The university announced last Tuesday its decision to name Richard Deeg as the permanent dean for the College of Liberal Arts.
After Teresa Soufas announced her resignation in January 2015, William Stull was named interim dean while Temple conducted a year-long national search with consulting company Isaacson, Miller. The search culminated in a pool of candidates, four of which visited Main Campus during the Spring 2016 semester.
Deeg and the other candidates — Jeff Manza, Eric Arnesen and Susan Roberts — held open Q & A sessions for students and faculty to attend.
“Any faculty and students could have participated in the open sessions for the visiting candidates,” said Jodi Levine Laufgraben, Temple’s vice provost for Academic Affairs. “There was a large turnout and we invited them to provide feedback. It was a good opportunity for the community to engage [in the decision].”
Laufgraben said while the selection committee had to “work through” the administrative upheaval in July — in which the university lost both President Neil Theobald and Provost Hai-Lung Dai — it was expected that the decision would take most of the summer.
“We were still able to accomplish what we wanted to at the beginning of the fall semester,” Laufgraben said. “There was only a short lag because the committee worked through May.”
Deeg was the only finalist for the position who came from within the university.
Deeg started at Temple in 1991 before becoming a full professor in 2009. In February 2015 he became Senior Associate Dean.
“It was never my career goal to become dean,” he said. “But I became a department chair, and I liked the challenges it came with … [As Associate Dean] I became deeply versed in what happens and how the college operates at that level.”
He said he learned how to provide a different kind of service to the university other than teaching.
The new decentralized budget model which was implemented in Fall 2012 poses challenges for CLA, Deeg said. The model, in which colleges receive tuition directly from students’ enrollment in their classes, led CLA to cut 5 percent of its budget while he was Senior Associate Dean. The budget was cut because enrollment in CLA was declining, Deeg added.
“The challenge for CLA and liberal arts nationally is that people don’t think you can make a career with a liberal arts degree,” Deeg said. “What we do is still valuable.We provide a broad intellectual experience and critical thinking skills.”
He said people are unsure how to translate those skills into a specific job or career.
“I want to help students and their parents see the value in liberal arts,” Deeg said. “These are skills you can use in every job.”
Before Deeg was named dean, CLA had already started putting its efforts toward combating that perception by hiring a career adviser in January 2015. The college has since hired three more.
Deeg added that while he has been with CLA for a long time, he does not want to “keep things the same way” but instead build on “what is already there.”
He said the college has been working on a plan to build a stronger undergraduate curriculum and diversity within the school.
“I’ve just got one perspective,” Deeg said. “People’s experiences become the blueprint for change. It’s an opportunity to talk about what can be done.”
Julie Christie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.