As we entered 2016, encouraging news from all fronts in the University buoyed our spirits.
Our road network is going to get much needed rehabilitation and improvement work with the approval of the budget for the construction of various infrastructure projects under the General Appropriations Act for FY 2016 (otherwise known as RA No. 10717) of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
On Jan. 7, the DPWH regional and district offices surveyed three projects, which the DPWH Regional Office IV-A will implement. These projects are:
- The rehabilitation of the asphalt pavement of IPB Road and its two bridges have been allocated PhP55 million. Almost the same amount (PhP57 million) has also been allocated to construct a road and a bike lane on Pili Drive. Rambutan Road—the road perpendicular to Pili Drive traversing one side of the main building of the College of Engineering and Agro-industrial Technology (CEAT) to the Supply and Property Management Services Office – will also be constructed.
- PhP67 million has been allocated for the construction of a two-lane reinforced concrete deck girder bridge that will connect both sides of Molawin River from Victoria Ela and Rambutan Roads. This will replace the footbridge that was permanently dmaged by typhoon Milenyo in 2006. To reinforce both sides of the Molawin bank, a pier and soil erosion mitigation program has also been included in the budget.
- The Laguna 2nd District Engineering Office, on the other hand, will oversee the completion of the APEC Road connecting the IPB Road to the Gov. FT San Luis Road in Bay, Laguna; this project has a budget of PhP24.70 million. It will also construct the UPLB Corps of Cadets building with a budget of PhP10.0 million. DPWH has already conducted a site visit and survey of the sites. The total cost of these projects is PhP213.70 million.
To help attain regional food security, we organized a forum and a conference aimed at contributing toward the integration of agricultural and biosystems engineering in agriculture production.
Through CEAT, we collaborated with the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in organizing the 3rd Regional Forum on Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Asia and the Pacific, the 11th Session of the Governing Council and Technical Committee at the 3rd ASEAN Conference on Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. This was held simultaneous with and in the same location as the 12th Engineering Research and Development Technology Conference on Agriculture (Dec. 9-10, 2015 at the Century Park Hotel, Manila). The forum, attended by 65 foreign delegates, explored the potentials of augmenting human resource to achieve sustainable agricultural mechanization.
In line with our objective of being a globally competitive university, we continue to expand our horizons and foster collaborations with foreign universities. On December 2, 2015, we formalized an agreement with Nagoya University to host the Nagoya University Asian Satellite Campus in UPLB. This agreement would enable Filipino candidates to take their doctorate degrees in international development and bioagricultural sciences—without sacrificing their career—to be a resident student in Nagoya University.
We are moving ahead into the future with the gains we have made in making UPLB a globally competitive graduate and research university. After months of taking care of required procedures and documentation, we are finally ready to construct the Graduate School International Student and Cultural Center. In fact, we held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark this milestone on Dec. 2, 2015.
Meanwhile, UPLB continues to demonstrate academic excellence with programs that the Commission on Higher Education declared as Centers of Excellence (COE) before the end of 2015. These programs include:
- Agriculture education of the College of Agriculture;
- Development communication of the College of Development Communication;
- Forestry education of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources;
- Veterinary education of the College of Veterinary Medicine;
- Environmental science of the School of Environmental Science and Management;
- Biology education of the Institute of Biological Sciences; and
- Statistics education of the Institute of Statistics.
Moreover, our chemical engineering program under CEAT was also named a center for development in chemical engineering education, recognizing its strong potential to become a future COE.
Two of our graduates brought honor to UPLB after being given the 2015 Magsaysay Future Engineers/Technologists (MFET) Award by the National Academy of Science and Technology and the Department of Science and Technology on December 16, 2015 at the Manila Hotel. Ryan Karlo A. Madamba bagged the top award while Ian Lorenzo E. Gonzaga earned second prize. Both are BS Chemical Engineering graduates of 2015. MFET aims to encourage young Filipino students to pursue careers in science and technology. Jan Tristan M. Acenas, also from UPLB, received a special citation. Congratulations to our MFET awardees!
