If higher education were to be compared to a train, higher education institutions (HEI) must all be onboard by now in order to be globally compliant and competitive.
For UPLB, the process to get a seat on the speeding train has been long and tedious, but today University is more than ready.
According to Dr. Portia G. Lapitan, vice chancellor for academic affairs, the process started in 2015 with University Curriculum Committee meetings held every Monday to review the 28 baccaluareate programs of UPLB.
The revision process was done in response to the K to 12 Basic Education Program, ASEAN integration, the new General Education Program of UP, and in line with the paradigm shift to outcomes-based education (OBE) and UPLB’s commitment to quality assurance.
“I remember the members discussing then that the work at hand is monumental, a legacy for our beloved UPLB that we cannot afford to take for granted,” Dr. Lapitan said of the revision process. The work the curricular committees completed was subjected to a round of review by the Executive Committee of the University Council.
At the review, Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. emphasized the need to exhaustively examine the revisions to ensure that each will meet the necessary prescribed qualifications and to ensure that these are geared towards students’ enhanced learning and character building. “Only then can we confidently say that we have provided them with the necessary academic and social support that they need to be prepared in the real world,” he further said.
To address the need for the learning outcomes of courses under the 28 baccalaureate degree programs to be learner-centered, UPLB recently held the series of Training-Workshops on Outcomes-Based Education for Quality Assurance (OBE-QA).
Although not the first to be held on the topic in UPLB, it was unmatched in scale with all the faculty members participating, highlighting the University’s determination to be at par globally through quality assurance.
The training-workshop series, spearheaded by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and held starting May 24 and until July 3 at the Electrical Engineering Auditorium, focused on teaching the participants about outcomes-based learning objectives.
The seminar-workshop resource person, Dr. Greg Tabios Pawilen, is an associate professor at the Department of Human and Family Development Studies at the College of Human Ecology.
Dr. Pawilen, a curriculum studies and development expert, said that OBE is a “learner-centered paradigm” in higher education that is closely linked with QA. OBE is concerned with a university’s essential conditions and opportunities, which are ensured through QA mechanisms, in order to achieve the expected learning outcomes from students.
These learning outcomes, Dr. Pawilen said, must be clearly defined, organized, and directed in a learner-centered curriculum.
Dr. Pawilen discussed the principles of OBE, the OBE as a learner-centered curriculum design, and the OBE and ASEAN University Network (AUN)-QA standards for teaching learning and student assessment. In the workshop, the participants reviewed their teaching practices and syllabi’s compliance with OBE and AUN-QA standards.
In his message at the opening program of the OBE seminar series, Chancellor Sanchez expressed the need for faculty members to understand the significance, requirements, and processes of QA, as well as the role of OBE in QA.
Chancellor Sanchez said that as the country’s national university, UP is expected to serve as a model of higher education and excellence in the country. “As one of UP’s constituent universities, UPLB is determined to be an essential and significant contributor towards fulfilling UP’s duty,” he added.
OBE-compliance is part of an overall campaign of the University to be a globally competitive HEI. On the months prior to the seminar series, faculty members and officials revised UPLB’s 28 curricular degree programs for K to 12-alignment adopting the OBE philosophy.
These were initially reviewed at the Special Executive Committee Meeting Workshops at the Pontefino Hotel in Batangas City on April 12-14 and were finally approved by the University Council on its May 21 and 22 meetings.
Prior to this, five of the programs were assessed and certified by AUN-QA while other programs are now preparing to undergo the same process.
Today, it can be said that UPLB is well on its way to global competitiveness as all the hard work has earned it a seat on the global higher education bullet train. (Kristine E. Araguas, Agnes M. Mora and Ma. Arabella Caridad E. Ricarte)