volume 38, number 2
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Temple UniversityFaculty Herald

From the Editor

—Lewis R. Gordon

Lewis Gordon, Editor

This issue of The Temple Faculty Herald welcomes Robert Aiken’s first editorial as President of the Faculty Senate.  Aiken affirms the Faculty Senate’s continued positive relationship with the new administration and the Faculty Senate. He also outlines a set of important considerations for us to address over the next academic year, the most ambitious of which is the next stage of the Gen Ed program.

  

Building a program such as Gen Ed will also demand innovation in teaching.  Dr. Pamela Barnett, our new Vice Provost and Director of the Teaching Center, is ready to facilitate such ideas and learning.  We offer a short profile to introduce her to the general faculty. 

  

Innovation in teaching also involves linking scholarship to the wider community.  Dr. Barbara Ferman (CLA) has developed an international reputation for such an approach.  The profile here offers a glimpse of the wonderful work of Ferman and her team of educators. 

  

Although teaching is an important part of a public research university, it has unfortunately been misrepresented in ways that have challenged the integrity of expert knowledge in recent times.  Often flippant, dismissive attacks on professors as, for example, being politically out of sync with the lay population fail to account for what informed opinions generate.  It makes sense, for instance, that as the general population become more informed on issues ranging from the wars in the Middle East to the mortgage crisis and global warming, their actual opinions seem to match the initial, informed ones of professors who are specialists on those topics. 

  

The attacks on the university often include demands that students should not be changed by their experience with higher education.  Since the word “education” comes from the Latin word educare, which means to bring (cf. educere, “to bring out”), the expectation that students should not be transformed by their education boils down to expecting universities to offer certification and degrees but not an education.

   

The harassment of faculty—which includes death threats and smearing campaigns on campuses across the country—has been such that growing numbers of experts are steered away from offering their knowledge in fields that are affecting the lives of all of us.  Could one imagine deterring scholars from working in Russian and Soviet Studies during the Cold War?  Yet the War on Terror has taken an ugly turn in the attack on faculty in, for example, Middle Eastern Studies, and there are universities in which experts on that region from other disciplines no longer dare speak their minds.

  

The Faculty Senate, in partnership with the Temple Association of University Professors (TAUP) will be organizing forums in which to develop sensible policies for the free exchange of ideas and a sober understanding of academic responsibility in these tumultuous times.  It is important that faculty, from all political persuasions, participate in these colloquia, and it will be crucial for our institutional commitments to take the form of more involvement in university governance.  Committees seek new members, and the various assemblies seek our participation.

  

This issue of The Herald also introduces in memoriam, where faculty are invited to reflect upon colleagues who have passed on over the years.  They have contributed much to Temple, and testaments on their work and commitment will offer important knowledge of our community for subsequent generations.

  

Finally, I would like to congratulate the faculty in the Fox School of Business who have received the distinguished Musser Award, and faculty all over the university whose accomplishments in scholarship, teaching, and service continue to remind us of the importance of our academic and civic mission.