Pennsylvania education officials visit Main Campus
The commonwealth officials met with Temple leadership to discuss critical issues facing students.
Officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) recently visited campus to participate in a roundtable discussion with senior members of the provost’s office. The discussion covered critical issues facing both administrators and students, from offering access and opportunity to addressing basic student needs such as food and housing.
Deputy Secretary of Education Tanya Garcia was joined by her colleagues Kimberly McCurdy, director of post-secondary education, and Victoria Balantini, special projects coordinator for PDE. They met with Temple’s Deputy Provost Marylouise Esten, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies Daniel Berman, Dean of Students Stephanie Ives and Vice Provost for Enrollment Shawn Abbott.
Garcia opened the roundtable by laying out PDE’s priorities, which include student support and degree attainment. Berman, Ives and Abbott responded by explaining Temple’s comprehensive approach to supporting students.
Abbott outlined the successful Cecil B. Moore Scholars Program, which provides underrepresented students living within the eight zip codes surrounding Main Campus with the opportunity to attend Temple, which would otherwise be economically unattainable. He said the program provides “unrivaled financial support to students beyond just the cost of tuition.”
The program’s success may also be attributed to the vast amount of support given to the students once they arrive on campus, added Berman.
He stated that, “Shawn brings the students here, and our programming keeps them here.” By providing heightened services and attention to these students, he said, Temple is providing a pathway to successfully complete their degrees.
From the dean of student’s perspective, the issue of food security has grown dramatically in the past few years. Ives related that this year the Cherry Pantry, administered by her office, received more than 2,700 requests for food assistance from the student body.
McCurdy told the Temple administrators that PDE plans to offer a “Hunger Free Campus” designation next fall to schools that are addressing the growing issue of food insecurity. She added that the program will also provide valuable state funding to assist with food security measures.
The PDE officials also took part in a brief walking tour of campus and offered to keep working with Temple administrators on issues currently confronting students, as well as any issues that may arise in the future.
- Dennis Lynch and Preston Moretz