Provost Lisa Staiano-Coico, who came to Temple in 2007, will be leaving her position to become president of the City University of New York.
Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Lisa Staiano-Coico is leaving her post at Temple to return to her New York City roots, albeit with difficult goodbyes.
“I’m really going to miss Temple,” Staiano-Coico said. “I’m really grateful to all … students for giving me the opportunities they have, because [students] are very special and very near and dear to my heart and I will miss each and every one.”
Officials announced Staiano-Coico as City University of New York – City College of New York president last week. Her alma mater is CUNY – Brooklyn College, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree.
“This position as provost has really prepared me to go back to my roots at CUNY,” she said. “It’s been a phenomenal experience to connect with my core values and know that I chose a place like CUNY because it’s so similar to Temple in the wonderful students and faculty and its mission to provide access to world-class education to students who might otherwise not have that opportunity.”
In 1981, Staiano-Coico got her doctorate in microbiology and immunology from Cornell University’s Weill Cornell Medical College. She held several leadership roles at there, and was eventually chosen for the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine for Women, run out of Drexel University.
One of the ELAM tasks was to interview senior leadership at the participants’ respective universities. Staiano-Coico chose to interview former Cornell University President Hunter Rawlings. When she asked him what he loved most about being president he said, “I love the undergraduates.”
“Listening to how excited he was [about undergraduates], I fell in love with the idea of getting exposure to the undergraduate campus,” she said.
She added, “Once I found myself on an undergraduate campus, I never wanted to look back, because the undergraduate student body is the most exciting and creative age group to work with.”
Staiano-Coico became provost nearly three years ago.
Sophomore economics major and Temple Student Government Senate President Colin Saltry said he will miss Staiano-Coico. The first time he met her was during his first TSG meeting last year, which she attended to speak about her Academic Strategic Compass initiative.
Saltry said at that meeting, Staiano-Coico made a comment that struck him.
“She said, ‘Before we [sit] down to chart our course with the compass … before set out any broad statements of policy, we all need to ask ourselves why we’re here. Why make Temple University a better school? What are our ultimate motives? If we can do that honestly, we can do great things.’”
Saltry added, “Though I’ve only spoken with her personally on a few occasions, Provost Staiano-Coico’s innate intelligence and dedication to students has never failed to impress me.”
“Although Provost Lisa is leaving, Temple has benefited from her time here and looks forward to continue the momentum behind the Academic Compass program,” TSG president-elect and junior education major Natalie Ramos-Castillo said.
Staiano-Coico’s science background didn’t prevent her from being a fan of the arts and Temple sports. She expressed her fondness of all Temple sports—especially basketball and football—as well as the permanent Provost Art Collection.
She also expressed her utmost confidence in Richard Englert, recently named interim provost. Englert previously held the position prior to Staiano-Coico’s appointment.
“He is such a student advocate, he loves students and faculty and he’s going to be a lot of fun,” she said.
One of the people Staiano-Coico said she’ll miss most is President Ann Weaver Hart.
“She has made an enormous transformation of the way in which she supports global education for students, Student Activities, and she also likewise loves the students,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from her about how to engage the university community and I’m going to take all of those things I’ve learned under her mentorship with me.”
Josh Fernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.