NO MASTER’S, no teaching load.

The UST administration has begun to strictly enforce a Commission on Higher Education (Ched) memorandum requiring a master’s degree for all college teachers.

The Office of the Academic Affairs and Research has issued a waiver requiring non-tenured faculty members without master’s degrees to renounce their right to tenureship despite a provision in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that could lead to tenureship after five semesters.

Four professors from the College of Fine Arts and Design were terminated because they refused to sign the waiver, according to a letter from the UST Faculty Union (USTFU) to Academic Affairs chief Clarita Carillo, a copy of which was obtained by the Varsitarian.

This incurred the ire of a UST Faculty Union officer, who claims the union should have been consulted first before the issuance of the waivers.

Under Ched Memorandum Order 40 series of 2008 or the “Manual of Regulations for Private Higher Education,” all college teachers should at least have a master’s degree.

But the union pointed out that under the 2006-2011 CBA, changes in policies and regulations affecting faculty members should not be made without consultation with the union.

Reynaldo Reyes, union vice-president for grievance and complaints, said the Academic Affairs waiver was “uncalled for.”

“It was agreed in the CBA that they should consult us first. The other tenured professors without MAs were affected,” Reyes said.

Rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., said all faculty members should at least have a master’s degree because it’s the “law of the land.”

“We’re not very strict about this before, but now Ched has been strict about it so we will implement it strictly in the University,” De la Rosa told the Varsitarian.

A photographer's confession

De la Rosa added that having a master’s degree is part of the University’s criteria for excellence.

“Kaya tayo natatalo ng ibang schools because of this,” De la Rosa added.

Carillo, in a statement, said the University has consistently reminded faculty members who are on probation since 2003 that they needed to finish their master’s degrees..

“Every semester since then, these non-tenured faculty members have been reminded of these requirements by way of appointment letters issued to them and which documents they signed,” Carillo said in a statement.

But Reyes argued the Academic Affairs office did not inform them of the consequences of not signing the waiver, such as non-reappointment, termination or no salary.

“The non-consultation with USTFU about these matters is unbecoming of a Catholic university like UST,” Reyes said.

Carillo’s office however said that the waiver did not violate the CBA, saying government regulations can supersede any contract.

“Countless faculty members struggled and persevered to earn [their degrees] to truly deserve their right to be part of the University,” Carillo said. “Nothing less should be expected from the rest.”

But Reyes said this only meant that the UST management panel itself had violated government regulations by approving the CBA in June 2008.

However, Carillo said that the Ched memo was not yet available to the UST panel during the negotiation and signing in 2008.

56 faculty members

USTFU sergeant at arms Rene Tadle said 56 faculty members who still have no master’s degrees were given the waiver.

“Right now we’re asking for a dialogue because we don’t want the CBA provision to be set aside,” Tadle said.

Medicine junior to join Hitachi forum on Asean

The College of Nursing has the most number of non-tenured professors without master’s degrees, Reyes said.

Nursing Dean Glenda Vargas said 30 professors have already signed the waiver and were given “tentative teaching loads.”

“They were hired even without master’s because they are already prepared, not necessarily qualified, but prepared alumni,” Vargas said. “We give priority to hire our graduates over anybody else because we believe in their capacity.”

Vargas said most of the 30 professors were already writing their theses at the graduate school.

De la Rosa noted that the University has been giving incentives to faculty members to encourage them to finish their master’s degrees.

“The University gives a lot of incentives. [We give faculty members] sabbatical leaves, thesis grants, study leaves, and salary grant leaves. If they don’t take advantage of these, it’s no longer the fault of the University,” De la Rosa said.

According to the Academic Affairs office, at least 152 non-tenured faculty members in the past three years have attained tenure status. Charmaine M. Parado and Darenn G. Rodriguez


  1. When one applies for a teaching job in a University, he / she should be prepared to take graduate studies to further enhance the teaching capability (or should already have them). Buti nga sa atin, masters lang ang kailangan makakapag turo ka na sa College, in other places, you need MORE than a Ph.D. (you must have post doc training with a good publication record) to be able to get a tenured post.

    I have to agree with the admin on this one. The number of B.S. grads among our faculty has been dragging the university’s reputation, not just here, but abroad. We could do much better than just top 101 in Asia.

    Faculty members are given time to finish their graduate degrees, and scholarships are available within and outside UST. The degree will never be handed over in a silver platter, of course, and one needs to work hard for it still, however, UST is much kinder to faculty members who want to pursue graduate studies compared to the others.

