Provost Englert has opened up talks for changes to cut costs, increase efficiency.
Prompted by the latest financial squeeze from Harrisburg and a desire to streamline various academic processes around the university, the provost’s office has released the White Paper on Restructuring, a 25-page document that covers a wide range of topics, such as proposing measures that ensure students graduate in four years, restructuring schools within Temple in an effort to cut costs and revenue enhancement strategies for the university.
“When we look at issues such as restructuring, one of the first things we look at is our administrative structures and our administrative organization and quite frankly, we want to make certain that we continue to streamline ourselves as much as possible,” Provost Richard Englert said. “When we can streamline operations, we can save costs and we can keep tuition down at reasonable levels, so there are many things that are motivating us.”
The White Paper is the product of more than six months of dialogue between the provost, the faculty senate and other members of the faculty.
Four schools that were mentioned as possible candidates for restructuring were Tyler School of Art, Boyer College of Music and Dance, the School of Communications and Theater and the College of Education. Three of the four schools currently have interim deans and the goal is to find a new way to better organize the structure of those schools before searching for new deans.
“We have some schools that have interim deans right now, so what I wanted to do before we move forward with the dean searches is to make sure we’re organized the way we want to be organized, so I’ve raised the question that other universities have done certain things and what should we do,” Englert said. “Before we hire a new dean in a particular position, do we have that unit structured the way we want it to? Hiring a new dean is a major undertaking and we need to be certain that we’re organized the way we’d like to be when we hire a new dean.”
For Tyler and Boyer, there are two proposed plans in addition to electing to keep the two schools separated with two separate deans.
One potential plan involves combining Tyler and Boyer into a unified college of fine and performing arts under one dean and one administrative office. The other involves Tyler and Boyer again being led by one dean, but the two schools would retain their distinct name and brand and also have their own director.
For SCT, there’s three proposals in addition to keeping its current format. SCT could report to the College of Liberal Arts, which according to the White Paper, could eliminate possible course redundancies across the two schools in social and behavioral sciences and the humanities.
Another option includes making SCT part of a center for fine, performing and communication arts, where the school could go into more areas of design and multimedia. The third proposal involves having SCT “sharpen its focus” as a communications school while film and media arts and theater become integrated with the visual and performing arts across Temple.
For the College of Education, it may become affiliated with the College of Health Professions and Social Work, become part of the CLA or merge with SCT to form a new college. The college also has the option to remain as is.
However, Englert said restructuring is not limited to those schools.
“When I talk about restructuring, I’m talking about a number of things, I’m not talking about a particular school or a couple of schools, I’m talking about a number of things,” he said. “I understand that people may gravitate toward a particular piece of this, but I emphasize that this is a broad set of activities and initiatives here, some we may be able to implement quickly, some might take a little more time, some ideas could just turn into different ideas, this is really a set of a number of initiatives and proposals, it’s not just one proposal.”
The main motivation for writing the White Paper is not so much determining which school answers to what dean, but determining which structures can enhance the student experience, Englert said.
“I would hope that students would be able to graduate in a more timely fashion. I would hope students have a greater opportunity to interact with our top faculty members, even in their first two years here because one of the things we want to do is make sure our students can interact of our sterling full-time faculty, even in Gen-Ed courses,” Englert said. “I hope a number of the processes in which a student interacts with the university will be smoother, more direct and more service oriented.”
Brian Dzenis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.