Eastern Shield

Vivian Nix-Early

Adjunct Professor; Co-Founder, BuildaBridge International

Dr. Vivian Nix-Early is a licensed clinical psychologist and a board-certified music therapist with more than 30 years of experience counseling individuals, groups, families and teams. She has successfully provided consulting and coaching services to higher education, corporate, nonprofit and faith sectors in the areas of professional development, management and leadership, organizational change (including organizational culture change), women’s leadership issues, and career change for executives.

Dr. Nix-Early is the owner of a private clinical practice and consulting service, and currently provides music therapy for children, mothers and families at Women Against Abuse in Philadelphia. She is a licensed Music Together center director & Music Together Preschool program provider and specialist, providing at-risk mothers and their pre-school aged children access to music education, mommy-baby wellness through music, and music therapy. She is co-founder with Dr. J. Nathan Corbitt, of BuildaBridge, a nonprofit arts education organization based in Philadelphia that engages the arts as an intervention to bring hope and healing to vulnerable youth and to teach life skills to adults in poverty and crisis in Philadelphia and internationally. Dr. Nix-Early volunteers her time as BuildaBridge’s Chief Operations Officer, overseeing primarily the organization’s financial operations. Guiding BuildaBridge’s community program development, teacher training and curriculum, Dr. Nix-Early coaches artists and educators who seek to enhance their effectiveness in the classroom and their work with vulnerable students – improving pedagogy, handling conflict, integrating arts, responding to diversity. She has also authored a comprehensive Arts4Peace: Artmaking to peacemaking curriculum for training middle and high school youth in conflict resolution and mediation, and has led camps and workshops utilizing the curriculum.

Having retired from her role as Dean, Dr. Nix-Early continues as adjunct faculty at Eastern University, teaching courses in Arts in Education, Arts in Healing, and Arts, Creativity & Human Development. She is co-author with Dr. J. Nathan Corbitt of a book entitled, Taking it to the Streets: Using the Arts to Transform Your Community. She trains and consults internationally with nonprofit community and faith based organizations on transforming individuals, families and communities through art making. She also trains lay workers and professionals in various parts of the world desiring to engage the arts therapeutically to work with children and women suffering from trauma due to war, abuse, catastrophe and disaster.

She has recently completed a two-year consulting contract as project manager and consultant for a federal Health & Human Services Strengthening Communities Fund grant awarded to the Mayor’s Executive Office to build the capacity of small nonprofit organizations in West Philadelphia that were focused on improving the economic viability of their communities. Dr. Nix-Early continues to provide training, technical assistance and coaching to nonprofit leaders.

Since 1979 Dr. Nix-Early has provided consultation services to numerous entities including providing Faculty/Administration Development and Training for various Universities and Colleges across the Unites States; Strategic Planning for State System Universities of PA.; and Program Review and Evaluation for Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (Philadelphia University), Widener University, Rutgers University and other institutions of higher education. She has also provided consultation services for the private sector: Drake, Beam, Morin, Inc for the Career Advancement and Leadership Style Assessment for Fortune 500 company executives.

A woman of deep faith with a passion to see young people thrive, Dr. Nix-Early is an active leader in her church (Star of Hope Baptist Church of Tacony), and has provided leadership for its youth ministries and outreach for over 30 years as Director of Youth Activities and Senior High Sunday School teacher, and three years as Church School Superintendent. For 15 years, she directed an annual fall youth retreat for church and community youth ages 8 to 18 focused on strengthening their spirituality, awareness of God, self-esteem, biblical understanding and life application - all through the arts-based teaching.

Dr. Vivian Nix-Early has over 30 years of experience in higher education administration and senior academic leadership that has capitalized on her strengths in the creation and development of major strategic institutional initiatives.

Following four years as Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Nix-Early served as the founding Dean of the Campolo College School for Social Change at Eastern University in Philadelphia, from 1999 to 2009, and led the development of its mission, values and programs. A school focused on holistic urban transformation and social justice, it assisted Eastern University to meet its challenge to be relevant to the domestic and international urban world. In her leadership role at Eastern University, Dr. Nix-Early was responsible for the development of the Philadelphia campus including the conceptualizing of a early college charter high school; a dual enrollment college program for high school students; the Master of Arts in Urban Studies with concentrations in Community Development, Youth Leadership and Arts in Transformation; a Center for Applied Research; an undergraduate program emphasizing clarification of each student’s life purpose, service to community, and global competence; several certificate and diploma programs for community professionals; the Center for Urban Youth Development; and several university partnerships with public, private, nonprofit and governmental bodies.


Ph.D., New York University 
At Eastern Since 1995

Courses Taught

Arts in Education, Arts, Creativity and Human Development, Arts in Healing

Select Articles
  • Nix-Early, V., Di Lorenzo, P.  Untapped Anchor:  A Monograph Exploring the Role of Spirituality in the Lives of Foster Youth.  2004. 
  • Nix-Early, V. “Arts & Scripture”, The Pebble, 2004, Vol. 3(1).  A quarterly publication of American Baptist Churches, Valley Forge, PA
  • Nix-Early, V.  Art: A Naturally Occurring Resource for Building Bridges to the NU JERUZ.  Journal of the Princeton Lectures on Youth, Church & Culture, 2003, 44-54.
  • Nix-Early, V.  Art & Transformation:  Using Art in Mission & Ministry.  Journal of the Princeton Lectures on Youth, Church & Culture, 2003, 55-67.
  • Nix-Early, V., Corbitt, J.N.  Taking it to the streets:  Using the Arts to Transform your Community.  Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2003
  • Nix-Early, V. "God's Child" in Storying Ourselves:  A narrative Perspective on Christians in Psychology, D. John Lee, Ed., Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1993.
  • Nix Early, V., Jenkins, R., Grey, B.  The University Survival Game, 1986.  An experiential process game to orient students and their parents to college life and the factors involved in successful persistence.  Introduces students to primary help centers of the Institution.
  • "Going places:  How to get to college".  WQED Public Television production, Pittsburgh, PA, November, 1989. 
  • Nix Early, V.  Tutor Training:  The Role of a Tutor.  Videotape series.  West Chester TV Studio Productions.  1984.
  • Nix Early, V.  A couples group for college coeds.  Journal of College Student Personnel, 1984, 25 (6).
  • Nix Early, V., and Lombardi, K.  Racial issues in psychotherapy:  realism or symbolism?  Psychiatric Spector, 1976, X (9), 12 13.  Abstract.