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Rector’s Report: UST is ready for change

“Ang daming nagtatanong sa akin kung bakit ngayon lang ako magrereport…sinabi ko na ito na ang tamang panahon,” Fr. Dagohoy said in his introduction, quoting a prominent line from TV phenomenon AlDub.

With the theme of strengthening institutional resources and traversing new territories, he emphasized on the University’s achievements in the field of students, faculty, research, community development and projects, and internationalization.

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THE UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas (UST) Rector Very Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. said in his tri-annual report that the University “is ready for change” Friday morning, Oct. 16, at the Medicine Auditorium.

In his report, Dagohoy cited UST’s achievements for the past three years and future plans for the University. (INFOGRAPHIC: Rector’s Report)

“Ang daming nagtatanong sa akin kung bakit ngayon lang ako magrereport…sinabi ko na ito na ang tamang panahon,” Fr. Dagohoy said in his introduction, quoting a prominent line from TV phenomenon AlDub.

With the theme of strengthening institutional resources and traversing new territories, he emphasized on the University’s achievements in the field of students, faculty, research, community development and projects, and internationalization.

The Rector attributed these achievements to the secured future of UST especially to its ongoing adaption on the K-12 program.

Pride of UST

Dagohoy praised the achievements of the students and faculty members that were recognized for the past three years inside and outside the country.

He reported that the students are acing the different licensure exams for the past three years, with some being one of the topnotchers. (READ: UST boosts performance in Accountancy board exam)

The Rector also presented a data of outbound student mobility, showing the appearance of Thomasian students in the different parts of the world for internship, exchange student programs, and academic conferences.

According to his report, there were 230 students who went outside the country for internship and exchange programs while 190 students were sent to international conferences.

Dagohoy has also applauded the student-athletes bringing glory to the University’s name. UST was hailed as the UAAP Overall Champion last year.

“We become one spirit as we cheer to carry the name of the University,” he said.

Improvement of faculty, research field

The different achievements of the faculty members were highlighted in his report, mostly for their contribution in the research fields.

Fr. Dagohoy said that the University has a “globally competitive research force” with research of science and technology leading the other fields for three years.

The Rector also disclosed the expenses of UST for external research funding, showing that the University spent P21.13 million during Academic Year 2012-2013, P4.7 million during Academic Year 2013-2014, and P110.86 million during Academic Year 2014-2015.

The research publications data showed that there were 111 University researches published on 2012-2013, 139 on 2013-2014, and 232 on 2014-2015.

Dagohoy admitted that UST is still far from achieving the required numbers of research publications for improving the University rank internationally but says it is still plausible.

With all of the research produced by the University, there are four patent applications, one utility model, 69 copyrighted works, and 1173 intellectual properties registered.

The Rector reported that the faculty profile of the University has improved, with the increasing number of faculty members holding master’s and doctorate degrees.

Of the 2,169 faculty members, 524 are doctorate degree holders, 1,292 are master’s degree holders, and 353 are bachelor’s degree holders.

He vowed to increase the number of degree holders, saying that a faculty full of masteral and doctorate degree holders in not impossible to achieve as UST  “remains the University of choice by a lot of applicants”.

Community development

Dagohoy also applauded the active participation of Simbahayan in accomplishing community development projects to help other people, especially minorities.

It is reported that the number of community development projects increased every year, with 363 projects from 2012-2013, 409 from 2013-2014, and 536 from 2014-2015.

Faculties of Pharmacy and Arts and Letters led other faculties in accomplishing most number of community development projects.

He said that maximizing the capacity of UST Simbahayan is one of the institutional goals of the University, along with the strengthening of its research field, and finding a balanced solution on the premise of justice and equality.

Every University student organization is required to have a community development project to be recognized by the Office of Student Affairs.

New buildings, new campuses

Dagohoy unveiled plans to construct new buildings and campuses, which he said would further cater the needs of Thomasians.

The Buenaventura G. Paredes, O.P. Building, also known as the Alumni Building, and the Practice Gym were finished during the past three years.

Dagohoy also announced plans to extend UST’s campus to Taguig, Iloilo, and Quezon City. Digital representations of the planned Gen. Santos and Sta. Rosa campuses were also shown.

