History of Temple University Faculty Senate

In the 1930’s, when then President Charles Beury began turning Temple University into a corporate model, University faculty had little to no representation or voice in Temple’s administration. While there was a local chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) that tried to represent some of Temple’s faculty in discussions around class size, curricula and life insurance plans for faculty, according to James W. Hilty, author of Temple University: 125 Years of service to Philadelphia, the Nation and the World, (2010), “[n]o  person or group had the right or authority to demand” that administrators, staff and board members listen and/or react to their concerns. (Hilty, 2010:61)

Faculty members realized that they needed a forum or space where they could discuss, debate and proactively work to improve their situations and concerns. Faculty wanted a space that would give them greater access to administrators and where the University president would come and hear their concerns. With that in mind, the Temple University Faculty Senate was established in May 1937. The vote to establish The Temple University Faculty Senate came from faculty from the College of Liberal Arts, the Teacher’s College (School of Education) and the School of Commerce (the School of Business).

President Beury approved the concept for the  Faculty Senate, but only in an advisory capacity. Winning the president’s acceptance, after much discussion and debate, a proportional representation plan to allow for greater faculty buy-in and participation was proposed. That plan was approved by President Beury and the Trustees.  “In 1941, the Board of Trustees recognized the Faculty Senate as the “official body representing the faculty.” (Hilty: 61-62)

Over the years, the Faculty Senate purview has extended from curricula and academic concerns, to serving in an advisory capacity, working with Administration and Trustees on university policy, faculty relations and faculty concerns. Since the 1960’s, the Faculty Senate has been in the forefront, supporting student initiatives and social justice issues. (Hilty: 95)

The Faculty Senate maintains 19 committees and continues to actively advocate for Temple University faculty and librarians.

 

 

(Submitted July 2020 by Dr. Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon)