To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Fox Strategic Plan 2025, the Fox editorial team sat down with Dean Ron Anderson to discuss where we have been and where we are going as a school.
The Fox School started drafting a Strategic Plan in the winter of 2018. At the beginning of the process, what did you envision?
I can actually put myself back in that time. I did not envision this Strategic Plan coming out this well and so clear. Now, we have these four pillars, people know what they are and the management team makes decisions based on them. We have embraced this philosophical approach. We’ve stayed focused on achieving those pillars.
The other thing that’s been really amazing to me is that the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) just launched the STHM Strategic Plan. Their plan highlights their unique student experiences, impactful research and industry partnership.
What part of the planning process did you find most insightful in understanding more about the Fox community?
The first is our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Faculty and staff really want to be a more diverse and inclusive community. So, now we’re making really big strides with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council and the Center for Ethics, Diversity and Workplace Culture (CEDWC).
The second thing that has been incredibly refreshing to me is our commitment to the outside world. As a community, we’ve embraced the idea that our neighborhood matters: the North Philadelphia neighborhood, the city as a whole and the corporate world.
The 2019-2020 State of the School report highlights accomplishments from around the school during the academic year. What were some of the most impactful successes?
In regards to Educational Innovation, the pivot that we were able to do into a virtual world because of the pandemic was phenomenal. I don’t think there’s probably many schools of any size, let alone our size, that were able to pivot so seamlessly.
From the Research Leadership perspective, I am really proud of the Translational Research Center (TRC). The TRC is making the research from our faculty even that much more valuable because they are helping research get into the hands of practitioners and industry.
We have made significant strides towards a more inclusive culture. I am proud that we are developing an empowered culture where people’s voices are allowed to be heard. We have open access and we’re all moving forward as a team. I know we still have a way to go there, but I think we’re creating a culture where it is more inclusive. The DEI Council and CEDWC are very important steps.
With community engagement, we have grown the B4USoar program, which introduces North Philadelphia high school students to high-quality business education. We’re also connecting with our alumni more. They’re more informed about what’s going on, they are a part of the community.
I’ll note that the students see the difference since we’ve implemented the Strategic Plan. They walk up to me and say that. We’re much more student-centric. Of all the things that make me feel good, it’s been that the students notice it and say it.
Going forward, what challenges do you foresee? What new opportunities?
With the pandemic, higher education has a few challenges. The student experience is so different from what it was before, and no one knows what the future holds. We are looking into investing in technology that would actually make the hybrid model work a little better.
Experiential learning is only going to get bigger because it’s what employers want. The Institute for Business and Information Technology, for example, is helping people get their websites up and running. The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute has a lot of opportunity and support from the Board of Trustees, to help Temple and the Fox School make a bigger impact in the Philadelphia region.
Most importantly, I want to thank everyone for being a huge contributor to it and supporting the Strategic Plan. If you talk to almost anyone in the Fox School, they know what the four pillars are, they know where we’re going. I want everybody to contribute and be supportive of the strategic plan. I can’t be overly thankful for that.