By under University.

Change keeps on happening.

Change seems to be the highlight of the recent span of events in the University. Lasallians say goodbye to the football field to make way for the Centennial building or the Henry Sy Sr. Hall. Retrofitting is underway for the St. La Salle Hall, DLSU’s most historic building.

Adding to the roster is a plan that has been recently opened for discussion. In an email to the college deans dated Oct. 29, Chancellor Br Ricky Laguda, FSC suggested that the University take a look at the prospect of making De La Salle Canlubang (DLSC), an extension campus for Colleges of Engineering, Science and Computer Studies.

Both DLSC and DLSU are members of De La Salle Philippines (DLSP), the network of the 17 Lasallian schools in the country. Furthermore, both schools are also headed by the same president, though they are separately incorporated.

DLSC, located at Biñan, Laguna beside the Laguna Technopark, offers to their grade school and high school pupils a curriculum inclined toward science and technology.

Furthermore, the higher education level offers programs on Information Technology, Management and Technopreneurship, Information and Communication Studies, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering.

DLSC sits on a 50,000-square-meter property, only around 6,000 of which are used by the campus. On the extreme contrary, DLSU crams 136,685.98 square meters, through its many buildings, into 54,500 square meters. Extending some of the colleges from Taft to Canlubang is a tempting solution to an existing clamor for space of the concerned colleges.

“The suggestion is not new; it has been there for about three to five years, or even more,” says Oscar Unas of the Faculty Association.

However, nothing has been made final with the plan. The College of Engineering, for example, has yet to make a stand after the matter has been discussed by each department and by its Council of Chairs, a body composed of the dean, vice dean, department chairs and vice chairs.

Double expansion

In an interview with The LaSallian, President Br. Jun Erguiza emphasizes on the tie-up he wanted to happen between the two schools.

Back when DLSP was still the De La Salle University System, DLSC, or the Lenadro V. Locsin campus, was the campus assigned to specialize in science and technology because of its proximity to Laguna Technopark. The idea of the System back then was to function as a multiversity, with each of the eight campuses having an assigned specialization.

DLSC then inculcated science and technology in the curriculum they offer to primary and secondary education students. They also offered science and technology intensive programs for tertiary education.

However, the science-oriented performance of DLSC has not been very competent over the past few years. Since DLSU also needs the space that Canlubang has, Erguiza, being the president of both schools, decided to establish a tie-up.

“DLSU has very good expertise and is renowned for its science, technology, computer studies, engineering,” says Erguiza. “However, it does not have much space; everything is congested.”

Erguiza sees that both campuses can exchange resources to help one another’s development. “Maybe we could look into making use of the place in Canlubang so that their science and technology campus will improve there, and DLSU can have space.”

Ongoing plans

Laguda and DLSC Chancellor Dr. Julius Maridable, former DLSU Vice Chancellor for Academics and Research, are already exchanging correspondence regarding the plans of the tie-up.

According to Unas, at this point, only zoning has been done at the Canlubang campus, as far as construction of physical facilities are concerned. Furthermore, Erguiza uses the metaphor of chicken and egg: you cannot have the facilities without the students, and vice versa.

In case some colleges decide that they have programs that are more appropriate to thrive in Canlubang than in Taft, the President will have nothing against it.

Erguiza furthers that the colleges and majority of their programs are not about to completely move out of DLSU since the Taft campus can currently handle whatever it has at the moment. However, further expansions in the DLSU 2401 address in Manila may already be inefficient for the students’ learning.

Setbacks

Unas suggests that if some programs will be transferred to DLSC, the University must have intensive study on its students, most especially their places of residences. While he believes that the school has excellent programs on computer studies and engineering, many students are after DLSU’s accessibility. “We might lose them to Ateneo, to be frank.”

Housing facilities, on the other hand, may not work for the students since this will only mean additional expenses for them. The freshmen students will have a difficulty with this since they are have to pay tuition in full at the first trimester.

Unas furthers that on the other hand, it will be easier to convince the faculty members with on-campus housing facilities.

Multi-specialized One La Salle

While the President prefers the DLSP set-up, because including all 17 Lasallian schools in one system is considered a further development, what he appreciates in the multiversity set-up of DLSU System is having each campus specialize in one area of expertise.

Erguiza even plans to have DLSU’s College of Science to also assist in the development of the agriculture and veterinary medicine programs of De La Salle Araneta.

Furthermore, several universities in the country have also executed this view of the multiversity. The University of the Philippines, for example, clustered all the medical programs at its Manila campus and all agriculture-related programs at its Los Baños campus. It can also be observed that Ateneo de Manila University has separate locations for undergraduate and graduate studies.

As a disclaimer, though, Erguiza highlights that facilities are not the most crucial aspects of education. “Facilities are all external supports—important but not as primary as student-teacher engagement.”