THE HALFWAY MARK:
A Report on the Cagayan State University on My Second Year in Office
BY DR. URDUJAH A. TEJADA, CESO II
For close to two years now, it is has been my privilege to lead the Cagayan State University community: to share in its triumphs and travails, to be buoyed by its successes and weighed down by its disappointments. But always, I have found comfort and solace in the members of the CSU community who have accepted my leadership and have so generously and unstintingly bestowed on the university – not really on me! – what is best in them.
I would be less than forthright were I to say that I have not been bothered in the least by those who have persisted in vexing CSU’s determined efforts at moving on by harassment cases – many of which have already been dismissed, thank God, vexatious complaints and malicious posts on social media, not to say more about anonymous text messages and letters. But in the faith that there is a spark of nobility in all, I fervently hope that very soon it shall be clear to them that when I accepted the collar of my presidential office, I did so with the sole intent of devoting these years of my life to the service of my fellow Cagayanos through the Cagayan State University.
Raising the Bar in Academics
We continue to take immense pride in the performance of our students in various licensure examinations particularly in Medical Technology and Laboratory Science, Respiratory Therapy – a relatively new program of the university, Accountancy and Engineering.
It continues to challenge us that we are not doing too well in Agriculture and Fisheries, but I have rallied the campuses that offer these courses to do all that it is within their power to do to improve our standing.
I am making it clear that we are resolute on rationalizing program and course offerings.
It is my hope that CEOs and Deans will eventually yield to optimizing the use of our resources, both human and material, to achieve higher academic standards.
We are aiming higher – and definitely, it will no longer be “business as usual” (our Chair’s favorite expression for the commonplace, if not the mediocre).
We have officially sought membership with the ASEAN University Network Quality Assurance system and will be so joining an elite group of university in Southeast Asia set apart by their compliance with stringent academic, administrative and organizational demands.
To see to the fruition of this goal, I asked Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, our Vice-President for Administration and Finance to head a team that trained for the AUN-QA accreditation process at Bangkok, Thailand.
Medical Technology, Teacher Education, Agriculture and Agricultural Technology are the courses that are lined up for accreditation.
One of the demands of Republic Act No. 10931 that has granted universal access to quality tertiary education by making university schooling virtually free of charge in all state universities and colleges is tangible improvement in quality, more stringent admission requirements among them.
Every student of the Cagayan State University after all shall henceforth be, in every sense of the term, an “iskolar ng bayan”.
Responding to this demand, we called on the expertise of professors of the University of the Philippines who were part of its admissions system. The result has been a CSU-CAT, an admission test crafted particularly for the Cagayan State University with a level of difficulty comparable to that of the national state university of the Philippines. I created an Admissions Office that superintended the administration of the first-ever CSU-CAT under the R.A. 1031 scheme. With a predetermined minimum university requirement of 65 percentile, the result have already been released. We have had to strike a balance between our desire to capture the brightest students, and our mission of making university education accessible to the neediest!
Those who made it in the CAT shall enjoy free tuition fee in their desired academic programs. Those, however, who did not make it in the College Admission Test can enroll in our diploma or certificate programs in compliance with the Philippine Quality Assurance Framework for NC III and NC IV.
Once more, deserving instructors and professors can be promoted through the exercise of Presidential Discretion, what we at the Cagayan State University have called “Institutional Promotion”. And while, in the end, I am called upon to exercise my discretion under this scheme of promotions, I wish to assure all that I do so with circumspection, prudence and consultation – never arbitrarily, much less whimsically!
With the commencement of Academic Year 2017 – 2018, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act enters into full force. In practical terms, that means that Fund 05 (which used to be designated Fund 164) will largely come from the lump-sum that Congress appropriated for CHED precisely for this program.
Immediately, the challenge becomes apparent, for while the fund allocated to CHED for this program is fixed, CHED had no way of telling ahead of time how many students each state university or college was going to have. So it is that the government guidelines given us allow us to ask the CHED for adjustments, but with almost all state tertiary institutions asking for the same concession, it should not be too difficult to imagine that this will entail delays and the entire bureaucratic hassle in the downloading of funds.
