UST marked its first major expansion outside Luzon in April with the opening of UST General Santos City (GenSan) in Mindanao, the largest UST campus to date that is twice the size of UST Santa Rosa and four times the size of the main campus in Sampaloc. 

The Mindanao campus is set to embark on its maiden academic year in August, with plans in place to accommodate the first batch of students under the five pioneer programs in UST GenSan. 

With the aim of eventually achieving independence from UST Manila, how will UST GenSan function as a branch campus when it opens in Academic Year 2024-2025?


As UST GenSan remains a branch campus under the flagship Sampaloc campus, Professor Emeritus Maribel Nonato, the assistant to the rector for UST GenSan, said the Mindanao campus would continue to be overseen by top officials of UST Manila.

“UST Manila, UST GenSan, and UST Sta. Rosa are just one because we only have one rector. We only have one BOT (Board of Trustees), so they are not independent of each other,” Nonato told the Varsitarian. “We are one University, one UST.” 

UST GenSan will be led by the same chancellor, vice chancellor, rector, vice rectors, and secretary general as those at the main campus. It will also have the same BOT, composed of friars of the Order of Preachers, serving as the highest policy and decision-making body of the University.

Given that the Mindanao campus has the same vice rectors to those in Manila, Nonato said Dominican friars appointed to high-ranking positions in UST GenSan would be designated associate vice rectors.

“‘The associate vice rectors, will function almost similar to the vice rector, with less responsibilities because they are handling a branch,” she said. “They will be working with the vice rectors in Manila, but it will be more [of] coordination.” 

Unlike in UST Manila, where the heads of academic units are called “deans,” UST GenSan academic unit heads will be referred to as “directors” due to the smaller number of students and academic staff that they will supervise.

Nonato said that some of these officials would relocate to GenSan at the start of the new academic year.

Finance and program offerings

In addition to sharing the same top officials, UST GenSan is also financially linked to UST Manila. The main campus will fund UST GenSan until it becomes financially independent and is able to “stand on its own.”

“Right now, UST GenSan is a branch [that still relies on] UST Manila financially. Eventually, if it becomes sustainable, it can separate and become independent,” Nonato said. 

The branch campus will follow the same academic calendar as the main campus.

The programs offered at UST GenSan will be “almost similar” to those in UST Manila, as the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) allows only specific campuses with autonomous status such as the Manila campus to innovate programs, Nonato said.

“Until such time that [CHEd] can consider you as a University, that’s the only time you can innovate your programs,” she said. 

UST Manila has enjoyed autonomous status since 2002, which allowed it to open satellite campuses such as UST GenSan and UST Sta. Rosa. Mabel Anne B. Cardinez


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