TCU Daily Skiff Tuesday, January 27, 2004
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Candidate emphasizes academics at forum
Faculty members get an idea of how candidate Michael Mezey would affect the university.

By Jarod Daily
Staff Reporter

Provost candidate Michael Mezey highlighted the importance of the university’s commitment to the liberal arts, citizenship and leadership in an open forum for faculty and staff Monday.

Higher education institutions such as TCU should be the keepers and protectors of knowledge and the best things that students should be learning, Mezey said.

“We need to develop in our students the habits of the heart and mind that they need to like more learning,” said Mezey, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at DePaul University in Chicago. “These are the things that have always been the hallmark of an educated person, the ability to think and read and listen critically (and have) intellectual curiosity.”

Mezey is one of the three final candidates for the position of provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs along with Florida International University chemistry professor Arthur Herriott and TCU geology department chairman Nowell Donovan.

Mezey also emphasized the importance of practical professional education.

“We are and should be way past the time when some of us view with thinly veiled contempt the professional programs and schools that prepare students for the world of work,” he said.

Mezey said universities in the 21st century should be a part of the communities in which they are contained.

“We can’t be and should not be a university on the hill, a shining ivory tower with only the most tenuous relationship with the society in which it exists,” he said.

The university needs to train students to be willing to sacrifice their own interests for the good of the community, an idea Mezey calls public virtue.

“One thing to consider perhaps is a campus-wide discussion of the term (public virtue) and how it might be implemented in appropriate courses in core curriculum,” he said.

Political science professor Donald Jackson asked Mezey what he thought about recruiting students with top-level academic performances by offering them scholarships comparable to those offered to top athletes.

“I think a university with an endowment the size of TCU’s needs to and should commit a significant portion of that endowment to student financial aid and bringing students to the institution,” Mezey said.

Computer science professor Bonnie Melhart asked Mezey for his opinions on expanding graduate programs at the university.

“I’m not convinced that creating new doctoral programs is the best thing to do here at TCU,” Mezey said. “I think that growth at the master’s level can be important because it’s a service to the community, those programs have little financial constraint on the institution and can contribute positively to the bottom line.”

Daryl Schmidt, chairman of the department of religion, said he is impressed with the background Mezey brings.

“It’s clear from his experience that he appreciates the liberal arts and higher education,” he said.
Michael Mezey
Ronnita Miller/ Staff Photographer
Provost candidate Michael Mezey (far right) fields questions concerning his speech to faculty Monday in the Sid Richardson Building.
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