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    FEBRUARY 2, 2006
 
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Middle States Commission reaccreditation

External reviewers’ report
on Temple’s reaccreditation


Report to the Faculty, Administration, Trustees, and Students of Temple University
Prepared following analysis of the institution’s 2005 Periodic Review Report


First Reviewer: Daniel Rich, Provost, University of Delaware
Second Reviewer: Roberta Matthews, Provost, Brooklyn College, CUNY
10 August 2005

Introduction and overview

The Temple University PRR presents a well organized and documented case for how the University meets the accreditation standards of the Middle States Commission. The PRR addresses the challenges identified in the 2000 Middle States evaluation team report, reviews areas of institutional achievement, describes the approach taken to planning and outcomes assessment, addresses the relationship of institutional planning and budgeting, and identifies current institutional issues and challenges.

The PRR was prepared and reviewed in a systematic manner that involved diverse groups within the Temple community. Accreditation has now been assigned as a primary responsibility of the Office of the Provost in conjunction with the Executive Office of the President and the office of Planning and Policy Analysis. The PRR was prepared by a 16 person steering committee representative of diverse parts of the Temple community and chaired by a faculty member.

A comprehensive public research university that enrolls almost 34,000 students, Temple maintains eight sites in Pennsylvania, with both the main campus and the Health Sciences Center located in Philadelphia. Temple also has a campus in Tokyo, Japan (for Temple University Japan) established in 1982, and a campus in Rome, established in 1966. One of the most diverse universities in America, Temple is the 28th largest university in the nation and a leading national center for professional education. Temple has over 1,600 full-time faculty and nearly 1,400 part-time faculty organized in 17 schools and colleges that offer nearly 300 academic programs including five professional degrees, 50 doctoral degrees, 110 master degrees and 130 bachelor degrees and two associate degrees. While Temple is a Carnegie Doctoral/Research-Extensive University with sponsored research programs that have grown in recent years, the PRR acknowledges that Temple’s research expenditures are significantly below peer institutions.

The PRR was completed during a time of great change for Temple, with many initiatives by its new President, Dr. David Adamany, who was appointed shortly after the 2000 Middle States evaluation. The PRR describes the processes of change and growth underway and the attendant challenges and opportunities. For example, between 2000 and 2004, Temple’s undergraduate enrollment grew by 29 percent to nearly 23,000 students. Concurrently, the academic profile of entering undergraduates improved and the diversity of students was maintained. Growth in undergraduate student enrollments combined with significant rates of retirements and other factors has enabled Temple to engage in active recruitment of 100 new faculty over and above the 50 tenured and tenure-track faculty hired in 2004; funds and facilities have been committed to attract more research-active faculty.

The University’s new faculty collective bargaining agreement raises standards for promotion and tenure and increases the portion of salary increases awarded on the basis of merit. In addition to a new president and provost, eight new deans have been hired in the last three years. A process of external reviews of academic programs has been initiated and new investments have been made in technology and data systems. Nearly $400 million in capital expenditures are planned over the next several years with most of the investment being made in the main Philadelphia locations. The impact and implications of these and other changes underway or planned should be a primary focus of the next Middle States site visit team.

Response to the 2000 Middle States Accreditation Review

The 2000 Middle States report did not include recommendations or suggestions, but it did outline challenges to be addressed. The PRR reviews each of those challenges and describes Temple’s progress in meeting those challenges.

1. Degree completion at the Ambler and Center City campuses

The Ambler and Center City campuses meet Temple’s mission to provide education to additional, different populations of students. Their small classes and good services are also commendable. Both campuses find that they are unable to guarantee students will have courses necessary for degree completion provided on a dependable and convenient schedule.
The Temple PRR notes a number of initiatives to address the issue of course availability at the Ambler and Center City campuses. Most notable is the creation in 2004 of University College with the responsibility to assure the quality, effectiveness, and staffing of academic programs and courses offered at various Temple locations, including Ambler and Center City. The PRR indicates that “University College assures a full and regular rotation of courses offered at locations for which it is responsible.” It also has responsibility for assignment and appointment of other than tenured and tenure-track faculty. The next Middle States site visit team will be able to review the success of the recently established University College.

