As any applicant to Temple University knows all too well, it's getting tougher and tougher to get in.

A decade ago, seven of every 10 applicants made the grade. This fall it's just six of 10.

And that's by design.

As Temple celebrates its 125th anniversary, it continues to grow in academic prominence, its SAT scores and graduation rates climbing and honors program expanding.

An academic plan unveiled by president Ann Weaver Hart's administration in the spring calls for greater gains in student quality over the next five years and a walloping 50 percent increase in faculty research - enough to catapult Temple into the top 100 research schools nationally.

"We're striving to be one of the best universities in the world," said Temple board chair Patrick O'Connor.

But its ambition has a price.

While pleased that Temple is improving its stature, some faculty union leaders worry more research will come at the expense of teaching.

See TEMPLE on A16