The late Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC envisioned DLSU as an outstanding research university in the Philippines, encouraging innovation and development within the Lasallian community.
In creating a world-class research university, many factors need to be considered; one of which is the quality of enrollees admitted by academic institutions.
Maximizing student performance
College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Vice Dean Dr. Feorillo Demeterio III explains that Br. Andrew’s goal entails a need to recruit the best and the brightest students, from both public and private schools. He also believes that DLSU should exert more effort to acquire the best and the brightest in the country and aboard.
“It is very crucial that [our] students are very intelligent and are focused on their quest for knowledge. We also have to bear in mind that established research universities abroad that have more graduate than undergraduate students,” he points out.
“We can still pursue [Br. Andrew’s goal]as long as [our] undergraduate students are mature and are committed to perform and to undertake research,” Demeterio furthers.
Dr. Brian Gozun, Dean of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVR-COB), affirms the important role students have in forming a research university. “You might have bad facilities, but if your students are thinking creatively, if they are critical thinkers, if they think internationally, that becomes world class,” he says.
DLSU President Br. Jun Erguiza, explains that majority of DLSU’s student population comes from Metro Manila. The focused demographic, he believes, might hinder the University from using the student body in promoting research.
Br. Jun says, “We are not getting the best and the brightest. You need the best and the brightest to get your research [done].” He follows, “Student quality has not significantly declined, we just have not been able to raise student quality.”
“We also want students from the other sectors, from the lower class, from the public schools to increase…we want more [students outside of that bracket], students from outside Luzon and from different clusters. The more students who know more about [DLSU], [the higher the possibility that] we will be able to [get good students who can do research],” Gozun explains.
Demeterio shares similar sentiments with Br. Jun. “There are other more qualified students from the lower income brackets who cannot afford to be here,” he explains.
The Vaugirard initiative
One of the ways DLSU attracts prospective students is through scholarships.
One of the more ambitious scholarship programs geared towards achieving this goal is the Vaugirard Scholarship Program. The program is an initiative under the Student Financial Assistance (SFA) Office, which aims to provide 50 new scholarships annually to public schools graduates from different parts of the country. The initiative will be implemented next academic year.
Br. Jun says that only 12-13% of the student population recieves full scholarhip, and it takes about P1.5 million to support a student for 4 years. “We want to increase that [number],” he follows.
He justifies, saying “Even in our top 200 [DLSU-CAT passers], we are unable to get many of them. They go to the States, enroll in other universities, or go to UP because it is free. That is why we have to offer scholarships.”
Vaugirard is a location in France where St. John Baptist de La Salle founded his first novitiate.
A budding world-class research university
Becoming a world class university has always been the vision of DLSU, but the first fruits of the initiative have just taken effect.
Demeterio acknowledges that the University already has many of the necessary factors a world class university should have in check. “DLSU has very powerful infrastructure in terms of faculty member and in terms of research infrastructure. We offer formidable programs,” he explains.
Demeterio furthers that even with the aforementioned factors, DLSU’s [development] is still at its infancy. “The actual model of a research university that we are trying to follow is not yet in place; we are still in the process of conceptualizing how are we going to implement that European-Asian model of what a research university should be.”
He says that CLA is still in the stage of gradually introducing instructional models that encourage knowledge production from its professors, to aid the efforts of the University to reach its world-class goal.