With these accomplishments to wrap up 2015, we are inspired to soldier on in 2016, looking forward to more opportunities to grow as a research and graduate university at the forefront of national development.
Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr.’s Keynote Address Southeast Asian Conference on Econutrition held on 12 November 2015 at the SEARCA Auditorium, College, Laguna is available for download.
Please refer to the link below.
2015 Commencement Exercises
Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr.
Congratulations to our dear graduates!
Your university graduation is one of the most important milestones in your life. It is the conclusion of years of hard work in fulfilling the requirements of your degree. You surely have stories to tell: stories on struggling to meet expectations, near-misses, rejections, perhaps even failures. In UPLB, academic excellence is a bar that has been set high, rightfully so because as UP students, much has been given to you by our fellow Filipinos. As the saying goes, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required.”
As an Iskolar ng Bayan, your tuition has been subsidized by the Filipino people regardless of your STFAP classification. This is a fact that every UPLB graduate must remember. For excellence is not only a promise you made between your loved ones, but a vow you pledged to fulfil to your country and the Filipino people. Let this vow inspire you to make a difference in the lives of our people as you embark on a new phase of existence.
Apart from aspiring for academic excellence, as a national university, UPLB instills and promotes public service among its constituents. This commitment is explicit in the UP Charter of 2008 and reinforced in UPLB’s vision of becoming a globally competitive research and graduate university that contributes to national development. The idea has most likely been mentioned or introduced to you during your stay in UPLB. Nevertheless, allow me to remind you before you leave UPLB.
Your graduation confirms your identity as an Iskolar Para Sa Bayan. Iskolar Para Sa Bayan aptly captures an orientation, a mindset, a will of public service. Public service is not a narrow path limited to careers in government or civil society, albeit we encourage you to take such road less traveled. I want you to think of public service more deeply and broadly as a variety of opportunities to dedicate one’s self to others. You may be working in the private sector as a manager, scientist, innovator, an entrepreneur, or an industry leader. But if you have embraced the true meaning of public service, your compassion to make your fellow Filipinos’ lives better will find its way into your future, regardless of your calling. This is the kind of public service that I hope sticks with you after UPLB.
I am certain that you will emerge as future public servants and leaders in your own ways, much like Dr. Romulo G. Davide, a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and this year’s commencement speaker. With Dr. Davide on the stage as you receive your diplomas, I hope your memories of UPLB and your graduation will always be marked by an image of an Iskolar Para Sa Bayan who kept his vow to use his expertise to help Filipinos and his nation.
May honor and excellence continue to motivate you as you serve others beyond the university.
Again, congratulations, UPLB graduates!
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.
More doors opened as 2015 unfolded
More doors have been opened as UPLB welcomed 2015. The continuous flow of potential international partners assures UPLB a flourishing participation in the international academic community. This development is very timely as President Alfredo E. Pascual has called for intensified internationalization of our graduate programs at the recently concluded UPLB Graduate Faculty Conference held in Tagaytay City on 15-16 February. The same occasion also saw AVP and International Linkages Director Rhodora V. Azanza reaffirming internationalization as the way to go for UP.
For the month of January 2015 alone, UPLB welcomed academicians from France, Russia, Japan, and Korea. We met with representatives from France’s University of Bordeaux and University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour at the French Embassy in Makati City on 5 January. The discussions hinted at joint degree program offerings of UPLB with the 574-year old institution and southwestern France’s third largest public and secular university, respectively.
On 23 January, we also sat down for an exploratory meeting with Russia’s Primorskaya State Academy of Agriculture. The said academy is situated strategically near China, Japan, and Korea, and its representatives came to explore possible academic cooperation with UPLB.
Meanwhile, Japanese Setanorian High School and Korean investors also visited the University premises on 7 January to learn more about UPLB. The Korean visitors explored the possibility of hosting English learning institutes at UPLB in the mold of the partnership we have with Kyungnam University of Korea.
Amid our aggressive internationalization efforts, we never and we should not forget to nurture our linkages with local and national stakeholders. As the National University and as a public service university, our doors have always been wide open for the Filipino people. In fact, we hosted three separate events with local and national leaders for the month of February.
