Facing What Lies Ahead
Now on his second term as president of this university, Dr. Pablo Subong Jr. faced with more challenges than before. With definite plans on how to run this educational institution in the next four years and make it achieve its vision, he set to make the most in his “last stand” as this university’s topmost official.
In resolution No. 51- 2011, the West Visayas State University (WVSU) Board of Regents (BOR) unanimously approved the reinstatement of Subong this year. First appointed to position on September 12, 2007, Subong has sought to implement measures to improve the different areas in the university.
Under the Subong administration, the university became the only Level IV accredited state universities in Region 6 – and one of the 13 out of 109 state universities and colleges (SUCs) with such status in the country – as per evaluation of the Accrediting Agency and Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines Inc. This feather in the university’s cap was made possible by the number of accomplishments attained in the fields of instruction, faculty development, research, extension and production.
The university’s excellence in the field of instruction paved way to its being the Center of Excellence in Teacher Education, Medicine, and Nursing. It is also No. 1 in Elementary Education and Nursing programs and No. 2 in Secondary Education and Medicine programs, based on the President Pablo E. Subong Jr. Accomplishment Report in 2007-2011.
Quality of different Fields
To improve the academic competency of the students, the administration, though the aid of the Department of Science and Technology- Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), has allotted P3 million for the improvement of the University Resource Learning Center (University Library and Audio Visual Center), and support facilities for DOST-SEI scholars and all students and faculty of WVSU.
The office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, in coordination with the Management Information Systems (MIS) and the Office of Finance, implemented the computerization of enrolment. It has also employed the Integrated University Information System wherein students could access their grades through the Internet.
To further enhance the standards of teaching quality, the BOR issued Resolution No. 80-2009 which provides that all faculty members are expected to upgrade their academic qualifications. To support the teachers in obtaining their master’s and doctorate degrees, the administration has provided them with half-time and outside scholarship grants.
A state-owned institution, this university relies on financial support from the national government to support its year-round operation. The university is looking for alternative means through research and production in dealing with budgetary constraints and augmenting the institution’s income.
In the field of research, the university is continuously conducting research activities in collaboration with local, national and international organizations or agencies. On the other hand, in the area of extension, the university is constantly generating organizational outcomes such as the improvement of the economic livelihood of people and welfare of the local community.
In the field of production, WVSU will have a technological educational facility to increase the income of the university and a business center, a one-stop destination comprised of commercial business establishments.
The University’s ranking
Attaining these developments is no stroll in the park, and maintaining the status of excellence is not an easy step either. To keep the ranks, the administration is still improving national and international linkages through partnerships and collaborations. Through this the institution can face the challenges ahead, tell a new story about the university and build a brighter future for generations to come.
As he should, being the university president, Subong envisions WVSU as one of the top universities in Southeast Asia through the realization of programs embodied in the criteria set by the international evaluators. Enhancing the university as a research institution is regarded as a potent force in increasing the production income, thus, providing more fiscal support for the improvement of the provision of instruction.
Subong also hopes that the university’s external campuses will become Centers for Excellence in their respective programs such as criminology in Lambunao Campus, agricultural entrepreneurship in Calinog Campus, industrial technology in Pototan Campus and healthcare giving in Janiuay Campus.
When all these are achieved that will be the best time that the university will apply for Quacuerelli Symonds (QS), a ranking of the world’s top 500 universities. QS has a system designed to look at a broad range of university activities. The criteria include academic peer review (40 percent), recruiter review (10 percent), faculty-student ratio (20 percent), citations per faculty (20 percent) and international orientation (10 percent).
But despite the university’s effort in topping the charts, 4 International Universities and Colleges (4IUC), an international higher search engine and directory reviewing accredited universities and colleges, revealed that WVSU is currently ranked 87th among universities in the Philippines – it slipped from the 53rd slot in the ranking last year.
WVSU, Subong said, failed the 4IUC assessment which was based on what was published in the university website. Although the university has a lot of achievements – one example is that Mary Jade Gabanes’ victory as one of this year’s four Bayer Young Environmental Leaders – these information are not regularly posted on the website. Thus, the president instructed the staff of the MIS to regularly update the website’s content.
Another factor, according to the president, is the budget decrease “that hampers the performance of the university.” “But we are now trying our best to recover the increase of budget through our income and resources. And we defended our budget in Congress to restore the 2010 budget for the 2012 budget,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Subong administration is continuously helping improve yearly graduate employability by building ties with different agencies. The WVSU’s global linkages and collaborative programs were realized by inviting professors from countries like London, United States and Canada to teach in the university, and sending exchange students abroad, as part of the National Network of Normal Schools Program or Erasmus Puldos.
With the number of areas that the university needs to improve to finally become one of the top universities in Southeast Asia, some of its stakeholders fear that it may fail. Now more than ever, the university community must live up and hold on its core values – and trust the Subong administration – if it aims to get, or at least get close, to its vision.