3 running to be next UPD Chancy

As classes and work in UP Diliman transition back to a full face-to-face set-up, three candidates now vie to be the constituent unit’s next chancellor.

In the running to become the 12th UPD Chancellor are:

  • Former UPD Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo
  • School of Archaeology Professor Victor Joaquin Paz
  • College of Law Dean Edgardo Carlo Vistan

Fidel Nemenzo: ‘Inclusive, Smart, Sustainable and Interdisciplinary UPD’

Nemenzo’s agenda for UPD is anchored on academic excellence, community welfare, inclusive governance and campus sustainability.

He proposes the adoption of new modes of teaching and learning, the introduction of new degree programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels, the modernization of course content and delivery and the expansion of international linkages.

The latter includes upgrading and developing digital infrastructures used in the university such as the University Virtual Learning Environment (UVLe).

Nemenzo also plans on improving the services and facilities of the University Health Service (UHS). UHS renovations in the Diliman campus started in 2019. The renovated facility was inaugurated last January.

Mental health services were expanded during Nemenzo’s term with the initiatives such as PsycServ and the UPD Ugnayan ng Pahinungod. Should he be selected for a second term, Nemenzo says he will commit to institutionalizing PsycServ.

His term also saw the launch of the UP Diliman Gender Agenda, which had the inclusion of pronouns and lived names in the student profile module in the Computerized Registration System.

On pressing community issues, Nemenzo plans to coordinate with neighboring barangays and the Quezon City local government unit to address the situation of informal settler families living on campus.

Informal settlers in UPD continue to face demolition threats to give way for infrastructure projects created under then UP President Danilo Concepcion’s term. 

In 2020, authorities from the Department of Public Works and Highways demolished residences at Pook Village C where trees and houses were destroyed.

Residents at Pook Arboretum, a 50-hectare rainforest situated within UPD property, were also displaced as the UP Board of Regents also in 2020 approved the conversion of 9.5 hectares of the protected forest area for the construction of the Philippine General Hospital – Diliman.

Nemenzo’s vision paper also touched on providing campus-wide transportation and incorporating green spaces in the campus environment.

In January, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs released a memo restoring the pre-pandemic public utility jeepney routes on campus for the second semester of the current academic year. 

In 2021, Nemenzo’s administration launched sustainability initiatives which include policies on the reduction of plastic waste on the campus.

Nemenzo served as UPD Chancellor from March 2020 until 2023. His term was centered on the university’s COVID-19 response and the strengthening of research and development.

Read more about Nemenzo’s plans here.

Victor Joaquin Paz: ‘Enhanced and Progressive Tatak UP with and for the Community’

Paz hopes to enhance and innovate methodologies and policies within the university. He aims to “transform existing cultures” in Diliman by aligning with the system-wide vision of a global university. 

In his plans for the welfare of his constituents, Paz noted that quality assurance must be approached “institutionally” in reviewing the different policies in the university. 

According to Paz, among the policies to be reviewed are the academic calendar, the registration system and admission policies.

In 2021, the UP System waived the annual UP College Admission Test due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For three years, the pen-and-paper test was suspended, only to be reinstated in June this year for UPCAT 2024. 

With regards to the housing policies, Paz says he aims to provide access to “affordable” accommodations for his constituents, students and employees alike, to ensure a “better campus space.” 

Earlier this academic year, students scrambled to avail housing accommodations on-campus as UPD announced the return of face-to-face classes. 

READ: Short-notice F2F classes sends UP students scrambling for dorms

In addition to these plans, Paz also emphasized the need for UPD to connect with the community. He added that he wants to simplify the “excessive bureaucratic paperwork that hampers productivity in all sectors of the community.” 

Connected to this, Paz said, are the issues of employee regularization, tenure and promotion of faculty and staff within the campus.

In January 2023, several colleges pointed out irregularities in the selection process and the results of the One UP Professorial Chairs and Faculty Grants. Colleges such as the College of Mass Communication, College of Arts and Letters and College of Science called for transparency in the screening and selection process of applicants. 

Paz also aims to increase the number of local research journals to produce “data, information and knowledge.”

Paz started serving the university as a lecturer in the Department of History in 1987 before he became director of the then Archaeological Studies Program in 2002. He is currently a professor at the UP School of Archaeology and chairman of the University Hotel Board of Overseers. 

Read more about Paz’s plans here.

Edgardo Carlo Vistan: ‘Leading UPD’s Holistic Formation’ 

Vistan envisions the campus, together with its individual constituents and communities, to undergo a “holistic formation” under his term. 

He aims to do this by ensuring the quality of education and research in Diliman as well as improving UPD’s engagement with other institutions within and outside the UP system. 

In his vision paper, Vistan enumerated his goals for the university as “an institution of learning and research.” Among these goals are elevating the quality and relevance of research, nurturing the arts and innovating teaching and learning.

Vistan says he hopes to achieve these goals through consultations with various units and sectors within the campus. If selected as chancellor, he aims to conduct dialogues in his first few weeks to “share where we want to bring UP Diliman in the short and long-term.”

To boost engagement with the faculty, Vistan aims to hold internal faculty exchanges, regular and active dialogues as well as mentoring and coaching programs. He also eyes to improve and update course contents and teaching techniques.

He also plans to strengthen linkages with other UP constituent units, as well as other government institutions through collaborations in programs and projects.

“If you help others achieve what they want, they will also help you achieve what you want,” Vistan said in his presentation during the public forum on March 20.

Vistan is currently the dean of the College of Law and heads the UP Law Center as well as the university’s Office of Legal Aid.

Know more about Vistan’s plans here.

Moving forward with the selection process

With Nemenzo’s term having ended on March 1, Professor Maria Theresa Payongayong has taken charge of the Office of the Chancellor.

Constituted as the Search Committee for the UPD Chancellorship are Dr. Louis Angelo Danao, Raymond Freth Lagria and Rex Sandro Nepomuceno as faculty representatives, Mikhail Amborse Aggabao as REPS representative, Eva Cadiz as administrative representative, Allanes Bagoso as student representative and Atty. Roberto Lara as the president’s representative, with Dr. Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete as its head.

After presenting their plans to the public on March 20, the nominees also held consultations with different sectors of the community. They also faced the student body yesterday, March 27, in a forum organized by the UPD University Student Council.

As part of the selection process, the search committee is set to submit a report to the UP Board of Regents (BOR) containing each nominees’ strengths and weaknesses.

The BOR will convene for the chancellor selection on April 3, Monday, after rescheduling from the original April 27 date.

Student groups have since condemned the revised schedule. In a protest action on March 24, KASAMA sa UP Chairperson Andrew Ronquillo said that there should be more time to scrutinize the nominees and express the community’s demands. 

Ang gusto sana natin masagot nila ang ating mga agam-agam at makahingi tayo ng commitment,” Ronquillo said.