TO ACHIEVE global recognition, the University needs to boost its research output.

While UST is dominating the licensure exams and is strong in other areas, research has been a constant weakness.

The University ranked 150th in the recent Quacquarelli-Symonds (QS) listing of Asia’s top 200 universities, dropping just two notches from 2012.

For academic year 2012-2013, there were 1,085 master’s degree holders and 472 doctorate degree holders in the University, data from the Office of Faculty Evaluation and Development showed.

However, only 81 faculty members from the Research Cluster for the Natural and Applied Science (RCNAS) and the Research Cluster on Culture, Educational and Social Issues (RCCESI) did research, a decline from 86 researchers in the previous academic year.

Overall, 69 studies were produced by the Research Cluster for the Natural and Applied Science (RCNAS), official data showed.

UST needs to catch up in social science research. Based on publicly available data from the Socioeconomic Research Portal of the Philippines, UST had produced 40 studies, compared with 248 for Ateneo de Manila, 857 for the University of the Philippines, and 115 for De La Salle University.

Arts and Humanities

UST Research Director Maribel Nonato said there had been efforts to improve research output but the research capability of the University must also be considered.

“The University has a high [research] capability because [a large number of faculty members] are research-ready,” she said. “We have about 80 percent of the faculty members who are research-ready.”

Nonato said UST should improve its research performance in the Arts and Humanities category. “There are very few researchers for Fine Arts and Architecture. They might need a little encouragement,” she said.

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However, UST has always been known to excel in medical research.

“Most [of the research] is clinical research done at the hospital. Research output in Medicine is still going strong,” Nonato said.

The University has also improved their research output compared to last academic year.

Researches published nationally increased to 64 from last year’s 13, while 41 were published internationally, compared to 20 studies last year.

Meanwhile, 182 papers were presented by the University from 54 last year and 24 were presented internationally compared to 21 papers last year.

Toward global competitiveness

Jean Tayag, director of the Commission of Higher Education-Office of Policy, Planning, Research and Information, said research is needed to improve quality standards of a university and make it globally competitive.

“From the point of view of education, vibrant and high quality research is what nourishes a healthy learning environment,” she said in an email to the Varsitarian.

According to Tayag, research is entrusted to universities because they are presumed to have the researchers and scientists as well as the laboratories to conduct research.

“Universities are expected not just to produce the human resources with the high level skills that the country (or the world) needs for development,” she said. “They are also expected to generate new knowledge through knowledge.”

Likewise, former RCCESI director Alvin Ang, now president of the Philippine Economic Society, said a university is measured and judged according to three indicators: teaching, community service and research.

Research output should be published and read around the world, otherwise they are useless, he said.

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Nonato echoed Tayag, saying an educational institution cannot be a university in the proper sense without a steady stream of research.

“If you look at some faculty members, they are distinctly contented in just doing teaching,” Nonato said. “But, research enriches your teaching so those two go together.”

Hindrances

Ang said the challenge was juggling time between teaching and research.

“To achieve extensive research, time must be spared and at the same time, you have to divide your time equally with teaching,” he said.

Professors should develop skills to produce research output faster, he added.

Clarita Carillo, vice rector for academic affairs and research, said time and mindset were two factors that had caused low research productivity in UST in the past years.

“For researchers, [their work] is constantly doing readings and preparing for scientific forums and there are some who are not ready to do that,” Carillo said in a previous interview with the Varsitarian.

Nonato said college deans should also recognize the importance of research within their respective colleges.

“If there is no culture of research within the college, [faculty members] will not feel the significance of their role and the need to do research,” Nonato said.

Arlen Ancheta, current director of RCCESI, said research in their department had definitely improved compared with last year.

“In terms of publication, oral presentation and visibility, we have improved over the last year,” she said.

Ancheta said RCCESI planned to increase the number of oral presentations and adapt the testing methods of other universities.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a shame what we’re terribly lagging behind our so called peer universities in terms of social science research.

    To begin with, are professors incentivised to do research? Are they paid more and are they more easily promoted if their work is published? When UST recruits professors, do they even assess a person’s ability to do research?

    I honestly think that the title “Professor” is reserved to those who could produce consistent quality research, whereas those who couldn’t should remain as “Lecturers”.

  2. The University of Santo Tomas has been doing the functions of an ideal university for a long time. Aside from accreditations, awards, and dominance in board examinations, UST prioritizes research. In fact, it has given incentives to the researchers like funds, monetary benefits, and awards. The Miguel de Benavides Library updates its collection of local and international books and journals to provide more materials for the faculty members and graduate students. The USTGraduate School employs the “thesis-by-article” strategy of Dr. Allan de Guzman. Furthermore, UST maintained its high rank in QS surveys. However, the other faculty members shall be encouraged to participate in serious research in order to make UST more productive in research clusters where it seems weak. The administration shall provide more incentives by decreasing the teaching load and add more units for research at the Thomas Aquinas Research Center; provide
    more scholarship programs to graduate students; make research a huge basis for promotion; verbally encourage the faculty members; organize research projects as part of activities for college week; send faculty members and students abroad to attend seminars and training sessions on research; and update the page of the UST website about research. UST already made a name in history, teaching, community service, and research. What UST shall do is not to rest on its laurels and produce more research outputs in all fields. UST shall also make sure that each undergraduate degree program/major shall have at least two research subjects and add one introductory statistics.

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