2. Communication with students concerning changes and availability in student services

Temple’s new financial assistance programs to avoid the “run-around” are very well designed and student surveys convey the fact that financial services are improving. Yet, the surveys conducted may not be collecting, reporting and circulating the data most needed to accurately assess the modifications. Temple might also benefit in other student services areas from communicating more directly with its students concerning these changes and their availability.
Temple has taken steps to better notify students through e-mail and web posting of important financial aid information. Some additional efforts have been made to gauge student views on student services. In fall 2004, a task force was convened to examine policies and procedures that impact students and make recommendations for modification and improvements. The next Middle States site visit team will be able to review the outcomes of this initiative.

3. Improving institutional strategic planning

The team did not perceive that Temple has an active, institutional strategic planning process. Planning does occur, but from the team’s perception it is not strategic, or inclusive, nor is it reviewed and revised annually.
Temple has initiated a comprehensive academic strategic planning process that includes adoption of an institution-wide mission statement and adoption of mission and vision statements, a set of strategic priorities, and an action plan for implementation by each school and college.

4. Improving technology investments

Temple’s $40 million technology investment plan is scheduled to end next year (June 30, 2001). The team does not believe it should be allowed to expire. It is now being funded from student technology fees, budget reallocation and the legislature. The team recommends that plans be made now for its continuance.
The PRR indicates that Temple has earmarked $30 million for 2005-2009 technology investments that include $16 million for a new Technology Center and resources to upgrade technology in computer labs, smart classrooms, administrative infrastructure and the data network. An additional $15 million has been allocated to the schools and colleges for instructional technology initiatives.

5. Improving facilities for the Center City campus

TUCC is in need of a new building and plans have been approved to enable it to lease space at 1515 Market Street. The team encourages Temple to pursue this.
TUCC has now moved to the recommended location at 1515 Market Street that includes 56 classrooms as well as a student information center lab, student lounges, and other facilities.

6. Improving collection and application of institutional data

There is minimal evidence that institutional data are being used to their fullest capacity at Temple. The University can point to many data-driven processes and decisions, including technology planning, enrollment planning and capital activities, but improvement is not always forthcoming.
In 2002, Temple created the Office of Planning and Policy Analysis with responsibility for standardizing procedures for collection and use of all university data and the development of management reports for senior staff decision-making. Clearly, significant investment has been made in improving the collection and use of institutional data. The PRR includes examples of how these investments have improved services. The next site visit team will be able to evaluate how effectively these new data resources are being utilized.

7. Improving obsolete administrative data systems

The administrative data systems at the institution do not have an open architecture, are old and this will need to be addressed soon. They remain acceptable “today,” but they will not be “tomorrow.”
The PRR indicates that some improvements in the existing systems have been made and that a plan has been reviewed for the adoption of new systems. It appears that the financial requirements of a full Enterprise Resource Planning solution could not be met in the short term and instead improvements in current systems have been undertaken. The site visit team should evaluate the effectiveness of these “area-specific” improvements. The site visit team should also review any plans and timetable for implementation of a full ERP solution required for campus-wide improvement of IT based systems.

8. Improving the faculty’s role in selecting library acquisitions

The faculty would benefit by assuming a stronger participatory role in book acquisitions in the libraries.
A new position of Vice Provost for Libraries has been created and filled in February 2005 to strengthen faculty involvement in building library collections. The library also is reviewing the alignment of acquisition plans with the strategic goals of the schools and colleges. Evidence of such a stronger alignment should be provided in the next Middle States self-study report.

Academic priorities and challenges

In June 2001, President Adamany issued his “President’s Self-Study and Agenda” that set out his priorities. He proposed: “The challenges to Temple are greater today than ever before. These challenges lie in every aspect of the University’s life…” While he declared that Temple is guided by “well-settled purposes”, a collaborative process of developing a new mission statement was initiated resulting in the adoption by the Board of Trustees of a new mission statement and declaration of aspirations in December 2004. While much in those statements affirms the well-recognized features and distinctions of Temple, the sense of the documents, particularly the declaration, is a dedication of the Temple community to achieving higher standards of academic excellence.

