Turning a New Page (HE Memo#Y1.1)
01 Jun 2023 | Office of the Vice President for Higher Education
31 May 2023
The Ateneo de Manila Community in Higher Education
[Sgd] Maria Luz C Vilches PhD
Vice President for Higher Education
TURNING A NEW PAGE
Greetings of peace and hope!
And just like that, we begin a new school year: 2023-2024.
Under the one roof of Higher Education, I warmly welcome the nine schools (students, faculty, administrators, professionals, staff) that used to be part of the Loyola Schools and the Ateneo Professional Schools: the Graduate School of Business (AGSB), the Gokongwei Brothers School of Education and Learning Design (GBSEALD), the School of Government (ASOG), the School of Humanities (SOH), the Law School (ALS), the John Gokongwei School of Management (JGSOM), the School of Medicine and Public Health (ASMPH), the School of Science and Engineering (SOSE), and the School of Social Sciences (SOSS).
The integration of these two academic units reminds me of a line from an e e cummings poem (although written for a different context): “One’s not half of two; two are halves of one.”
The AVP Offices
The official mandate for Higher Education falls under three academic areas: teaching and learning, research, and internationalization. Under the supervision of the VP for Higher Education, four Assistant VP offices have been created to work together and provide academic support to the 9 schools in carrying out their goals for these three areas.
Curricular and instruction matters as well as academic standards and policies are the main pillars of teaching and learning. To achieve greater efficiency in these areas, two offices have been designated: the OAVP for Undergraduate Education (OAVP-UEd) and the OAVP for Graduate Education (OAVP-GradEd). The former LS Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs is designated as the OAVP-UEd. The former LS Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs is designated as the OAVP-GradEd. Clustered under the OAVP-UEd are other offices whose main functions deal with undergraduate education and student life: Office of the Associate Dean for the Core Curriculum, Office of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Office of Student Discipline, Office of Admission and Aid. The OAVP-GradEd supports academic endeavors at the graduate level taking into consideration the different contexts of graduate education as experienced in the 9 schools. This entails a series of conversations, which has already begun, for purposes of knowing and understanding better the current processes, especially in ASMPH, ALS, AGSB, and ASOG.
For research, the Office of the AVP for Research, Creative Work, and Innovation (OAVP-RCWI) builds on the work that has already been done in these areas in support of knowledge production that addresses important issues, especially in view of the university’s 4 strategic priorities of integral ecology, education reform and transformation, universal health and well-being, and bridging cultural divides. It also attends to greater and more efficient/effective ways of knowledge dissemination so that scholarship is accessible to the general public that can also benefit from it. Subject to further organizational refinement, the OAVP-RCWI subsumes the University Research Council and offices whose functions relate to research, creative work, and innovation: the former Office of the Associate Dean for Research and Creative Work (OADRCW), the University Research Ethics Office (UREO), the Ateneo Intellectual Property Office (IPO), and the Ateneo de Manila University Press (AdMUPress), along with their respective boards or committees.
For internationalization, the Office of the AVP for University Partnerships and Internationalization (OAVP-UPI) builds on the work that was done by the former Office of the VP for University and Global Relations (OUGR). It supports the schools’ internationalization goals by addressing the need for strategic and targeted partnerships and initiatives with universities abroad that align with disciplinal interests in the schools; by strengthening university partnerships with local and international bodies and cultivating new ones; by building on the strengths of both outbound and inbound student mobility programs; by finding opportunities for faculty, administrators, professionals, and staff to engage in internationalization activities; by finding innovative ways of internationalizing the university in support of its mission and strategic thrusts. Under the AVP-UPI are the Office of International Relations (OIR) and the Confucius Institute (CI).
Two important support structures for the schools are the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) and the Office of the University Librarian (OUL). The OUR will work closely with OAVP-UEd, OAVP-GradEd, OAVP-UPI and HE Schools to ensure that the management of student records and registration processes are aligned with the implementation of academic policies and regulations. The OUL will develop and manage a unified Rizal Library to ensure that it facilitates learning and research for students and faculty by providing information services online and onsite across its three different locations: RL-Main (Katipunan), RL-Rockwell, and RL-Ortigas. Both the OUR and the OUL aim at making their processes encompass the needs of the 9 schools. At this consultation stage where several conversations are taking place, they aim at understanding practices in the different schools so that they can come up with common grounds on which to build common practices, while taking into consideration the uniqueness of individual contexts. In the process, they may reorganize their teams according to functionalities.
What to Expect
The above descriptions may seem to indicate that things are in place. Actually, far from it! These descriptions only touch the surface of the multi-layered work ahead in this process of developing the Higher Education cluster at the University. The aim of the integration is not to create a one-size-fits-all product. Rather, it is to recognize what will help advance strategic goals in the schools by keeping in mind four considerations in terms of how processes and standards may be gauged and decided on depending on context: what can be unified, what can be unified with specialization, what can be autonomous, and what can be autonomous with coordination. There is a Change Management-cum- Transition committee that is helping the HE offices navigate this new path with hope, courage, and determination. This committee, headed by Dr Gina Hechanova-Alampay, has four other members: Dr Ma Assunta C Cuyegkeng, Dr Leland Dela Cruz, Dr Jowett Cecilio F Magsaysay, and Dr Czarina Saloma-Akpedonu.
The transition process has just begun. While changes are taking place at the admin levels in the AVP offices, we shall endeavor for these not to create unsettling ripples among students and faculty, and in departments and schools, in general. At least until the First Semester of SY 2023-2024, the services and the approval systems will proceed on status quo based on what we all got used to in the Loyola Schools and in the Ateneo Professional Schools. Despite having said that, it is likely still that gradual changes in these systems can happen within the semester. But we shall manage such changes judiciously and with care for relevant offices to make the proper adjustments.
A Community Endeavor
By becoming Higher Education, we are turning a new page in our history as an academic institution. I trust that, with discerning hearts, we can write on this page our collective narratives of achievements based on resilient hope, patient courage, and steadfast faith in our learned ministry.
May the inspiration of St. Ignatius of Loyola continue to nourish our dreams and actions. It’s the Ignatius who faces the future with us, despite all odds – even against the wind (!) – trusting only in His Love and His Grace, which were enough for him.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!
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