‘We’re at the Top of the Field’: Q-and-A with Dr. Erik Nelson

By Sue Gettlin | February 15, 2012

By Erica Lamberg

Dr. Erik Nelson wears multiple hats at Arcadia University.  He serves as Dean of the School of Continuing Studies, which includes the Center for Adult and Professional Education (CAPE); as an Assistant Professor of Education; as Coordinator of Instructional Technology; and as Director of Arcadia Online.  In March 2011, Dr. Nelson added another responsibility, that of leadership of Arcadia’s King of Prussia Campus.  The university’s King of Prussia location, in the heart of the area’s commercial district, focuses on the needs of adult learners.  Dr. Nelson shares his keen understanding of the needs of this important and growing population—and shares why the King of Prussia campus is an exciting augment to the Education Department.

Question: How can today’s adult students, including those in the education profession, benefit from advanced classes such as Arcadia’s master’s programs, special graduate certificates and institutes?

Dr. Nelson:
Quite simply, we’re at the top of the field.  Arcadia’s undergraduate and graduate courses and programs continue to be at the forefront in the greater Philadelphia region. Our approach to learning is integrative, and our highly regarded faculty, who are experts in their areas of specialization, effectively intergrate real world classroom scenerios, multi-disciplinary activities, unique teaching strategies and the latest technology. Our faculty are partners in learning. Our classes are small and we provide individualized attention.  Students know their professors, and our professors know our students.  It’s a true partnership in learning.

Question:  Can you share the specifics of the King of Prussia campus?

Dr. Nelson:  Arcadia University’s new King of Prussia Campus opened its doors last March.  When we were designing the space—a 13,000 square foot campus located at 1150 First Avenue, Suite 700, in the Parkview Tower Building—we kept the special needs of adult learners in mind.  The facility is modern, appointed with the latest in technology and classroom design.  It is a prime location for meetings, conferences, and peer-to-peer networking, which play a critical role in the lives of our students and the surrounding business community.  Within this space, we offer adult students graduate education programs, and undergraduate Bachelor’s business and liberal studies programs for adult students in the center of King of Prussia commerce.

Question:  Technology is one of the highlights of the new campus. What makes this space truly a pacesetter in the region?

Dr. Nelson:  The campus boasts state-of-the-art wireless technology thoroughout, including high-tech presentation systems and plenty of connectivity for student learning and interaction. The conference room features an advanced audio visual system. This modern environment promotes learning, will foster creativity, and education careers can be enriched. The space is also furnished with easily movable and flexible furniture that can be rolled and compacted, allowing professors and students to reconfigure for any setting. A mobile laptop cart that contains Macbook Pros stands in place of a stationary computer lab.  The space is beautiful, functional and comfortable, three characteristics that reflect our approach to educating adult learners: Gearing the space and courses specifically to meet their scheduling and learning needs.

Question:  Tell me more about how Arcadia’s broad offerings of blended and accelerated formats benefit adult learners?

Dr. Nelson:
  Adult learners have unique needs. Faced with a delicate balance of work and family demands, pursuing graduate programs need to be both convenient, accessible and relevant. The course schedule at the new campus is designed so that students can balance career and family. Learning opportunities combine face-to-face evening instruction with online modules in a “blended” format. Students communicate with faculty and classmates through the Blackboard e-learning platform.

Question:  What graduate programs are available for educators to gain an edge?

Dr. Nelson: Arcadia has a long history of providing quality and well-respected teacher education programs, particularly in the area of “inclusive” and special needs education. Graduate courses at the King of Prussia Campus include Autism, Applied Behavior Analysis, Educational Leadership, ESL, Infant-Toddler Mental Health, and Instructional Technology.

Question:   How can current education majors and alumni get news updates about the events and news at the King of Prussia campus?

Dr. Nelson:  There is a King of Prussia Campus Facebook page (www.facebook.com/arcadia.kop), where news updates, open houses, special events, and programs will be detailed. Please fan our page! For spring and summer registration or more information visit, www.arcadia.edu/kop.