Meanwhile, a new Central Laboratory building  for the students of College of Science and Faculty of Pharmacy at Padre Noval street is set to start construction next year.

Photo by Denise Sabio

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CSC pushes for online class suspension amid UST guidelines

The Central Board recommended the use of online modules like “handouts, video tutorials, and pre-recorded lectures” which the students can use during the break.

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Carmina Beatriz Dizon/TomasinoWeb

Eight days after Metro Manila was put under a “community quarantine,” the UST Central Student Council (CSC) Central Board pushed for the suspension of online classes until April 14, 2020 amid the University’s alternative teaching-learning guidelines.  

To make most of the month-long class suspension due to the community quarantine which was later heightened by the government, online classes were introduced to carry on with the semester.

CSC President Robert Dominic Gonzales, however, stressed the differences in the resources of the students to support their online classes.

Students continue to face challenges in complying to these online activities due to factors like internet stability and lack of gadgets like computers and laptops.

A survey was conducted among local colleges to monitor the concerns and statuses of the Thomasian community.

For instance, in the College of Commerce and Business Administration and College of Tourism and Hospitality Management, more than half of the students of each college have no stable internet connection.

The Board recommended the use of online modules like “handouts, video tutorials, and pre-recorded lectures” which the students can use during the break.

Focusing on other matters

In light of the pandemic, Gonzales emphasized the need for the psychological and mental health of the community to be focused on, which is not only limited to the students.

The well-being of the faculty members, non-academic personnel, and the administration is a matter of priority as well in this time of crisis.

Gonzales is with high hopes to the administration’s approval of CSC’s appeal.

“I am sure that the administration listens to our concerns, most especially during these crucial times,” Gonzales said.

He also expressed his gratitude to the backbone of the University amid this health-related crisis.

“[W]e also give utmost gratitude and salute to them for all the efforts that they have exhausted to ensure a holistic approach on the well-being of the Thomasian community,” he added.

When asked if it is most likely to extend the second semester if the administration approves the appeal, Gonzales said that: “The decisions regarding the academic calendar and special terms are to be determined by the administration.”

However, the Board alongside local colleges are “much willing to provide help and support” the endeavors of the University by seeking suggestions from the student body.

 

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UST shifts to self-paced instruction amid quarantine period

The University’s updated Collective Institutional Guidelines on COVID-19 notes that the current state of calamity and quarantine regulations limit the capacity of students and faculty members to participate in regularly scheduled online classes.

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Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

[UPDATED] The University will now implement a self-paced instruction amid the quarantine period in Luzon

In the University’s updated Collective Institutional Guidelines on COVID-19 released on March 20, “[r]egularly scheduled daily online classes shall no longer be required” for both students and faculty members.

The updated guidelines notes that the current state of calamity and quarantine regulations limit the capacity of students and faculty members to participate in regularly scheduled online classes.

Faculty members shall still continue providing learning materials which includes video lectures, readings and discussion sessions for students’ self-paced instruction in preparation for formal instruction once classes resume.

Academic unit heads will also determine which examinations or alternative assessments will be held online, or will require in-campus conduct once classes resume.

ADVISORYIn view of the enhanced community quarantine, we advise all Thomasians to heed the government’s mandate to…

University of Santo Tomasさんの投稿 2020年3月20日金曜日

Preliminary and final examinations may still be be integrated depending on the academic units “provided that there were enough student assessments aside from final examinations.” Students must also be informed of the changes in the grading system of affected courses.

The Office of the Vice-Rector for Research and Innovation also suspended all in-campus and off-campus research data gathering, as well as research-related local and international travels. Researchers were advised to do alternative activities.

Meanwhile, the schedule of moving-up ceremonies and commencement exercises will be determined once classes resume and academic calendar has been finalized.

Last March 13, the Office of the Secretary-General suspended the online classes from March 13-14 to give way for personal and family concerns.

Online classes from March 17 to 21 were also cancelled to “allow faculty members and students to attend to personal and family concerns,” “give faculty members time to revisit their course plans,” and “allow students to attend to pending tasks and submissions that were given in the past week.”

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the National Capital Region on a community quarantine from March 15 to April 14, with regular class suspensions in the region extended until April 14.

