RECTOR Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. has assured that operations of the UST Publishing House, particularly the “400 Books at 400!” project, would continue despite reported plans to close its printing division.

De la Rosa said the fate of the printing division would depend on the findings of a study that will come out on September 30.

“We will do what [other universities are doing]: we will outsource the printing,” he told Varsitarian staff members in a courtesy call last September 15.

The Varsitarian reported last August 31 the looming closure of one of the world’s oldest presses, which is said to be losing P30 million annually.

De la Rosa said workers at the printing division of the Publishing House would either be reappointed or given retirement benefits.

“There are many options. Either they will be assigned to different departments depending on their qualifications, or they will be given early retirement benefits in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the Rector hit back at critics of the administration’s decision to close all research centers, saying the two newly formed “research clusters” have proved to be more efficient.

Early last year, the Rector ordered a committee to streamline 10 research centers in the University covering the fields of Arts and Humanities, Ecclesiastical Sciences, Health Sciences, Science and Technology, and Social Science and Education.

University research centers were subsequently collapsed into two clusters for the applied and natural sciences, and culture, educational, and social issues.

“With less manpower, less budget, and lean organizational set up, the research clusters were able to carry out [research projects],” De la Rosa said in his annual Rector’s Report last September 4.

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“Research remains to be one of our top priorities. We will sustain it, nourish it and make it flourish even more.”

“Some doomsayers boldly opined that the move to realign the centers hints of dark forebodings for research.  They even claimed that such move is tantamount to writing an obituary for research,” he said.

In fact, the two clusters produced a total of 66 researches last year, De la Rosa added.

Last month, the Office for Research and Development (ORD) was merged with the Office of the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs to create the Office of the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Research.

The new office is under the supervision of Clarita Carillo, assistant to the Rector for academic affairs and research, following the appointment of former ORD head Fortunato Sevilla III to a government post.

The research centers closed were the Center for Ethics, Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics, Center for Creative Writing and Studies, Center for Educational Research and Development, Center for Intercultural Studies, John Paul II Research Center for Ecclesiastical Sciences, Research Center for Natural Sciences, Research Center for Movement Science, and the Social Research Center.

This was supposed to serve as a cost-cutting measure for UST, which spends around P60 million to P80 million a year on research.

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