Students

Clearly, Temple has aggressively tried to increase undergraduate enrollment and enhance the academic qualifications of entering students. The PRR reports that “the University has enrolled the largest and most qualified freshman class in each of the last five years.” Temple undergraduates now come from a wider geographic range and, notably, the residential student population has grown to about 8,000 students. The PRR recognizes that the larger number of undergraduates and the growth of the resident student population have led to new student life challenges. The university has strengthened its Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures as well as consolidated the campus judicial system. Academic policies and procedures also have been reviewed and revised, including those designed to enhance student academic progress. Technology support for students was consolidated. Temple has sought to strengthen educational offerings for undergraduates by expanding its successful Learning Communities at Temple program, initiating a common reading program, expanding study abroad opportunities, and strengthening the Honors Program.

At the graduate level, enrollment has dipped slightly. Minimum admission standards have been strengthened, and the Graduate School has sought to “increase the quality of students without sacrificing diversity.” The Future Faculty Fellowship program appears to have been very successful in supporting diverse students to prepare for the professoriate. Temple now has a union that represents teaching and research assistants in collective bargaining. The overall impact of the graduate student union is not addressed, but the PRR does indicate, not surprisingly, that “it is now more costly to hire graduate students, a challenge expected to be raised during the upcoming (2006) contract negotiations.”

Enrollment in Temple professional schools has remained stable. Some schools recently were reaccredited. The Temple Medical School was restored to full accreditation after a 12 month probation pending improvements in academic facilities and financial aid. The PRR notes significant improvement in the quality of students at the Beasley School of Law. The Temple professional schools are a large and significant part of the University.

The PRR identifies several challenges related to students that must be addressed in the years ahead, not the least of which is the appropriate size of the student body - and by extension, the appropriate mix among undergraduate, graduate, and professional enrollments. Related to this is the composition of the student body in terms of economic and demographic diversity. The PRR recognizes that current enrollments are beginning to strain academic resources and facilities. The self study for the next Middle State site visit should address Temple’s priorities and progress in addressing these challenges.

Faculty

Temple is in the process of significantly reconfiguring and adding to the size of its faculty. As a result of increasing numbers of faculty retirements, the growth of undergraduate enrollments and previous freezes on faculty hiring, Temple is now aggressively recruiting large numbers of new faculty and expects to fill 175 positions between 2004–2006.

Clearly, Temple seeks to strengthen the research and teaching performance of its faculty and this is reflected in a strengthening of tenure and promotion standards to reflect more rigorous academic standards. The PRR indicates that Temple is behind its peers in the research and teaching standards that previously have been applied to promotion and tenure. The new faculty collective bargaining agreement raises standards for promotion and tenure, creates a universitywide committee to advise on promotion and tenure decisions, modifies the process for selecting department chairs, and increases the portion of faculty pay that will be awarded on the basis of performance. The new contact also establishes a more viable arrangement for the appointment of non-tenure track faculty in areas of specialized need.

Temple also has allocated funding to support the research interests of new faculty and to upgrade laboratory and research facilities. The Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies has been reorganized to strengthen policies, procedures, and administrative support for externally-funded research. Temple also has sought to strengthen support for improved teaching, hiring a new director of Temple’s Teaching and Learning Center, implementing a new teaching assessment tool, and adopting new policies on course syllabi and faculty office hours for advisement. As noted previously, Temple also has made significant additional investments in instructional technology, and the PRR reports comparable improvements in electronic library resources as well as specialized technologies to support instruction in specialized fields such as medicine.

In 2004, Temple adopted a new design for its core curriculum for all undergraduates. The new core curriculum will require a smaller number of required credits enabling students to concentrate more on fulfilling major requirements and electives. Under the new core curriculum, students will take 11 general education courses in eight categories ranging from analytical reading and writing and great thinkers to quantitative literacy and race and diversity in the United States. Implementation is planned for fall 2007.

