“Who knows, someday soon, UPLB might just come up with a Nobel Prize winner.”
This was how UP Regent Francis Laurel encouraged the UPLB Research, Extension, and Professional Staff (REPS) in order to excel in their fields during the UPLB leg of the System-wide REPS consultation on Sept. 11.
In saying so, Regent Laurel echoed UP President Danilo Concepcion’s aspirations for UPLB that he expressed in a challenge made to the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) in 2017 for IPB to come up with a Nobel Prize-caliber research.
Regent Laurel said that the REPS are capable of bagging the prestigious global prize, given that resources will be available to them.
Access to more opportunities was among the welfare issues tackled during the consultation that was attended by around 400 UPLB REPS.
Dr. Patricia Arinto, UP Faculty Regent, said that a clear understanding of REPS’ role in knowledge creation and public service not only at UP but in the world is a key to address the sector’s inter-related concerns.
These include the call for a stronger recognition as academic staff, a more progressive career path, and involvement in UP governance.
“Why talk about the Nobel Prize?” Dr. Arinto asked. “[This is because] the University only has value to the extent that it can contribute to the growth of knowledge for all of humankind,” she continued, as she explained the contribution of the works of REPS to their fields and to society.
She also cited the need to conduct a REPS audit, to provide an enabling environment, and to come up with proper evaluation and target outcomes in order to help address the sector’s concerns.
Dr. Arinto also presented the initial recommendations of the UP System AdHoc REPS Committee that she chairs and that reviews and crafts proposals for the welfare of REPS.
Among these are standardizing the interpretation and implementation of existing policies and guidelines; creating the REPS Personnel and Fellowship Committee; and representing the REPS in the BOR.
Dr. Rex Demafelis, vice chancellor for research and extension, acknowledged the efforts of the past and present UPLB REPS Committees in upholding REPS welfare, such as the suspension of the “Up or Out Policy” and the approval of the tenure guidelines.
He also cited the initiatives of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension in developing relevant databases and reporting and evaluation tools for REPS.
In the afternoon session, Dr. Fidel Nemenzo, vice chancellor for research and development of UP Diliman (UPD), introduced the REPS Development Fund, a program that is unique to UPD, and which UPLB is benchmarking to craft its own policies.
The recently reorganized UPLB REPS Welfare Committee is pushing for a funding mechanism for UPLB REPS’ studies and research dissemination.
Ricardo Amiel Reveche, head of the Employee Benefits Section of the Human Resources Development Office, discussed the leave benefits that the REPS may avail of for themselves.
Gracing the event were Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr.; Dr. Portia Lapitan, vice chancellor for academic affairs; and Glenn Lubuguin, assistant to the vice chancellor for research and extension.
UPLB currently has 509 REPS in its workforce. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)