IS UST’s faculty doing enough research? Ranking only a dismal 144th in the listing of Asia’s top 200 universities, the University needs its faculty, particularly PhD holders, to beef up research.

For academic year 2006-2007, there were 1,101 master’s degree holders and 345 PhDs in the University. Only 79 MA or MS equivalent faculty members did research, while PhD researchers numbered only 36. Overall,92 researches were produced by faculty members that year, official data showed.

The year 2007-2008 saw a drastic drop in researches, despite the increased number of MA or MS professors and PhD professors to 1,165and 346, respectively.

The number of research papers produced and published within the University went down to 79. For the Social Research Center, Center for Educational Research Development and Research Center for the Natural Sciences, where 57 researches were produced, only 30 of them were done by PhD holders.

Early this year, all research centers were shut down amid ballooning costs, and researchers were placed under two clusters for natural and social sciences.

Dr. Fortunato Sevilla, assistant to the Rector for Research and Development, said it is true that UST may be trailing behind in Social Sciences research but when it comes to the Natural Sciences, the University excels.

“Science is well-developed, particularly Biology and Chemistry although with Physics and Math we are being left behind,” Sevilla said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

Sevilla called on faculty members to do research for the University, though he stressed that it is not realistic for all faculty members to be researchers.

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“Father Rector will be saying that also, that he does not aim (for all faculty to do research). Nobody will be aiming that all faculty members will do research,” Sevilla said.

He attributes the lack of research to faculty members’ limits.

“One is the physical capacity of the professors to do research. Another is space to do research. Second, some people will be claiming that not everybody can do research and some do not have the background for research. But now we would like to have as many as possible. We would like to maximize.”

This maximization however, entails that PhD holders and other top faculty should get better research training because it would ultimately do good for the University.

“One of the first things that Fr. De la Rosa mentioned (was) that research is one of the essential functions of the University,” Sevilla said.

Time as a research factor

Edwin Martin, public affairs chief of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies and political science professor at the Faculty of rts and Letters, agrees and sees time as a major factor constraining research among his fellow faculty members.

For a university to improve on its research capabilities, professors should be given the luxury of time, he said.

“Research entails time and effort. I don’t think they’ll be able to do research even if they want to. Just imagine if you have a 24-unit load, that means you have about eight classes,” Martin said.

This also means that with a regular class where the minimum number of students is 30, a professor will be required to check at least 240 papers during examinations. An ordinary professor with a full load of 24 units therefore will not have anything to do but teach.

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“Other universities like Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle University are guided by the ‘publish or perish’ principle. They are required and at the same time inspired to do research,” he said.

Ateneo and La Salle require a full load of only 15 units which means that in one day they would only teach for three hours. But they are obliged to stay in campus for eight hours for other purposes like research and student advising.

De la Rosa sees research as a valuable tool to improve the University’s curricula.

“What we want is utilization, either institutional, to help the University in its decision-making and how to improve our curriculum, instruction, community service; or social, natural and scientific,” the Rector said in an interview. Alphonsus Luigi E. Alfonso, Rose May Y. Cabacang and Mary Athena D. de Paz


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