News and Current Events
Posted on 2011-09-21 •
Board of Trustees, VPAA Lenie Landicho, Dr. Homer Refuerzo, VP for Theological Studies, The College Deans and Department Heads, Faculty and Staff, my beloved Students, Parents, Friends, and the whole Wesleyan Community.
Let me first confess that I was a bit hesitant to allow this king of a convocation to take place, which by all measures seem to be an activity focused on me as the OIC President of this, our beloved university. I was thinking that being just an Officer-In-Charge, I thought I should not be given much attention as my stint here is only temporary and that I am serving as such only for a particular and special purpose. But it was pointed out to me that as a tradition, I have let you this convocation happen and I have to face and address you all. Well then, I said, I suppose I had no other choice. I was saying to myself that all I just wanted, was to be remembered for what I would be doing for Wesleyan University, rather than for I am, meaning, the work than the person. Please pardon me for having entertained that thought, for I honestly personally prefer that I jus work on the sidelines, with no fanfare, and just focused on the job I have to do.
Anyway, be that as it may, and having said that, let me now welcome you all to this one and only Autonomous University in Nueva Ecija. And in behalf of the governing Board of Trustees, may I extend to all of you the same warm reception, especially to the first year or transfer students (ask them to stand). Thank you for choosing Wesleyan University-Philippines.
STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY
And so, for my time with everyone here today, allow me to brief you on what I’ve done so far, and what I intend to do coming into this school year.
- Let me first acknowledge the fact that I would not have been here today had it not for the decision of President Manuel Palomo to take a leave of absence, in order, as he said, to pave the way for a new leadership to try to apply some, perhaps, different methods in finding solutions to the university’s fiscal difficulties. Having served WU-P for quite some time, as a Board member then, and as Chair since last year, I have to admit that Wesleyan University has become close to my heart. But the offer of the Presidency, even on a temporary basis, made me spend some long reflective moments. What made me finally decide to take up the challenge is my ardent desire to see the University move along and continue its legacy of providing quality education to the people especially of this great province of Nueva Ecija. I know that many look up to the University as the bastion of academic excellence and the roles in business and government not only here in our country but even in the international community.
- After having served for exactly two months now, I can, with humility declare to the whole Wesleyan community, that I believe I have immediately arrested the crippling condition that has beset our university. To paraphrase a doctor doing emergency procedure to a seriously wounded patient, let me, with joy in my heart, declare that the University is now out of danger and on the way to recovery. I think I have turned around the fiscal situation, and the resulting effect of this that I have now ordered the application of Basic Compensation Scheme to all employees who have not yet undergone this system of classification and the consequent salary adjustment. This happy development was made possible thru the combined efforts of the Board of Trustees, in approving the reorganization; by the Deans and the Department heads, who because of their love for the University have graciously accepted the appointments as such, and cooperated wholeheartedly in the streamlining of our personnel; and the whole faculty and staff, ably represented by the Union, for their understanding and support for my leadership that has resulted in an atmosphere of industrial peace and goodwill. To all of you, I say “Thank You”, and that comes from the bottom of my heart.
- But this is just the initial phase of what needs to be done. Next perhaps will be the review and re-structuring of the basic constitutional documents that have crafted the charter of this University. It is about time that the relationships with the sponsoring institution, i.e., the Church, and all other stakeholders should be defined and made clear to everyone so that we do not lose sight of what must be the most important concern of all – the full development, growth, and maintenance of the academic and educational programs and mission of the University. I intend to call a Summit of all the stakeholders during this school year with the objective of finding the most healthy and amiable agreements that should govern the relationships without compromising the independence and the academic freedom of the university.
- Corollary to this would be the adaption of our long-, medium-, and short-term master development plans. I understand that we are already in the process of developing our five-year development plan. I hope that we can finish this and have it presented for deliberation and eventual approval by the Board of Trustees the soonest possible time.
- Of course, these are all being done because I, and this administration, believe that Wesleyan University – Philippines must by all means be catapulted back to its position as the premiere and the best educational institution not only in Nueva Ecija but in the entire Central Luzon or Region III area. We can boast of this claim because as we have always been proudly saying that we are the only autonomous university in the area. Our programs on Education, Liberal Arts, and Business Administration have again just been granted Level III accreditation. Our other programs, specifically on Accountancy, Nursing, and Pre-school, will also be subjected to another round of accreditation and I am truly confident that they will all be approved. Because of this, what we are now aiming for is to shoot for the next higher accreditation status.
- Our instruction takes care of curriculum design and their relevance to societal formation with its curricular programs that prepare our students to life after graduation. A review of curricular enrichment and enhancement was started last summer and syllabi updating was done and implemented this school year. For SY 2011-2012, CHED has already approved the re-opening of BS Nutrition and Dietetics under the College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. We will be the only school in Nueva Ecija that would offer this program. Likewise, the College of Arts and Sciences is currently preparing the requirements for the offering of BS Psychology program to take effect in SY 2012-2013. The Graduate School has been granted approval by CHED to offer Ed. D. major in Educational Supervision and Master of Arts in Education major in Instructional Design and Technology.
