Professor Jeff Klemens Wins Innovative Excellence Award for Teaching and Learning

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Jeff Klemens said PhilaU’s Nexus Learning approach has informed his teaching style since he arrived at the University six years ago.

Jeff Klemens, assistant professor of biology and Nardiello-Flick Term Chair in Biology and Design, received the Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology award at the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning in Jacksonville, Fla., on April 6. The award recognized Klemens for his proactive and innovative use of teaching and assessment methods.

“On this campus, many of us spend a lot of time figuring out ways to do things better, differently and in innovative ways,” Klemens said. “To have that effort recognized is a great validation of this approach.”

“Jeff Klemens exemplifies the traits of a master educator,” said Jeffrey Ashley, director of PhilaU’s Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning. “He’s constantly pushing his students to take ownership of the learning process by flipping content out of his face-to-face interactions while rethinking engaging and meaningful experiences during class time. He’s incredibly deserving of this award.”

Klemens said PhilaU’s Nexus Learning approach has informed his teaching style since he arrived at the University six years ago. “When I got here, people were talking about active, engaged learning, and I started to see the potential and the power of it.”

He now roots his teaching style in thinking about learning outcomes and the process by which learning occurs. “What do I want students to be able to do tomorrow that they couldn’t do yesterday?” Klemens asked.

He said he owes a lot to the Nexus Learning approach to teaching and learning, a supportive environment and open-minded students willing to take the journey with him. Klemens relies on their feedback to shape, develop and improve his courses. “They help me make it better for the next generation of students,” he said.

Earlier this year, Klemens took first place at Temple University’s Conference on Teaching Excellence for a research poster on collaborative learning methods.

Klemens said his award is a validation of the University’s award-winning pedagogy and the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning. “It’s this institutional repository of knowledge and connecting hub where we learn from one another,” he said.

Also at the conference, the Center for Teaching Innovation and Nexus Learning was a finalist for the Jack A. Chambers Exemplary Teaching and Learning Center Award.

“PhilaU was recognized for institutionalizing Nexus Learning, forming a Center to support faculty in their experimentation with Nexus Learning methods and providing faculty with programming and grant support to engage faculty in scholarly experiences,” Ashley said.

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