For Fiscal Year 2017 – 2018, 707, 053, 848.00 pesos is the available appropriation – the amount allowed us by the General Appropriations Act.
From this, we have a total allotment of 663, 233, 135.00 pesos. This means that there are amounts for later release. And of this sum, we have obligated 188, 434, 767.18. Our Vice-President for Administration and Finance, Fr. Ranhilio Aquino has assured me that we are keeping within the bounds of fiscal discipline!
For the coming Fiscal Year, we have a total Tier 1 proposal of PHP 723,490,000.00 to finance operations, projects, activities and programs that are ongoing and that verily form part of the regular features of CSU. We have proposed PHP 513,814,000.00 for Tier 2 for new and very important projects, largely in support of our research and development-extension targets.
Of Research and Niches
To spur research endeavors, link them to the communities’ needs and to allow research and development-extension to enhance academics in the measure that academics is also applied, I conceived of the system of “niche programs” – assigning to various programs specific fields of research and extension work. This allows the campuses singularity of purpose and of focus and avoids the dissipation of scarce resources into too many initiatives.
The Andrews Campus is assigned Business and Public Health, owing in large measure to the sterling performance of the College of Allied Health Sciences and our commendable performance in the tough Certified Public Accountancy examinations.
Aparri will keep its attention fixed on the fisheries industry: the College of Fisheries will obviously be the prime mover in this respect.
The Carig Campus has already distinguished itself for its Food Innovation Center. The Metals Industry comes next.
Given its tremendous forest reserve, the Gonzaga Campus will be the agro-forestry center of the university and, we hope, of the entire region, while the vast acreage of the Lallo Campus should allow it to deal in legumes and high-value crops.
Though small, the Lasam Campus is well equipped to take on industrial technology.
The Piat Campus, for its part, has a promising Agro-Tourism project accredited by the Department of Tourism, of which the Dairy Complex is a component part.
The Sanchez Mira Campus has started in all earnestness with its Apiculture and organic agriculture endeavors.
Heeding the advice of our sagely Board Chair-Designate, Commissioner Lilian de las Llagas and the counsel of the regents of the university, we have established partnerships and other forms of cooperation with different agencies and institutions, both domestic and foreign.
Our partnership with the Canadian Executive Service Organization has allowed us first-hand access to the expertise of “volunteer counselors” in different fields: the development of instructional materials, proposal writing and packaging, and outcomes-based education.
We have entered into Memoranda of Agreement and other forms of cooperation with over 200 schools, offices, establishments and enterprises for the On-the-Job training of our students as well as sites for development-extension. These do not only extend throughout the whole province of Cagayan but also to Isabela, Texas Instruments in Pampanga, the University of the Philippines Visayas College of Fisheries.
Our prime research partners are the Department of Science and Technology, the Philippine Rice Research Institute, the Department of Health, the International Rice Research Institute, the Department of Agriculture, the National Dairy Authority, the Department of Tourism and the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.
I must likewise acknowledge the helpful relations we have had with local government units, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Agricultural Training Institute and the Department of Trade and Industry.
These are not my achievements. They are ours. And the projects and visions we have provide us with common goals, common aspirations that should bring us all together in common endeavor.
At the end of the day – and at the end of life’s long day – it will not be figures that matter most, nor achievements we can chalk up to our credit, but the communities we have served, the youth we have formed and the lives made better and brighter, because we chose to stop bickering, set our differences aside and unite in common cause and common devotion to the students and their communities that God has entrusted to our care.
As I end my address, I wish to thank the men and women behind the achievements of this university particularly the faculty and personnel led by the deans, the CEOs, the Directors, the division chiefs and my Vice presidents…
The university is generally performing well – thanks to all of you my co- servants of government and our students and our stakeholders in the community.
More challenges, problems and disappointments await. But let not these tribulations dampen our spirit. Let us continue to fight on… and fight with the tenacity to achieve one advocacy for Cagayan State University, that is to transform lives by educating for the very best.
Mabuhay and Cagayan State University!
Caritan Sur, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Valley 3500
Phone: (078) 844-0098/0099
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