Thursday, December 5, 2013

CBSUA’s next president



In John Henry Newman’s 1852 book The Idea of a University, he explores the significance of the institution as a venue for molding “good members of society.” It is education in a university, Newman argues, “which gives a man a clear, conscious view of their own opinions and judgements, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them. It teaches him to see things as they are, to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought to detect what is sophistical and to discard what is irrelevant.”
Such ambitious yet noble end is telling of how crucial the role of a university is, not only for the academic community, but also beyond it.
In no other institution perhaps, is the urge for critical thinking, sound reasoning, and moral excellence so strong, as in a university; such values, in fact, constitutes its very life-blood, if one agrees with Newman.
This hefty responsibility is precisely what makes leading a university such a daunting task, fit only for a handful of individuals who can effectively embody the university’s mission and vision.
Few institutions are able to find leaders who fit this stringent requirement. Some merely settle for individuals who can comply with the documentary requirements. The problem is that these requirements often demand only a solid career history, yet fail to ask or find a way to probe, as to whether he or she possesses genuine care for the members of the university community.
It is thus extremely fortunate for the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture, one of Bicol’s academic gems, to have three contenders who comply not only with the documentary requisites, but also with the need for sincere care.
The three contenders, Dr. Joel Batanes, Dr. Georgina Junsay-Bordado and Dr. Wenifredo Oñate, are all part of the cream of the crop of their batch, and are undoubtedly qualified for the post of University President. Their lengthy list of achievements and qualificationsare a testament to their expertise in the field of agriculture, the university’s main thrust.
However, what is so special about this group of applicants is that apart from being highly-knowledgeable in agriculture, they were once students of the university. All members of the class of ’72, they were part of a batch that not only studied in the campus, but also resided within its very grounds.  Their emotional attachment to the university thus runs deep, ensuring that they will look after the university and its community sincerely, and not merely because their job mandates it.
There is no question that the Board of Regents will have a difficult time selecting among these three contenders, all of whom have unique things to offer Bicol’s premiere agricultural university. Nonetheless, it is reassuring to think that whoever is selected will truly safeguard the university, and work conscientiously for its improvement.
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