Our roundtable discussion with local government officials of Los Baños led by the Honorable Mayor Caesar P. Perez on 6 February highlighted our mutual position to continue to nurture a harmonious relationship with each other. Also mong the topics discussed with the LB LGU officials were security, future collaborative projects in instruction, research, and public service to enhance the living conditions and livelihood of the communities.
Meanwhile, Camarines Sur Representative, Hon. Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo inspired the UPLB community as she shared her ideals and thoughts on governance and ethics during the 17th Anniversary of the College of Public Affairs and Development on 4 February. Our netizens praised Hon. Robredo on social media for her emulative brand of leadership and humility as they tuned in during the forum’s livestreaming courtesy of the Information Technology Center.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Hon. Alan Peter S. Cayetano also paid a visit to UPLB to discuss Republic Act No. 10648, or the “Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014” during a forum held at the CEAT Electrical Engineering building on 6 February. The bill, authored by Senator Cayetano, provides college scholarship to top public high school students. UPLB students, together with students of the Los Baños National High School, voiced out their concerns about the law and the country’s education sector during the forum.
At the heart of these proactive and responsive external relations is our concern to bring the best to our “Iskolar ng Bayan.” As the Second Semester of the new academic calendar unfolded, we extended the registration period to give more time for our students to settle their financial obligations and class schedules.
We are also laying the groundwork for the implementation of the K-12 program anticipating the changes that it would bring to our undergraduate curricula. As a proactive step, the UPLB General Education Council held a two-day conference workshop, the results of which were presented at the UP System GE Workshop on 5-6 February in Tagaytay.
True to our commitment towards One UP and the use of integrative interdisciplinary approaches in our programs, we have thrown our full support and cooperation behind the offering of the Professional Masters in Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management (PM-TMEM) that aims to build capabilities of on-the-job environmental managers through a specialization in marine protected areas. THE PM-TMEM is offered through an inter-CU collaboration with UP Visayas and UP Diliman. In UPLB, courses under the PM-TMEM are offered at the College of Forestry and Natural Resources and the School of Environmental Science and Management to students specializing in watershed management. The course was developed with funding from the USAID.
We launched two books before 2014 ended. The first is entitled Microalgae of the Seven Lakes of San Pablo City and Crocodile Lake of Los Baños authored by Dr. Macrina T. Zafaralla (11 December 2014). Another book entitled Changing Philippine Climate: Impacts on Agriculture and Natural Resources (launched 10 October 2014) was written by coordinating lead authors Josefino C. Comiso, Catalino A. Blanche, Terry I. Sarigumba, Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon, and Felino P. Lansigan and lead authors Nestor T. Baguinon, Roger C. Birosel, Jesusita O. Coladilla, Rex Victor O. Cruz, Leonardo M. Florece, Rafael D. Guerrero III, Rodel D. Lasco, Rosa T. Perez, Juan M. Pulhin, and Lourdes V. Tibig.
The events of January have shown to us that we are engaging stakeholders at the local, national, and international levels to become a globally competitive university, yet fully relevant and responsive to the needs of our country.
Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr.’s
“Rekindling the Pride to Serve”
106th Foundation Day
6 March 2015 @ DL Umali Hall
Some time ago, I caught a student wearing a statement shirt that read, I think therefore I am…
It then occurred to me how pointless it would be to ask anyone from the University: Are you proud to be from UP? because we all know the answer to that. A preferable question might be: Just how proud are you to be from UP?
So… just how proud are you to be from UP?
I guess we can all relate to this unsuspecting student, who clearly loves to wear his pride—quite literally—on his sleeve. But to tell the truth, we don’t really need a statement shirt for others to see that we wear our pride, and that we wear it well. The more serious question I’d like to pose to all of you is, Why are you proud to be from UP? This certainly gives much pause for thought than the close-ended Are you proud to be from UP? or the easily appraisable Just how proud are you to be from UP?
