The past year has been a rollercoaster of events, bringing both developments and challenges for the Lasallian community. With the beginning of a new year, The LaSallian looks back on the significant and memorable events that transpired in the University last 2016.
Myriad of challenges brought by K to 12
Prior to the full implementation of the K to 12 program in Academic Year (AY) 2016–2017, the University had to address several challenges which included the displacement of professors, curriculum changes, and finding means to cushion the impact of the K to 12 program.
One of the major solutions that DLSU implemented is the offering of Senior High School (SHS), which not only addresses the expected decrease in freshmen enrollment, but also provides jobs to displaced professors and establishes connectivity projects with DLSU’s partner high schools.
The decrease in freshmen enrollment in the University is caused by the additional two years required in the K to 12 program’s SHS. To lessen the financial impact of the low freshmen intake, DLSU decided to offer SHS within the University itself. The students enrolled in DLSU’s SHS will be automatically admitted to their preferred undergraduate programs, provided that they meet the academic requirements of their chosen program.
Meanwhile, the additional two years in SHS also caused some professors to have less academic workload, and hence, be displaced to other educational institutions. DLSU, however, exerted effort to provide teaching jobs for these professors under SHS. Today, several professors from various academic departments spend additional units teaching SHS students.
Students have also noticed the recent curriculum changes, such as new subjects being offered in certain undergraduate degree programs. For instance, a subject called Business Analytics is now being offered in the Decision Sciences and Innovation Department. These curriculum changes are being done in order to adapt to the growing academic needs of incoming college students from SHS. In SHS, students are already taking general subjects that previous college batches have taken in the past.
In The LaSallian’s September 2015 interview with Vice Chancellor for Academics Dr. Robert Roleda, he further explains that more than just offering new courses in light of the K to 12 program, the curriculum changes are being done in order to catch up with international academic standards. The Philippines is the last country in Asia to have adopted the K to 12 program.
Following the financial challenges that the K to 12 program entails, the Multi-Sectoral Committee on Student Fees is currently deliberating on a tuition fee increase (TFI) for AY 2017–2018. As of recent consultations with the University Student Government, the TFI will be based on various aspects such as the lean years, operational expenses of the University, and miscellaneous fees, among others.
In the following years, several ongoing projects are expected to be completed. Among the infrastructures included in the renovation programs are the Br. Connon Hall, Student Arts and Wellness Center, Research Commons, Retreat Center, South Gate, student dormitory, classrooms, and restrooms.
Recently, in November 2016, a YouTube video was posted by the administration announcing the completion of infrastructure projects in the DLSU Science and Technology Complex (STC). These include the Dr. George S. K. Ty Advanced Instrumentation Building, Richard L. Lee Engineering and Technology Block, John Gokongwei, Jr. Innovation Center, and Track Oval and Football Field.
According to Vice Chancellor for DLSU-STC Dr. Gil Nonato Santos, all three buildings are already finished, and the focus now is on finishing the interiors. The interiors of the Advanced Instrumentation Building and Engineering and Technology Block are intended for instrumentation facilities, while the interiors of the Innovation Center are intended for game development facilities with Ubisoft, which the University has recently partnered with.
Dr. Santos explains that the recent developments are being made to establish DLSU-STC as “the next Silicon Valley in [Southern Luzon] and a leading private science high school.” They conclude that the new buildings will be fully operational sometime in AY 2017–2018.
Research, accreditation, and awards
At the end of January 2016 and based on records from the Scopus-Elsevier database, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, DLSU was the most productive research institution in the Philippines last 2014 and 2015.
In a July 2016 interview with The LaSallian, University Research Coordination Office Director Dr. Feorillo Petronilo A. Demeterio III expresses that while it might be difficult for DLSU to transition into a full-fledged research university, he hopes that other parties like the government will further acknowledge and support research universities in the country.
Meanwhile, DLSU maintains its involvement in the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities. As of press time, eight programs hold a Level IV accreditation status, including the Accountancy, Business, Computer Science, Economics, Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Liberal Arts, and Science programs.
Last January 2016, the programs of BS Applied Corporate Management and BS Entrepreneurship were also granted the prestigious ASEAN University Network (AUN) Quality Assurance certification for having fulfilled the AUN requirements for quality assurance.
In terms of awards, 2016 was a good year for student competitions, as DLSU students bagged awards in several events like the National Model United Nations, 18th Inter-Collegiate Finance Competition, Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers National Quiz Contest, and Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration Moot, among others.
Last September 2016, DLSU also received a Highly Commended Distinction in the 2016 Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability Green Gown Awards–the only Philippine university to receive the award among finalists from Asia and the Pacific. The award highlighted the Center for Social Concern and Action’s (COSCA) coastal resource management project at Talim Bay, Lian, Batangas.
Joining the political discourse
In light of the extrajudicial killings and burial of former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani near the end of 2016, DLSU students gathered in solidarity for the numerous victims of the war on drugs and martial law. In a previous survey conducted by The LaSallian last December 2016, the students elicited contrasting responses and reactions to these events.
This was also a rare event wherein both the students and administration directly expressed their negative stance on a particular issue. The COSCA and Office of the Vice President for Lasallian Mission, in particular, actively coordinated with the students in organizing rallies near and beyond the campus.
Looking back, 2016 was a highly unpredictable year that involved both ups and downs. 2017 is possibly more unpredictable than ever, considering the constant and unstable changes being implemented under the Philippine government. With the fast-tracking of various policies and laws under the Duterte administration, only time will tell what direction the country will ultimately take in the following years.