Kristina Reyes, a Business Administration senior, is one of the more than 30,000 Thomasians who have reposed their trust in the University to mold them into well-rounded and globally competitive individuals.

Improving the faculty profile

But the only way for the University to keep the trust and reliance on Thomasian education of thousands of parents and students is to unceasingly strive for academic excellence. For this reason, members of the UST academe would do well to improve research, post-graduate studies, and mastery of their respective fields.

According to the 2004 report of Rector Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P., only 49 per cent of UST’s faculty members have at least a master’s degree (MA/MS), while only eight per cent have doctorate degrees (PhD) [refer to the graph].

When Fr. Lana assumed the rectorship in 1998, only 19 per cent of UST’s faculty had master’s degrees. But at that time, the percentage of doctorate degree holders was higher at 24 per cent.

In his 2002 report, the Rector said that even if there were new doctorate graduates every year, the percentage of doctorate degree holders had gone down because some of them either resign or retire.

If quality professors breed quality students, then developing the faculty through higher learning would be an essential factor in providing quality education.

Nevetheless, students like Reyes believe educational attainment is not the only way to measure a professor’s competence. For Reyes, it does not matter if a professor has post-graduate diplomas.

Reyes said she is more concerned about whether the professors effectively relay the lessons to the students.

Scholarship becomes the youth

“May mga professors na talagang gifted sa pagtuturo, kahit na walang post- graduate degrees,” she said.

Though some students do not give much attention to the academic records of their professors, on the part of the educators, pursuing higher studies does wonders not only for knowledge and teaching skills, but also boosting their credibility as teachers.

According to Dr. Fortunato Sevilla, College of Science dean, teachers with post-graduate degrees tend to be more credible to the students.

Sevilla said higher studies and immersion in research among professors can greatly affect the students’ performance in thesis-writing, for example.

Jaime de los Santos, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Design, echoed Sevilla’s sentiments.

He said post-graduate studies for CFAD professors are important since these would give them a deeper understanding of the visual arts, one essential requisite in teaching the discipline.

“Art, subjective as it is, requires deeper understanding. Studying works of art will help us to teach our students of what art communicates and what art is all about,” he said.

“Education is for life,” said Faculty of Arts and Letters dean Belen Tangco. “What will teachers share if they do not know much?”

Tangco stressed that if man’s education is unending, continuous learning is even more important to people in the teaching profession as it provides more knowledge that they can impart to the student

Curriculum changes

Meanwhile, aiming to enhance the curriculum, the newly established General Education Department is now inching toward improvement in the teaching of minor subjects such as the languages and the social sciences.

Tuition hike opposed

Last August, Dr. Nancy Eleria, assistant to the vice-rector for general education, told the Varsitarian that the General Education Department is planning to come up with a uniform syllabus and textbook for every general education subject offered in UST.

Although the new system has been bombarded with criticism, the committees for the languages aim to arrest the deteriorating communication skills of the students, as observed by language professors.

Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs Dr. Armando de Jesus assures that the University is exerting efforts to upgrade Thomasian education. However, he admitted that the process requires a lot of patience on the part of the students and cooperation on the part of the teaching staff.

Building international linkages

The Academia, the official international bulletin of the University, recently reported UST’s continuous effort in establishing ties with universities abroad through shared academic endeavors.

Last June, the Faculty of Arts and Letters and the Chungnam National University of South Korea conducted a comparative symposium on Philippine and Korean government policies. Facilitated by the Social Sciences Departments of both institutions, the participants discussed topics ranging from solid waste management to social welfare issues affecting public servants of both countries.

The activity sought to bolster the relations between the Faculty and its counterpart in Chungnam.

In July, the launching of the International Student Teacher Exchange Program (I-Step) of the College of Education was extended to students from the Hanayang University College of Education in Seoul, South Korea. The program opened new learning opportunities to Korean students through the development of their English language proficiency, along with exposure to local teaching techniques of the country through classroom observation.

'Salakot at Sumbalilo': Painting the past

Collaborations reach down to the personal level.

Last June, Faculty of Pharmacy associate professor Angelita Sarile finished a scientific study about DNA markers in genetic relationships among pandan species with a professor from Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

Also in the same month, Artlets professors Joyce Arriola, Reynaldo Candido, and Maria Eloisa de Castro presented their researches in the 7th International Conference of Philippine Studies in the Netherlands.

Tapping the lines of international education, improving the curriculum, and increasing competitive mentors in its rank, the University hopes to strengthen Thomasian tutelage for students like Reyes.

Considering that Thomasian education is costly, it is but fair for the students to earn not only UST’s venerable heritage, but also the key to a promising future. Marlene H. Elmenzo, with reports from the Academia.


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