On July 13, 2011, Loyola Schools faculty members, administrators, and professionals filled the Leong Hall Auditorium for the schoolyear’s first School Forum. The group listened to addresses by the University President and the Vice President for the Loyola Schools. It was the first time for Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ, who assumed the presidency of the Ateneo de Manila University in June, to formally address this sector.
In his presentation, Villarin focused on three possible strategic areas of concern, namely: mission and identity, nation building, and environment and development.
Fr. Jett Villarin during his talk and the open forum that followed
For mission and identity, Villarin invited the group to look at several things, including “The Ateneo Way,” the Jesuit brand of education we promulgate, and the importance we put on learning, being systematic and having order, and intellectual and spiritual formation. He mentioned that it will be good for the university community to examine its own history and what motivates it to continue its work.
For nation building, he focused on the “love of country” and the social responsibility of schools. He mentioned that he has asked certain individuals to take a look at the Ateneo’s role as an institution and how the Ateneo community can contribute to building the nation and its people. He reminded those present to be more circumspect about things that they do and say, as these reflect on our university and impact its efforts to contribute to nation building.
For environment and development, he remarked on how the Ateneo could take efforts of building a green economy into the mainstream. He pointed out that becoming more environmentally aware and taking action on environmental issues goes beyond superficial lifestyle changes. He challenged the LS community to look at values, skills, jobs and the economy, and how these systems and structures can contribute to saving the environment and establishing a “blue earth initiative,” with a play on words involving the Ateneo color.
Villarin ended by mentioning three goals, namely: building persons (introspection, love of Christ), building the nation (development, love of country), and building the future (stewardship, love of creation).
Loyola Schools updates
Dr. John Paul C. Vergara, Vice President for the Loyola Schools, presented updates on developments in the areas of accreditation, rankings, research, and metrics, among others.
Dr. John Paul Vergara gives LS updates and fields questions from faculty members
Vergara mentioned that the Loyola Schools is the first to hold both Level IV and institutional accreditation status, from PAASCU, at the same time. He also added that our Computer Science program is the first IT program to be granted Level IV accreditation by the same body.
In relation to the recently released 2011 QS Asian University Rankings, he informed the group that the Ateneo placed 65th in Asia and 2nd in the Philippines. He added that in the area of English and Literature, the Ateneo was included in the QS’ list of the top 50 universities in the world. He also mentioned that the area of internationalization remains one of our strongest.
In the area of research, he mentioned that there is an upward trend in the amount of research output and support for research activities. He noted that the Office of the Associate Dean for Research and Creative Work is actively compiling data to come out with various research compendia. He added that research and conference assistance is available and has recently been increased.
In the area of metrics, Vergara informed the group that the first set of metrics reports was released to the various departments and programs in March. He reminded the departments and programs to review the data presented in the metrics reports to take stock of where they currently are and how this data may help the departments in planning for the future.
Vergara mentioned several ongoing initiatives and developments in the Loyola Schools such as: a study on the faculty and administrator loading system; the review of the structure of various LS centers, non-academic offices and the INAF program; the recently revised performance management system; the establishment of an LS quality assurance office; and new facilities such as the Eugenio Lopez Jr. Center for Multimedia Communication.
Text by Miguel Martin R. Vilchez
Photographs by Ivan Jacob A. Pesigan