The View From Taft

Yesterday, Oct. 5, was World Teacher’s Day. This yearly celebration commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. This Recommendation sets benchmarks regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers and standards for their initial preparation and further education, recruitment, employment, and teaching and learning conditions. The theme for this year is “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future.” This theme is a fitting tribute to educators worldwide who work to build resilience and shape the future. The virtual celebration for frontline workers in the education sector will run throughout this week.

It is most fitting to honor such an educator during this week of celebration. Dr. Brian Gozun, a full professor and former dean at De La Salle University, is the person I wish to pay tribute to.  Boo, as he is fondly called, died last month. While we all feel he left us too soon, his academic and professional contributions live on.

As a young (both in age and tenure) dean, he led the newly named Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) through significant organizational changes. From guiding the integration of the De La Salle Graduate School of Business into the college, to the formation of two new departments, the Decision Science and Innovation Department (DSI) and the Management and Organization Department (MOD), he left an indelible mark on RVRCOB. He envisioned DSI as a catalyst for creating and reinventing tools and techniques that will be used in today’s dynamic business environment. He entrusted MOD to be the heart and soul of the College that could focus on how managers can act ethically and responsibly and make their organizations accountable to local and global communities.

As an academic, his scholarly interests ran the gamut from energy efficiency, crisis management, entrepreneurship, to resiliency. He shared some of his research in this column over the years. In an almost too prophetic vein, his last View from Taft column in January this year urged readers to develop resilience in 2020. “To become more resilient, one must have the following tools for life advocated by the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship: “flexibility and adaptability; communication and collaboration; creativity and innovation; future orientation; opportunity recognition; and comfort with risk.”

But he was not an ivory tower scholar. His varied interests as well as his humor was apparent in his writings.  For the 2017 Valentine’s Day column, he gave his view on Jollibee’s Valentine videos. “The traits highlighted in these Valentine viral videos apply not only to our personal lives but to our jobs as well. Being persistent, perseverant, and positive not only warms the heart but keeps businesses alive, too.” His author’s blurb admits to having viewed these “viral videos hundreds of times solely for research purposes.” For his Christmas 2018 column, he talked about how stressful Christmas parties were. While they could “make us joyful and jolly,” they could “also make us cringe and cry at the thought of forced, farcical, and Freudian performances.”

He was an excellent Statistics teacher, but he bravely and proudly ventured into the world of qualitative research. Using summative content analysis, he and fellow researcher, Jonna Baquillas, tracked Twittersphere’s reaction to Archer’s graduation. (Archer, the most famous of DLSU’s cats, was adopted in early 2019 to be better cared for.) The results showed that the most frequently occurring words were graduation, cats, Archer, DLSU, and mascot. They concluded that Archer would make a good brand ambassador “because he humanizes the DLSU brand by presenting the value of education and the vision of finishing university through his graduation ceremony.”

Seeking to hone his leadership skills, Dr. Gozun applied for and was accepted as a United Board Fellow. This fellowship program is “designed to answer the needs of leadership development for mid-career faculty and administrators from Asian colleges and universities,” and “develops dynamic leaders who will advance whole-person education within their home institutions.” In his August 2018 column, he wrote about his experiences while at Harvard.  Reflecting on the “Learn to Change the World” message hanging at the Gutman Library of the  Graduate School of Education, he wrote of his determination to “make my institution bigger, bolder, and better and to move it from good to great… to change the world despite an environment that is characterized as volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.” Like his projects on slum tourism and dark tourism, this vow is an unfinished promise. But I and all whose lives you touched promise to work to realize your dream.

May angels carry you home, Boo. Rest in God’s loving embrace.


Pia T. Manalastas is the Graduate Program Coordinator of the Management and Organization Department of RVRCOB.