THE NEXT Rector must continue the development of Centers of Excellence (COE) and Centers of Development (COD) among UST’s academic programs, stem the deteriorating performance of some programs in state licensure exams, and realize the expansion of UST around the country and even abroad.
These are the key needs that the next rector must immediately address, according to interviews conducted by the Varsitarian among campus educators, administrators and planners.
Meanwhile, the long wait continues as Vatican has yet to name the replacement of Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P., who ended eight years as UST rector last April 30.
The names of the three “rectorables”— Central Seminary Rector Fr. Ernesto Arceo, Vice-Rector for Religious Affairs Fr. Rodel Aligan, and former Rector and Commission on Higher Education Chairman Fr. Rolando de la Rosa—have been transmitted to the Dominican Curia in Rome last May.
In turn, Father Carlos Aspiroz, O.P., the Master of the Order of Preachers, will pick a name and endorse it to the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education, the Pope’s education department, which would make the final appointment
Whoever will be chosen by the Vatican congregation will bear the responsibility of leading Asia’s oldest existing institution of higher learning and the only Pontifical and Catholic university in the region.
For his part, Lana told Thomasians that the apparent delay in the announcement of the new rector should not cause anxiety. He explained that during his time, the names of the top three contenders were submitted to Rome in April 1998, but the announcement was made on the second week of June.
Even without a rector yet, the Thomasian community expects the next rector to bring the plans of Lana toward fuller realization by 2011, the 400th anniversary of the University.
“What I only want is for the next rector to continue the pending plans I have left, such as the proposed gym, the student dormitory, and the Sta. Rosa campus,” Lana said.
UST officials told the Varsitarian that the next rector needs to continue building UST’s reputation in various academic programs and to boost research programs.
During Lana’s term, 15 academic programs were sustained as Centers of Excellence (COEs) and Centers of Development (CODs). Three programs of the College of Commerce were accredited to Level 1 status, while 74 per cent of all masteral programs were re-accredited to Level 2.
“The development of the COEs and CODs should continue with the new rector,” Dr. Armando de Jesus, vice-rector for academic affairs, told the Varsitarian.
But fostering academic excellence may be tough.
The new rector will have to deal with the fall of six programs of the Faculty of Arts and Letters from Level 1 to candidacy status. “But the candidacy status of Arts and Letters is only a temporary setback, and plans for renewal of the status’ period must proceed,” De Jesus said.
The new rector must also upgrade the curriculum. The Faculty of Civil Law has introduced Bioethics and offered electives such as non-legal, commercial and business subjects. The College of Science, on the other hand, has to decrease the number of science units following a study by European schools that overloading the curriculum may backfire ultimately.
Meanwhile, even though the University registered an improved over-all performance in all licensure examinations for the past three years, with an average of 82 per cent passing rate in all board exams, the passing rates for Pharmacy, Electronics and Communication Engineering, and Architecture have been declining for the last four years.
Dean Priscilla Torres of the Faculty of Pharmacy said she would intensify review classes in the second-semester curriculum of graduating students to arrest the slide.