CommRes prof sits as new CMC dean

Communication Research (CommRes) Professor Fernando Paragas was appointed on Feb. 24 as the 10th Dean of the College of Mass Communication (CMC) by the UP Board of Regents.

As the lone dean nominee, Paragas envisions a “Caring Community of Communicators” in his three-year plan, aiming for a more attentive college towards mental health concerns and remote learning woes. 

His plan also seeks to improve promotion metrics for CMC employees, review registration policies for student formations and strengthen collaborations with the Student Council (CMCSC).

READ: Unopposed CMC dean nominee bares “caring community” plan for Maskom

Paragas’ deanship will see the Maskom community in its transition to limited in-person classes and persistent defiance of state attacks against the press and academic freedom.

As the new dean starts his term, college department heads, together with the CMCSC, have extended their support. 

CommRes Department Chair Randy Solis congratulated their alumnus, noting his exemplary leadership and achievements within and outside the academe.

“Dr. Paragas is a true embodiment of excellence that we strive for in the college and UP,” Solis told TNP. “These are but a small fraction of the excellence that Dr. Paragas inspires in all of us. And so, the college is looking forward to exciting times ahead under his leadership.”

UP Film Institute Director Professor Robert Rownd also expressed his congratulations, saying that he was impressed by Paragas’ ideas and candor. 

He added that the new dean “seems to have a very good understanding of where CMC is as we come out of extended remote learning.”

Meanwhile, Professor Daphne-Tatiana Canlas, Chair of the Broadcast Communication Department, hopes that Paragas’ “overarching philosophy of care” will guide the CMC community towards the new normal.

Professor Rachel Khan, Officer-in-Charge of the Journalism Department, believes that Paragas’ “international experience and professionalism will benefit the growth of the College.”

The CMCSC also welcomed Paragas’ appointment, hoping that he will help campaign for ‘Ligtas na Balik Eskwela’ and the institutionalization of the UP-DND Accord, two of the biggest issues confronting Iskolars today.

The council called on the new dean to heed the Maskom students’ five-point demand, including the implementation of academic ease and the junking of the Faculty-Student Relations Committee (FSRC) Manual and Freshie Recruitment Ban (FRB). 

Guidelines under the FRSC manual, created in 2001, restricted the activities of student formations in CMC. The college administration has since revised this with the Sub-Committee On College Registration of Student Organizations, but the pandemic halted its implementation.

Meanwhile, FRB is a provision in UP Diliman’s 2012 Code of Student Conduct that hinders first-year students from joining campus organizations, fraternities and sororities.

The CMCSC also urged Paragas to recognize Tinig ng Plaridel as the official student publication of the college. 

“Tungo sa isang caring community of communicators, kailangang dinggin ng bagong dekano ang panawagan ng mga estudyante at siguruhing well-consulted ang bawat estudyante, fakulti, at staff sa bawat polisiya or desisyon na ipapatupad ng kolehiyo. ” CMCSC Chairperson Kjoy Adriano said. 

Paragas will serve as dean until 2025, succeeding former dean Arminda Santiago who has served since 2019. 

Prior to his deanship, Paragas headed the CommRes Department from 2006 to 2007. He also led the college’s Graduate Studies Department from 2015 to 2019. 

With reports from Mon Caling