THE UNIVERSITY plans to integrate with other Dominican schools and build satellite campuses beginning next year, in a bid to extend Thomasian education beyond the four walls of the Sampaloc campus.

In his first Rector’s Report last Oct. 16 at the Medicine Auditorium, Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. said the University would continue to pursue the construction of UST’s satellite campuses in General Santos (GenSan) City in Mindanao and Sta. Rosa, Laguna early next year.

“[W]e dream of having campuses outside. The dream has never died [even with] factors beyond our control. And with the proposed integration of Dominican schools, we might find UST not only [in] General Santos and Sta. Rosa, but also in Legazpi, Iloilo and Quezon City,” Fr. Dagohoy said before hundreds of students, faculty, administrators, support staff, religious and alumni.

“While UST GenSan might take time to materialize, the UST Sta. Rosa campus might happen sooner. The University [has] awarded the site development project to [architects] and the project is scheduled to take off early next year in 2016,” he said.

After the completion of the Buenaventura G. Paredes, O.P. Alumni Building and the University Practice Gym this year, the Rector said UST still has a few more building projects to complete, including the UST Hospital Extension Building and a new Central Laboratory Building, which will house the Science, Pharmacy and research laboratories.

In his speech, Fr. Dagohoy bared a “three-year, nine-directional” compendium of the University’s milestones, situating UST in the middle of the change in the country’s educational landscape starting next year.

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“What made UST exceptional is the ability to maintain its tradition and yet introduce measures to address the present,” he said.

Fr. Dagohoy said new offices built during his administration broadened UST’s functions and strengthened the University’s efforts toward internationalization.

He trumpeted UST’s standing in the London-based consultancy Quacquarelli-Symonds’ (QS) Asian and world university rankings, at 143rd and the 701+ bracket, respectively.

He noted that QS had given the University four out of five stars in its “Stars University Rating,” the first among Philippine universities.

UST maintained its outstanding performances in licensure examinations, with the University’s passing rate generally higher than the national passing rate, he said.

In addition, Fr. Dagohoy highlighted UST’s offshore programs and enumerated new degree programs, such as the Master of Science (MS) in Chemical Engineering, Bachelor of Physical Education (Sports and Wellness), Master of Arts (MA) in Cultural Heritage Studies, MA in Journalism, MA in Occupational Therapy and MS in Pain Management.

He also underscored UST’s autonomous status and academic laurels from the Commission on Higher Education, the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation and the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities.

UST improved its faculty profile, the Rector said, with masters and doctorate degree holders increasing to 1,291 and 524, respectively, this year from 1,238 and 498 last year. Faculty members from Engineering, Music, Nursing and Rehabilitation Sciences were given foreign scholarships.

The Rector also said the University had boosted its research profiles in the national and global arena with a total of 232 research publications, 111 of which were cited in Elsevier Scopus, the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature.

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K to 12 scheme

Addressing concerns over the impending implementation of the K to 12 educational reform, the Rector said the University would find a solution on the premise of “justice and charity.”

The University will go through the K to 12 transition beginning 2016, where high school students will spend two more years in senior high school or grades 11 and 12, instead of graduating to college. As a result, UST will offer only 13 programs to freshmen next academic year.

The K to 12 transition will reduce college teaching loads beginning next year, displacing faculty members. Some faculty members will be transferred to the UST Senior High School (SHS) which has set an enrollment target of 5,000 students for 2016.

Other measures to cushion the impact of K to 12 include allowing professors to do office work, take research loads, or go on sabbatical or study leaves.

“Pag-uusapan pa namin ng union. We will have a meeting after this [Rector’s report] to thresh out the details [to] manage the impact of [K to 12 transition],” he said in an interview with the Varsitarian after his report.

Fr. Dagohoy did not mention the proposed Student’s Code in his speech but told the Varsitarian that it was already in the final drafting phase. “As far as I know, the Student’s Code is still in the process of finalizing at the level of the Council of Deans. I don’t know what happened after that,” he said.

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