Temple Times Online Edition
    MAY 5, 2005
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Adamany addresses Pa. education-to-workplace task force

President David Adamany addressed a special hearing of the Task Force to Connect Education to the Workplace, a group formed earlier this year by Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Sam Smith, on April 28 in Shusterman Hall.

Members of the task force, including Rep. Jess M. Stairs (Westmoreland), chair of the House Education Committee; Rep. Bernard O’Neill (Bucks); and Rep. Douglas Reichley (Lehigh), came to Temple to discuss school-business collaboration, economic development and the progress of students through Pennsylvania’s public education system and into the workplace.

In his testimony, Adamany outlined Temple’s critical role in connecting students to Pennsylvania employers. Thousands of Temple students every year, as part of their degree programs, are given invaluable professional experience by being placed in internships or by participating in mandatory on-the-job training (from education students working in public schools to medical students doing their rounds in hospitals).

Adamany also stressed Temple’s contributions to business in the state through the University’s research enterprise, including technology transfer. He acknowledged that Philadelphia is behind Boston, San Francisco and other cities in providing a “big research base” of university-based faculty and labs desired by many high-tech and biomedical businesses. Temple can help the region, Adamany said, by developing its research enterprise.

“Temple University was among the top 100 research universities in the nation in 1980,” Adamany said. “We are putting a lot of effort here now, and are working hard to improve research infrastructure.”

When asked how the state can support these efforts in Pennsylvania, Adamany urged the state to “pay attention to research infrastructure, such as sufficient labs” — particularly in the biomedical and physical sciences, areas that will be less affected by a coming decline in the number of college-age Americans.

“Public higher education is underfunded in the commonwealth compared to other states — we’re 43rd in the nation [when ranked by state appropriation per capita],” Adamany said. “We need state dollars; although there are financial constraints, so this may not be the time.”

Adamany addressed another growing concern in the state educational system: Young Pennsylvanians may be less prepared to enter the workforce than other Americans.

Pennsylvania students’ average SAT score of 1002 is lower than the national average of 1026, and also lower than the average scores of students in nearby states such as New Jersey (1016), Maryland (1024) and West Virginia (1032).

The low scores, Adamany said, are not due to low scores by students in Philadelphia.

“Even if you exclude Philadelphia, test scores in Pennsylvania are lower than New Jersey when Newark is included or Maryland when Baltimore is included,” Adamany said. “We have a significant problem when compared to our competition.”

- By Hillel J. Hoffmann