UP Cebu has a new dean after almost two years of uncertainty resulting from internal conflicts which led to the discontinuity of the term of the previous dean whose term officially ended last November 30. The selection of the new dean went through a search process where a search committee was created by the UP President and composed of representatives from the faculty, administrative staff and the students including a representative of the UP president. There were two nominees endorsed by the faculty and the alumni who submitted their biodata and vision paper which they presented in a forum with the college constituents. The search committee met each sector – the faculty of each academic cluster, the students, the administrative and the alumni – where they voiced their support for the nominees. The two nominees were Dr. Fred Avestruz of the Management Cluster and Atty. Liza Corro who was strongly endorsed by the UP Alumni Association Cebu Chapter Incorporated Board (where I sit as a member). With the observations of the events during the uncertain months, we strongly believe that the new dean should not come from the inside because the constituents do not trust each other, but someone outside of the college but one who is not alien to UP dynamics. We were just very glad to learn last Dec. 4 that the Board of Regents unanimously chose Atty. Liza Corro as the new dean because aside from her strong academic credentials and rich experience in the profession, her vision and plans for UP Cebu are very specific, straight to the point, and her strategies to achieve the vision and plans were realistic and dowable. She presented herself to the UP Cebu Community as “one who can help bring fruition to what it envisions to become. Her vibrancy and personality to cut across age borders, among others, and her varied network, will help harness the potential of UP Cebu to simultaneously proceed, with or if not even anticipate, the development of the region it serves.”
But there is something more interesting in the history of UP Cebu’s deanship. This is the third time that a female dean assumes the deanship, and she always comes after a chaotic or uncertain period. In the mid-70’s, Dean Nestor Nisperos did not finish his term as a result of a very heated internal conflict. Because UP Cebu was then under the Diliman administration, they sent a woman Dr. Aurora Miñoza to take his place but she finished his term before officially assuming the position. Then at the end of the 1980’s, then Dean Primitivo Cal did not finish his term because he moved to Diliman to be with the National Engineering Center. There was a long period (ten months) when there was no apparent candidate for the deanship. UP Cebu was then under UP Iloilo and Dr. Francisco Nemenzo was the Chancellor. He finally convinced Prof. Socorro Villalobos from UPIS in Diliman to be the dean (OIC from 1990-1991 and dean from 1992-1997). Then Dean Enrique Avila who was on his third term (2010-2012) only served until 2011 in the midst of a tumultuous internal conflict. This time the administration waited for the official end of the term of the previous dean before selecting a new one. A female dean is at the helm again. The three female deans have one thing in common – they are single. But while Dean Miñoza and Dean Villalobos were sent or appointed by Diliman, Dean Corro was endorsed by the UP Cebu constituents and approved by the Board of Regents, and she is very much younger (she’s only 42) which is welcomed by some constituents (“at last we have a fresh blood”). I have been a witness to the three transitions in UP Cebu’s deanship. I have this to say that just like Third World countries, a woman leader will always emerge after a chaotic change (Cory after EDSA). In UP Cebu, the female deans had to finish the unfinished business of their predecessors and even clean up the mess and work for the reconstruction and further innovation of the college’s directions.
We all wish Dean Liza Corro the best and ask every stakeholder of UP Cebu to give their full support. As the theme of UP Cebu’s Lighting of the Christmas Symbols (the belen, the parol, and the Christmas tree) last Dec. 7, “Pasko…Sugat sa Pagbag-o” suggests, UP Cebu welcomed their new dean with all the symbols of Christmas and a very pleasant way of meeting/facing the new.