UP president turned down offer of highest academic rank

University of the Philippines

University of the Philippines

Alfredo Pascual, president of University of the Philippines, has declined the National College of Public Administration and Governance’s (NCPAG) offer to recognize him as the highest academic rank.

At the 118th meeting of the UP Diliman’s university council last week, Pascual believed that he does not need the “professor 12 rank”. According to his statement, he can effectively discharge the authorization of his office and implement his plans and programs without the said professor rank.

“I will not accept [the] appointment… now or in the future,” he told the council. “You must note that by the time I finish my term as president in February 2017, I will be over the faculty retirement age of 65″

Rising controversy

Last week, Professor Solita Monsod raised a controversy that talked about the offer of Professor 12 rank to Alfredo Pascual in her column in BusinessWorld. The article has a title of “Tempest over academic rank.”

Monson mentioned that the group that offered the highest professor rank to Pascual reiterated the Section 14 of the University Charter of 2008, that says “The president of the university is the chief academic officer, head of the university, and chief executive officer of the university.”

On the other hand, Monsod believed that being chief academic officer is not enough justification to vest the highest academic rank to Pascual. She also added that the university council stressed that Pascual is qualify for Assistant Professor 3 which is 33 steps behind Professor 12 title.

“While an executive position is bestowed on a person who heads the institution an academic rank is earned according to specific criteria… The president of the Philippines is the commander in chief of the armed forces. But he is not given the rank of general, much less a four- or five-star general,” Monsod expounded.

An “unnecessary distraction”
In response, Pascual pointed out that the argument heaved by Monsod in her column was an “unnecessary distraction at this time when we are trying to achieve academic excellence and administrative efficiency in the face of inadequate budget funding from the government.”

Pascual clarified that his refusal of Professor 12 rank does not mean he will no longer teach in the university

“I will be happy to serve as [a] guest lecturer at NCPAG — to [which] I am thankful for the invitation to join its faculty — or any other unit of the university where my experience and expertise, particularly in development, project finance, and public-private partnership, will add value,” Pascual said.

“I welcome any opportunity to share knowledge with our students… I know I am considered by some of you as an outsider. Given that, I know I need to allow time for you to get to know me better. I need to earn your trust and merit it,” Pascual said.

Open communication lines

The UP president reiterated that he will keep his office’s communication lines open to the university community. “I would love to hear your views, comments, and suggestions,” he said.

“We should continue consultations and I hope that my speaking to you today is the start of more productive interactions and the end to unnecessary distractions,” he told the council.

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