TWO NEW academic departments have emerged following the split of the Department of Humanities, in a bid to “professionalize” the University’s Philosophy and Letters programs.

The newly established Department of Philosophy is headed by Professor Alfredo Co while the Department of Literature is directed by former Department of Humanities chairwoman Joyce Arriola.

“It’s very important to split the humanities department into two in order to develop both programs in the undergraduate and the graduate courses,” Arriola said.

Co, meanwhile, said UST created a philosophy department when the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) renewed the “center of excellence” status of the program in 2007.

Philosophy and theology were the first courses offered since the University started its operations. However, the University never had a department of philosophy.

“I want to organize the structure and the operation of the department especially because I have to make it very clear as to what track we have to do whether the department will be a servicing department or a professional one, or if it is going to be both,” he said.

“We want to give a special place for philosophy because the only 400-year-old institution here in the University is the Faculty of Philosophy and Faculty of Sacred Theology. Imagine, our philosophy is already in 400 years but we don’t have a department, and in fact, our philosophy department is a center of excellence,” said Rector Fr. Rolando dela Rosa, O.P.

Meanwhile, Arriola is planning to standardize courses in literature and art, man and society, which used to be art appreciation.

“We will standardize the offering by using a standard syllabus and by encouraging the continuation of a strong faculty development program, excellent instruction and possibly research in the literary field up to the graduate school,” Arriola said.

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Arriola also aims to improve research in literature by strengthening graduate programs.

Co is a professor at the Faculty of Arts and Letters teaching Chinese philosophy and political philosophy. He is also part of the Ched technical panel for philosophy.

He obtained his doctorate in philosophy at the UST Graduate School at the age of 26 and took two post doctorate courses at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Paris Sorbonne University.

Arriola holds a doctorate in literature from the UST Graduate School. She won the 2007 National Book Award for film criticism and the Gold Series of 2005 UST Research Recognition Awards in 2005.

Last April, the Department of Filipino was revived, 31 years after it was abolished in 1979, It was separated from the Department of English, headed by former Department of Languages chair Marilu Madrunio.

In August last year, the Department of History was also reestablished after it was shut down in the 1980s.

UST now has six academic departments, namely English, Social Sciences, Filipino, Literature, Philosophy and History. Charmaine M. Parado


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