It seems like this sense of pride is a given among those born in, bred in, or transplanted to UP.Of course, you are all familiar with the oft-repeated saying, There is nowhere to go but up—the last word set in all caps, of course. I take it that the shorthand version of this is, UP or nothing or UP and others.
The others might reckon this pride that we wear so well to be nothing more than shameless self-glorification. Perhaps we should turn to Republic Act 9500 or the UP Charter to glean any “truth” to these claims. Well, it appears that Section 2 or the Declaration of Policy reads—and I quote—“the University of the Philippines is hereby declared as the national university.” Note the article used here: UP is not just a national university but the national university.
So, again, why are you proud to be from UP? Apparently, because it’s constitutional.
This constitutionally determined pride carries over to our mandate to serve as: one, a graduate university; two, a research university; and three, a public service university. The so-called “path to greatness” outlined in the UP Strategic Plan 2011 to 2017 calls for all of us to synergistically work together toward delivering this mandate.
There is no question whatsoever that these are all veritable sources of self-satisfaction. In decades past, UP used to lead the pack in Asia. Specifically, UP Los Baños was the center of academic excellence and the source of advanced technologies for crop production in the 70s and 80s. But now, the very countries that we used to train have gained ground on us. With ASEAN 2015 upon us, we need to be even more competitive to stay in the game.
In addition, data from a recent professorial chair and Webometrics Ranking of World Universities show that we are lagging behind and must catch up. We must consider these facts and data very seriously.
Given this unpromising scenario, would it now be reasonable to ask: Are you still proud to be from UP?
I do not mean to share these facts to discourage, but rather to establish where we are right now. This way, we would know just how far we have to go to make it to our desired state. As Former UP President Emerlinda Roman expressed in her 2005 investiture speech, the University must not content itself with what is doable but instead, set a clear example of what is superior for the rest of the country. Incumbent UP President Alfredo Pascual echoed the same sentiment in his 2011 investiture address, and articulated it in his vision for UP to be not only a good, but a great university.
As the newly invested Chancellor of UP Los Baños, I am proud to assert that we wholeheartedly share this outlook and that we will steadfastly uphold the University’s vision to bring UP to a state of greatness. Allow me to share with you the current administration’s vision for UP Los Baños, and that is: To be a globally competitive graduate and research university contributing to national development.
I will be the first to admit that we have a gargantuan task ahead of us… but I go by the code of champions: You either go big or go home. And we at UP know that there is only one way to go. There is no question that we all desire to propel the University of the Philippines Los Baños to its rightful place of greatness in the academic firmament.
In everything that we do, we should never lose sight of this vision. Steven Covey fancies referring to this as beginning with the end in mind. Upon much reflection though, I’ve come to realize that beginning with the end in mind limits our focus to being too output- and outcome-oriented. As a result, we tend to neglect what we experience and learn along the way. I will pick up on this thought in a while, but suffice it to say that I do not wish to put too much emphasis on results at the expense of throwing the process out-of-focus. As you all know too well, the journey is just as important as the destination.
Our 106th Foundation Day is a time to rekindle the past, but it is also an occasion to look to the future. Thus, I see today’s program as a fitting venue to share with you not only where we want to go, but also how we are going to get there.
In our bid to be a globally competitive graduate and research university contributing to national development, we will strive to meet three core objectives:
- First, to sustain leadership in academic excellence.
- Second, to utilize UP Los Baños’s knowledge and technologies toward inclusive growth.
- And third, to create an enabling environment for creativity and innovation.
Without question, our primary stakeholders are UP Los Baños students—scholars of and for the nation—whom we will develop to be excellence-driven, socially committed, and solution-oriented graduates.
We will be even more tenacious in recruiting the best and the brightest students, tapping the best among high school graduates, and increasing enrolment of students from places outside the National Capital Region. We will also provide more scholarships to indigent but deserving students, and enhance implementation of the honors program to improve overall student performance, reduce residency period, and increase our number of honor graduates.
We will sustain and strengthen the student support programs initiated during the last three years. Some of which include the UPLB Annual Student Leaders’ Summit, financial support for UPLB’s performing artists and varsity athletes, and improved protocols for disaster relief and rehabilitation operations. We see these programs as avenues to rouse the spirit of selfless public service among students.
