Do you know this man?Chances are not many of you do. His name is Richard
M. Englert, and he serves as Temple’s interim provost.
Englert had previously served as a professor of educational administration in the education department. And now he’s serving as provost as the university continues its search for a permanent replacement for Ira Schwartz, the former provost who left last July.
While none of this may intrigue you, we believe that it should.This position isn’t one to sneeze at. In fact, the provost is one of the most influential administrative positions on campus, ranking second highest in the university’s chain of command after President Ann Weaver Hart. Only the Board of Trustees ranks higher than either Hart or Englert. According to the university’s Web site, the provost “oversees all academic support programs.”
So what exactly does that entail?If you’ve ever had an online course, the provost’s office has overseen it.The same goes for students who have studied abroad, or have attended seminars or workshops through Temple’s Teaching and Learning Center.
And even though the provost position holds some serious regard, it certainly doesn’t for the student body.
While the university conducts its candid search for a permanent provost, it has made candidates available to students during several campus visits that have taken place in the last three weeks.
The problem is that attendance at these functions has been paltry. By the end of this month, four candidates will have made their way here from universities across the country. Robert G. Frank (University of Florida) and Larry I. Palmer (University of Louisville) have visited, while C. William
Balke (University of Kentucky) and Lisa Staiano-Coico (Cornell University) will meet with students tomorrow and Wednesday.
And each has been made available to students with afternoon visits to Main Campus’ Ritter Hall and conference rooms at the Health Sciences Campus.
So after reading this, you still might not be able to pick out Englert if you passed him on campus. And you might not give the new provost the time of day when he or she arrives.
We agree that our lives are busy.
But students likely have no valid reasons to be apathetic about the provost search because the provost has affected their college careers in some way or another.
So before you start complaining about how this university has an exhaustive list of core classes, make sure you know who your provost is.