EDINBURG -The University of Texas-Pan American met the fifth presidential finalist during an open forum on May 11. Dr. Richard Navarro, senior project officer for United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), arrived from Afghanistan to meet with UTPA staff, faculty and administrators.
In his address, Navarro answered questions about his ability to define the institution's identity and strategies to lead the University into becoming a research intensive facility. When asked about the goal of becoming a research institution Navarro was quick to respond.
"How can you not be when you look at the demographic projections and industries dependent on graduates from UTPA," Navarro said.
Navarro described leadership as a "team sport" and emphasized that the president's role should be inconspicuous in order to let faculty represent the institution. Navarro reiterated his laissez-faire philosophical approach to managing faculty.
"There is a gamut of productivity and many different roles for faculty. You need to chart the future for yourself," Navarro said.
Navarro provided some of his ideas for obtaining funding through utilizing his personal contacts and networks, cultivating relationships with donors and taking UTPA's argument to the legislature, but he also suggested that UTPA needs to "break the bond of dependency on Austin for funding."
When asked what his strengths are, Navarro indicated that he was strong in education policy. However, he also admitted that he has never been a "principal investigator" on any grant.
Navarro ended his presentation with the adage, "It is not a shortage of resources that's the problem, but a shortage of ideas."
Navarro hopes to apply his ideas in the area of development by inviting people to invest in the future. He reassured the audience he would put his efforts there if he were made president.