Sustaining leadership in academic excellence also behooves us to maintain and attract eminent faculty and REPS. To this end, the present administration is dedicated to fostering an enabling environment by enhancing support programs, such as the Academic Development Fund, basic research grants, support for advanced studies and career advancement, and incentives for outstanding faculty, REPS, and support staff.
At the same time, there is a need to develop and enhance our academic programs to make them more relevant and responsive to the rhythms of change. As such, we will be more proactive in reconfiguring our instructional materials for compliance to outcome-based education, alignment with the K to 12 basic education program, and greater competitiveness in the face of regional economic integration.
Speaking of ASEAN 2015, we will continue to streamline our graduate program offerings and pursue ASEAN University Network or AUN accreditation of various degree programs. We are off to a good start, as our BS Biology program has recently received its certificate of accreditation by the AUN. This means that the program conforms to international academic standards, and is at par with similar programs from other leading ASEAN universities within the network. We have our fingers crossed, but we are optimistic that our BS Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, and BS Development Communication programs would likewise get the nod from AUN.
The University has forged meaningful partnerships with our alumni in recent years, and we have every intention to do the same by scaling up our alumni relations programs. We recognize the crucial role our alumni play in bringing us closer to our vision. As part of our internationalization efforts, we are exploring new joint curricular and research programs with our key international partner universities, particularly in the Southeast and East Asia regions, where our alumni and friends occupy positions of importance.
Meanwhile, one of the hallmarks of a graduate and research university is a strong presence of graduate and international students. On this front, we certainly have a long way to go considering that, as of 2014, our total student population was comprised of only 11% of graduate students. We will strive to make a marked increased in this figure by 2020. On the other hand, our 190 international students constituted only a little more than 1% of our total student population. Yes, our numbers are improving by the year, but if we want this number to multiply significantly by 2020, we will have to be more aggressive in our recruitment process.
One of our major strategies is establishing a Graduate School International Student and Cultural Center, which we hope attracts more graduate and international students to the University, as regional integration unfolds.
The second objective of our strategy map takes our mandate of being a public university to heart. As a public service university, we bank on our academic excellence not to uplift our own personal conditions, but to improve the quality of life of the marginalized and the vulnerable. We have realigned our current research, development, and extension agenda such that it more aggressively heeds the call for inclusive growth in the Philippines. As a graduate and research university contributing to national development, all our efforts must be directed toward inclusive growth and poverty reduction, which constitute the highest order objective of the Philippine Development Plan 2011 to 2016.
Specifically, we aim to create and deploy knowledge and technologies that are appropriate and scalable. One of our plans in the pipeline is to establish new off-campus learning, research, and extension centers for quicker dissemination and adoption of new technologies and protocols. In fact, exactly a year ago, the University launched 18 Interdisciplinary Studies Centers envisioned to boost scientific and technical know-how in four different clusters: agriculture; technology; environment; and development. This is definitely a step forward in stimulating a pervasive interdisciplinary research culture in UP Los Baños.
Academic excellence demands a nurturing environment for creativity and innovation, which is why the current administration is set to foster an organizational culture of teamwork. Going back to what I mentioned earlier, when we adopt a laser-like focus on results, we tend to uphold an organizational climate that champions excellence above everything else. Of course, academic excellence is an ideal that we must embody, but in my mind, the greatness that we aspire to be is also contingent on the relationships we forge with one another.
Thus, this administration will exercise a more action-oriented style of management that advocates participatory decision-making and collegiality. We desire an organizational climate that supports open communications with all sectors; an environment that encourages positive collaboration with students and staff.
This way, not only will UP Los Baños live up to its role as a relevant institution dedicated to academic excellence, sustainable research and development, and public service. It will do so, all while promoting personal and professional growth among all constituents, who know they are truly part of a team. Organizational communication theorists submit that it is precisely this type of environment that enables innovation.
