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Fox School of Business expansion: explained

The school needed more space for support staff and classrooms, but other schools struggle to find classroom space.

The Fox School of Business’s expansion into 1810 Liacouras Walk will include only a few new classrooms — the rest of the space will go toward collaborative space for the school’s growing programs and offices to support its increasing online presence.

Officials at the school said the growth is heavily influenced by Fox’s recruitment methods and bolstered by the university’s decentralized budget.

At Temple, each school and college manages its own funds through the decentralized budget. This means that the Fox School of Business has most authority over its revenue and spending.

Because of Fox’s increasing national rankings and use of the school’s decentralized budget, it’s been able to secure the funds and enrollment to expand. At the same time, the rest of the university is struggling to fill the immediate demand for classroom space.

National rankings

Fox ranks as one of the highest among other Temple schools and colleges in several categories: it’s No. 1 in undergraduate enrollment, it’s the No. 4 fastest growing school and is tied with the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management for the highest tuition for undergraduate students.

The school also holds some of the highest rankings for its online programs — the online MBA comes in at No. 1 and the school’s online bachelor’s program ranks No. 2 overall, according to U.S. News and World Report.

In fact, Fox’s growing online presence is part of the school’s reason for the expansion into 1810 Liacouras Walk.

The expansion will be complete by Fall 2018 for the school’s centennial celebration. Part of the renovated space will house the support staff for the online programs, said David Kaiser, Fox’s director of undergraduate enrollment management.

“Now we have such robust, highly ranked programs, we need a lot of support staff for that,” he said.

Chris Vito, the associate director of communications and media relations for Fox, said the school has developed its own software for building and delivering the online courses to students. This means the school doesn’t need to hire any outside companies to run the program.

Of the 6,856 undergraduate students in Fox for 2016-17, 181 students are online-only, Kaiser said, adding that a majority of those are transfer students. Fox offers six majors as part of its online bachelor’s degree program: accounting, business management, human resource management, legal studies in business, marketing and supply chain management.

The programs’ high rankings, officials said, are one of the driving factors behind the school’s rapid growth. The other force is its marketing methods.

Marketing

While he couldn’t disclose the exact amount Fox spends on marketing itself to potential students, Tom Kegelman, Fox’s assistant dean of marketing, communications, and graduate admissions for Fox, said the budget “hasn’t increased all that much.”

The department was instead able to refine how it spends its marketing resources. Fox has purchased billboard space around Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. The school also created video campaigns to attract students in southern and southwestern parts of the country.

In the past four years, the school has invested in more programs to keep up with the market students will enter after graduation, he added. For example, the school offers finance certificates based on employer needs.

The decentralized budget allows Fox “to do things like how probably most businesses would do them as opposed to a traditional university and how they approach marketing and recruitment,” Kegelman said.

Rapid growth

Both Kegelman and Kaiser said Fox’s Dean Moshe Porat has been able to lead the school to its top spot with the help of Temple’s decentralized budget.

The system puts each school in charge of “all the costs it produces and receive all the revenues it generates,” wrote Leroy Dubeck, a professor emeritus of physics, in The National Education Association’s Higher Education Journal in 2007, which the university includes on its informational website about the decentralized budget.

And the school’s marketing methods are working — it’s the fourth-fastest growing school at Temple. From 2005 to 2016, Fox added nearly 3,000 students to its annual enrollment, growing at an average rate of almost 4 percent each year.

The school also has the fourth-largest full-time faculty among the other schools, but comes in at No.16 for its student-to-full-time-faculty ratio. The 2016-17 Fact Book, which includes statistical data for all of Temple’s schools, does not include the amount of adjunct faculty in each school. Data for this academic year will not be available until November.

But despite Fox’s quick growth, the expansion into 1810 Liacouras Walk will only include a few classroom spaces, Kaiser said. He added that there will be a lot of “collaboration space, especially for [Fox’s] entrepreneurship program.”

Spatial crisis across Temple

James Reilly has had class in lobbies in Tomlinson Hall and a breezeway in Annenberg Hall, where professors usually teach and rehearse for productions.

The actual classroom spaces that the School of Theater, Film and Media Arts uses are mostly in Ritter Hall, since the 2015 demolition of Barton Hall, where most rehearsal space once was. Many of the Ritter Hall classrooms are not up to par with the soundproof spaces once present in Barton Hall.

Reilly, a senior English and acting major, said Fox’s expansion is “frustrating” because as the school continues to grow, TFMA struggles for space. TFMA is a much smaller school, with 928 students. But there are not many facilities in which students can rehearse. That causes professors to schedule meetings in the lobbies of Tomlinson Hall, he said.

“When we had Barton, at least we had some space that was like, ‘OK, this is our space,’” he added. “Whereas now that that’s gone and we’re down in Ritter, which feels so much smaller, it’s just frustrating we don’t have our own spot on campus. We don’t have our own place to be.”

Reilly said he hopes the lack of space is a temporary problem for the school that will be alleviated once the university finishes the library.

This is exactly what Temple’s Project Delivery Group, which manages all of the construction projects on Main Campus, hopes will happen in 2019 when the library is completed, as well as Peabody’s demolition and the repurposing of Paley Library.

“There’s an awareness for the need for space and that is what we’re currently working on,” said Dozie Ibeh, the Project Delivery Group’s associate vice president. “Unfortunately, it’s not something that can be solved in one summer cycle, it’s something that we are addressing over a series of years.”

Two floors of classrooms did open on Monday for the College of Public Health in the Aramark Student Training and Recreation Complex on the corner of 15th Street and Montgomery Avenue. The STAR Complex took more than a year to complete. This opens up some classroom space in Pearson and McGonigle halls, which is also used by several other schools.

In addition to the planned renovation of Paley Library, other schools are setting up plans for expansions, like the Klein College of Media and Communication. Dean David Boardman told The Temple News in January that the college is hoping to expand the school’s existing building, Annenberg Hall, to include a student media center.

But that expansion was “somewhere between a dream and a proposal,” Boardman added.

“I hope in the next several years when we have this conversation, we won’t have this crisis of space and people will be saying how happy they are where they are,” Ibeh added.

Gillian McGoldrick contributed reporting.

Julie Christie

can be reached at julie.christie@temple.edu
Or you can follow Julie on Twitter @ChristieJules
Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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