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Last CLA dean finalist visits Main Campus

Jeff Manza, who teaches sociology at New York University, rounds out the four finalists who are vying for Temple’s open CLA dean seat.

Jeff Manza, the fourth finalist for dean of the College of Liberal Arts, spoke to students and faculty members yesterday in Anderson Hall about what he would do if he was selected for the position.

Manza is currently a professor of sociology at New York University and former chair of its sociology department. He previously worked at Penn State and Northwestern University.

Manza wants to provide CLA with the type of recognition he thinks it deserves.

“I get the sense that CLA is not as privileged as other schools … yet it’s a key evaluation point,” he said. “Temple’s overall stature as an institution depends on a strong, robust CLA.”      

Manza thinks that can be fixed with effective marketing inside the Temple community by highlighting the strengths of CLA and articulating what those are.

“It’s going to require some thoughtful, artful presentation of how to move the college forward, and that’s what the next dean has to be strong and good at,” he said.

A challenge CLA is facing is professional development and job placement after graduation, Manza said.

“We need to craft good internships that lead directly into certain professional opportunities,” Manza said. “There are opportunities that exist [in Philly] that don’t exist in a place like State College.”

He is also asking if faculty can help enhance and enrich internship experiences through more contacts and resources by creating pathways of communication between them and their office.

Manza also wants to redefine success in the college when it comes to long term well being after graduation.

“The engineer at age 23 will make more than the philosophy major, but at age 35 that’s not so clear,” he said. “Life doesn’t end six months or a year after graduation. We think of education in too narrow of a way that liberal arts programs have to push back against.”   

Under Temple’s decentralized budget model, one of Manza’s objectives would be to spend time on generating revenue so courses don’t have to be cut. In addition, he would like to see more entrepreneurial learning.

“Resources will magically appear when you do things that create revenues for yourself,” he said. “As I look at CLA, I see very few of those types of programs.”  

Manza was offered a position at Temple in 2004 to create and run an interdisciplinary sociology department, but he turned the offer down.

He said what attracted him to Temple this time around was the school’s better position to make things happen.

“Temple says it has a mission. NYU and Northwestern don’t say that,” Manza said. “This is an interesting time to do cool stuff as the dean.”

Dominic Barone can be reached at dominic.barone@temple.edu or on Twitter @dvito_barone.

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