On Our Continuing Journey and Transformation

By Br. Ricardo P. Laguda FSC DLSU President and Chancellor


Good morning!


Last year, we continued the DLSU journey and the DLSU story. If we look at our Taft campus today and our integration efforts with the Leandro V. Locsin Campus, we can see the many changes or transformations that happened in Academic Year 2012-2013.

Transformations can be a double-edged sword in our ongoing story as a Lasallian community. We can see them either as an opportunity to raise the bar of excellence or as a barrier to the things we think we should be doing. In a university setting, these transformations can come in the form of teaching- learning processes, research priorities, physical facilities, and learning spaces, among others. These are all part of the DLSU journey and story.


The transformations that took place at De La Salle University in the last academic year have been digitized into a President's Report. In technological parlance, the report is referred to as “vook,” which is video and book combined.

Rather than give you a printed report, I thought it would be good to introduce the President’s Report as something digital. I invite you to read and re-read what is in this vook and re-discover the Lasallian Mission in a new way.

  1. Chapter two consists of the the university core functions
  2. Chapter two, section one is on teaching focusing in the learner centered approach and the Lasallian Pedagogical Framework.
  3. There is an explanation there of the LEARN acronyms. You can tap any of the green circle for an explanation.
  4. Chapter two section two is on research focusing on the 5 priority areas and the multi disciplinary approach.
  5. Chapter two section three is on Community Engagement focusing on different activities and initiatives we have in creating good outcomes for engagement with the poor.
  6. Chapter three section one, is on infrastructure - the major and minor renovations done during the year.
  7. Chapter three section 2 is on Scholarships - we have reached the 20% target...we wish to maintain the range of 20-25% full scholarship equivalent.
  8. Sports - we won the first ever UAAP general championship and other achievement of our student athletes.
  9. Infographics - student profile, enrollment and graduation, licensure exams, board top notchers, student achievements, scholarships.
  10. Faculty profile - faculty by numbers per colleges, faculty achievements, faculty development.

On the Horizon
As the University goes through various changes, we also brace ourselves for national and regional developments on the horizon, changes that will have a bearing in the future of higher education.
Recently, we held the national midterm elections, with the winners proclaimed in less than a week. I wonder how these politicians will have shaped the national agenda by 2016. We now have a K-12 program that was signed into a law. I wonder what higher education will look like by 2016. In 2015, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will have set out an ambitious road map for reforms to create an ASEAN Economic Community. I wonder what kind of region we will have by 2016.
Amidst all the envisioned changes in our society, we hold the potential to transform higher education a tool for growth and innovation. Or, at the other end of the spectrum, we can make it a hindrance to human development—and I hope the latter will never be our choice. Historically, universities have always occupied an antagonistic position vis-à-vis social, cultural, economic, and political developments. Yet, by tirelessly generating and transmitting knowledge, by driving growth and innovation, universities have served as catalysts in transforming societies.

Trends in higher education

Let me offer you some thoughts on the major trends in higher education and where we can play a role as a catalyst. According to the paper “The University of the Future” by Ernst and Young, five (5) trends will drive the transformation of higher education. These trends will continually affect our understanding of what a university is and who we are as a Lasallian university.

Democratization of knowledge and access—The massive increase in the availability of ‘knowledge’ online and the mass expansion of access to university education in developed and developing markets will lead to a fundamental change in the role of universities as originators and keepers of knowledge. The teacher or the professor has shifted from the sage in the stage to a guide in the side. Teaching methods have to change. A University Provost said, "We can’t rely on delivering content anymore — it’s all about contextualization, ways of thinking, and the student experience.” The question is: What are we doing about the way we are teaching and learning? What are we doing in contextualizing the student's prior knowledge and their experience as learners?

Contestability of markets and funding—Competition for students and faculty is reaching new levels of intensity around the world. Universities will need to compete for students, faculty, and research funding like never before from government, private companies, philanthropists, and venture capitalists. Universities will be pushed to be more accountable for their funds and projects. The question is: What are we doing to make ourselves more accountable of the funds and projects that are within our scope of responsibility? How can we be more competitive in this new level of playing field?

