President Wingard shares vision for taking Temple to the next level
The president shared insights related to topics that include safety, curriculum and campus improvement at the April 26 Administrative Council meeting.
Leaders from Temple University gathered at Feinstone Lounge in Sullivan Hall on April 26 for a town hall-style meeting with President Jason Wingard. The event provided the president with an opportunity to share key insights related to topics like safety, curriculum and campus improvement with Temple’s Administrative Council and business managers.
“University leadership really looks to both of these groups, as they shape policy and respond to and confront issues as they come up,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ken Kaiser, who moderated the event.
President Wingard also shared details on the leadership vision that will guide his tenure. “People ask me about what my leadership vision is for Temple. It’s been clear—the board has mandated it, and I believe in it and accept it: We need to take Temple to the next level,” he said. “We are in a period of aggressive change and dramatic growth.”
Sustaining this growth, Wingard said, will be made possible through Temple continuing to leverage the successful operations already in place, as well as strategically planning opportunities for new growth and development. The third and final point of emphasis in Temple’s growth focuses on regularly trying strategies that are opportunistic, innovative and reactive.
“It’s imperative that we create an organizational culture here where we are open and willing to try things. To that end, we have to be willing to fail. We have to be prepared to learn,” Wingard said. “Throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks!”
The president talked about applying his leadership vision to a variety of topics as he answered pre-submitted questions from audience members. He believes there are current areas where Temple can be among the strongest universities in the world, such as fostering diversity and inclusion—two tenets that are core to the university’s identity.
“We need to make sure that as a Philadelphia university, we are as diverse as we can be,” Wingard said. “That’s not an empty statement. We need to allocate more financial aid to make sure that we are supporting inclusivity to the greatest extent, but we also need to make sure that, while the students are here, we are providing suitable resources to support their total learning experience.”
Since taking over as president, Wingard has committed to preparing Temple students for the workplace of the future. His forthcoming book, titled The College Devaluation Crisis, discusses how employers are becoming less interested in hiring college graduates and are instead looking for alternative sources of talent development such as online certification programs.
“There’s a gap between what universities are preparing students to do and what employers want,” Wingard said. “Are we going to allow that gap to remain, or are we going to change the way we’ve been doing things for the last 50 years?”
Wingard said Temple is rethinking its curriculum, teaching models and research strategies based on input from some of the nation’s top employers.
“We talked to Amazon. We talked to Google. We talked to Comcast,” he said. “We found out what they’re looking for. We’ll adapt accordingly. We’ll close the gap. We’ll remain relevant. Our objective is to source our students to these workplaces for immediate and long-term employment.”
Wingard said Temple will also continue to see developments around campus and improvements to campus safety.
“When visitors come to campus who haven’t been here for a while, they are amazed at the quantity and quality of physical development on our campus,” he said. “But, again, we are trying to grow. We are trying to keep pace with our aspirational peers, so we have to keep doing it.”
Wingard has also overseen multiple campus safety announcements and initiatives during his presidency, and he said he will continue to prioritize working with various stakeholders to make Temple’s campus a safer place.
The president said that Temple will have an increased emphasis on sharing all of this future growth and success through branding and storytelling.
“We have to engage in a branding campaign to let people know what Temple really is,” Wingard said. “That takes a concerted effort and a lot of resources, but once we engage the communication initiative and reputation enhancement machine, then people will really know and appreciate Temple’s value.”