APPARENTLY, there are exceptions to the “no master’s degree, no teaching load” policy.

While 87 professors and instructors without Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS) degrees have been retired to comply with the minimum requirement of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) that UST has implemented since 2010, a few others without higher degrees were allowed to stay. UST gave consideration to faculty members teaching “skill-based” courses, according to Secretary General Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P.

“May mga exceptions to the rule dito sa [master’s degree for] programs that are not MA-based. Like for example, you teach the flute. This talent [is] skill-based. This is something that you don’t learn as you go higher. So, binibigyan mo ‘yan ng leeway but there are certain areas [where] you really need [a master’s degree],” Cabading told the Varsitarian in an interview.

The recent hiring of teachers with only bachelor’s degrees under their belts was intended to address the growing student population.

“[L]umaki lang tayo. Our population grew by a few more thousands in comparison with what we had in 2008, 2010, 2011, [and] 2012,” Cabading said.

According to Section 35 of CHEd Memorandum Order (CMO) 40 series of 2008, or the Manual of Regulation for Private Education of 2008, a faculty member can only be tenured in a higher education institution if he or she is “a holder of master’s degree,” and, if applicable, a holder of the appropriate professional license.

Moreover, universities should have “faculty members with relevant degrees in their areas of specialization” by 2014 to maintain their university and autonomous statuses, as stated in CMO no. 46 series of 2012.

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Article 8, Section 3 of the 2011-2016 collective bargaining agreement between the University and the UST Faculty Union allows contractual and part-time appointments for faculty members without master’s degrees, but the University can remove them from the faculty roster when their contract expires.

Ricardo Balog, assistant dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said tight competition between private firms and the academe was making it difficult to encourage engineering practitioners to pursue higher degrees.

“There is that difficulty in getting engineers into the academe,” Balog said. “Experience is in relation [to] OBE (Outcomes-Based Education). [T]hat is even comparable, if not more [than what] an MS or an MA faculty member without industry experience can offer.”

Engineering had the highest number of tenured faculty members without MA or MS degrees in academic year 2012-2013 at 23, according to data from the Office for Faculty Evaluation and Development (OFED).

The University had a total of 120 tenured faculty members without master’s degrees, while 1,085 out of 1,400 faculty members had master’s degrees that year.

The Varsitarian has requested for data on the number of master’s degree holders in academic year 2013-2014, but OFED has yet to respond.

More retirees

The number of faculty retirees increased last year, with some opting for voluntary retirement after failing to meet the master’s degree requirement.

A total of 87 faculty members retired in Academic Year 2013-2014, OFED data showed.

Engineering recorded the highest number of retirees at 11, followed by the Faculty of Arts and Letters with 10 retirees. The College of Fine Arts and Design and the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery had nine retirees each while the UST-Afredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy and the College of Architecture had seven retirees each. The Conservatory of Music and the Institute of Religion had six retirees apiece while the College of Science had five retirees.

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Four professors retired from the College of Nursing, three retired from the College of Commerce and Faculty of Pharmacy, and two each from the College of Education and Institute of Physical Education and Athletics.

UST High School, the Education High School, and the Guidance and Counselling Department had one retiree each.

Last year, UST offered the Voluntary Retirement Program to tenured faculty members without master’s degrees. It gave 120 percent of basic monthly salary per year of service to faculty members below 63 years old who have rendered 10 years of creditable service.

The University also offered the Special Reprieve Program, which provided study leave with pay equivalent to a full-time teaching load to faculty members who wish to finish their postgraduate degrees.

Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. told the Varsitarian he was confident UST would retain its autonomous status because of the large number of graduate degree holders in the University.

“ Academic Affairs informed me that [above 90 percent] of our faculty [have graduate degrees.] It is not an easy decision on our part but we are complying with the basic requirement of [the Manual] and CHEd,” Dagohoy said. Jerome P. Villanueva

1 COMMENT

  1. That is not true. The dean knew about our skills and yet he tabbed us and made sure we took the retirement package. He did not care about particular or special skills. In his perspective only the degress mattered. Skill, years of practice and real-world experience had no bearing on him.

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