Hart leaves The Temple News with mixed feelings about her tenure as she is set to resign June 30, 2012.
President Ann Weaver Hart’s resignation provides The Temple News and the student body with the opportunity to examine her presidency, for better or worse.
Hart wasn’t without her successes. She led a $380 million fundraising campaign in 2009, which exceeded expectations. She increased academic standards to become enrolled at the university, and improved facilities like the revamped Fox School of Business and supported building the on-campus Tyler School of Art and supported adding more residential buildings for students.
Under her watch, the university broke off from its commuter-school roots, for the better. Students and administrators alike appreciated these things, but Hart will ultimately be remembered by students for two things: the 20/20 plan and her lack of campus presence.
The goals of the 20/20 plan are easy to support, which include building bigger and better facilities while revamping or tearing down old ones, adding more green space and making the university more sustainable. But with Hart, who spearheaded the framework, leaving so early in its implementation, it’s easy to see elements of the plan falling by the wayside. The 20/20 plan is intended to be flexible, but Hart’s resignation makes it difficult not to question the university’s long-term commitment to the project and what the new president’s role will be. The next president should bring more to the table than a willingness to work within the 20/20 framework.
Hart certainly made progress as an administrator, but faculty and student’s opinions of her are mixed as to her on-campus presence.
A popular opinion among students is that Hart is someone who was often talked about, but rarely seen outside her Sullivan Hall office. Temple is a large school, and while we can’t expect one person to connect with approximately 39,000 students individually, it is fair to expect each of them to know who she is.
Her relationship with The Temple News is best described as distant. Prior to her resignation, the last time she had conducted an on-the-record interview with TTN was Nov. 25, 2007. A president needs to be accessible to all students at all times, not just during convocation, graduation and meetings with Temple Student Government.
To the Board of Trustees: Hart’s replacement should be willing to be a part of the university community he or she will represent, in addition to possessing administrative talent.
To President Hart: In your remaining months at Temple, take time to get to know the students you say you are so proud to represent. Grab lunch from the Student Center, watch a football game from the student section and support student events with your presence.