Candidate Garro emphasizes secondary education

Anthony Garro, the fourth and last provost candidate to visit USF, spent Wednesday on campus reiterating his views on research and the importance of secondary education.

During a faculty forum at the Phyllis P. Marshall Center, Garro, of Lehman College of the City University of New York, spoke about the significance of faculty and administrative cohesiveness and higher university admission standards.

The issues were not on Garro’s agenda for the forum, though they were on the agenda of the attending faculty.

Professor Dwayne Smith, chairman of the criminology department, questioned Garro about the controversy surrounding special admissions standards in the CUNY system. Garro explained that the controversy began when the process of open admissions was eliminated from the CUNY system. Open admissions had allowed students who graduated from a New York high school to be automatically accepted into the CUNY system, he said.

Attacks on the university system’s image and academic standards prompted changes in the system that included the elimination of remedial work at senior colleges. Garro said this resulted in objections from faculty and the school’s board of trustees, mostly because it seemed to shun the immigrant populations of New York, Garro said.

“We were not denying access to students,” Garro said. “The students who did not have the qualifications to get into senior college were always accepted at the community college level.”

Garro also expressed his vision for academic standards in general, including those he would wish to rectify at USF. He said his plans include exposing undergraduate students to curriculum that provides them with a strong base in the liberal arts and sciences to help them work in a global society and become lifelong learners.

Garro added that he believes that for the graduate level, there should be a pronounced emphasis on didactic mentoring and more of an exposure to ethical issues that will arise in practicing various professions.

“It’s more than just students sitting in lecture halls,” Garro said.

Although the quality of education here at USF was a popular subject at the forum, so was the quality of interaction between faculty and administration.

Kathleen Heide, interim dean for the College of Arts & Sciences, apologized to Garro for the lack of faculty presence at the forum and asked him about what he would do, if selected for the position, to improve the relationship between the faculty and administration at USF.

“The engagement of faculty in a search like this is difficult,” Garro said. “Perhaps it’s a reflection of the fact that whether or not faculty attend the forum, their engagement does not necessarily affect the outcome.”

Although Garro said he was not disappointed by the faculty’s low attendance, he did share his idea of how things should be.

“I think that the senior level administration at a university has to be able to create a vision in conjunction with the faculty,” Garro said. “It should be a challenge, but not one that is unattainable.”