning, and Board discussion, the Board of Trustees passed Philadelphia University’s first Strategic Plan. We remain committed to this strategy and believe that this Strategic Build reinforces and advances the University’s mission and vision.

Philadelphia University is developing the model for professional university education in the 21st century.

Seven Initiatives of the 2008 Strategic Plan:

We have made significant progress on all of these initiatives. Most specifically, the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce and the award-winning DEC curriculum, and new academic leadership for all three colleges – College of Architecture and the Built Environment, Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, and College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts. The establishment of the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning has advanced the Philadelphia University learning philosophy.

Our co-curricular activities are nationally recognized and have begun to receive international recognition, even in their relative infancy. Our graduate and professional studies have grown and added to the University experience.

Undergraduate enrollment, while still dynamic, has exceeded budget every year.

We completed construction on the Center for Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design, the Lawrence N. Field DEC Center; Roxboro House; and Falls Center buildings, along with major renovation of Downs Hall and our residence halls, dramatically increasing the quality of our infrastructure.

We established two applied research initiatives; the MAG Philadelphia University Composites Institute and the Marram Bio-medical Textile Institute, and have installed new Nexus Learning Hubs as part of our active learning spaces initiative.

These initiatives, coupled with our signature brand of Nexus Learning, are the foundation upon which we build Strategic Build, leveraging the 2008 Strategic Plan.

The Strategic Build

The Strategic Build targets the intersection of three areas of emerging opportunities and a renewed commitment to building faculty quality, resulting in four new initiatives: Online Education, International Education, Health Sciences Education and faculty development and academic programs growth. Each is informed and enhanced by our brand promise, Nexus Learning.

Nexus Learning

Central to the 2008 plan was the definition and delivery of Nexus Learning as Philadelphia University’s “Signature Learning Approach.” It is the path to student success, signature of the Philadelphia University promise, and basis for what we knew would become the model for professional education.

Nexus Learning integrates perspectives from multiple disciplines and actively applies them to real world issues. Nexus Learning infuses this transdisciplinary perspective with the liberal arts, in collaboration, to solve problems and create opportunities.

Nexus Learning is real-world learning that empowers students to be leaders in their professions at every level of their careers.

Philadelphia University firmly believes that the Nexus Learning approach is the key to professional education. The application of trans-disciplinary education as the foundation of the curriculum has explosive impacts on teaching innovation and learning. That brand- able, differentiated component to what we do enhances professional education at a fundamental level.

Philadelphia University’s Strategic Build is the evolution of the existing Strategic Plan to develop the model for professional education in the 21st century. Face-to-face Nexus Learning is unique to the Philadelphia University brand. It has been manifested in the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce and been internationally recognized as a revolutionary curriculum. Nexus Learning applied to the College of Architecture and the Built Environment (C-ABE) and the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts (C-SHLA) will similarly redefine and revolutionize their competencies.

Therefore, as our strategy progresses and is specifically articulated in Strategic Build , we advance Nexus Learning as a fundamental component of our next initiatives. The work of the Board and management team leadership identified four key areas for strategic involvement:

  • Faculty and Program Development
  • International Education
  • Online Education
  • Health Sciences

It is at the intersection of these areas and Nexus Learning that we find the potential in the Strategic Build.

Implementation of the Strategic Build will be contingent upon ensuring faculty quality, the success of the Academic Growth Plan and financial investments on the part of the University, especially in Health Education. Specific areas of need, growth, and investment will be outlined for each strategic area.

Academic Growth and Faculty Development Plan (AGFDP)

The AGFDP is a campus-wide process of creating new programs to integrate our curricula and increase tuition revenue for investing in academic excellence. The two initiatives are:

  • Hiring strategic faculty in key growth areas,
  • Creating a bridge fund for launching new programs


Online education is growing rapidly, due to advances in technology, customer demand, and its inherently lower cost structure. Online education is both an opportunity and a threat for Philadelphia University. Incorporating online technology and education methods into more of PhilaU’s education delivery is a way to grow enrollment and revenue, increase the value and reach of the PhilaU brand, and improve the overall education value proposition to students. Conversely, traditional institutions that do not embrace online education will be at an increasing disadvantage over time as demand shifts toward online options, and deep institutional understanding of online education becomes a prerequisite for deploying new education methods. The distinction between online education and education in general will continue to diminish. We should think of online education simply as another format for delivery of our curriculum. This also represents a threat, as growth in online will increasingly draw demand away from strictly on-campus institutions, threatening the business model itself.

