In an interview with renowned accounting firm PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers), UST Rector Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., PhD paid homage to the members of the Thomasian community, including past leaders and stakeholders, as the reason for UST’s longevity and continued success after 412 years of existence.
In a nine-minute episode of The Centenarian: In the Mind of the CEO, published on PwC’s website, the Rector said he “stands on the shoulders of giants” as the 95th Rector of the University, which has, like before, hurdled enormous challenges like the pandemic. “My predecessors, all the persons involved in the University—contributed to what UST is now today,” Fr. Ang.
Good synergy and capacity to reinvent
Asked about how the University stays strong and relevant, the Rector bared the University’s structure, whose various bodies, such as the Council of Regents and the Academic Senate, give rise to open discussions and arrive at a collective decision. “Success in the educational landscape is not the achievement of one person, but it is the work of a community,” the Rector said, talking about how UST stakeholders collectively succeed in overcoming challenges. This was made apparent in the ability of the University to transition over 45,000 stakeholders to the enriched virtual mode of instruction, UST’s answer to the mobility restrictions during the pandemic. Such efforts did not go unnoticed, as this was hailed with the 2021 Gawad Edukampyon for Excellence in Flexible and Responsive Management by the Commission on Higher Education.
The Rector bared that these initiatives are coupled with stringent quality assurance mechanisms guided by the international standards of the ASEAN University Network Quality Assurance, which has since granted UST its Institutional Certification. UST is only the 8th university in ASEAN and the 2nd in the Philippines to receive AUN-QA’s university-wide stamp of approval.
Reinventing oneself is also hinged on careful strategic planning and engagement in research, which “will propel UST into the 21st century.” Curricular offerings in the University are subjected to regular review especially by industry practitioners, who partner with the University through partnerships forged mainly by the alumni networks.
Facing the country’s education crisis
The Rector highlighted the importance of having enough resources and competent educators to serve as the panacea to the ongoing crisis in education. As a private institution, UST aims to help by also making education “equitable.” One group of beneficiaries of the University’s scholarship programs is the teacher education students of the College of Education: “We need teachers for the future. We need to help them.”
Responding to the question on UST’s initiatives against disinformation, the Rector highlighted the role of values formation and how several units in the University, such as the Communications Bureau, are tasked with disseminating accurate and verified information to help stakeholders sift through fact and fiction.
Finally, the Rector also shared how the Simbahayan Community Development Office is UST’s flagship for extension services. Through capacitating not just individuals but whole communities, people become able to stand on their own and not just depend on what is initially given.
The Rector’s feature, the 8th in The Centenarian series, is the first for an educational institution. Past episodes featured the Chief Executive Officers of Philippine stalwarts companies such as the Ayala Corporation, San Miguel Corporation, Meralco, and the Bank of the Philippine Islands.
The full interview may be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prECh0Thsy0