School of Education

Blankley Endowed Chair

The Rosemary and Walter Blankley Endowed Chair in Education

Walter and Rosemary Deniken Blankley ’57, ’06H donated $1 million to create the Rosemary and Walter Blankley Endowed Chair in Education. The chair recognizes the importance of education, as evidenced by the Blankleys’ commitment to supporting education throughout their lives and while Rosemary was a student at Beaver College.

This is the first donor designated endowed chair in the University's history. Dr. Ellen Skilton-Sylvester, professor of education, was appointed The Rosemary and Walter Blankley Endowed Chair in Education during an investiture ceremony on March 6, 2014.

Photo from left to right: Board Chair Chris van de Velde, former Arcadia University President Nicolette DeVille Christensen, Walter Blankley, Rosemary Deniken Blankley ’57, ’06H, Dr. Ellen Skilton-Sylvester, former School of Education Dean Leif Gustavson, and former Provost Steve Michael.

Award Recipients

Kira J. Baker-Doyle

Associate Professor

Rosemary and Walter Blankley Endowed Chair in Education, 2017-2020

Ellen Skilton


Rosemary and Walter Blankley Endowed Chair in Education, 2014-2017

About Dr. Kira J. Baker-Doyle

Dr. Kira J. Baker-Doyle, associate professor of Education and director of Master’s Degree and Certificate Programs, will enhance connected learning and teacher education as the University’s second Rosemary and Walter Blankley Endowed Chair in Education.

Dr. Baker-Doyle’s research primarily focuses on professional development, social network theory, and community engagement in urban schools and communities. As co-founder of Arcadia’s Connected Learning Certificate, a graduate program that prepares K-16+ educators to engage in participatory learning experiences, Dr. Baker-Doyle leads education courses that emphasize writing proficiency, digital media, and connected technologies.

Her proposal, “Cultivating Transformative Teacher Education for A Connected World,” seeks to improve teaching and teacher education by helping educators build collaborative partnerships and seek educational resources through connected technologies and new networking practices. Dr. Baker-Doyle plans to develop her expertise in digital programming and open, online education, build a formal network of scholars interested in these areas, and establish a selective fellowship program for teacher-educators who wish to improve their practice through connected learning.

“Teachers are on the frontline of creating the next generation of citizens, yet they're still teaching in an outdated paradigm of communication,” said Dr. Baker-Doyle. “We need to evolve in order to address critical issues of equity, inclusion, and cooperation, and to connect students to opportunities, resources, and people that exist beyond the walls of our classrooms.”

In addition to her contributions to Arcadia’s School of Education, Dr. Baker-Doyle is the author of Transformative Teachers: Teacher Leadership and Learning in a Connected World (2017) and The Networked Teacher: How New Teachers Build Social Networks for Professional Support (2011), as well as co-editor of the forthcoming book,Networked by Design: Interventions for Teachers to Develop Social Capital.

Blankley Endowed Chair FAQs

What is an endowed chair?

An endowed chair is the highest academic award that a university can bestow on a faculty member. Endowed chairs greatly benefit faculty, students, and a university’s standing by encouraging and facilitating a professor’s research or service agenda and are among the most important gifts to higher education.

How long does the faculty member hold the chair?

Recipients of the endowed chair hold the honor for an initial term of three years. At the end of the term, the chair passes to a different faculty member in the School of Education. The same individual may hold the Blankley Chair more than once, but a full term of at least three years must pass before eligibility may be reinstated.

What does funding provided by an endowed chair support?

The funding provided by a chair often is used to attract an expert in a particular field and supports his or her research, teaching, and service activities—all in an effort to make advances in a field of study or toward solving societal or scientific issues.

What does an endowed chair signify for the selected faculty member(s)?

An endowed chair appointment represents the highest level of distinction for a faculty member while recognizing his or her contributions to a particular discipline or scholarly field.