Tinig column: Bridging divides, bringing together perspectives from the School of Humanities
12 Apr 2022 | Aletha Zaire Payawal
In an effort to engage the faculty in responding to social issues and current events through the written form, the School of Humanities (SOH) launched the Tinig column in 2018. Tinig is "a monthly opinion and analysis series" where professors and teaching staff are invited to write and contribute from the perspective of their respective field or discipline.
Dr. Rae Sanchez, a faculty member of the Theology Department and former Coordinator for Faculty Social Involvement, said that the idea of publishing a faculty column was initially from Dr. Jonathan Chua, the dean of SOH. Sanchez shared that Tinig serves as "a contribution for the faculty of the School of Humanities to express their voice."
"The nature or characteristic of Tinig is that the faculty write it, and what they write is usually a take, opinion, or perspective on present social issues. They are also encouraged to use their discipline in writing the article."
Sanchez said that they invite faculty members to write for Tinig via email, clarifying that they need not write strictly in prose—they can also explore other forms such as poems or photos.
Tinig aims for diversity gleaned from the range of works they publish. A rotation among the departments helps manage who would write in the monthly column. Sanchez explained that this arrangement did publishing works under the Tinig column "less overwhelming and more doable."
As the current Coordinator for Faculty Social Involvement, Mr. Ino Odulio took over the task from Dr. Sanchez. The rotation, he said, intends to lessen the burden on the faculty, whose workload already consists of various academic endeavors such as teaching and research.
However, finding contributors can still be a difficult task.
"I currently open the call for submissions to all departments simultaneously," Odulio said. This way, if a contributor for a particular month cannot represent a department, other departments can still contribute.
While it was once suggested that Tinig submissions follow a monthly theme, Odulio said that the column follows its principle of openness, so that interested faculty members would not feel limited or confined by the theme. "[This is] because the name of the column is Tinig (voice). We do not want to dictate their voice; we want their submissions to come from what they really want to write."
Odulio expressed satisfaction that they receive timely and relevant submissions despite the lack of a theme. In addition, he mentioned that the articles become "a venue for the faculty to convey their perspectives" on issues regarding the university, society, and their respective work or practice.
When it comes to the editorial process for Tinig, accepted articles are proofread and copyedited before they are approved for publication. Additionally, suppose multiple articles are submitted within the same call. In that case, one piece is selected for the month while the rest are reserved for the next months to ensure the continuity and regularity of Tinig's publication.
Sanchez explained that the review and editing process is more for quality and readability purposes than to censor or filter the actual content of the piece. The addition of the disclaimer in all Tinig articles, she added, clarifies that the views or opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and thus, do not represent the official stance of SOH.
"At the same time, it helps Tinig become more open, wherein the institution does not necessarily have to agree with what is written in the article," Sanchez said.
Odulio added, "For me, [Tinig] is a necessary part of our attempt to invite our fellow SOH faculty to be more open expressing their opinion and become aware of other people's opinions—even if it is not necessarily the same as theirs."
Among the Ateneo de Manila University's strategic priority areas, Odulio believes that Tinig responds to all four—education reform and transformation; integral ecology; universal health and well-being; bridging cultural divide—in terms of its concept and content. Bridging the cultural divide, in particular, is the most applicable for SOH.
"Whether we admit it or not, the cultural divide comes from different perspectives. But when we write, we witness and understand what our fellow teachers say, even if their perspectives may differ from ours. So if there is an issue, we can ask ourselves: Where do we stand as the School of Humanities? Do we have the same positions, or do we have differences?"
Learning and understanding each other's differences, Odulio shared, is the first step towards fostering respect for each other and deciding how the university as a collective intends to take action in response to social issues.
Sanchez also set forth the idea of Tinig as a representation of the three strands in which SOH faculty are engaged: teaching, research, and outreach. "In Tinig, the short pieces may not journal articles, but we can see how they stitch the three strands together."
"What [the teachers] write reflects what they teach their students. There are also instances where they incorporate their research. It helps in understanding outreach and social involvement in a way that is not separate from what the faculty does within the university."
The published articles used to be collated on a separate section or webpage under the old Ateneo website. However, with the recent site revamp, a corresponding website for Tinig is still underway. Aside from the website, Tinig's pieces will continue to be published on Flourish, the official SOH Facebook page.