By Alliah Czarielle Guerra and Celine Isabelle Samson
Nominees vying to be the next chancellor of the University of the Philippines Diliman began their campaign in a series of public fora on Jan. 23 at the National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education Development (NISMED) Auditorium.
One session was held in the morning for faculty members while two sessions in the afternoon were conducted for the Administrative Staff and REPS and for students and alumni.
The nominees addressed a number of key concerns in the campus, such as the insufficient residence halls and important facilities, the Socialized Tuition Fee Assistance Program (STFAP) bracketing scheme, efficiency of the registration system, academic and athletic performance of students, on-campus cleanliness, and sexual harassment, among others.
Three sessions were held for faculty members, administrative staff, and for students and alumni, respectively.
Out of seven nominees, six made it to the final list:
- Dr. Patrick Alain Azanza, Corporate Secretary and Vice President for Business Operations of the Eclaro Group of Companies
- Dr. Sylvia Claudio, Director of the UP Center for Women’s Studies & Professor in the College of Social Work and Community Development
- Dr. Roger Posadas, Professorial Lecturer at the Technology Management Center
- Prof. Nestor Rañeses, Assistant Vice President for Administration, Director of the Institute of Small Scale Industries & Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering & Operations Research
- Dr. Caesar Saloma, incumbent UP Diliman Chancellor and Professor at the National Institute of Physics
- Dr. Michael Tan, Dean, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy and Professor of Anthropology
All six nominees were present during the fora; however, Posadas only attended the morning session. According to Dr. Mark Albert Zarco, head of the search committee, Posadas requested to be excused in the afternoon for a prior appointment with his ophthalmologist.
“There is no rule that disqualifies a nominee if he [or] she is unable to attend any of the public fora, or come to the interview. As such, Dr. Posadas’ name is still included in the official list of nominees. However, his inability to attend the two public fora will just be noted in the report of the search committee to the president,” added Zarco.
The nominees’ curriculum vitae and vision papers are also available online.
UP and global rankings
Rañeses placed emphasis on academic excellence as the university’s foremost pursuit.
He said one of his top goals if chosen for the position is to bring UP among the top 3 ASEAN universities and top 100 global universities. As of 2013, UPranks ninth and 380th, respectively.
Rañeses also aims for UP to be in the top 20 Global University Green Ranking by 2016. As of 2013, the De La Salle University in Dasmariñas and Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan are the only Philippine universities on the list.
Tan, meanwhile, urged UP to “go beyond resting on laurels,” and instead live up to its mandate as a national university. He said he would focus on creating a safe, interconnected and nurturing environment that will enable students to shape the world around them.
Incumbent Chancellor Dr. Caesar Saloma spoke about improving campus facilities, and said he would also push for the implementation of the drafted 2012 Code of Student Conduct.
The 2012 Code of Student Conduct aims to “provide the institutional parameters within which student activities can flourish.” It also prescribes the procedures for cases of student discipline.
Issues on the STFAP
Pointing to the recently-approved amendments to the STFAP, Claudio said she does not think UP was ready to let go of the alphabetical bracketing scheme created in 2006.
Times have changed, she said, and it is more important for UP to maximize the subsidy it receives from the state.
Claudio also expressed concern about the profile of students, citing the case of the UP College of Medicine where she experienced a fixed fee being charged, leading to a decline in the number of low-income students.
“Noong nagpunta ako sa College of Medicine, doon ko naisip na baka mali siguro ang one fee for all, kasi yung mga graduates ng College of Medicine, yung klase namin, kaunti lang yung natitirang [from low-income families] (I went to the College of Medicine and it was there when I thought that perhaps it was wrong to have one fee for all students. In our class, only a handful of the College of Medicine graduates came [from low income families]),” she said.
Azanza, meanwhile, called the STFAP “undemocratic,” stating that it does not give UP students true access to quality education.
Saloma, whose term ends on March 1, cited the new policies regarding the STFAP, which were implemented in the previous year. He said that ideally, there should be no student denied the right to education due to financial incapacity.
Zarco said incumbent Vice President for Public Affairs Dr. J. Prospero de Vera III, whose name originally appeared on the list of nominees, wrote to express his desire to decline his nomination.
Zarco, who chairs the search committee for the chancellorship, is a senior faculty member of the Institute of Civil Engineering. The members of the committee are:
- Dr. Gil Jacinto, Professor, Marine Science Institute, College of Science (Senior Faculty)
- Dr. Aldrin Lee, Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (Junior Faculty)
- Dr. Ma. Corazon de Ungria, DNA Analysis Laboratory Head, Natural Sciences Research Institute, College of Science (Research, Extension and Professional Staff)
- Mr. Noel Marquina, President, All-UP Workers Union (Administrative Staff)
- Ms. Marie Catherine Alcantara, Law student (Students’ Representative)
- Dean Jose Camacho, Jr., UP Los Baños Graduate School (UP President’s Representative)
The nominees are scheduled to undergo interviews with the search committee on Jan. 30. The committee’s comments will then be forwarded to the Board of Regents by Feb. 10 for evaluation and appointment.
Republic Act 9500, the UP Charter states that chancellors act as chairpersons of the highest academic bodies in their respective constituent universities. According to the UPD website, “[t]he Office of the Chancellor is as the executive office of Diliman and supervises campus operations through the related offices of the Vice Chancellors.”
The next chancellor shall serve a three-year term from 2014 to 2017.