A small group of West Chester students traveled to Philadelphia to meet Dr. David Adamany, the President of Temple University, on Sept. 15.This opportunity was made possible through the LUVIM Program at WCU. This specific trip was part of the Leadership on the Road series, which aims to connect students with various leaders in our surrounding communities. Steve McKiernan is the faculty leader of this program, and he has several other trips planned throughout the semester. During these excursions, students are encouraged to ask questions about anything from university policies to local or national events. This is done in order to gain advice and expertise from the influential person being interviewed.
Dr. Adamany has been the President of Temple since Aug. 2, 2000. He had previously served as President of Wayne State University, Vice President of Political Science at the University of Maryland, and Interim CEO of Detroit public schools. Adamany had also taught at several universities before arriving at Temple.
During the first year of his tenure at Temple, he prepared a broad set of goals designed to improve Temple’s academic offerings, student life, research programs, and much more (www.temple.edu.htm).
Six WCU students from various majors were invited to attend this event. After arriving at Temple, the group was taken to the President’s meeting room where they were each introduced to Dr. Adamany. For two hours the students were able to ask questions of the President who responded with informative and entertaining answers Many questions focused on the qualities of leaders and what true leadership entails. Dr. Adamany had many good tips for strong leadership, but he focused heavily on true passion and hard work in one’s chosen profession.
“Care about the work you’re in. To lead any group requires a passion to do it. Immerse yourself in your subject. You can rarely make a good decision without knowing a lot. It takes constant hard work to be a good leader,” he said.
Some other topics that were covered included day-to-day activities of a university president, racism on campus, and diversity. When asked about the racial relations of the students and faculty at Temple, Dr. Adamany responded with this comment: “Temple University has high levels of diversity among its student body, but we must continue to work to diversify the staff.” Adamany admitted that there is a continuing struggle to get more African-American and Latino professors into the classroom. He stressed the need for students to see more role models of their own race in an educational setting.
When asked how he seeks out diversity in his life, Dr. Adamany referred to his earlier administrative years when he was the only Caucasian on a panel of otherwise African-American leaders. He said that he got a brand new perspective on matters of education and social interaction. The advice he gave to this group of students was, “Seek out acquaintances of othercultures. Then just shut your mouth and listen.”
The final topic that was discussed was the method of teaching at various levels of education. Dr. Adamany admitted that many teachers fail to grasp the concept of teaching students more than just course material. He noted that he has spoken with several professors about the necessity of teaching more than just facts and numbers, but instead focus on the reasoning behind this information. He said, “Great college teachers teach students, not just subjects. Specialization can lead to destruction of human interaction.’
There will be a brief follow-up meeting for the group of students in order to evaluate the effectiveness of this trip. Any suggestions or comments can be used to improve future visits in this series. Upcoming events include visits to the presidents of several universities including Franklin and Marshall, Maryland, and LaSalle. The Leadership on the Road series is presented several times each semester.