BUILDING UE-CALOOCAN AS A WORLD-CLASS UNIVERSITY
I have known the University of the East as a big and prestigious private university since I was a college student in the later part of the 1950s. I never imagined that more than 50 years later, after serving the state university system in the country, I will serve one of its campuses, the UE Caloocan campus as Chancellor.
I started my service to the University on May 2, 2006 by holding a meeting with the officials of the campus, not only to get acquainted and know the composition of my management team, but also to share my vision or direction of UE Caloocan under my leadership. Within the context of the vision of UE “to providing quality and affordable education to the mainstream Filipino … to improve his social and economic status”, I expressed the direction through a vision for UE Caloocan campus as a world-class university for industrial science, engineering and technology education, business management and accountancy, and the arts and sciences. I believe UE Caloocan’s history of achievement, strong and dedicated faculty, modern library and IT facilities, classrooms and laboratories that are consistently being modernized and very supportive University administration, this vision for UE Caloocan is very much attainable. Such vision, however, can only turn into reality with a team working very hard together, and with the strong support and guidance of the university’s higher echelon.
Dr. Fedeserio C. Camarao
During the meeting, I cited some of the following strategies that shall be pursued to sustain the momentum of growth and to ensure the attainment of the university’s vision.
Continuous faculty and staff development.. The faculty must be motivated and encouraged to pursue a relevant advanced degree towards a masteral or doctoral level. They should be encouraged to pursue graduate work and training opportunities with the view to improving and upgrading their technical knowledge and skills, and their competencies in teaching and helping students to learn. It is also important to develop competency in designing and conducting research along their field of specialization. Their advanced degree or training will surely add value to the research function of the university, their competencies as expert in their respective areas of specialization.
Offering of relevant and demand-driven programs. The curricular offerings of the university must be reviewed and improved from time to time to ensure their relevance in terms of the employability of graduates and manpower needs of the economy. The offering of programs that are demand-driven and attractive to students because of local and international work opportunities. The massive investment of the university on instructional facilities to offer engineering and industrial technology also offers opportunity for expansion of the technical/technology curricular offerings following the “ladderized” scheme. This curricular scheme allow students to exit after two or three years to enter the world of work or to continue studying until finishing a relevant degree. The strategy to offer relevant and demand-driven programs is a sure way to enhance the university’s ability to help the mainstream Filipino to improve his social and economic status, and improve the institution’s contribution in nation building.
Accreditation and ISO certification of programs. A globally recognized indicator of excellence is accreditation of the academic programs of the university. This includes the practice of excellence in the trilogy function of instruction, research, and extension and community outreach, performance in licensure examinations, and meeting of standards in human and physical resources of the university, including the library, laboratories, and other instructional facilities. The ISO is also a globally recognized certification of excellence of the program or the organization as a whole. Hence, the university must strive to gain the highest level of accreditation, and if warranted, seek ISO certification.
Developing a culture of research, extension and publication. To be counted among the best institutions of higher learning, the faculty and other professional staff of the university must develop a culture of research, extension, and publication. This means that a good number of the faculty should be actively participating in conducting research, or packaging and providing extension services or transfer of knowledge and technology. On top of these activities, the same faculty members should have their intellectual outputs published in research or refereed journals, or in professional publications. In pursuit of this strategy, a research and/or extension director/s should be designated in the UE Caloocan campus to coordinate these academic functions and to complement the same offices in the main campus.
Continuous upgrading of instructional facilities. Side by side with the offering of relevant and demand-driven courses is the need to continuously upgrade instructional facilities. The upgrading process should include the improvement and air conditioning of classrooms, installation or provision of multi-media equipment; and upgrading the laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment for instruction and research purposes. This also include efficient maintenance and upgrading of the internet access including the extension of this service for evening students. Continuous upgrading of the relatively modern main library and the engineering library with new titles and professional journals is extremely important.
Improving delivery and quality of instruction. The immediate effect resulting from the consistent and dedicated implementation of the above-stated strategies should be visible in terms of improvements on instructional delivery. Faculty members with advanced degrees and nurtured to participate in the university’s function of research and extension is normally indicated in the accreditation of the various programs of the university, performance of graduates in licensure examinations, and employability of graduates. The improvement of instructional facilities should contribute in enhancing the performance of the faculty members in facilitating instruction. Likewise, it should promote improved student satisfaction and learning performance.
Improving performance in licensure examinations. A more concrete evidence and measure of improved delivery and quality of instruction is the performance of the graduates in licensure examinations. The students in accountancy and engineering which requires a licensure examination administered by the PRC should not only go through quality instruction and training, but also effective guidance and counseling, practice examinations, review sessions and other helpful educational interventions. Likewise, the policy of selective admission and retention should be enforced strictly to ensure that only the best students are allowed to continue the course.
Improving and expanding the infrastructure facilities. This includes the renovation of old buildings to provide adequate and conducive learning environment and the construction of new buildings for additional programs. The reopening of elementary and secondary curricula and the plan to offer additional courses that are relevant and demand-driven definitely require the construction of new buildings dedicated for these purposes.
The wide and open grounds at the center of the campus makes a very conducive environment for learning and sports development. This open space also makes the campus very beautiful specially if it is developed with appropriate ground or field sports facilities like an oval and softball diamond including appropriate landscaping of all open spaces in the campus. Additionally, the front gate along Samson road must be improved to make the façade and entry to the campus very proper, “catchy” and interesting to the public, particularly to future students. This will improve the visibility and “marketability” of UE Caloocan as a top-notch university. I am very sure that the result of this particular strategy in terms of increased enrolment and quality UE education will more than justify the substantial investment required.
Establishing and maintaining linkages and networks. Another important strategy to be adopted is the establishment and maintenance of linkages and networks of UE Caloocan. There is a need to establish linkages with business and industrial establishments, educational institutions, research and development institutions, NGOs, private and public organizations. Linkages with business and industry as well as private and public organizations ensure tie-ups in implementing on-the-job training or practicum of students and industry-emersion of the faculty. Likewise, tie-ups with business and industry help the university in identifying new programs and in improving and matching its current curricular offerings with the manpower needs of the world of work. Linkages with research and educational institutions also allows the university to have partnership in the planning and implementation of education and training programs, research and extension projects, scholarships, and other academic maters.
Forging closer ties and partnership with the alumni. One of the characteristics of great universities all over the world is their success in forging a very close tie-up with their alumni. Hence, while the UE as a whole has an alumni association, it is imperative that UE Caloocan must organize the campus alumni as a chapter of the major UE Alumni Association (UEAA), to be known as UE Caloocan Alumni Association (UECAA) or the UEAA-UE Caloocan chapter. The UECAA should be organized and nurtured as a chapter of the UEAA which shall serve and function as partner of UE Caloocan on all alumni matters supportive to the growth and development of the campus as a world-class university in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.
Concluding statement. In conclusion, these strategies shall be the focus of all the efforts undertaken under my leadership as chancellor of UE Caloocan campus. I believe that these strategies will lead and transform UE Caloocan into a world-class university for industrial science, engineering and technology education, business management and accountancy, and the arts and sciences. This is a dream that will naturally attracts more students when it is fully realized, and that will enhance the fulfillment of the vision for UE to improve the social and economic status of the mainstream Filipino. The main task of the administration, is to provide the leadership that shall inspire the various stakeholders, especially the officials, the faculty members, the staff, the students, and the alumni to perform their respective roles in the various affairs and life of the university. But the realization of the vision is only possible with the blessings of the God Almighty, and the wholehearted cooperation, commitment, and hardwork of all the stakeholders of the university.