In a survey of both current and former students, Temple was graded on its overall physical and academic presentation. It deserves the grade it got: a B.
The survey, conducted by the Students Review Corporation, a data collection and analysis organization created by MIT students, uses reviews from undergraduates, graduate students and alumni to evaluate various educational institutions based on quality of education, social life, extracurricular activities, universities’ abilities to maximize their resources and surrounding cities.
The problem for Temple isn’t the resources or the extracurricular activities. The problem is Temple’s ability to market its positives to off-set its negatives.
Temple has done wonders to create a blossoming educational atmosphere, but it lacks an attractive campus environment. The scarcity of destination retail shops, dining and entertainment options leaves the university a notch below the rest.
“As a student, you feel like a number,” said a freshman biology major on the corporation’s Web site in January 2009. “In terms of atmosphere, Temple is not the best place to be. Temple’s located a mile from Center City. There are a lot of bums that will ask you for money around campus, and being approached by a ‘local’ is not fun.”
Out of 105 surveys, 69 percent of the student evaluators voted in favor of returning to Temple, whereas 31 percent said they would not.
“Ultimately, Temple is ideal for the very independent, liberal, open-minded and no-nonsense student who makes opportunities and does not sit around waiting for them to come around,” a sophomore political science major posted on the site in December 2008. “Temple’s campus is very urban, and the neighborhood exposes you to different people and cultures and shows you that the world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Temple has been an incredible experience for me, as well as many of my friends. I feel as if you either love it here or hate it here.”
Temple needs to make moves to ensure its growth in a positive direction in order to make Main Campus a welcoming environment for all prospective students.
This includes transfer students. Making the transition easier for transfer students coming to Temple must happen for continued success. It isn’t about transferable credits. It’s the acclimation to the class atmosphere, North Philadelphia environment and academic expectations that Temple needs to ensure transfer students before taking their money.
“At my transfer orientation, there were like 30 people signing up at the same time, and I couldn’t get individualized attention,” said Phil Coles, a junior transfer from a local community college. “It kind of seemed like it was done too quickly. It’s such a big deal, you would think they’d have more than one guy, knowing that this is your first time picking classes at your new school. You’re kind of thrown out there by yourself and expected to know what you’re doing.”
Temple has also been attempting to arm its campus buildings with every technological amenity Circuit City has to offer. And while on the surface it may seem Temple is giving a leg up to its student body, all it is doing is placing expensive equipment in outdated structures.
If Temple can manage to expand both its educational and physical influence throughout North Philadelphia, an A may not be that far away.
Tom Rowan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.