Last week, President Neil Theobald named Hai-Lung Dai provost. Dai, who has served for the past several months in the position in an interim capacity, certainly has the academic credentials for the job, but his vision for the university is what makes him the right choice.
In a recent interview with The Temple News, Theobald said that once the provost position was filled, the university’s four interim deanships could be addressed. While it is not an instantaneous process, it seems as though the interim dean situation will be resolved quickly.
Dai told TTN that the university hopes to have four of the five deans named by the end of the semester so they can start in the fall. This expedient start to Theobald and Dai’s tenures as president and provost, respectively, represent a fresh look at Temple, which should encourage students.
The university also showed the foresight to appoint a provost who obviously knows how to operate under a decentralized budget, which Temple is working to implement during the next few years. Dai worked under such a system at the University of Pennsylvania, and has expressed that he’ll encourage collaboration between the deans, an issue often raised under a decentralized system.
Above all, Dai has shown a willingness to confront an issue that Theobald has made a top priority in his short time at Temple: student debt. Dai has said administrators plan to announce initiatives to encourage students to graduate in four years. Among these, Dai said enhanced academic advising will be part of the university’s plans to decrease student debt and increase its four-year graduation rate.
While the specifics of these plans haven’t been announced, TTN looks forward to hearing what the provost and president have planned to increase efficiency at Temple. So far, both Dai and Theobald have been extremely open with students, an attitude we hope continues.