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Provost candidate emphasizes importance of land-grant universities, diversity

Texas A&M University alum, former dean at University of Vermont

Provost+Candidate+Luis+Garcia+says+the+university+should+improve+support+systems+for+graduate+students+Monday+morning+at+the+PACCAR+Environmental+Technology+building.
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Provost candidate emphasizes importance of land-grant universities, diversity

Provost Candidate Luis Garcia says the university should improve support systems for graduate students Monday morning at the PACCAR Environmental Technology building.

Provost Candidate Luis Garcia says the university should improve support systems for graduate students Monday morning at the PACCAR Environmental Technology building.

JACOB BERTRAM | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Provost Candidate Luis Garcia says the university should improve support systems for graduate students Monday morning at the PACCAR Environmental Technology building.

JACOB BERTRAM | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

JACOB BERTRAM | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Provost Candidate Luis Garcia says the university should improve support systems for graduate students Monday morning at the PACCAR Environmental Technology building.

NAPHTALI CALLES, Evergreen reporter

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Provost candidate Luis Garcia spoke about the benefits of being in a land-grant university and having a more diverse campus.

Faculty Senate Chair-Elect Greg Crouch said Garcia served as dean of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Vermont from 2013-2018.

“While Garcia was dean, his college saw a 41 percent increase in undergraduate student enrollment, and [a] 58 percent increase in graduate student enrollment,” Crouch said.

Kelley Westhoff, executive director for budget, planning and analysis for WSU’s budget office, said she attended this event because provost is the chief academic officer for the institution, so it is important because it affects students, faculty and staff.

Crouch said the overall theme for Garcia’s speech was academic affairs’ role in evolving a multi-campus, multi-unit land-grant university for the future.

“I am honored and humbled to be here today … I am a product of the land grant system, I got two degrees from the land-grant university, Texas A&M,” Garcia said.

He said the land-grant mission is to educate and solve problems for the state.

“The [multi-campus] system should not be uniformed, we need to be able to evolve,” Garcia said. “It’s not a destination, it’s a journey because we are constantly dealing with new things.”

He said economics is an issue that the land-grant system and many small liberal arts colleges are dealing with, but he said he is good at dealing with finances.

“Garcia was also an avid fundraiser during his tenure as dean [by] increasing the annual giving to over $3 million, a 229 percent increase,” Crouch said. “This was instrumental in transitioning the overall college budget [from] a deficit to an over $3 million surplus.”

During the question and answer session, an attendee asked Garcia why the land grant mission seemed outdated when it came to initiatives on diversity and retention rates, and how he proposes on updating it.

“In order to make a difference we have to come together and be collective,” Garcia said. “We need to have programs and initiatives in place … to create an environment that reaches out to all students.”

Garcia said he believes cultural competency training should be given to faculty because it is an issue many universities are dealing with, not something only WSU faces.

“I am a big believer in the first amendment because you have to be willing to engage with people that don’t believe the same things you do,” he said. “We need to have compassion and open dialogue that appeals to everybody.”

About the Writer
NAPHTALI CALLES, Evergreen reporter

Naphtali, who also goes by "Tali," is a freshman double majoring in public relations and risk and crisis communication from Redmond, WA.

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Provost candidate emphasizes importance of land-grant universities, diversity