PLANS are underway to put up the Department of Information and Computer Studies (ICS) to improve and strengthen information technology education in the University.

ICS, which has been under the Faculty of Engineering since 2004, is expected to gain autonomy in June 2013, newly appointed Engineering Dean Philipina Marcelo announced last semester.

But the administration has yet to come up with a concrete plan for a “smooth transition” of the department to an institute.

Clarita Carillo, vice rector for academic affairs, said an initial discussion regarding the separation had been conducted to guide the faculty in coming up with a feasibility study, which was to be submitted by the end of January for review.

“I arranged for a meeting with the officials of Engineering and the officials of other academic units (colleges) who also went through this same transition,” she said in an interview.

Carillo was referring to the colleges of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Accountancy, and Rehabilitation Sciences. These colleges were previously part of Education, Commerce and Business Administration, and Medicine and Surgery, respectively.

“The separation of ICS from Engineering will give both programs [ability to] focus and move forward,” Information Technology division chair Rochellelyn Lopez said. “[The desire] to further enhance the programs, not only [in] the academe but also [in] the industry, entails a little independence [from each other].”

Curbing overpopulation

The four-story Roque Ruaño building houses about 7,000 engineering students, 2,280 of them are from ICS, data from the Office of the Registrar showed. Last semester, ICS had 2,382 students.

The growing student population may reduce the effectiveness of classroom instruction, Carillo said.

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“Any teacher knows the principle of classroom management and they will all agree that if you have a very big class to handle, it affects the efficiency of all the services that you [offer],” she said.

Lopez said the separation would address problems with space in the building, enabling the University “to offer new programs and strengthen existing programs.”

“Based on [feedback from] accrediting agencies, we need around 10 laboratories, but now, [ICS] only has four laboratories and we are borrowing from Engineering [this] second semester,” she said.

However, considering UST’s limited facilities, it will be premature to conclude that there would be a physical separation, Carillo said.

Aside from plans to separate ICS from Engineering, the University also wants to establish its own Pearson Vue Testing Center, or an electronic testing outfit that will give certifications or licenses to information technologists, Lopez said. Cez Mariela Teresa G. Verzosa

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