THE UNIVERSITY’S new deans—Jesus Valencia of the Faculty of Medicine, Marilu Madrunio of the Graduate School and Ma. Elena Manansala of the Faculty of Pharmacy—have pledged to raise academic standards.

The new college heads will be evaluated for a year before they can be appointed for a full three-year term, according to the Office of Academic Affairs.

Valencia, previously the Medical Education department chair, said he will continue the programs and policies of past administrations to uphold excellence in Medicine education.

“The objective is to maintain the status of the faculty as one of the best, if not the best, medical school in the country [by continuing] the good work initiated by my predecessors,” said Valencia, who succeeded Dr. Ma. Graciela Gonzaga.

He added he plans to require higher cut-off grades for those who aspire to become honor graduates.

“We see a lot of students graduating with honors [and] this number is almost as big as the number of graduating [students] in other medical schools,” said Valencia. “[We would like to] raise [the cut-off grade] one or two notches higher so we can make the number of graduating students with honors a little bit more realistic.”

Also the former director of the UST Medical Alumni Association, Valencia finished all his medical courses in UST and ranked eighth in the medicine licensure exams in 1976.

Valencia also considers changing the requirements in the faculty’s revalida. Whether the revalida should determine if a student should graduate with honors or not has always been a bone of contention, he said.

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“We are going to revisit that and see whether we will retain the old policy or [give students] separate recognition.”

The revalida is a series of written and oral tests which UST Medicine students should pass in order to graduate, a tradition practiced by UST since 1871. Students aiming for Latin honors are required to get at least a “benemeritus” or a “very good” mark in the revalida. Otherwise, they will not graduate with honors regardless of their general weighted average.

Madrunio, who replaced Lilian Sison as the head of Graduate School, was the UST Department of English chair for six years until 2012. She graduated summa cum laude in her master’s degree in English in 1997.

In succeeding Priscilla Torres, who served an eight-year term in Pharmacy, Manansala said she is relying on her experience as assistant dean for 11 years.

“It is very challenging,” she said. “To always be on top, to be the leader, is always a challenging job. But I hope my experience—because I have been the assistant dean since 2002—and the different activities and responsibilities that I did during the time of Dean Torres will help me out.”

Manansala said she has prepared a 12-point agenda which includes granting scholarships for faculty members to pursue postgraduate studies, establishing global linkages, and applying for higher accreditation of Pharmacy’s three programs.

Manansala finished her undergraduate and master’s degree in the University. Manansala is currently taking up her doctorate degree at the Graduate School. She placed seventh in the Pharmacy licensure exams in 1971.

Meanwhile, Mary Hildence Baluyot has been named acting dean of the College of Commerce and Business Administration.

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