Editorial: Back to basics

Optimism is the key word as the University enters the year ahead fresh from last year’s changes. The University ended the academic year ready for the first year of implementation of DLSU’s integration with the Science and Technology Complex, ironing out the preparations for K-12 and the construction of an integration academy. The campus renewal plan saw the finished retrofitting of the St. La Salle Hall and the improved functionality of the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall, and is now centered in St. Joseph, Br. Bloemen and William Hall, and the old Library building.

Three programs from GCOE were granted level IV PAASCU accreditation, and the new faculty development program began to take effect. Administration’s organizational structure saw the creation of new offices to reflect DLSU’s priority areas, with new administrators assuming responsibility.

It is a new year ahead, but a year not so fresh. Many of the University’s completed projects are carried over from past administration. The integration of DLSU-STC and the campus renewal plan were planned by a different set of administrators than the ones managing the projects today. The acquisition of Oracle’s Peoplesoft Enterprise Campus Solutions to replace the My.Lasalle system is another example of a previous administration’s resolution, only implemented and carried out this year.

Unfortunately, the new Oracle platform launched to manage enrollment for the first term was unable to foresee the difficulty in accommodating students, eliciting delay and severe backlash from the stakeholders involved. The planning involved with the server’s run may have been done in different circumstances, under different financial and operational constraints and conditions.

The University has changed, and the needs being met by past decisions may need re-consideration from administration as to whether or not past projects will still add value to what exists. Innovating the process and structure of the University is part of a long-term plan, and while it is difficult to upturn past commitments, the responsibility to justly assess said commitments is a responsibility that lies with the new set of administrators.

In his address to the University, Br. Ricky points out many new projects in store for the year. To maximize stakeholder involvement and improve research output he mentions the plans for developing the Lasallian Education and Research Nexus (LEARN); for improving DLSU’s community engagement efforts he names the framework DEEP (Daring for Enduring Engagement with the Poor). All these plans have their concrete targets and base themselves on the University’s core values, but they will need administrative will to be carried out successfully, and to do consolidate such will in accordance with the consensus of the stakeholders.

In assessing past decisions and the value of current proposals, administrators would do well to remember the value of stakeholder consultation in improving its processes before embarking on new projects and firsts. Where the vision for the University has been always to be a benchmark in higher education and a pioneer of firsts, incidences like those suffered in May this year may be pointing out that the University needs to re-examine its priorities and ensure that it maintains operational excellence, as per the standard it has set for itself.

The focus must be returned to providing the most basic function of a University – to educate, and educate in faith, service and communion. This above all should predominate the spirit in any of the University’s new projects, be it in terms of physical infrastructure or in the improvement of human capital.

But there is no reason to dampen the optimism marking the start of the year. It will be an exciting time ahead, to change what needs to be and improve on what exists. It is at this stage that, all the more, trust in administration might be reinforced if it consistently involves its stakeholders in the University’s key decisions and overall direction.

The LaSallian

By The LaSallian

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