Temple University’s Board of Trustees authorized construction in Mitten Hall and renovations for the Biology Life Sciences Building, and approved a slew of proposals to create and restructure academic programs at its Dec. 8 virtual meeting.
In his remarks to the Board, President Richard Englert announced the university has had a 12 percent increase in Early Action applicants for undergraduate admissions for the 2021-22 academic year.
“These Early Action applicants are more ethnically and more geographically diverse than in the past, with an increase in students of color and an increase in students from outside of Pennsylvania,” Englert said.
Englert also congratulated trustee Nelson Diaz for winning the Gus Garcia Lifetime Achievement Award at Al Día’s 2020 Top Lawyers Forum, trustee Stephen Charles for Charles Library winning the 2020 Design Excellence Award from the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Temple research team led by Kamel Khalili and Tricia Burdo for using CRISPR technology to further HIV cure research.
Additionally, Englert led the Board in sharing a moment of silence to honor the lives of former trustee Ronald Donatucci, who died on Nov. 5, and former trustee James White, who died on Dec. 1.
The Board also authorized its officers to borrow $30 million to help the university operate from Jan. 1, 2021, through March 31, 2021.
Here’s what else happened at Tuesday’s meeting.
The Board re-appointed Stephen Charles, Sandra Harmon-Weiss, Charles Lockyer and Solomon Luo to serve additional three-year terms on Temple University Health System’s Board of Directors.
The Board authorized the Lewis Katz School of Medicine to reorganize six of its departments and transfer its tenured faculty to these departments.
Additionally, the Board moved to establish academic programs like a Bachelor of General Studies in General Studies in University College, a Master of Science in Education in Professional Health Education in the College of Education and Human Development and a Bachelor of Science in Event and Entertainment Management in the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management.
The university will also restructure its minor in mathematics in the College of Science and Technology and Master of Science in Conflict and Communication in the Klein College of Media and Communication, and will rename the concentration in event leadership within the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management’s Bachelor of Science in Tourism as the concentration in event management.
The Board approved a simulation room in the Medical Education and Research Building at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine to be named the Susan Wiegers Simulation Room, named after the School of Medicine’s senior associate dean of faculty affairs.
Additionally, the Board voted to begin phase three of the $11.6 million project to relocate administrative offices from the Temple Administrative Service Building to Mitten Hall, Conwell Hall and the Old Dental School. This phase of the project will renovate the Diamond Club in Mitten Hall to create new office spaces for Temple’s Human Resources and internal audit personnel.
The Board also authorized a $1.65 million project to replace the roof of the Biology Life Science Building and a $1 million project to replace the roof of Mitten Hall.
The Board approved plans for the $1.6 million Animal Facility Improvement Project to proceed on Temple’s Main Campus and Health Sciences Campus. The project calls for renovating the animal facilities in Weiss Hall, the Biology Life Sciences Building, the Medical Office Building, the Medical Research Building, the Medical Education and Research Building and the Pharmacy Building so they meet the standards of the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, which is scheduled to perform an inspection during the Spring 2022 semester.
At the end of the meeting, Temple Faculty Senate president Rafael Porrata-Doria, a law professor and member of the Presidential Search Committee, reported the committee has hosted three town halls and issued a survey to faculty as part of the university’s search to replace Englert, who announced in July his plans to retire.
“There has been a substantial response with good information for the committee to consider,” Porrata-Doria said.
Student Body President Quinn Litsinger also attended the meeting and highlighted Temple Student Government’s initiatives throughout the fall semester. These include creating a pledge encouraging the student body to act responsibly amid the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a scholarship for students in culturally-based campus organizations who aspire to work in public health or healthcare and successfully encouraging the university to provide a credit/no-credit grading option for the fall semester, Litsinger said.
“While this semester, and on a larger level this year, has caused numerous tensions, stresses and difficulties that cannot be understated, one thing has been proven,” Litsinger said. “No matter the circumstances, Temple owls, and specifically Temple’s student body, will continue to find ways to build community and relentlessly advocate for a better future.”