The code alert system for COVID-19 was raised to code red alert sub-level 2 which indicates evidence of community transmission.

All land, domestic air, and domestic water transportation to and from Metro Manila were barred, and only workers coming from nearby provinces were allowed to enter Metro Manila. Mass gatherings were also prohibited.

As of March 20, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country is now at 230, with 18 fatalities.

On support staff, faculty evaluation, and admission process

Work for all staff shall “remain suspended until further notice” including skeletal workforce arrangement. Only selected on-site workers were allowed to perform work, according to the University’s Human Resource Department memorandum. 

Social distancing should also be observed during the work and all staff are “enjoined to observe work from home arrangement […] to maintain productivity.”

University admission activities for A.Y. 2020-2021 (reservation, confirmation, and enrollment) shall be scheduled once the classes resume. 

Academic units shall also coordinate with the Office of Admissions “to release the appropriate announcements to their respective applicants”.

Meanwhile, the faculty competence evaluation for the second semester will be scheduled once classes resume. It was encouraged “to provide qualitative comments” in the faculty evaluation to highlight their strengths, and help them [address] areas of improvement amid the regular class disruptions. A. Basa with report from J. A. Pangilinan

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CSC president clarifies University hair policies

Robert Dominic Gonzales, the incumbent CSC president, noted the vagueness of the provision in the student guidelines, hence the decision of the administration to clarify the said rule.

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Veronica Besario/TomasinoWeb

After garnering varied reactions from students, the University’s Central Student Council (CSC) president explained the clarification of guidelines regarding hair color and hair cut.

Robert Dominic Gonzales, the incumbent CSC president, noted the vagueness of the provision in the student guidelines, hence the decision of the administration to clarify the said rule.

“Nakalagay lang kasi dito ‘students’ hairstyle should be clean, combed and neatly trimmed or fixed. Unconventional hair colors are not permitted,’” Gonzales said quoting from the student’s handbook.

It was the clamor from the students and college deans alike that they sought to draw the line between conventional and unconventional hair colors.

“Basically, there were a lot of clamors from the past few years regarding sa portion dito about unconventional hair colors. So this year they sought to clarify the matters kung ano ba talaga ang tinutukoy na unconventional,” Gonzales expressed.

He reiterated: “When this handbook was released, they did not post any color palette or color shades of those unconventional hair colors.”

He also emphasized that the decision came from the college deans themselves, elaborating: “Majority if I’m not mistaken of the deans voted for the conventional hair colors which was released recently. Yung mga darkest black to darkest brown.”

When asked whether he’s for or against the said policy, Gonzales stated that such rule has no relationship with the students’s academic standing.

“With regards naman if we’re pro or against it, of course, personally speaking, it’s about personally expressing yourself ganoon I’m against the hair policy,” he said.
He further added, “For me, it has no direct relationship whatsoever with the academic performance ng tao.”

Students’ reactions

Meanwhile, this implementation of policy gained varied responses and backlash among the students of the University.

For a student from College of Science, it has been a matter of students subjecting themselves in following institutional guidelines upon enrolling to the university.

“Kasi like kahit ako, I want to color my hair din pero kasi at the same time sinabi ko na sa sarili ko na UST ‘to alam kong medyo hindi nila bet ‘yun, so kumbaga I mentally prepared myself for it like ‘di na ako nag-expect masyado from them,” the student stated.

However, Arts and Letters student Gwen Forones questioned the implementation of the policy, saying “[I don’t know] what are they trying to prove in implementing similar cases just like this when in fact hair color does not hinder academic standing and competence.”

She further added: “[H]indi ba sa panahon ngayon, it is more reliable to pay attention on building students’ drive and character rather than nitpicking their appearances.”

Forones also took a swipe on the conflicted priorities of the system, saying “[O]ur education system seems to be persistent in promoting personal growth.”
She elaborated, “and yet they keep on implementing a policy which restrains the students’ rights to express themselves without causing any harm.”

On a circular dated Feb. 19, the Office of the Secretary-General released a clarificatory announcement regarding acceptable hair style and colors to its students.

According to the guideline addressed to the University administrators, students must be limited to the prescribed spectrum of colors from Level 1 (darkest black) to Level 5 (dark brown).

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