THE FACULTY of Arts and Letters has launched a five-year plan culminating with the spinoff of its journalism and communication programs into a separate institute, while the College of Fine Arts and Design has implemented a new curriculum, triggering the latest wave of academic improvements in the University.

From 2009 to 2014, Artlets will work toward a curriculum revamp, starting with the reduction of the semestral load of students to 20 or 21 units from 24 units starting next school year.

Under the plan, political dynamics, a prerequisite subject for all courses in Artlets, will only be offered to legal management and political science majors, while introductory computer subjects will be reduced to three from six units.

The faculty will also offer two new courses, namely: A.B. English and A.B. History, next school year.

Artlets Assistant Dean Narcisa Tabirara said the faculty wants to offer an undergraduate course in history because UST has masters and doctorate programs in the field.

“The University in its self has a good history to tell, so the faculty thinks that it would be good to offer the course,” she said.

Tabirara also said the creation of an Institute of Media Studies, housing the journalism and communication arts courses, is being discussed. The Department of Media Studies under Artlets will become an independent institute by 2011.

This early, however, a shortage of classrooms threatens to derail the expansion.

Dean Armando de Jesus said the faculty accepted roughly 3,600 enrollees this school year, exceeding its target of 3,064 students under the plan for 2009-2010, and even the maximum student population of 3,529 set for the five-year span.

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“The faculty [had] accepted the number of enrollees which the facilities can accommodate,” he said. Artlets shares St. Raymund’s Building with the College of Commerce and Business Administration.

Under the five-year plan, first year classes would be kept at the present limit of 52 students per class, while upper years will have a maximum of 45 students. The number of classrooms will also be increased to 32 from 26.

Tabirara said space is a big factor to be considered in the creation of an Institute of Media Studies.

Under the plan, Artlets also aims to reach Level 3 accreditation from Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) for all courses. Only four of 10 courses in Artlets are accredited by PACUCOA at Level 3. They are philosophy, literature, economics, and legal management. The rest are at Level 1.

Standardized

Paving the way for the “determination of centers of excellence and development in the field,” Fine Arts adopted a new curriculum to comply with government standards.

Memorandum Order No. 29 of the Commission on Higher Education created small changes in terminologies and subjects.

“There are no big changes [as a result of the new curriculum] in the [Fine Arts] program per se. Some subjects like history and philosophy were just made more in-depth, while others just got new names,” said former Fine Arts Dean Jaime de los Santos, who was part of the technical working group for the curriculum.

An example of such is the course Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising, which was renamed to Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication, he said.

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Freshmen taking up the course will have new subjects called “Visual Perception” and “Materials,” while “Mechanical Drawing,” and “Perspective” subjects will be rolled into one.

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