The term innovation might imply a constant need to change; after all, it does come from the root novare, which means to make new. However, true innovation does not mean that we have to reinvent the wheel. Why fix what is not broken? I do not see the merit of innovating for innovation’s sake—for to be forward-looking also means taking stock of the past.
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry or METI makes a good case for promoting continuity in innovation. Economists believe that the Ministry directed much of Japan’s exceptional growth and development in the post-war era. What could be attributed to such success is that the Ministry persistently pursued the goals it had initially set out to accomplish—regardless of which Prime Minister was in power.
This is a worthy model to emulate. You might have noticed that our current vision does not stray too far from that of the former administrations. It was just two weeks ago when we held our first planning workshop to draft the UP Los Baños strategy map for 2014 to 2017. I would like to set forth that, first, the way forward for UP Los Baños is borne out of a shared vision. Far be it from me to take full ownership of, or credit for the current administration’s roadmap to be a great University. Second, I find that our collective plan of action augurs well with that of the previous administrations. To put it differently, we are not starting from scratch as we are building on the gains of the past.
To say that we are laying the groundwork required to become a globally competitive graduate and research university would not only be inaccurate—it would also sound ungracious of the legacy the prime movers of the past 106 years have left us. But it is this very legacy of honor and excellence that we must uphold if we are to fulfill our mandate as a graduate, research, and public service university.
It is also this very legacy that should make us exceedingly proud that we are from UP Los Baños. Our challenge now is how we can nurture and sustain this legacy of honor and excellence in the face of a rapidly changing and competitive global environment. Nevertheless, let us not forget that when we tread the path to a great UP Los Baños, we are doing it to serve the Filipino nation and humanity. Yes, we endeavor to produce globally competitive students—those who can survive and thrive in the international arena. But we also expect them to remain nationalistic and make valuable contributions to national development. Yes, we will prepare and produce exceptional graduates. But we will mold them to have humanist souls and entrepreneurial spirits so that they might become instruments in promoting inclusive growth.
And that is perhaps what should be our greatest source of pride: the capacity and enthusiasm to serve. We need not look too far away when the UP Oblation is within our midst. May it continue to remind us of what our reason for existence in the University is.
In the end, maybe it’s true that I think therefore I am… from UP. But to pride oneself in this is rather self-serving, wouldn’t you say? On the other hand, there is no pride quite like committing ourselves to honor and excellence in the name of nation building.
I serve therefore I am…
Thank you very much, and let us all work together toward becoming a globally competitive graduate and research university contributing to national development!
 Title of UPLB Research, Development, and Extension Program 2014-2016
 Farace, Monge, and Russell (1977)
IN BROAD STROKES: November-December 2014
Reaping victories and establishing linkages: a great way to end 2014
Significant developments welcomed us in our first two months in office. First of all, UPLB’s BS Biology program finally received its certificate of accreditation by the ASEAN University Network Quality Assurance System. The accreditation signifies that our BS Biology curriculum adheres to international academic standards, and that it is on par with biology programs from other leading ASEAN universities within the network. Congratulations to the Institute of Biological Sciences on this accomplishment! Meanwhile, two other programs, namely: BS Development Communication and BS Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering have undergone the evaluation process for accreditation to the AUN-QA.
The year ended on a high note with many of our faculty members and researchers being added to the UP Scientist title recipients from UPLB. New appointments were announced at the awarding ceremonies at the Executive House in UP Diliman on Dec. 16. All in all, we now have 39 faculty members and researchers who have current UP Scientist appointments under the UP Scientific Productivity System, an incentive package aimed at supporting science and technology development and encouraging and rewarding scientific productivity in the UP System.
Another piece of good news is the PhP 5.0 million grant from the DENR-ERDB that was given to us after the Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve was declared as an ASEAN Heritage Park. The amount will be used to conduct activities and programs that promote the MMFR as a heritage park.
Meanwhile, the efforts of the University to consolidate and control its resources have finally paid off with the approval of our application by the National Water Resources Board to exploit or tap the underground water at the Quezon Land Grant. The grant of water rights to UPLB will enable us to engage water users and make this resource a potential revenue generating source of the University.
