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Provost calls for restructurings

The second draft of the White Paper calls for the scrutinized restructuring proposals. Provost Richard Englert’s White Paper laid out numerous possibilities for university restructuring in December 2011 and, in March, after discussions between the provost and faculty, those proposals have begun to become more clear. On March 15, four proposals and one memorandum stemming… Read more »

The second draft of the White Paper calls for the scrutinized restructuring proposals.

Provost Richard Englert’s White Paper laid out numerous possibilities for university restructuring in December 2011 and, in March, after discussions between the provost and faculty, those proposals have begun to become more clear.

On March 15, four proposals and one memorandum stemming from the December version of the White Paper were sent out to faculty across the university. Three of them discuss the restructuring of Tyler School of Art, Boyer College of Music and Dance, the School of Communications and Theater and the College of Education. The fourth one deals with policies involving faculty across the university and the memorandum discussed changes involving student feedback forms.

In the first restructuring proposal, Tyler, Boyer and the theater and film and media arts departments from SCT would become units under a newly created center for fine and performing arts. Each unit will be represented by a director that would answer to one dean who oversees the center. Each of the units would maintain its existing faculty, departments and academic programs. Instead of combining Tyler and Boyer together, a move that would affect students, creating the center allows the changes coming from restructuring to occur at the administrative level.

“Rather than having a college of fine and performing arts, we would have a center with one dean, but we still maintain the integrity of Tyler, Boyer and the departments of film and media arts and theater,” Englert said.

The idea for the center came from faculty proposals and from looking at other institutions, such as New York University’s Tisch School of Art, Rutgers and Boston University, which operate in a manner similar to the proposal.

The move is also financially motivated. For the past three years, Robert Stroker has served as dean of Boyer and interim dean of Tyler, a move that saved the university $1.3 million during a three-year span, at approximately $450,000 a year. Creating the center allows the savings to continue, Englert said.

“If we can save half a million dollars a year going forward, that’s a major difference,” Englert said. “If we can make those reductions, we’ll do it in a second.”

Under the proposal, Stroker would become the full-time dean of the center as well as the vice provost for the arts.

For the faculty affected by the creation of the center, there are still more questions they have for the provost, but they have acknowledged there could be some benefits from becoming part of the center.

Mark Radhert, a law professor and secretary for the Faculty Senate, listed the faculty’s remaining questions concerning the center. They include questions involving lines of authority under the new dean and director system, how endowment will work in the center and other budgetary questions. Some of the benefits listed include more opportunities to generate funds, such as selling the naming rights to the center, opportunities for collaboration across the arts and reducing operational expenses.

For SCT, the proposal concerning it entails dropping the “T” as the school would be renamed the School of Communications on July 1 due to the departures of the theater and film and media arts departments for the center. The other existing departments: advertising, broadcast, telecommunications and mass media, journalism and communications, would remain unchanged. According to the proposal, there was not much financial motivation to drastically restructure the school.

“While it is true that combination of the school with other schools or colleges at Temple could achieve some cost avoidance annually…the school already is productive in generating revenues to support expenditures,” the proposal said. “Moreover, it is likely that the opportunities for generating funds for naming the school and for scholarships, professorships, et cetera, would be enhanced by having a more communications focused school.”

The school would continue to share equipment with the film and media arts department. A search for a new dean would begin after a new president of the university is hired.

The third proposal involves the College of Education being changed to the School of Education, a move that entails more than a name change.

Currently, the college has three existing departments and in the school, the departments will be merged into one. This idea started from the college’s move months ago to get rid of three doctoral programs and instead offer a college-wide Ph.D. program.

“The reasoning behind it was, this way we have one faculty, not just department faculty, but the faculty of the college of education all working together for the Ph.D. program, that actually spawned the idea in my head that if we can do it for the doctoral program, why can’t we do it for all the student programs?” Englert said. “Rather than having faculty over here, faculty over there and then faculty in a third department, you have them all together as one faculty, a faculty that serves all students.”

“It’s actually more flexible for faculty being able to service more student needs in all programs,” Englert added. “Departments are wonderful, but sometimes they can have barriers and it can be hard for some people to cross departments.”

Existing student programs within education would not be affected.

For all three restructuring proposals, there will be an extended period of discussion until April 30, and then a final proposal will be given to the president and then the Board of Trustees. Discussion for the fourth proposal will commence April 13. Some of the policies included in the proposal include a new faculty workload policy, conducting analysis of classroom use and finding a new director of student financial services. On the latter item, Temple has already hired a new director of SFS: Craig Fennell, the former executive director of student financial assistance at Arizona State, who will be assuming the job this month.

With the memorandum on student feedback forms, all forms will be online beginning in the summer. There was discussion about making the results of the feedback forms available to students, but the idea was put on hold due to concerns about protecting student anonymity.

Brian Dzenis can be reached at brian.dzenis@temple.edu.

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