Incumbent 73rd ENG Batch President Madeline Tee is set on securing the title of College President of the John Gokongwei Jr. College of Engineering (JGCE). With two consecutive years as batch president under her belt, the unopposed bet from Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) sits down with The LaSallian to share her initiatives and vision for the college.
The LaSallian: What part of your background do you think contributes the most to making you a capable College President for [JGCE]?
Madeline Tee (Santugon): I have been the batch president for two consecutive years ever since my freshman year. So I know the ins and outs of the University Student Government in the batch level. And right now, since I have worked hand in hand with several college presidents, I have gotten to know the processes and some of the problems and how we solve it as a college…Aside from that, I have also been active in other organizations outside the USG, which allowed me to hone my skills as a leader.
The LaSallian: We’re on the topic of your batch presidency, right. Maybe you’d have seen this coming. But well, you know, last year, you did face a controversy over allegations of forgery. How do you think that affected your image as a batch president and now as a candidate for college president?
Tee: For my part, it is not my position to explain the misunderstandings that have happened. But all I can say is that…the person who was related to the allegations confirmed and claimed that the signatures were indeed his. So it was a misunderstanding that’s happened. And I believe that though that allegation happened, it won’t stop me [from] pursuing my passion in serving the college.
The LaSallian: [We] just like to dwell on that part, because [we] want the readers to understand what might have happened, at least from your perspective. So are you saying there was no attempt at all to resemble any other person’s signature?
Tee: I would like to clarify that the allegations are not true. And there were no attempts to do that forgery since the person who is related to the case claimed that the signatures were indeed his.
The LaSallian: So what do you think did happen, then, that led to that? Why was there a misunderstanding as you’re implying?
Tee: I cannot speak [on] behalf of the other party involved…But all I can say is that for my part, there was some misunderstanding due to the process given. And there were some external factors that may have affected both of us that allowed the misunderstanding to happen.
The LaSallian: Moving away from your background, as a sitting USG officer, let’s talk about problems or concerns and the situation within your college. Now, what are some issues you observe in [JGCE]? And how do you think these can be addressed?
Tee: Being an Industrial Engineering student…I personally have experienced some of the problems, and I have consulted different batches and students on what problems that they have experienced so far. Right now, we are in the online setting. It’s a different scene for us…The problems that I have observed and collated from the students is the heavy workload…There’s a need to have a deeper learning and [to] make quality outputs. Aside from that, specifically for the ID 120s…they need proper guidance, and there’s a need to connect more with them so that they are properly guided in the ins and outs of DLSU…And lastly, the Gokongwei College of Engineering has a lot of scholars…And there are times that they struggle in terms of financial problems, Wi-Fi problems and when other calamities hit. So there’s also a need to focus on that part of their needs. So we cover everyone as a college.
The LaSallian: Those matters you raised up earlier…some of them are not necessarily college-wide, some of [them are] maybe at the course level, maybe just at the batch level…So as college president, will you be directly involved in addressing matters that are not necessarily felt all throughout the college and just in sublevels of the college?
Tee: Each batch must be given focus. So for the ID 120s that I have mentioned, I will give proper attention to them, since they need more guidance. And as for the other batches…I will be there to guide them, be a helping hand…[to] help them to address their needs, and allow us to act on it proactively.
The LaSallian: But does that mean they’ll be able to contact you directly and they won’t have to go through the entire bureaucracy of a college assembly or the college government?
Tee: That is more of an internal organization system, wherein I can assist them, wherein they can contact certain contact people, officers, let’s say. But they may also contact me. But there’s a design system for them to easily reach out to a lot of people wherein your concerns are collated. And then I would also be hands-on on the concerns, keeping track also along with the other officers.
The LaSallian: Now, on the matters pertaining to your college. So you’ve also talked about the one of the issues being workload for Engineering students because you said it’s very output-based. So what do you think, overall, of the workload that Engineering students do have in the online setup? And how do you think this could be improved on or if this could be addressed?
Tee: From what I can see, there are two kinds of workload [concerns]. First, it can be the quantity of workload, so the amount of papers that you’re required to do, amount of readings, amount of videos to watch. And another one is more on the quality, meaning the difficulty of the lessons. One of our platforms and services that we can offer is to proactively work on it by talking to the department heads [and] to the necessary people in the Gokongwei College of Engineering and address the concerns of the students.
The LaSallian: How would you specifically address this, especially since in [JGCE], there have also been issues where professors have been unresponsive. So how do you plan to specifically address these things and the external issues that force students to have a heavier workload?
Tee: It is actually one of our platforms…By addressing these issues through having feedback survey forms that are released, so that we can be able to connect more with students: they can just simply answer the form if they have any concerns. And not only that, they can be able to message to the official Facebook page of the Engineering College Government to connect more with the contact persons. As for the unresponsive professors that you have mentioned…what I plan to do [is] to proactively consult and talk to the professors so that we can establish a good relationship wherein we can simply address the concerns of the students to them.
The LaSallian: Since you’ve expounded on that, are you planning to lobby for academic reforms within your college?
Tee: As for the academic reform, the academic load [is] observably harder than before, since it’s all online. What I can lobby for is a slight ease of the workload so that the students are not overwhelmed. First, there must be appropriate surveys [that] rate the difficulty of the workload right now. Then, based on that, we can decide on how we can make proposals for the college.
The LaSallian: Speaking of reforms, now, we’ll focus more on student service reform. Are you planning any of these student service reforms for the college?
Tee: It is actually one of our platforms to provide accessible avenues for the students. I envision a project wherein it serves as a support center, a support place for the students where they can address the concerns through the applications [and] websites that we will be providing and streamline their concerns.
The LaSallian: So you’ve mentioned a lot of initiatives that you would like to have. So since everything is mostly online, how do you plan to encourage student utilization of the services within the college?
Tee: What we can do is to have good marketing of what we have in store for them. We will be visible online [through] the Facebook page and the other online pages that the students can easily see…Aside from that, we will also utilize the officers in the college government. It is very important to have good officers that are working, that are very passionate in what they do. And through that you can build on that by creating more visibility [and] more connection with the batchmates.
The LaSallian: With everything that’s been said, what is your overall vision for the college? And how do you plan to integrate that vision to your platforms and advocacies?
Tee: So I envision a college [that] is able to produce passionate engineers who are very empowered. Engineers who have awoken their passions…We will be doing that [through] accessible avenues…And through that, we can be able to produce empowered engineers who are very proactive to their passions…who are yielded, who are trained to be excellent engineers.