In a meet-and-greet with students last Monday, provost candidate Dr. Robert G. Frank spoke to students about what he hopes to bring to the Temple community if he is selected.
In similar fashion, provost candidate Larry I. Palmer visited Main Campus to speak with students Wednesday. The 13-member Provost Search Advisory Committee, which conducted the two meet-and-greets, is composed of faculty members, students, administrators and trustees.
The committee was assembled in September and is responsible for the selection of a new provost, who is expected
to take office this summer. Since July, Deputy Provost Richard M. Englert has served as interim provost following
the resignation of Ira M. Schwartz, who was appointed in 2001 by then-President David
Englert will continue to serve as interim provost and Temple’s chief academic officer until the new provost is named.
James Earl Davis, professor in the education department and a committee member, said the committee is looking for an outstanding scholar and proven leadership qualities in higher education.
The primary responsibility of the provost is to organize and manage the university, which includes dealing with the curriculum, faculty and students. The provost, who is appointed by the president, also has authority over the university’s budget and maintains close ties to the president.
Throughout this month, the search committee
is hosting meetings on Main Campus as well as the university’s satellite campuses to allow faculty, staff and students to get to know the candidates. C. William Balke, a third final candidate from the University of Kentucky, will visit campus Feb. 20. The fourth and final candidate, Lisa Staiano-Coico of Cornell University, will visit Feb. 20 to Feb. 21.
Robert G. Frank
Frank, who is from a small rural town in Florida, said he is interested in universities located in major U.S cities and how they overcome the challenge of being part of the city while preparing students for their future and creating a point of access for students to receive the proper education.
“Temple is a very interesting university doing really important [things] in terms of its future role in the region, and it would be an exciting position to be part of,” Frank said.
A University of New Mexico graduate,
Frank taught at the University of Missouri
for 15 years before serving for 12 years in his current post as dean for the College
of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida.
Frank said fitting in on Temple’s campus depends on the opportunities available and how willing people are to work with you on the things you want to implement.
“So far I have been very impressed with the commitment by the faculty and leadership on where the university should go,” Frank said.
Frank said his main concern if selected as the new provost is the implementation of the general education requirements for undergraduates, adding that “all the discussion around that suggests that it’s very important.” Frank said he is also curious about students’ concerns. Uchenna Nwoke, a junior African American Studies major, said she was interested in what Frank said about the university’s influence on the society around it, adding that she is concerned about Temple’s effect on the surrounding community.
“Things need to be done to improve cultural
sensitivity by having certain students and groups represented in higher places, which might actually make a difference,” Nwoke said.
Junior political science major Tom Gallowitz said the communication between Temple Student Government and the student
body needs to be improved by allowing “Temple Student Government [to be] open to everyone, not just student organizations.”
Frank concluded the discussion with a series of questions about the different programs at Temple, asking how informed the students were about the different curriculums, organizations and activities.
Some students like Tom Gallowitz, said it seemed like Frank was more interested in what the students had to say rather than explaining his views and initiatives.
“He didn’t tell us much about what he would bring to the table,” Gallowitz said. But Nwoke said she felt Frank would be able to fit into a large urban area even though he came from a small town. “He was a good listener, he was open to ideas and really cared about what students had to say,” Nwoke said.
Larry I. Palmer
“Students first” is provost candidate Larry I. Palmer’s motto. Palmer wants to focus on the students and reconnect with Philadelphia, the city where he started his professional career. In the 1970s, Palmer clerked for the late Judge Leon Higginbotham Jr., the first black judge to serve in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and former chief judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Palmer lectured at Temple through the Council on Legal Education and Opportunity and was one of the first professors to teach at the Rutgers School of Law when it opened. He also has an extensive professional record at Yale, Cornell and the University of Louisville, where he is currently the endowed chair in urban health policy and a professor of health management and systems.
Palmer said he is attracted to Temple’s mission to provide a quality education to students.
“I think education is helping people find the light switch inside themselves,” Palmer said, adding that he wants to turn on that “light” by having a close relationship with students.
At Cornell, he served as vice president for Academic Programs and Campus Affairs and was a professor of law. He said the experience kept him from becoming
jaded. “A school of this size needs a feeling that everyone is on the same team and a sense of collaboration that invites people in,” Palmer said.
Senior political science major Karen Silverman enjoyed what Palmer had to say about student relationships.
“He wants an intimate connection with the students, not just the faculty, and I think that’s what Temple needs,” Silverman said.
“The heart and soul of the mission of the university is bringing a sense of excitement to the students,” Palmer said. If given the position, Palmer said he doesn’t want credit for the improvements he makes, he just wants to make things better.
“A good administration is like good plumbing, you don’t even know it’s there,” Palmer said, adding that he wants students to identify with their teachers and say they are getting a great education.Karen Gaudet, a junior risk management major, said a university is for students and that she thought Palmer’s student-oriented philosophy could bring a lot to Temple.
Palmer is also interested in finding a way to successfully implement the new general education programs, though he acknowledged that the process would not happen automatically.
Palmer said he is all about hard work and service and that he hopes to bring those two qualities to Temple.
Liron Milbar and LeAnne Matlach can be reached at Templenews@gmail.com.