BEGINNING his second term as the 93rd rector of UST last June 26 at the UST Chapel, Fr. Rector Tamerlane Lana, O.P. set his sights on Vision 2011 and urged all Thomasians, particularly faculty members, to help him realize it.

Vision 2011, an ambitious plan to upgrade the University in time for the quadricentennial of its founding in 2011, seeks to firm up UST’s position as a center of excellence in various programs of instruction, a leader in research in the pure and applied sciences, a leader in community development, and the center of contextual theology in Asia.

Fr. Lana appealed to the academic community “to support me in my humble strides to steer the University towards greater excellence.”

“The longer I stay at the helm of the University, the more I see its great potentials,” the Rector said. “ So my dear Thomasians and friends, journey with me once again… Walk with me, or run with me if we have to do so.”

But Fr. Lana pointed out certain worrisome facts that may hamper UST’s march to Vision 2011:

  • Despite the modest improvement in the faculty profile during his first term, “only 42 percent of the full-time faculty members in the undergraduate faculties and colleges have completed their studies.”
  • Less and less students are enrolling in Education and Electrical Engineering.
  • Despite the construction of the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex, UST researches have not been included in the International Citation Index Journal.
  • Alumni support for UST remains weak.

Fr. Lana said that there are now 379 professors with master’s degrees and 73 with doctorate degrees compared to only 201 professors with master’s degrees and 63 with doctorate degrees when he assumed the rectorship four years ago.

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But he indicated he was looking forward to a much better faculty profile and urged faculty members to practice discipleship. He explained that professors with doctorate degrees should ‘adopt” teachers struggling through their master’s and doctorate degrees. In this way, knowledge and expertise are better shared.

In addition, Fr. Lana said UST will strengthen its programs in Education and Engineering to attract more students to these courses.

He said despite more than 12,000 out of 40,000 applicants who passed this year’s UST entrance examinations, the number of freshmen enrollees could barely fill three sections for Bachelor of Secondary Education and one section for Bachelor of Elementary Education. The number of enrollees in Electrical Engineering has also dwindled.

“In response to this, the University is now eyeing Sta. Rosa (in Laguna) as the possible venue for the expanded medicine and health-related courses as well as engineering and technological courses,” Fr. Lana said. (See related article)

He also urged the University researchers to be more serious and industrious because physical structures and sophisticated facilities, like those of the Aquinas Complex, are not enough.

Furthermore, Fr. Lana said UST, through the Office for Alumni Affairs, will ensure a better flow of communication with the alumni to realize the University’s grand plans.

“I would rather say that they (the alumni) are still not convinced that UST is really deserving of their precious support. As a response, the University shall employ strategies through the Office of the Alumni Affairs to ensure a better flow of communication and more effective collaboration among our alumni and the Thomasian community,” Fr. Lana said.

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