By Barbara Gutierrez
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 9, 2016) – In the spirit of giving back and sharing his many personal and professional attributes, University of Miami faculty member Walter Secada has dedicated more than 20 years of his life to providing professional and educational training to the Ministry of Education and other educational entities in his native Peru.
Last April, in recognition of his work, Secada, professor and senior associate dean of UM’s School of Education and Human Development, was awarded an honorary professorship from Universidad La Salle in Arequipa, Peru.
“My work in Peru is predicated on giving back,” said the Peruvian-born Secada, who was raised in the U.S. “It is not enough to remember where you’re from. But by giving back to the country of my birth, in the form of collaborative research and the sharing of what I have learned as an academic at the University of Miami and elsewhere, I hope to improve the conditions under which my fellow Peruvians learn mathematics and science. By giving back, I contribute to that nation’s development.”
During the awards ceremony, Ivan Montes, rector of Universidad La Salle, praised Secada for his many publications, accomplishments, and contributions to education in Peru. He noted that Secada has been working with the Universidad La Salle, the nongovernmental agency known as GRADE, and the Peruvian Ministry of Education for more than 20 years, conducting collaborative research and workshops on a variety of topics and devising strategies to improve Peru’s mathematics curriculum.
In a talk prior to receiving the award, Secada argued that academics have an obligation to engage in work in which “outcomes are likely to take place in the long term” because tenure gives them the security needed to take the long view. In addition, Secada argued, academics have a “moral obligation to study about and to speak out on the controversies of the day” because, once again, tenure protects them and because they owe to their students the opportunity to discuss, without fear, the controversies that are shaping their world.
“I have the best job in the world,” concluded Secada.
In bestowing the honor, Montes quoted Secada’s collaborator at GRADE, Santiago Cueto, saying that “Walter Secada is a good man.”
“He has always been supportive of us, and he has enriched our knowledge with his analytical and international perspective,” said Montes.
Secada received his B.A in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science in Mathematics and a Ph.D in education from Northwestern University.