THE FACULTY of Arts and Letters (Artlets) is boosting its faculty profile in a bid to meet standards set by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and accreditation bodies.

Artlets Dean Michael Anthony Vasco said the faculty hired 26 new instructors to comply with the CHEd ruling of a master’s degree as the minimum qualification for faculty members.

The improvement of the faculty profile also has an impact on UST’s ranking in the yearly survey by the British consultancy Quacquerelli Symonds, and the faculty’s application for the Level IV status, the highest level of accreditation granted by the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA).

The Bachelor of Arts programs seeking Level IV accreditation are Economics, Literature, Legal Management and Philosophy. Artlets is expected to be visited by PACUCOA assessors in August.

“Boosting the faculty profile means that highly qualified teaching staff deliver or teach higher education subjects. We meet the minimum requirement [set] by the government through the CHEd and more than that we are able recruit experts in various fields,” Vasco said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

Vasco added that the increase in faculty members would allow the strict implementation of the 24-unit teaching load, as mandated by the newly-signed Collective Bargaining Agreement 2011–2016 and avoid overloading.

Artlets has 141 members in its teaching staff, 39 of which are doctors of philosophy and 101 are master’s degree holders.

Vasco said part-time lecturers would be recruited occasionally, citing CHEd Memorandum Order 14 that states a Journalism instructor must possess “demonstrably distinguished practice: minimum 5 years of active practice, must have outstanding track record with awards and must have held senior positions,” if he or she does not possess a graduate degree.

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Seventy-six faculty members are non-tenured while 65 are tenured. Last year, Artlets had only 123 faculty members, Vasco said.

He pointed out that international academic setting, only doctorate degree (Ph.D.) holders teach at the university level.

“In foreign universities, even in the ASEAN region, the entry level of a higher education faculty is a Ph.D.,” he said.

Vasco said the target would have to be at least 50 percent of the teaching staff with doctorate degrees. He noted that on his second term as dean, he was able to maintain the doctorate faculty profile despite the retirement of several faculty members.

“We are able to arrest the possible decrease of the profile as regards the Ph.D. holders because of our massive recruitment of Ph.D. holders. We have to be very assertive in recruiting good faculty members,” he said.

Vasco also said the faculty should be aware of the possibility that the Philippines might soon require an all-doctorate-degree faculty, as the country embraces globalization.

“If the Philippines would want to compete with the internationally recognized or globally recognized institutions of higher learning, we have to move towards that direction,” he said. Jerome P. Villanueva

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