Provost Lisa Staiano-Coico is creating new initiatives to improve Temple’s academic affairs.
This month, nine work groups created to focus on particular topics of Temple’s academic life and student success offered Staiano-Coico their initial suggestions to improve the university.
The plans are being debated by the Academic Planning Steering Committee and by a roundtable and will eventually be presented to the provost for final review.
“Stay tuned because it will be very fascinating to see [what happens], because I’ve never done a planning process the way we’ve done this one,” Staiano-Coico said.
Temple Student Government’s Vice President for Academic Affairs Eric Stephenson was the only student on the steering committee and offered a student’s perspective on issues.
“[The initiatives] will change the dynamic of Temple for the better because we are addressing issues that needed to be addressed but haven’t been thus far,” Stephenson said.
Since the beginning of the Fall 2007 semester, 176 members of Temple’s community – including faculty, administrators, staff and alumni – have been meeting on these committees in an effort to reshape the Temple we know today, Staiano-Coico said. Their mission is to create the first academic strategic plan, an overall map toward the improvement of Temple which could take many years to complete.
“It’s like when your [body is] growing and you don’t notice that you’re growing because it is done gradually. This will be done to that effect,” Stephenson said.
The committees met for two hours every week. Stephenson said that it was like taking a three- or four-credit course.
“You don’t have anyone that’s slacking, everybody wants to get things done. They want to work hard and make Temple a better place for everyone,” Stephenson said.
The members on the steering committee were nominated by the Faculty Senate committee and deans and were offered the position in September 2007. The group includes the provost, 10 faculty members, nine administrators, nine deans, a trustee and Stephenson.
Staiano-Coico said they paid special attention to making sure the group was balanced with many different backgrounds and ideas.
“You need lots of different voices and different perspectives because by having discussions and debates, that’s how you really begin to hone in on what are the core values. We need all of those voices to be heard,” Staiano-Coico said.
The steering committee then created the nine work-group topics including developing the academic community, strengthening the infrastructure for research and education, shaping Temple as a destination campus, globalizing Temple, building Temple’s entrepreneurial culture, enabling Temple as an urban-serving university, defining Temple’s student profiles for the future, strengthening the environment for student success and enabling the bureaucracy to serve the academic mission.
In addition to the steering committee and the nine work groups, roundtables and focus groups also participated in the research and design of the initiatives.
President Ann Weaver Hart asked Staiano-Coico to head the Academic Strategic Plan and she began working on it as soon as she came to Temple.
Staiano-Coico said that these initiatives are the first part of the three-part plan for Temple. The other two parts include the campus master plan which is improving the buildings and physical plant of campus and the financial plan which will provide the necessary funds to make all of these changes a reality.
Sarah Fry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.