- To date, we have adequate provisions for the imperatives of education. For one, we have for sure one of the best Libraries of any educational institution. Ours has more than 51,000 library holdings, with current and latest book editions, internet facilities, and spacious, clean, and cool place that is conducive to student learning. It also has multi-media rooms and internet cafes for state-of-the-art presentations and internet surfing especially for research purposes. Being the heart of any academic institution, please visit frequently our library as it is the seat of wisdom and knowledge.
- Community and Extension services play the role of making an impact in community life. It’s our advocacy to instill in the minds of every Wesleyanian to contribute for others’ welfare and well-being both in terms of financial assistance and service. This, too, could be our way of saying “thank you” and giving back to the people what they have generously given us through their continued patronage of Wesleyan education. To date, we have engaged in the grant of some livelihood programs such as production of salt, candy and peanut butter. We have adopted Barangay Kalikid Norte which is the only area on Nueva Ecija that produces mushrooms.
The Office of Student Affairs has started its involvement with the Gawad-Kalinga (GK) program, and I have just recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Ateneo de Manila University for partnership with Gawad Kalinga projects and activities.
- One area that needs to be strengthened however is Research. This is where we can cultivate the individual’s innovative and creative powers and allow an honest analytical exchange of ideas. We are in a very fast changing world. We should be educating our students for jobs that do not yet exist, that will use technology that has not yet been invented, to help solve problems that are yet to be encountered. As one survey result showed, the top 10 jobs in demand today, 2011, did not yet exist in the year 2000. We want Wesleyan University to be at the forefront of those pioneering and innovative approaches not only in the field of education but more so in the task of nation building.
Another area worth exploring into is the educational needs of the global workforce amidst the so many interplaying factors, among which are: the high cost of education, the availability of technology, the ability to deal with vast amount of information. Let us study the relevance and the need for distance or online education. I believe we are physically and academically prepared to launch ourselves into this pioneering adventure in this part of our country.
- Of course, we also welcome with gratitude and thanksgiving, the hosting of the Theological School of our church, the United Methodist Church. This is one concrete expression of our fealty and loyalty to the principal sponsor of this institution. We believe that with the housing of the Seminary in our compound, it would tremendously help in the nurturing of our cherished Christian values and teachings that should permeate the whole university community.
OUR GREAT FACULTY
But more than all of these, I believe the greatest asset of this university is its great Faculty. They serve as the front liners and they are those who are in direct contact with the students. They play the very important role of molding the youth and preparing them to be future leaders. Our great teachers are able to capture our imaginations, spark our interest, and push us a little further than we think we are able to go intellectually. Great teachers pose interesting, sometimes provocative questions; they encourage creative thinking. They offer constructive guidance that leads us to clear thinking. Teachers instill strong habits of mind. They teach us to be inquisitive, to be critical. We learn to ask questions, and we also learn which questions are important ones. Great teachers give students the courage not to accept the conventional wisdom blindly. They equip us with the tools of inquiry. These are the qualities and characteristics of the faculty of Wesleyan University. This kind of influence last a lifetime. Just ask our alumni! Almost every one of them has a story about his or her favorite teacher here. For many of our alumni, the favorite teacher is their strongest and most enduring connection to the University.
And to our dear student, this is my advice – please always bear in mind that Education is the greatest engine of development. It is through education that a daughter of a fisherman can become a doctor, that the son of a plant worker can become the owner of the plant, or that a child of a farmer can become the president of this country. Today, you join a university community created and bound by a commitment to lofty ideals, a community of scholars, dedicated to the pursuit of truth, knowledge and understanding, of character building, and service to humanity. Be enthusiastic learners, and as enthusiasm is infectious, infect your classmate and teachers with it. You must be curious, open-minded, and receptive to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Search for new knowledge in every corner of the university curriculum as if searching for hidden treasures in a big house. Be motivated to gain knowledge, for knowledge’s sake – not just as a means to an end, or as a resume-builder. Be committed to your work, and be prepared when you walk into your classroom. Be resilient so that you can overcome setbacks or discouragements.
THE HEART OF THE UNIVERSITY
After all have been said and done, there is only one way to describe a great university. It all boils down to a teacher-student relationship. It is the heart of every university. New technologies will come and go; today’s state-of-the-art will one day be obsolete; theories of pedagogy will fall in and out of fashion; but what will remain is the essential: the eager student working and learning under the careful guidance of a dedicated teacher. All of you students have teachers who will fix the destinies of your lives. I would to think that this gathering we have this morning is a celebration for our students and our teachers. I want all of you who come to Wesleyan University to go on to destinies of high promise. You who have gathered here today have begun that journey to reach your destinies. Let your teachers and mentors stand close by, showing them the way. I do hope that your stay here will transform your lives just as it has transformed the lives of many alumni.
And so, again WELCOME to Wesleyan University – Philippines. And Mabuhay!