Temple Times Online Edition
    JANUARY 20, 2005
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Trustees OK Temple’s first mission statement

On Dec. 14, the Board of Trustees approved the University’s first-ever mission statement, a four-paragraph declaration of purpose more than a year in the making.

The board also approved “Temple University’s Aspirations for a New Century,” a three-paragraph document supporting the mission statement that outlines the University’s goals for the future.

(For the text of the mission statement and “Aspirations for a New Century,” see below.)

“To help Temple move forward, we should have a clear vision of who we are and what we hope to achieve,” President David Adamany said. “These powerful statements will give us focus as we advance the University’s mission, whether in our day-to-day tasks or our most ambitious long-range plans.”

The process of drafting the mission statement began more than 18 months ago. Many members of the Temple community contributed to the development of the text, from board Chairman Howard Gittis to representatives of the Faculty Senate.

The team’s challenge was formidable: to create a forward-looking statement that captured recent changes at Temple while celebrating historical strengths.

The statement’s emphasis on scholarly excellence is not accidental.

“The time has come for members of the extended Temple community to reclaim their pride in the University as a leader in teaching and research,” Gittis said. “Temple is changing, from the rapid increases in the size and quality of recent freshmen classes to the current surge in hiring leading teachers and researchers from around the world to join our already prestigious faculty. The tone of the mission statement reflects these improvements.”

Yet the mission statement also embraces some of Temple’s traditional roles. The University’s distinctive position in serving students from greater Philadelphia is highlighted (with an acknowledgement of a widening geographic reach), as is Temple’s role as a provider of educational opportunities to capable students of all backgrounds, “regardless of their status or station in life.”

The latter phrase is a nod to founder Russell H. Conwell. Although Temple had lacked an official mission statement, the lore surrounding Temple’s founding and Conwell’s “Acres of Diamonds” speech — with their emphasis on educating unprivileged yet motivated local residents — have often assumed a similar role.

The team that drafted the mission statement sought to correct a common misconception that Conwell’s vision called for Temple to accept all students, even those completely unprepared for a higher education experience. The mission statement more accurately captures Conwell’s stated intent.

Although the mission statement is designed to be a permanent declaration of the University’s identity and mission, the “Aspirations for a New Century” statement is likely to change as Temple’s institutional goals evolve. In the next few years, the primary function of “Aspirations for a New Century” will be to serve as a guide for Temple’s immediate growth and development, including fundraising.

Both statements will be sent to alumni and other University stakeholders via direct mail and The Temple Review.

“Everyone associated with the University needs to read these important documents,” Gittis said. “They set forth what we’re trying to accomplish here at Temple.”

- By Hillel J. Hoffmann

Temple University
Mission Statement
  Temple University’s Aspirations
for a New Century

Temple University is a national center of excellence in teaching and research with an international presence.

Temple’s talented faculty and its broad curriculum of nearly 300 academic programs provide superior educational opportunities for academically talented and highly motivated students, without regard to their status or station in life. Temple’s richly diverse student population and the dramatic growth of Temple’s residential campus community of student scholars enrich the educational and extracurricular life of all Temple’s people.

While the University especially serves students from Greater Philadelphia, it is enlivened by a rapidly increasing number of students from across Pennsylvania, throughout the nation, and around the world. Temple maintains an international presence with campuses in Tokyo and Rome and prestigious programs in London, Beijing, and six other locations worldwide.

A long-time leader in professional education, Temple prepares the largest body of practitioners in Pennsylvania and is among the nation’s largest educators in the combined fields of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, podiatry and law. In addition, Temple offers more than four dozen doctoral and more than 100 master’s degree programs that contribute to research and scholarship. Temple seeks to create new knowledge that improves the human condition and uplifts the human spirit. To achieve this goal, Temple maintains its commitment to recruiting, retaining, and supporting outstanding faculty that prize diversity of thought, excel in scholarly endeavors, and support the aspirations of capable students.

Striving to fulfill its mission in this new century, Temple will continue to provide access to superior education for committed and capable students of all backgrounds and to develop its main campus as a residential community of student scholars. A new generation of exceptionally qualified and talented faculty will be recruited to join the University’s current roster of fine teacher-scholars.

Temple will enhance existing centers of academic excellence, advance additional targeted programs to national leadership, broaden knowledge through research and creative endeavors for the benefit of society, and expand the Honors program and other special learning opportunities for undergraduates.

The creation and renovation of facilities will support research and creative work, advance instruction and marshal knowledge to enhance the quality of life for Temple’s fellow citizens in North Philadelphia. The University will develop stronger bonds with its alumni, whose success embodies the transformational power of a Temple education.