It is time to stand up and talk plainly about what we stand
for in education, what we will fight for, and what we
We have much to be proud of: a nationally and internationally
recognized university with high quality and distinguished
research-oriented and creative faculty; a terrific variety
of students; government support allowing us to provide
students with a great deal for their tuition dollars.
But the news isn’t all good:
- The basic right to an affordable education is eroded
constantly by cuts in government support and rising tuition.
- Far too many students are coming to Temple, like other
colleges, unprepared to handle college-level work.
- There is a real danger of shortchanging educational
quality as colleges rush to offer video or computer-based
- Temple, like campuses across the nation,
faces the crisis of the vanishing full-time professor.
We offer these to help judge whether students
are getting the college education they need and deserve.
We hope these
principles will serve as a focus for organizing public
support to maintain and strengthen Temple University as
a fine example of the world’s best system of higher
- Temple must remain both affordable and high in
It should not cater to a higher economic level of students
exclusively. It should remain faithful to its Conwellian
- Temple must invest heavily in the kinds of educational
infrastructure that all students need to get a high-quality
education. The infrastructure must be improved
and made readily available to all of our students.
not only access to computers, but also to journals,
books, studios, performance spaces, and laboratories.
- Temple’s cadre of Presidential faculty
members must be sufficient to carry out our educational
lip service to reduction in part-time faculty, Temple has
eroded its Presidential faculty. It has also expanded the
numbers of non-tenure-track Dean’s appointments
and clinical-track faculty. Despite promises to replace
faculty members who retire, Temple has cut back hiring
drastically. Presidential faculty have the long-term
commitment, dedication, and academic freedom to provide
quality of instruction and scholarship.
- Quality education
begins with the teacher; hence, planning for quality
must begin from the bottom up, with a consistent
set of rules and guidelines. That is, the faculty must
be the primary determiners of quality in the fulfillment
of our educational mission. Because faculty members
must know their subject areas and the best pedagogical
for student learning, they must help define appropriate
class sizes and teaching capacities of their programs.
- All faculty,
full-time and part-time, must be treated as professionals. Quality teaching by part-timers and
graduate teaching assistants requires professional
pay, access to
office space, and supplies. All faculty have to be
included in academic processes. The administration
training in effective teaching for new faculty, mentoring
of junior faculty by senior faculty, and continuing
professional development opportunities for all faculty.
programs of research, scholarship, and creative activity
must be maintained and strengthened. This requires
Temple to invest heavily in its own facilities for
research, from libraries to laboratories, and in its
must have adequate time to expand knowledge as well
as to teach it. Good teaching always draws on new scholarship.
- To improve student
performance, Temple needs to have a clearly-focused
set of curricular requirements. Faculty
have to be in the forefront of setting standards. We
make it easier to navigate the maze of core requirements
but not at the same time water down the quality of
our graduates by cutting out topics that faculty deem
- Temple faculty
members have to remain accessible to students, who
praise this feature of our institution.
burdened by unreasonable teaching loads do not have
time to be accessible or to help students with their
ambitions, as well as their coursework and research.
Part-time faculty and non-tenure track faculty have
to have sufficient
time and office space for advisement.
- Temple needs
to maintain its strong tenure and peer review system. We should
resist pressures to revise it merely
to accommodate the wishes of industry or politicians.
resources must be directed toward instruction and research,
as well as to the staff who support the educational
process through the admissions and registration process,
advising, operation of libraries, computer networks, and
laboratories. Temple’s strategic plan must keep
the instructional and research missions squarely in focus,
rather than concentrating on secondary and tertiary activities,
such as intercollegiate sports.
- A pleasant and
safe campus is essential to serving students. Classrooms and other
learning spaces must be of adequate
size, well-maintained, and well-secured. Cosmetic improvements
are nice, but focus on the learning environment first.
- Temple should have a wide discussion
within its educational community on its mission and
its goals. The public must
be adequately informed about the importance of maintaining
a high-quality public research university, about its
role in opening access to higher education, and about
of the unique institutional arrangements of research
universities. We need to be able to demonstrate our
clear and accurate measures of student success in their
chosen fields of study and our contribution to the
economic, scientific, and cultural life of the region.
- Faculty have
key roles and responsibilities to perform and we must
be ready, willing, and empowered to take them
on. Faculty accountability requires a strong tenure
system, including peer and student evaluation, rewards
incentives for improvement, and help in overcoming
deficiencies. We must be diligent in performing our
and service roles. Faculty must actively engage in
the shared governance system of Temple. That requires
initiative, as well as widely shared opportunities
for involvement and open access to necessary administrative
information. Administrative frustration with faculty
and concern about the need for quick change must not
be allowed to lead to an increasing centralization
[Adapted from the American Federation
of Teachers’ "FIRST
PRINCIPLES: A Common Sense Agenda for Higher Education" and
passed by TAUP Executive Committee, September 25, 1997.]
Dear Members of the Temple
As we consider reorganization of our academic enterprise,
we need firm principles to guide us and reflect our priorities
as educators. In our debate over future directions, both
short- and long-term, the TAUP offers these "First
Principles" — Opportunity, Quality, & Accountability — for
what we all, as educators and citizens of Temple, need
to focus on. These principles are intended to help faculty,
staff, and administration prepare the agenda to make plans
and take actions.
The TAUP Executive Committee