In a memo sent Nov. 17 from Temple University President David Adamany and Provost Ira Schwartz to the Council of Deans, Adamany clarified the University’s position on hiring its own graduates as dean’s appointments. Realizing an earlier memo he posted to college deans July 23 caused confusion to the university’s policy, Adamany publicly explained his position.
“There was never a policy that barred Temple degree holders to be appointed as dean’s appointments,” Adamany said in a recent telephone interview. “We’re just asking everyone to construct pools of candidates to select the best person.”
Adamany did acknowledge, however, the wording of the July memo to Temple’s deans has caused confusion by not distinguishing the considerations in making presidential and dean’s appointments. The memo said Temple should not appoint its own recent graduates as presidential faculty, the name for the university’s full-time permanent professors.
The memo also said that only in rare cases should Temple graduates be hired as dean’s appointments, who are faculty hired year-to-year with a term limit of six years. According to their contracts, they have to renew their appointments every June 30.
In Adamany’s Nov. 17 memo, he emphasized that many of the reasons stated in the July 23 memo for not appointing Temple graduates to the presidential faculty also apply to dean’s appointments.
Those reasons include enhancing students’ overall academic diversity by hiring the best possible teachers, and eliminating opportunities for favoritism and internal departmental politics when recent graduates are appointed.
“In making dean’s appointments,” Adamany wrote, “we should be guided by the single criterion of who can be appointed that will best perform the teaching or other responsibilities (advising, research, course development, etc.) of the position.”
Speaking on behalf of faculty in the English department, Keith Gumery, an English faculty member, said he is glad the recent memo was sent.
“Everyone is glad the president took the time to clarify his position,” Gumery said. “People are comforted by the fact that their reappointment rests on their teaching ability and on the merit of what they do in the classroom.”
Most dean’s appointments, Adamany further noted, should go to whomever can offer the best instruction to Temple undergraduates. He provided three guidelines for making of dean’s appointments.
First, appointments are for the term of the contract and reappointment is not guaranteed every year.
Second, searches for faculty should be, whenever possible, conducted regionally and preferably nationally.
Third, the best-qualified applicants should be appointed. Qualifications other than teaching to be considered include academic performance, highest degree earned, quality of departmental programs attended, professional experience where applicable, and the record of scholarship or academic work.
The appointment of Temple graduates as dean’s appointments, Adamany concluded, should still be discussed in advance with the Provost and it must be made clear that the applicant meets the criteria listed above.
“This does not preclude the appointment of recent Temple graduates,” Adamany wrote, “but it does uphold Temple’s commitment to recruit and appoint the best qualified persons to teach Temple students.”
Barbara J. Isenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.