The PRR recognizes that the university faces significant challenges in regard to the development of its faculty. While diversity is a recognized strength of Temple, the PRR notes that recent faculty recruitment from under-represented groups “has not been as successful as its aspirations.” Another challenge is building the research enterprise such that Temple’s research program is comparable to those of peer institutions. At the same time, however, the growth of the research enterprise and the introduction of more rigorous standards for promotion and tenure poses “tensions between long-serving and newly arrived faculty, and between those who primarily teach and those whose primary mission is research…”

Finances and facilities

The 2000 Middle States review identified several financial challenges related to planning, resource allocation, and facilities.

Temple’s finances are stronger now than in 2000. There have been operating surpluses in each year since 1999 and current finances remain sound despite inflation-adjusted declines in state appropriations per student from $7,701 in FY2000-2001 to $5,526 in FY2004-2005. Temple’s debt rating was recently upgraded from “A” to “A+” by Standard and Poor’s. Temple’s net assets have grown by 42% over the last five years. Temple’s audited financial statements indicate unqualified opinions and no concerns have been noted.

In 2001, Temple moved toward enrollment-based budgeting. The university committed to funding faculty lines in each school and college “at no less than the average faculty-student ratios found at other research universities.” Temple also committed to “maintaining the [current] ratio of full-time to part-time faculty.”

To compensate for the reduction of state support, Temple relies significantly on tuition revenue. In 2004-2005, 65% of Temple’s revenues came from tuition and fees and 27.8 % came from state revenues. The tuition increase for 2004-2005 was 6% but has been as much as 9% in recent years despite Temple’s attempts to restrain increases to below 5%. At the same time, Temple has significantly increased financial aid. In 2003-2004, 23,900 students received some form of financial aid, contributing to a total financial aid allocation of $347 million (up from $233 million in FY2000).

In 2004, a new technology funding process was initiated, linking technology investment more closely to school and college priorities. Demands for technology investment continue to grow and Temple appears to face the full range of technology-related challenges now common on the campuses of all major universities.

Attendant to these changes in funding policies and practices, Temple also has initiated significant changes in HR practices and professional development programs for non-faculty personnel.

Investment of more than $400 million in facility construction and renovation is committed, including a relocation of the Tyler School of Art, a major expansion for the Fox School of Business and Management, a new School of Medicine building, and a new learning center on the Ambler campus. While the PRR notes major projects planned, the state of deferred maintenance is not as clearly addressed.

Temple’s funding from externally sponsored research was $76 million in FY2004. As noted, the PRR indicates a major commitment to increase such funding in the future through the recruitment and support of more research-active faculty. Consistent with this commitment, the university has planned a multi-year upgrade of laboratories and research facilities.

Temple’s endowment is small relative to its size and stature and the University has made a commitment to actively seek to grow the endowment and has embarked on a more comprehensive program to generate higher levels of giving from alumni and friends of the university.

Overall, Temple’s current financial position is strong. In the years ahead, Temple will need to increase its endowment and diversify its revenue base if it is to compensate for the decline in State funding and moderate the dependence upon significant increases in student tuition and fees.

Enrollment

Over the next five years, enrollments are expected to grow slightly and then stabilize. There is an on-going campus conversation about the “right size” for Temple University.

Temple’s overall enrollment increased by more than 25% since 1998; virtually all of that increase was an increase in full-time undergraduates. Over the last five years, freshmen applications increased by over 50% and offers of admission increased by 35%. The undergraduate acceptance rate is 60%. Over the last five years, transfers increased by a third.
Over the next five years, Temple projects an increase of 2,000 students to almost 36,000, with all of the increase at the undergraduate level. Graduate and professional programs are projected to remain level in enrollments, while non-degree-seeking enrollment will decline.

Assessment plans and processes

After the 2000 Middle States review, Temple initiated several improvements in planning and assessment beginning with the President’s Self-Study and Agenda that set an agenda for improvement and included the initiations of school/college strategic planning and the approval of a new Temple University mission statement. The assessment process has been significantly assisted by the improvement of the University’s institutional research and data management systems and management.

Clearly, Temple has taken important steps to organize for assessment and, according to the PRR, is “moving towards a model that will lay the groundwork for successful assessment and planning.” The PRR presents the outline of such a model, described as the Temple Planning and Assessment Model that incorporates the improvements made in recent years and includes additional dimensions planning for the next five years.

