Honor, excellence and service

EYES WIDE OPEN - Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

Ten flagship programs, with briefers of several pages. Big dreams, meaningful values and a bold vision for a university founded 116 years ago.

The result is a damn good story in the making.

At first glance, the University of the Philippines’ Strategic Plan 2023-2029, launched on Tuesday on the occasion of UP’s 116th Foundation Day, seems complicated and maybe a bit too ambitious.

Veteran journalist Malou Mangahas even jested that while studying the blueprint she was reminded of the National Democratic Front’s program for the Philippines.

That drew laughter from the crowd that gathered at the UP College of Law’s Malcolm Hall.

It was a warm Tuesday morning as UP unveiled its Ten Flagship Programs as part of its Strategic Plan to be prioritized in the next five years.

To help dissect the ambitious and bold plan, UP’s Strategic Communication Group put together a panel of journalists who are all UP alumni to discuss the different programs with UP president Atty. Angelo “Jijil” Jimenez.

GMA-7’s Malou Mangahas led the panel, moderated by Bilyonaryo’s Ces Drilon. TV5’s Roby Alampay, Net 25’s Nina Alagao Flores, Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Anna Tuazon and myself completed the panel.

From academic excellence to digital transformation

In a nutshell, as explained by UP, its flagship programs “underscore the role of UP as the national university in raising higher education standards throughout the Philippines, and emphasize the public service orientation of UP.”

“My goal is for UP to truly serve the people, by ensuring that we not only strengthen our academic capacities as a leading national and global university, but also look beyond the traditional confines of the academe and work toward national development and social justice,” said president Jijil.

Under his Strategic Plan, UP will enhance its alignment with global standards and best practices as an academic institution, while also carrying out its public service mandate through the concrete initiatives spelled out in the flagship programs.

The programs are Academic Excellence, Inclusive Admissions, Research and Innovation, Open Distance e-Learning, Archipelagic and Oceanic Virtual University, Arts and Culture, Quality Management System and Quality Assurance, Active and Collaborative Partnerships, Expansion of Public Service Offices and Digital Transformation.

Under Academic Excellence, UP will refine its core curriculum with the goal of enabling systemic transformation to address pressing social issues. Inclusive Admissions will see UP increasing representation from underprivileged communities while Research and Innovation strives to establish UP as a hub of innovation. Through Open Distance e-Learning, UP will offer more degree programs and online courses to reach learners worldwide.

An Archipelagic and Oceanic Virtual University aims to help students understand our archipelagic environment while the Arts and Culture program will seek to cultivate a thriving arts ecosystem. Quality Management and Quality Assurance would make UP accountable as it ensures the highest standards of teaching and services.

Another program is Active and Collaborative Partnerships which aims to address socio-economic challenges. It’s similar to the Expansion of Public Services, through which UP wants to enhance its role as a public service university.

Digital Transformation, which completes the 10 Flagship Programs, aims to strengthen its position as a leading university in the digital age.

Honor, excellence and service

All these programs are consistent with the recently unveiled motto of the Jimenez administration for UP: “Honor and excellence in the service of the people.”

This essentially underscores his administration’s commitment to public service alongside the traditional UP values of honor and excellence.

I personally like the focus on inclusive admissions, digital transformation, open distance learning, arts and culture, archipelagic environment and expansion of public service offices.

President Jijil strongly believes in the “spirit of service,” adding that there is so much room to foster this value, especially among the younger generation.

After roughly two hours of discussions – which Ces successfully kept within the expected duration – all of us in the panel learned more about the programs. I hope the audience did, too.

Big props to president Jijil and his team for coming up with this blueprint and for its successful launch.

It always takes a village to do something big and in the case of UP, that village is a community of indefatigable UP insiders and alumni, including UP vice president for Public Affairs Rolando Tolentino, UP executive vice president Jose Alcantara and UP alumni Jingjing Romero, Oscar Gomez Jr., Kat Ramos, Ivy Mendoza, Rica Abad and Ritzi Ronquillo.

As for me, I enjoyed seeing fellow UP alumni and colleagues in the media. There is always something to learn and discuss, or someone to laugh with.

At the end of the day, it’s also always good to go back and give back to UP and it’s even more special when it happens to be on UP’s Foundation Day – 116 years of honor, excellence and service.

The next step is to see this plan come to fruition. It’s still an unfinished story, with perhaps many twists and turns, but at least it has started. A good story is unfolding.

Admittedly, the plan is complicated, ambitious and bold and it would take a lot of hard work for it to succeed.

But then again, it wouldn’t be UP if it were so easy. Or uncomplicated. Or simple.

UP dares to dream big dreams because it can; and because its students and alumni – wherever they may be in this constantly spinning and moving world – help turn these dreams into reality.

*      *      *

Follow her on X, formerly Twitter @eyesgonzales. Column archives at EyesWideOpen (Iris Gonzales) on Facebook.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with