THE GRANT by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) of the Center of Development (COD) status to the Journalism and Literature programs of the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets) has emboldened Dean Michael Vasco to seek higher declarations next time.

Dean Vasco and Journalism and Literature professors expressed optimism that the two programs would attain higher accreditations in the future.

Last March 22, Artlets' AB Journalism program, the country’s oldest Journalism–and communication–program was granted COD status mainly for its research and publications which accounted for 30 percent of the overall criteria.

The program also passed CHEd’s measures on Instructional Quality (45 percent), Extension and Linkages (20 percent), and Institutional Qualifications (five percent).

During the screening, CHEd accreditors also interviewed the editor of the Varsitarian, where many Journalism students acquire hands-on training and which should account for the excellence of the program, according to professor Jeremiah Opiniano.

Had UST a graduate journalism program, UST could qualify for Center of Excellence (COE) status, Journalism professors said.

But UST still enjoys a quasi-COE status because it is the only private university granted by the CHEd to give equivalency degrees in journalism. An applicant to the program is Malacanang Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III, the grandson of Philippine President Manuel Quezon, a UST alumnus.

UST Journalism alumni include foremost men and women of letters in the media, including National Artists F. Sionil Jose and Bienvenido Lumbera, Inquirer founder Eugenia Duran-Apostol, and International Press Freedom Award winner Jose Burgos Jr.

Meanwhile, while Literature failed to obtain again COE status, it remains one of the most prestigious literature education programs in the country by virtue of its alumni, which include National Artists and Ramon Magsaysay Awards laureates.

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Observers said UST failed to get the COE status again because it had discontinued the publication of Unitas, the well-known faculty journal that is one of the oldest academic journals in the country.

Dean Vasco said there are plans to revive Unitas, which had published many seminal works in the humanities, including the dissertations of the late historian William Henry Scott, the folklorist Sister Delia Coronel, and scholar Teresita Infante.

Sources said the CHEd Technical Panel on Literature had lamented the disappearance of Unitas considering it had already acquired an international reputation for its articles on literature, philosophy, history, and the humanities.

Meanwhile, the UST Philosophy program, consisting of the Artlets undergraduate program, the UST Graduate MA and Ph.D programs, and the undergraduate and graduate programs of the Faculty of Philosophy of the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties has again been declared COE by CHEd.

Also retaining its COE status is the Conservatory of Music. A total of 10 UST programs are now CODs: Psychology—which received its status last February—Physical Therapy, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering, Industrial Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

Aside from Philosophy and Music, UST’s COE's consist of Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Teacher Education programs.


  1. Maybe the reason why the Literature program failed to get COE status is because of the below-par quality and research output of its faculty – compared with UP or Ateneo (where many profs have graduate degrees earned from prestigious schools abroad). How many PhDs does it have in the faculty? Among its few regular PhDs (not including adjunct lecturers in the graduate school), it seems that only Dr. Joyce Arriola has a clear research agenda. The current chair, Dr. Luz Urquiola, is not even from AB – and what scholarship has she produced anyway? I hope for the day when Prof. Ferdie Lopez finishes his PhD, steps up as department chair, and invites more notable scholars to join the faculty. COEs are supposed to have research heavyweights, not just inspired teachers.


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