As far as collaborative efforts are concerned, the period has been a productive one. We entered into an agreement with the ANFLO Management and Investment Corporation (ANFLOCOR) for the College of Agriculture to offer off-campus graduate programs in Panabo City in Davao del Norte. ANFLOCOR will donate land, construct buildings, and provide other facilities for the proposed UPLB campus.
Another collaborative effort of UPLB with UP Diliman and UP Visayas is the inter-CU offering of the Professional Masters in Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management (PM-TMEM). In UPLB, courses under the PM-TMEM are offered at the College of Forestry and Natural Resources and the School of Environmental Science and Management to students specializing in watershed management. The course was developed with funding from the USAID.
During the period, we hosted several visitors to the University - representatives of academic institutions who came here to explore the possibility of implementing academic cooperation and partnership with UPLB. Our visitors were from the Michigan State University, Surabaya National University, Australian National University, Miyazaki University, Nagoya University, and the Ehime University.
We also hosted a large delegation of 3,390 athletes from 12 state colleges and universities from Region 4 with the holding of the STRASUC Olympics in UPLB. It was not without hitches, but these are valuable for being instructive in handling future events of this kind. The over-all champion in the STRASUC was the Palawan State University while UPLB placed sixth.
With the year 2014 brought to a close with all these accomplishments and recognitions, we face 2015 full of anticipation and confidence that with this new year ahead of us, we have been given another clean slate on which to write our future accomplishments and recognitions.
Good Morning and Happy New Year to all!
I hope you all come refreshed from the holiday break and energized to face the start of the year this January.
Some scholars believe that January, the first month of the Roman calendar, was named after Janus, the Roman God whose images has two faces. One face of Janus looks back at the past and the other heads to the future. While we are not believers of this Roman God, the myth of Janus reminds us of the dual disposition we have every New Year.
We look back to review the year behind, cherish its memories, and learn from its challenges and mistakes. At the same time, a part of us looks forward to the future. Janus is the Roman God of beginnings and transitions; in the same way that January brings us a chance to start anew.
Though full of anticipation, beginnings can also be daunting. Kalimitan mas mahirap magsimula, at kapag bago, mas maraming paghahanda. A new beginning demands that we work harder so that we surpass previous achievements, correct past blunders/mistakes, set new directions and face new challenges.
Just a quick throwback since I became Chancellor only last November. In the last two months of 2014, we had to reorganize various offices with both fresh and old faces—all dedicated to serve the university. Early on, we had to address critical concerns including promotions, the big STRASUC event, and campus security, among others.
But alongside these, UPLB units and personnel bagged academic awards, reaped international accreditation, passed new programs and collaborations with international universities. I thus take this opportunity to convey to all of you – from our officials to our administrative personnel: I am proud and grateful for your tireless commitment to delivering your best despite the odds.
These things that I have witnessed in almost two months of office demonstrate that UPLB remains a resilient institution. Challenges will continue to confront us but difficulties will only increase our commitment to hone our students, embark on ground-breaking research and serve our communities.
Such is only possible because all of us in UPLB work together to move forward. I am sure there will be differences in perspectives and ideas about what should be done and how we should do things in the campus. This is part of diversity of minds we have in UPLB. We may disagree but respect and collegiality will prevail. We may work in different circles but I have no doubt that a common goal will bind us. We all love this university – our UPLB. We all want our students, personnel, facilities and programs to be the best. We all want UPLB to live up to its commitment to honor and excellence.
As we go back to our offices this 2015, I ask for your support. We will have to institute changes within our systems and even in ourselves to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and integrity in our service. Just like the two perspectives of the Roman God Janus, I hope that we will keep ourselves open to learn from old ways, but if necessary unlearn or abandon previous practices; we will stock take and draw lessons from our experiences in order to completely and boldly face UPLB’s bright future.
“The best/good leaders will say what it is to be done and then leave you to apply your own methods to provide results.”
So I call upon all of you to be leaders in our respective fields and offices…
We will continue to work hard to serve our university better. I hope I can count on all of you.
Muli, magandang umaga at mapagpalang bagong taon sa ating lahat!