IN BROADSTROKES February 2015: Conferences and celebrations
Conferences and celebrations
The past weeks, we had visitors from Hokkaido University (13 February), the Czech Republic (17 February), Tokyo University of Agriculture (20 February), Nagoya University (25-26 February), and Doshisha University of Japan (4 March). We also participated in the Inter-University Forum between French and Philippine Universities on 26 February at the Sofitel Hotel. Our meetings were exploratory in nature and could hopefully lead to quality joint agreements.
Our schedule was packed with conferences aimed at setting targets for the University, appropriately so, as it is the beginning of the year and the first few months of our administration. We held the UPLB Graduate Faculty Conference on 15-16 February 2015 in Tagaytay City with the theme “Responding to the Challenges of a Research and Graduate University,” in line with the internationalization of UP.
The GS Faculty Conference turned out to be like a Systemwide activity with no less than President Alfredo E. Pascual, Vice President for Academic Affairs Gisela P. Concepcion, Vice President for Public Affairs Prospero E. De Vera III, and Assistant Vice President and Director for Internationalization Rhodora V. Azanza, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael L. Tan, UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita D. Padilla, UP Visayas Chancellor Rommel C. Espinosa, and UP Cebu Dean Liza D. Corro in attendance. Senior UPLB faculty members also attended the Conference.
Highlighted in the Conference were discussions on internationalization, the interrelatedness of the UP mandates as a research, graduate and regional/global university, public service in the light of internationalization, the importance of interdisciplinary approach, inter-CU collaborative programs, and facilities development. Guest speakers Dr. David Hall, USAID-STRIDE chief of party; Dr. Fabian Dayrit, chair of the DOST National Science Consortium, and Dr. Ma. Cristeta Cuaresma, program head of SEAMEO-SEARCA graduate education and institutional development, discussed innovations in graduate programs, graduate student mentoring, and international opportunities in the ASEAN, respectively.
A week later, about 40 of us again hied off for Tagaytay for the UPLB Strategic Planning Workshop on 23-24 February to work on fleshing out the objectives, and key result areas in the attainment of our vision of “A Globally Competitive Graduate and Research University Contributing to National Development.” Key objectives that were identified are the following: 1) sustaining leadership in excellence; 2) utilization of UPLB’s knowledge and technologies towards inclusive growth; and 3) creation of an enabling environment for creativity and innovation.
This workshop did not actually start in Tagaytay because about a month before it was scheduled, we held consultations with the Colleges to gather inputs on thrusts, priorities, and concerns of UPLB constituents. Afterwards, the Management Committee discussed and distilled the information that were gathered into thrusts and objectives.
In Tagaytay, we invited thought leaders to talk about their experience, insights and recommendations on the topic “The Path Towards a Forward-looking Globally Competitive University,” namely: Dr. Evelyn Mae T. Mendoza, UPLB professor emeritus and NAST Academician, and Dr. Gregory L. Tangonan, co-founder of the Ateneo Innovations Center. We took off from their talks to discuss the UPLB mission-vision, identified strategies to be pursued, and proposed key result areas.
At the end of the two-day workshop, we still have work to do – the drawing up of performance indicators and the strategies. These need to be completed with the help of the colleges and units, thus we will be scheduling a series of activities in the next few weeks to ensure that your inputs will be integrated into the overall plan.
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE) held its Strategic Planning Workshop on 27 February-1 March 2015 and its different sections also came up with their operational plans for 2014-2020. And soon after, it coordinated the holding of the 2nd UPLB REPS Conference aimed at discussing policy reforms in REPS governance. Some of the issues and concerns discussed focused on the following: the classification and status of REPS in the UP System as part of the academic non-teaching staff; the mismatch between the position of REPS vis-à-vis their actual duties as some are performing purely administrative functions; inequitable opportunities for REPS compared to the faculty; disadvantageous merit and promotion system; and the tenure policy (REPS up or out policy) that applies only to UPLB. The UPLB REPS will submit a position paper on these issues and provide recommendations on how to address them.
While we were discussing and coming up with our plans and strategies, we also planned the holding of the 106th Foundation Day celebration of UPLB coordinated by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development (OVCPD) on 5 March and my Investiture as the 9th UPLB Chancellor spearheaded by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OVCCA) on 6 March. Considering all the coordination work involved in holding the two programs, I could really say that we have a good team at the helm. At the Foundation Day program, we awarded 16 personnel, a research team and an extension team for their exemplary acts and excellent work. These people have nurtured and maintained habits of excellence that we hope will be emulated in the University. By recognizing them, we hope that they will be inspired to outdo themselves and inspire others to be excellent at their jobs. It is but fitting to recognize them even as we remember the luminaries and visionaries who have made UPLB into what it is today.
At the Foundation Day celebration on 5 March, we had Dr. Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute, as keynote speaker. Dr. Zeigler highlighted the enduring partnership between UPLB and IRRI taking off from my own speech when I guested at the groundbreaking ceremony for IRRI’s Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility on 17 January 2015. In that speech, I said “IRRI is part of UPLB and UPLB is part of IRRI.” Dr. Zeigler answered that “this mutual identity has been equally beneficial for both institutions.” To highlight this fact, he quoted IRRI luminaries’ statements on the UPLB-IRRI collaborative partnership and named renowned personalities who led in implementing them.
I was formally installed into office during Investiture ceremonies at 1 p.m. on 6 March 2015 at the DL Umali Hall. In my speech, I expounded on my vision for UPLB to be “A Globally Competitive Graduate and Research University Contributing to National Development” from the standpoint of honor and excellence with the intent to serve the Filipino people. These are big words, I know, but I shall commit my term to the attainment of this vision.
Our activities this month were highlighted by consultations with different sectors that would implement plans and programs and carry out our initiatives. We tried to engage with the stakeholders who would be affected by policies that will be drawn up and implemented by the University. Consulting and listening underpins all of our moves, hopefully, to draw broad-based participation in the planning and implementation of our plans and programs towards achieving inclusive growth in our country.