It was business-as-usual at Temple’s Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday as no new announcements were made regarding Temple’s response to the spread of COVID-19.
President Richard Englert outlined the steps the university is taking amid the COVID-19 outbreak to restrict international travel and conduct courses online at Temple University’s Rome and Japan campuses.
“We are constantly monitoring this rapidly changing situation and we will continue to make vital decisions to ensure the safety and welfare of our students and staff,” Englert said.
Three trustees told The Temple News that the university is monitoring the spread of COVID-19 based on information from the Philadelphia Department of Health and following what other universities in the city are doing.
If Philadelphia-area universities move their courses online, Temple will likely do so as well, said Steve Charles, a voting trustee.
“I think that what we’re doing here in Philadelphia is just being in sync with the city,” Charles said. “This is very local. And so I would, I know there’s conversations going on between the leaders of all the schools and the city about that very thing.”
“Online classes are an alternative if needed,” said Solomon Luo, another voting trustee. “We are ready. We have a good online education program.”
Temple’s faculty is working closely with the administration on contingency plans in the event that the current COVID-19 situation gets worse, said Rafael Porrata-Doria, Jr., president of the Faculty Senate.
In other business, board members elected Deborah Fretz, the former president and CEO of Sunoco Logistics Partners, as a voting trustee, approved a slew of changes to academic programs and earmarked funding for several renovation projects on Main Campus.
The Board also voted to raise university housing rates by approximately 2.7 percent on average for the 2020-21 academic year and approved several additions of named spaces and scholarships.
Here is what the Board voted on Tuesday.
Fretz, a 1977 MBA alumna, currently serves as chair of the board at the Curtis Institute and Project H.O.M.E., according to the Board of Trustees meeting agenda. She previously served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
“I am honored to appoint such a distinguished alumnus of Temple University, a groundbreaking corporate leader and an esteemed civic leader to the Board of Trustees of Temple University,” wrote Mike Turzai, the speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, in a letter addressed to Board of Trustees Chairman Mitchell Morgan and Englert recommending Fretz’s appointment.
The Tyler School of Art and Architecture will undergo an approximately $5.3 million renovation to its ground and second floors to better accommodate its art history and Art Education and Community Arts Practice programs, the Board approved.
The Board also approved the relocation of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, a higher education research center, from Ritter Hall at Main Campus to Jones Hall at the Health Sciences Campus. The sixth floor of Jones Hall will undergo an approximately $1.5 million renovation to better accommodate the Hope Center.
Temple will enter into a new five-year lease with its Harrisburg Campus’ landlord that requires less space, the Board approved.
The Board also earmarked approximately $3 million in façade upgrades to the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry and approximately $2.5 million in Phase I of interior renovations at Speakman Hall. Other renovations in Conwell Hall will were also approved.
The Board approved various changes to undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Education, including changes to the bachelor of science in secondary education, the PhD in school psychology and the college’s special education programs, among others. Currently enrolled students can choose between changing to the new programs or completing the current requirements before Spring 2025.
The College of Public Health will establish a minor in applied epidemiology, the Board approved.
Additionally, the Board voted to terminate the master of engineering technology management in engineering technology management and all concentrations in the College of Engineering.
The College of Liberal Arts will restructure its doctor of philosophy in anthropology program and establish a professional science masters in geospatial data science, the Board approved. The Board also voted to rename two concentrations in the Fox School of Business and establish a concentration in banking and financial services.
The Beasley School of Law will establish a master of laws in transnational law program and rename the master of laws in graduate tax as the master of laws in taxation, the Board approved. Additionally, the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management will restructure its master of science in hospitality management program.
NAMED SPACES AND SCHOLARSHIPS
The Lewis Katz School of Medicine accepted a pledge of $175,000 from the ALS Hope Foundation to support the Center for Neurodegenerative Disorders. The neurology lab on the 7th floor of the Medical Education & Research Building will be named the ALS Hope Foundation Robert Sinnott Lab.
The Lewis Katz School of Medicine also accepted a pledge of $500,000 from John Keller, a 1967 alumnus of the medical school, to support an endowed medical education scholarship fund.
Finally, the Board approved the School of Pharmacy’s request to establish the Richard Bryan Matching Gift Challenge Fund, which will provide matching funds for all new pledges of at least $25,000 that support existing endowed funds or establish new ones.
Bryan is a 1970 alumnus of the pharmacy school.