As Temple has undergone massive change during the past calendar year, with the ending of one administration’s reign and the start of another, an unfortunate byproduct of this change has been the continuance of interims in key positions throughout the university.
After Richard Englert left his position as provost last summer to take the role as acting president, Hai-Lung Dai took his spot as interim provost. In addition to the interim provost there are four interim deans in schools across the university as well as one in University Libraries. While the appointment of a permanent provost will obviously precede any dean appointments, the university must make the appointment of permanent deans a high priority in the months ahead.
The Temple News recognizes the need for interim positions during times of change, but the current system Temple is employing is unacceptable. Thomas Jacobson, the interim dean of the School of Media and Communication, has had an interim title for more than three and a half years. That time span does not warrant an interim title.
As Amelia Brust writes in “Faculty express concern over interim deans,” President of the Faculty Senate Joan Shapiro has expressed concern over the instability that interim positions create, a sentiment The Temple News echoes. In order to hire talented faculty and tackle tough decisions there must be permanent, secure leaders in place within every school – not just at the top.
In an interview with The Temple News in October 2012, Englert, then acting president, cited a need to appoint permanent deanships as a reason to start the search for a provost prior to President Neil Theobald’s arrival.
Let’s hope that realization was passed on during the transition.