As Temple Owls, we’re in good company.
When the university announced it had added a number of new tenure-track professors in the last year, we cheered. It’s wonderful that the university has the clear academic vision – not to mention the endowment – necessary to attract top-notch talent away from the Ivies and other highly-regarded universities in the country.
It’s especially remarkable to report such an increase in faculty in a year when the university’s top academic officer – Provost Ira Schwartz – retired.
New Provost Lisa Staiano-Coico is a great example of Temple’s future – she received her undergraduate degree from Brooklyn College, but then spent most of her career at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
As most students can attest, Temple’s faculty is diverse, and many professors are famous far beyond the university. But here they are unassuming members of the staff.
The invisibility of these top-tier professors raises the question – while new faculty will no doubt boost the quality of courses offered at Temple, what does it do for conceptions about the university?
Unfortunately, probably little.
While students who attend Temple will certainly benefit from new professors – it’s hard to represent our faculty upgrade in a brochure. Old misconceptions about Temple’s lackluster academic experience, though fundamentally flawed, continue today. All this despite the fact that Temple’s faculty is much more prestigious and diverse than it was four years ago.
Luckily, it would seem President Ann Weaver Hart knows full well the way to build a university’s credibility. While personnel is essential, it’s fundraising and a public presence which will ultimately raise the university’s status.
The branding campaign is a start. Three weeks ago, we chided the “initiative” campaign for its unoriginality, but it is crucial that the university continues to relay its improvements to faculty and prospective students somehow.
Of course it will take a huge effort on both sides – an effort that Hart and Staiano-Coico seem ready to undertake – to ultimately elevate the university’s image to match the increasing quality of its faculty