In the Strategic Build, Online is framed as an additional delivery channel for PhilaU programs. Online delivery of four undergraduate majors from our Continuing Professional Students (CPS) Program – these majors are bachelor’s level for adult learners, most of whom already have done some work for a degree in other programs earlier in their career. While PhilaU has less differentiated branding for these programs, students enroll for the value versus cost for the programs.

International Strategic Build

Our approach to the international marketplace is segmented into the management imperative to recruit non-US students and the educational imperative to deliver a global perspective to our students. The management imperative to recruit international students is underway in the Enrollment Management Office, and will include the development of an English as a Second Language program on campus in summer 2013. This recruitment is a key objective of enrollment management. To that end we have been aggressively managing an international enrollment strategy as follows:

  • Following several months of due diligence we contracted with three international recruitment agencies. Our focus is on China, Saudi Arabia and Chile.
  • We have engaged Bridge Associates to provide Intensive English Language
  • We have joined the Pathways, an international student recruitment network of 52 colleges and universities, none of them in the greater Philadelphia area.

The first international students recruited through this new effort where matriculated in January 2013. We now have 217 international students enrolled. We plan to build to 300 international students in the next 5 years.

Health Sciences Strategic Build

Health Science education is both didactic and clinical. In essence, health education is fundamentally a Nexus Learning curriculum. There is significant potential for collaboration among the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts (C-SHLA); Kanbar College; and C-ABE. It is hands on. It is collaborative. It is Nexus Learning. Additionally, Philadelphia University’s C-SHLA has been particularly successful in promulgating collaborative curriculum, especially with business and design classes.

The distinctions achieved in the health sciences field by Philadelphia University lend a reputational advantage to our programs as we consider growth and development. Both of Philadelphia University’s nationally ranked programs, Physician Assistant Studies and Midwifery, are in the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts. The current infrastructure is outdated and limits both the quality of the education we deliver and the number of participants in these programs. As such, quality and enrollment growth must be supported through alliances and/or acquisitions and one of three levels of investment

Market demand for health science education is robust and growing.

Between 2010-2011, gains in graduate enrollment were largest in health sciences with average annual gains at 9.8 percent. Part-time graduate enrollment experienced the strongest gains in fall of 2011 in health sciences at 9.5 percent. (The Council of Graduate Studies.)

The College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts leadership believe it is essential to enhance infrastructure to maintain our competitiveness and that there are opportunities to grow in specialty health sciences programs. With expanded capacity, the College would add programs with 15-78 students each.

The following are proposed areas for growth:

  • Physician Assistant Studies (New Jersey): 60-78 students
  • M.S. in Community and Trauma Counseling: 50-75 students
  • Doctor of Midwifery: 15-25 students
  • Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD): 15-25 students
  • Master of Public Health: 40-60 students
  • Second Certificate in Occupational Therapy) COTA from School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS): 50-60 students
  • Radiology Technician: SCPS with Einstein: 20 students
  • Expansion of Health Science: 30-50 students
  • Expansion of Pre-Med: 20-30 students
  • Expansion of Psychology: 15-30 students
  • Expansion of M.S. in Occupational Therapy (MSOT): 5-10 students
  • Pre-Med Post-Bachelors Certificate Program: 25-50 students

These potential programs and expansions provide the opportunity for 345- 523 additional students for the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts.

We believe the Hanover Associates market demand analysis will provide third party validation of program growth potential. Also, we have engaged two real estate specialists to ascertain options for utilizing square footage that Philadelphia cannot effectively use in the near and mid-term.