Global mobility—Global mobility will grow for students, faculty members, researchers, and university brands. This will not only intensify competition but will also create opportunities for much deeper global partnerships and broader access to student and academic talent. To quote a University Vice-President: "There will be 15-20 independent, global brands ... the rest will be playing for the silver medal.” The question is: If we cannot be in the list of top 15-20 universities in the world, what are we willing to be and what will we do? What space or niche will we target? How can we keep the Lasallian identity and mission relevant?

Digital technologies—Digital technologies have transformed media, retail, entertainment, and many other industries, including higher education. The brick and mortar of campuses will remain, but digital technologies will transform the way education is delivered and accessed. Digital technologies will change the way ‘value’ is created by higher education providers, public and private alike. A University Vice-Chancellor quipped, "Our major competitor in ten years time will be Google... if we’re still alive!” The question is: What are we doing to adapt and innovate, using technologies as a leverage in teaching, learning, doing research, or even helping the less privileged?

Integration with industry—Universities will need to build significantly deeper relationships with industry in the decade ahead — to differentiate teaching and learning programs, support the funding and application of research, and reinforce the role of universities as drivers of innovation and growth. The head of a university leaders’ group said, “The big game will be co-investment with the private sector.” The question is: What are we doing to ensure greater academe- industry linkages in our programs? Where else can we develop greater partnerships to promote the Lasallian Mission?

Re-visiting DLSU’s Vision, Mission, and Values

This year, we will re-visit our plans and the way we do things so that we can more or less address the five (5) major trends that are happening in higher education. The big question is are we mission effective? Can we remain relevant and continue to push the boundaries of excellence in higher education in order to be mission effective? I know we have certain directions for this AY 2013-2014 in key strategic areas, but I will highlight the three core functions for this assembly.
Let me highlight some important measures and targets for the University. Under the L.E.A.R.N. or Lasallian Education and Research Nexus, our targets are the following passing percentages in licensure exams: 100% for both Ramon V. del Rosario-College of Business and the Brother Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education; and 90% for the Gokongwei College of Engineering and College of Science. (mechanical, electronics...)
Likewise, we target PAASCU Level IV program accreditation for the undergraduate programs of Engineering, Accountancy, Business, Economics, Computer Studies, Education, Liberal Arts, and Sciences.
Likewise, we target PAASCU Level IV program accreditation for all our undergraduate programs to add to the three programs of engineering previously granted level IV accreditation. We will also undergo reaccreditation of graduate programs of education, liberal arts and science. We target PAASCU institutional accreditation for the University.
We also aim to have an institutional assessment under the ASEAN University Network Quality Assessment (AUN-QA).
International Studies, Civil Engineering and Mathematics will undergo ASEAN University Network Quality Assessment (AUN-QA) at the program level this November.


We should pursue all these measures with a lot of rigor and discipline. I call them small wins or the low lying fruits. There is a bigger picture or high stake measure sthough.

For almost ten years now, we have been advocating Transformative Learning. Today, we are seeing the major shift of the sage in the stage to the guide in the side mode of teaching-learning processes. The Lasallian Pedagogical Framework is gradually shaping us amidst the different trends and changes in society. Today, we are encouraged to look at different perspectives with emphasis on the core values, Lasallian Core Curriculum, our majors and expected lasallian graduate attributes (ELGAs), towards the holistic education of our students. We seek to help them be the best that they can be according to God’s will. When we teach our subjects, be it in the arts or in the sciences, GE or majors, the Lasallian Pedagogical Framework helps us become more attuned to the needs of the learners and guide them in instilling the expected Lasallian graduate attributes into their character as a person.

In the years to come, I hope that our Professional Learning Communities will further enhance the delivery and development of Lasallian education. Our faculty members across disciplines should find ways to collaborate and make our Professional Learning Communities a venue to discuss and share lessons and insights. The real measure of our educational mission is whether we have been successful in imbibing the Lasallian Core Values of Faith, Service, and Communion, for ourselves and for our students (as well as integrating these core values into teaching, research, and community engagement). I hope our PLCs will soon develop measures for that in their crucial conversations, or reflections and dialogues. This is the bigger picture. This is a high stake measure to become more mission effective in the way we should understand education and the way we want to become more learner-centered in the years to come.

Yet, We know we are not just a learner-centered institution; we are a learner- centered research university. Research has become equally important in the life of DLSU. Never before in the history of DLSU have we been more concerned with citations, H-index, and other metrics of research productivity.