One of the most important improvements for the long-term is the initiation, in 2003, of periodic program reviews for all academic programs. The reviews involve a self-study and external site review on a seven-year cycle. The goals of the review are to assess programs, evaluate quality and student outcomes and establish action plans for improvement. The University also participates in 40 accreditation reviews of particular academic programs by external agencies.

The PRR describes various elements of the assessment process now underway and how some of these elements are connected with decision-making and budget allocation. The PRR also proposes that:
“By 2009-2010 the foundation for assessment of student learning at Temple will be the assessment plans for the 17 schools and colleges, the assessment of the newly approved general education program, the plans for improvement generated by periodic program review of all academic programs…and the on-going assessment of student life.”

In the next five years, Temple has committed to implementing a new planning and assessment model, completing a second President’s Self-Study and Agenda, developing assessment plans for schools, colleges and other programs, and implementing the new general education program that incorporates defined learning outcomes and assessments. The PRR proposes that:
“By the time of the next self-study and visit, the University will have identified a new set of strategic priorities, and all academic units will have completed their initial period program review and generated a plan for improvement and assessment.”

The next Middle States review will be able to evaluate Temple’s success in fulfilling these commitments and to consider some of the impacts of the initiatives described in the PRR.

Institutional planning and budgeting

The PRR describes the ways in which institutional planning informs budget processes and resource decisions:
“All planning initiatives require units to outline goals and objectives, develop strategies for demonstrating that the objectives are being met, and describe significant accomplishments. Assessment and analysis conducted as part of the planning processes are used in goal setting and decision making about priorities and resources.”

In 2003, a new Office of Management Analysis was created to provide analytical and strategic planning for management purposes. It appears that planning, analysis, and budgeting are well linked. It also appears that many of these linkages are relatively new and still in development, most if not all of them having been initiated after the 2000 self-study and the subsequent appointment of Dr. Adamany as President. Temple is clearly on the way to ensuring that academic budgeting is linked to school and college plans, and that capital planning is linked to the budget process, enrollment planning, and academic planning.

The PRR indicates that by 2009-2010, the plans for improvement for all academic programs that are generated by the periodic program reviews will “inform program and resources decisions.” In addition, the Office of Management Analysis will incorporate the results from policy and management analysis into the budget planning process and “will expand capital planning to include multi-year spending plans for all capital funding sources.”

Conclusions

The PRR addresses the challenges identified in the 2000 Middle States review team report. More important, the PRR is useful in pointing out the significant challenges and opportunities that have evolved over the last five years and the plans, investments, and action steps Temple has undertaken to pursue a reinvigorated University mission and a new set of institutional priorities.

The 2000 Middle States review team found that Temple was in compliance with all 16 standards for accreditation set by the Commission on Higher Education. The PRR documents continued academic progress in meeting these standards. Clearly, Temple remains in compliance on all 16 standards and the university continues to add to its list of accomplishments.

The appointment of President David Adamany signals a new period of transition, opportunity, and development for Temple. The PRR provides an overview of President Adamany’s priorities and values, which emphasize strengthening academic programs and the academic qualifications and achievements of Temple faculty and students. It appears that Temple is seeking to fulfill its potential to rank among the finest public universities in the nation.

Overall the PRR effectively documents the University’s priorities and the changes underway to implement those priorities. As the PRR indicates, Temple is “an institution on the move, committed to building on existing strengths and fulfilling its mission as a national center of excellence in teaching and research with an international presence.” The next Middle States site visit team should review the progress of the changes underway, and consider Temple’s effectiveness in carrying out the plans and priorities described in the PRR. In particular, the next site visit team should evaluate the status of the issues and commitments listed in the PRR. Has Temple come to closure on the right size of the university, and with what implications for the academic profile and demographics of the student body? Has the new general curriculum been successfully implemented? Has the Temple assessment model been put in place? Have the periodic program reviews resulted in notable program improvements? Has the research and teaching of the Temple faculty been strengthened? Have the new financial and budgeting systems been implemented effectively? Has the $400 million in planned capital expenditures been carried out and with what overall impact on the character and quality of Temple’s facilities? The PRR is effective in directing attention to the initiatives and issues that will be critical to Temple’s development over the next five years and beyond.

 

 


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