Following his term as President of De La Salle Philippines (DLSP) and two years after his short stint as Chancellor of DLSU, Br. Ricky Laguda will officially take the post of President on June 16, 2012. Earlier this year, the Board of Trustees announced his appointment as the new President, amid Br. Jun Erguiza’s departure from office.
Br. Ricky plans to spend his first 90 to 100 days reacquainting himself with the University and hearing out the concerns of each stakeholder. “Although I was here last year, I feel I’m far removed from what’s happening in DLSU,” he explains.
Despite this detachment, Br. Ricky says he nonetheless stands by the ideal: that DLSU live up to St. La Salle’s standards.
According to him, he intends to see more students engage in the academic life in the school. He continues by saying that he wants to see students learn far beyond the setting of the classroom and be more actually engaged in the community. Br. Ricky wills the students to work to uphold the Lasallian values of faith, zeal of service and communion in mission.
Like his predecessor, Br. Ricky plans on focusing on DLSU’s goal of becoming a learning-centered research university.
He is eager to share his designs for LEARN (Lasallian Education and Research Nexus), his approach in aiding the University achieve its goal.
According to Br. Ricky, making sure that whatever the students learn goes through a process of thorough examination and inquiry is essential, as well as integrating learning and research into students’ vocation, and producing new knowledge.
He says that the essence of Lasallian education is when the students get the habit of learning and doing research at the same time.
In relation to setting DLSU on the right track to become a world-class research university, he points out that it’s the passion of the students and the faculty to learn more about their field and to do research that will drive the institution to be a world-class research university.
Br. Ricky is also planning for the development of the teaching staff; focusing on the continuous training of the faculty in facilitating a higher level of critical thinking. “You want teachers that can really ask hard questions to the students, and make them think.”
He explains that it should also make students more passionate about the things they like to explore.
Br. Ricky shares that there is a plan to increase the number of scholars in the University. According to him, an increase in the number of scholars is a must, and that the full scholarship target of 20 percent has to be achieved.
He says, “Right now, I’m not sure where we are; I think it’s between 12-14 percent. That’s why Br. Jun created certain programs and increased scholarship funds so that we could meet the target of 20 percent.”
“I would like to continue that… in the next two or three years,” he expresses.
Br. Ricky admits that pursuing such a goal would be challenging. He notes that at the end of the day, with regard to DLSU’s appeal to scholars and applicants, for instance, it’s the students who still make the decision whether or not to choose DLSU among the other universities.
He further explains that not many students, in looking for the best learning institution to go to, would research about the curriculum of DLSU and compare it to that of another university.
Concerning the increase in student population, Br. Ricky posits that to address the problem, “we must be strategic when we want to increase our student population.”
He says that it is important that the University knows which college should be increased in terms of the number of students.
Br. Ricky explains that much like his experience with DLSP, in uniting the different La Salle schools throughout the country, reconciling the needs of the different stakeholders within the University may pose as a significant challenge. He cites the students, faculty, administration, non-teaching staff, alumni and the parents as the different sectors in the University who need to be fused by the Lasallian mission, in order for the University to further develop.
He shares that he never expected to become the President of DLSU, and mentions that it’s not about his expectation about the job, but rather, it is about the expectations of those who appointed him and the Lasallians that he will work for, and serve.