For our research targets under the acronym LEARN F.A.S.T. or Learn how to bridge Faith And Scholarship towards Transformation, we aim to have a 10% increase of citation in peer-reviewed local and international publications. We also seek to have 50% of our research projects aligned with the University’s strategic research themes, namely 1) Food, Nutrition, and Health; 2) Sustainability, Environment, and Energy; 3) Women, Children and Family; 4) Living Culture and Contemporary Societies; and 5) Learners and Learning Innovations. We also aim to have at least five (5) major partners per college, school, center, and institute.

Again, these are small wins, and low lying fruits. We need the big picture and high stake measures.

The real high stake measure is the qualifier of being a learner-centered research university that bridges faith and scholarship. It begs the question whether we have bridged faith and scholarship in our research and learning endeavors. And as we bridge faith and scholarship, are we promoting multidisciplinary research, and do our research projects have practical applications? At the end of the day, we must ask ourselves: Does our research make us more human and “faith-full”? Has it also touched the lives of others in need? Does it offer solutions to some of the pressing problems we face today?

That is why there is also the ultimate challenge in our DLSU Vision Mission for us to transform society, especially the poor in our midst. For our community engagement targets, under the acronym LEARN D.E.E.P. or Learn how to be Daring for an Enduring Engagement with the Poor, we seek to develop five (5) community engagement programs initiated by the non-academic units per year. We also aim to have at least one (1) faculty and/or research recognized for its significant contribution to society, and to have five (5) students and/or student organizations recognized by an external body in community engagement and leadership. We hope to have at least 50% of our academic programs with a community engagement component. After all DLSU is about being a resource for the Church and nation, especially for the poor. The big picture and the high stake measure is how much have we sensitize ourselves to the joy and cries of the poor and how much of our human and material resources are mobilize in order to empower the poor in our midst. Have we as a University really made an impact in the lives of the communities we are engaged with?

Another high stake measure is a continuing call for all Lasallians to LEARN W.E.L.L. or Learn how to open Windows for Engaging in Lifelong Learning. (click) Today, our DLSU Science and Technology Complex is the University’s major challenge for us to LEARN W.E.L.L.

Indeed, DLSU-STC is an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime. As we have been telling our Lasallian community, and the rest of the nation, DLSU-STC is DLSU’s next great idea. For us to realize our vision for this campus, we would need the cooperation of everyone. This year, we have seen the 90% completion of the new building for the Integrated School, where we are now starting to plant the seeds of the K-12 program. In the coming years, we will witness the continuing growth of the campus, with the construction of a sports and wellness zone as well as new facilities for academics and research.


Measure What Matters

Once again, I would like to emphasize the need for the cooperation of all our stakeholders in attaining our targets, as we set our own measures while having to contend with external rankings. Personally as a Catholic University, what matters most is our mission effectiveness.

In the next year or two, we will implement, among others, an inititaive by De La Salle Philippines known as the Lasallian Community Appreciation and Reflective Study (LS CARES). This will go hand in hand with the efforts of the Offices of Risk Management, Compliance and Internal Audit as well as Strategic Management, and Quality Assurance to institutionalize measures that will ensure our continuous learning and performance improvement as a University. Through these, we also hope to deepen our appreciation for our "Lasallianess". In the process, we will also seek ways to measure the success and excellence of our Lasallian Mission in DLSU. We want to have crucial conversations with different stakeholders on measuring what matters....measuring the low lying fruits and more importantly measure what are considered high stake measures in the way we educate to become more learner centered, in the way we do research to bridge faith and scholarship, and in the way we practice community engagement to transform society, especially the poor.

In all that we do, it is my earnest desire that we become more Lasallian as we become more attuned to the Founder's spirit and Charism. As we focus on the high stake measures that matter to us, (I know shift happens and it is in our hands to make things happen, each one of us is the KEY to change), This is the only way we will be able to fully realize DLSU’s Vision, Mission, and Values. This is the way we can live the Animo in ways beyond our imagination. What is at stake is the future of our children's children. Only then, can we truly say what we mean when we say the future begins here. I invite each one of you to journey with me... to journey with our Founder, as we navigate the transformations that we wish to see in the future. (if this means painting the town green, lets do it together).

My dear Lasallians, good morning, and let us Live Jesus in our hearts, forever. Thank you.

Posted on 06/05/2013


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