In a Help Desk Announcement last July 9, the DLSU Office of the President formally announced the appointments of Dr. Robert Roleda as the new Chancellor and Dr. Merlin Suarez as the new Vice Chancellor for Academics (VCA). Both of them will assume their respective positions starting September. Dr. Roleda is currently the VCA while Dr. Suarez is the incumbent dean of the College of Computer Studies.
Dr. Roleda was appointed as the new Chancellor following the anticipated retirement of Dr. Gerardo Janairo, the current Chancellor, from administrative responsibilities starting August 27. As stated by Dr. Janairo in an interview with The LaSallian, DLSU strictly enforces the mandatory retirement age of 60 for members of the administration. “So I have to step down. That’s how it is in the administration,” Dr. Janairo expresses.
The search for a new Chancellor, however, did not require the creation of a search committee anymore, since Dr. Janairo has already interviewed qualified possible candidates for the position of Chancellor.
“Since it was only two years ago that a list of qualified possible candidates was presented to me, and I had interviewed the persons on that list, I requested permission of the Board of Trustees (BOT) during its meeting last March 14 to forego the formation of the Search Committee,” Dr. Janairo states in a June 6 announcement. “I also explained that the past two years had given me the opportunity to become acquainted with qualified possible candidates within the University. I added that I did not intend to consider anyone from outside the University for this position. The Board graciously granted my request.”
On the other hand, the search for a new VCA required the creation of a search committee led by the current Chancellor. Prior to the appointment of Dr. Suarez as the new VCA, the Office of the Chancellor opened nominations for the VCA through a June 9 Help Desk Announcement.
According to the announcement, the VCA “must possess integrity, a clear vision for the University, and must have demonstrated management capability, effective interpersonal and communication skills, and commitment to Lasallian values.” Also considered were active participation in organizations, tenure, administrative experience, and the possession of a doctorate degree.
Nominating a new VCA
The VCA is the chief academic officer of the University responsible on leading academic programs and promoting new programs and educational changes. According to Dr. Janairo, the selection of a new VCA is stipulated in the administrator’s manual. The search committee that was formed comprised of a University fellow, the outgoing VCA, and the Chancellor Emeritus. Each were represented by Dr. Raymund Sison, Dr. Robert Roleda, and Dr. Carmelita Quebengco AFSC, respectively.
The search committee is in charge of collecting the names and data of the nominees, and communicating with them if they would accept the nomination. Moreover, the committee is in charge of evaluating and creating a ranked shortlist of nominees based on the said criteria. After the Chancellor assesses the shortlist, he will then select from the list and recommend a nominee subject for the approval of the President.
Once received, the President would consider the recommendations and assessments of the search committee and the Chancellor before approving the nominee. Once a candidate is endorsed by the President, he will then send the proposed candidate to the BOT for confirmation. Dr. Janairo cites that the nomination and selection process took about 10 and three days, respectively, to be completed.
As for the administrator’s manual which consists of the selection processes within the administration, Dr. Janairo explains that the criteria and standards change every year. “The manual changes as the organization changes, but the very first manual is still there. Ever since La Salle was established, the manual has been there,” Dr. Janairo explains.
While not many are accurately informed about the role of the VCA, some students are aware of the tasks and functions of the said position. Ely Calderon (III, AB-OCM) reads emails from the Help Desk Announcement, and knows that the VCA is the one in charge of conducting various activities and handling pertinent issues related to academics. Some of these include the previous academic calendar shift and approval of the Lasallian Enrichment Alternative Program, among others.
“I think the VCA is important to the Lasallian community because, besides the USG, he also serves as the bridge for the Lasallian brothers to hear out the complaints of the students. The VCA also decides for the welfare of the students and professors,” Calderon expresses in Filipino.
On the other hand, Miguel Ravalo (I, AEF-MGT) shares his belief that the VCA is “one of the most essential roles in the university.”