    Sorry to say, but I think USTFU should also think of what those “pasaway” faculty members have done (or not done) to deserve the boot

  2. Yes, the admin’s right. they should have their MAs before teaching in a UNIVERSITY. But then, if they hired someone perhaps they should give them salary. It is unfair and absolutely not humane to have someone work without pay. It seems that UST is just concerned about its name and its ranking. Where are the values/virtues that they are trying to instill in their students? Besides, MA is a MINIMUM QUALIFICATION of a teaching personnel in a university, they shouldn’t have hired people without it than let them work without salary.

    • I don’t think it has happened that way (nor will it happen ever). The faculty members are always given a salary (high compared to others even). Faculty members who were taken in without a masters degree were employed with the condition that in 2-3 years time, they should earn their degrees already. In spite of that, they still do not finish on time. That is the reason why the admin can let go of them when they have not fulfilled their promise when they were taken in in the first place.

  3. A master’s degree is not the end all and be all of learning and teaching.

    For instance, a journalism practitioner without a master’s degree is more qualified to teach a news writing class than an instructor with a master’s degree but lacks the industry background.

    • “Professional” courses (journalism, architecture, medical technology – almost all courses offered in UST) have corresponding masters degrees offered (if not in UST, somewhere else) so if a journalism graduate would want a career in Academia, whether he be a practicing journalist or what have you, he still has to get the corresponding graduate degree, otherwise, he will just be as good as his experience, without the additional knowledge imparted by the second degree. A person should exert effort to learn more that what he already knows and that can be achieved by lowering ones pride and going back to school (graduate school, that is) : ) The level of knowledge and experience you have should be higher that those whom you teach, can you imagine an elementary graduate teaching HS classes? Hindi di ba?

      I agree that experience in the field is something one should have, but a graduate degree gives you that as well, and it even strengthens what you already have. Iba ang usapan kung talagang di marunong magturo yung faculty, me iba kasi, me Ph.D. nga, di naman marunong mag impart, so baliwala lang din yung degree. UST should also look into getting faculty members who do not only have the graduate degree, but also know how to teach.

      • I can’t see the relevance of having a Master’s Degree just to teach. Honestly, I mean in order to qualify to teach, you would need good credentials, yes an M.A. or an M.Sc. would be very helpful in convincing your boss of your quality, but what matters most is your expertise on the subject. In some faculties like Pharmacy, Nursing, CRS, and not to mention, Medicine & Surgery, many of the professors in major subjects are M.D.s (Medical Doctors), are they doubting the expertise of these guys in terms of their given field of practice? Are they doubting that a doctor teaching Physiology-Anatomy does not know his stuff unless he has actually obtained a Master’s Degree?

    • I agree to what you say. We will have a big problem in our Department [of Media Studies, Faculty of Arts and Letters] if some of our instructors will not be allowed to given teaching units. Unlike other programs that really require a professor to have a master’s degree, some of the best journalism professors are not MA holders. In a practical field like journalism and communication arts, we need more practitioners than those who have several titles before and after their names but inexperienced in the field. However, as a disclaimer, I do not condescend the importance of postgraduate studies in the field of journalism, since it arms our professors with more than what do they acquire from years or decades of practice.

  4. 1. Never hire a faculty member without master’s degree from today.
    2. Keep the faculty member without masters degree if they were hired before Ched’s memorandum 40. These faculty members did not claim to have or will finish their master’s degree when they put in their application — and yet they were hired. Both parties acted on what was at hand at that time. The hired faculty members were not explicitly told that their tenureship will be conditional to their completion of masters degree at a specified time.
    3. Termination of faculty members is definitely not in the good image of the university – face it, the economic obligations of the university does not only extend to the terminated faculty member but also to their family who are substantially relying on their income.
    4. Scrap the waiver — it has so many legal implications. These legal implications will invite more issues than solution. Focus on “what can we do to help the faculty members personally feel the need for masters degree” and then closely monitor their development/or response to the university’s demands. Conduct more information seminars and informal meetings with the non MA faculty members to make them fully understand the stand of the university… never stop motivating and encouraging. Make them take the full advantage of the university’s benefits and endowment.
    5. I stand to be corrected, government regulations are not laws for the CBA to be taken aside. Im quite sure that both parties to CBA signed it on the basis of respecting each other for ultimate good.
    6. Explore rooms for compromise and negotiation so it will become a win-win situation for both the faculty and the admin
    7. Be a true tomasian, never forget to put yourself in the shoes of another.
    8. Lastly, it would be an excellent news if two or three years from now, UST will report back the number (out of the current number on non MA holders) of faculty members who have completed their masters degree because of constant motivation, close monitoring and overwhelming support instead of just saying ” kaya natatalo ang UST” because of them.

    Goodluck, hope you can turn this challenge to a win-win situation!


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.