by Marjorie Evasco-Pernia
Brother Andrew B. Gonzalez, FSC was De La Salle University System President when he resounded his visionary call on August 8, 1996 to the 28-strong members of the Society of University Fellows, for them to continue providing inspired leadership to the academic community in achieving new heights of excellence in research, publications and teaching. The Society of University Fellows was then already a well-respected collegial institution in the University, with a decade of its members’ work establishing benchmark records of outstanding achievement in their respective fields of specialization.
In that year’s address given during the President’s annual dinner for the University Fellows, which Brother Andrew hosted in Chef Gene Gonzalez’s Café Ysabel in San Juan, he affirmed that “the business of the University is intellectual excellence. We must recognize it, search actively for it, reward it and acknowledge it, so as to make it bloom. Excellence is … brilliance in achievement, by surpassing what has been done before and by going up higher and higher —excelsior – in achievement and discovery. And this is judged not only by good teaching but above all by the quality of research and writing.”
Moreover, he cited as anathema to excellence the malady of academic malaise, of “a lack of drive, the lack of the N-Ach factor (to use the Harvard Professor McClelland’s term), intellectual lassitude and plain lack of self-discipline.” And he strongly cautioned against allowing any sign of intellectual laziness to find a comfortable niche in the University.
The Society was formally established after the 1987 Faculty Manual was approved for implementation. The Technical Panel, composed of officers of the Faculty Association and top administrators, had discussed at great lengths the idea put forward by Brother President Andrew himself, on the high purpose of the Society of University Fellows as the embodiment of the ideals of academic excellence in research, publication and teaching among the University’s professors. Dr. Paulino Tan, who was then Executive Vice-President, recalls that Brother Andrew said conferment of the honor would be a form of reward to a faculty member, who would then take his or her place in the company of intellectual peers and leaders of the University.
Given the perceived service, merits and benefits that University Fellows could give and commit to the University, the Technical Panel crafted the establishment of the Society and incorporated the essential provisions of its existence in Section F, pages 24-25 of the Manual. The Technical Panel members who signed the document were the following officers of the Faculty Association (FA): President Fernando Elesterio, Vice-President Cirilo Bautista, Auditor Edna Formilleza, Treasurer Lilia Silao, and Board Member Ronald Mendoza. On the administration side the signatories were: Executive Vice-President Paulino Tan, Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs Leonida Africa, College of Engineering Dean Angel Lazaro and College of Liberal Arts Dean Ma. Lourdes Bautista.
The inaugural batch of five University Fellows, who were nominated by the deans of the five colleges in 1986 — De La Salle University’s Diamond Jubilee — in recognition of their role as exemplars of academic excellence in their respective fields of specialization, were formally conferred the honor in May of AY 1986-1987. The first five University Fellows were: Professors Servillano Olaño, Jr. (College of Engineering - Chemical Engineering), Wyona Patalinghug (College of Science - Chemistry), Emerita Quito (College of Liberal Arts - Philosophy), Emma Teodoro (College of Computer Studies - Information Technology), and Tereso Tullao, Jr. (College of Business and Economics - Economics).
And in the next two academic years, the University conferred the honor on ten new University Fellows, boosting the roster of exemplars and leaders of scholarly excellence to 15 by the end of the’80s. These were: Professors Leonida Africa (Business Administration), Cirilo Bautista (Literature), Claro Ceniza (Philosophy), Rose Marie Clemeña (Counseling and Educational Psychology) for AY 1987-1988; and for AY 1988-1989, Isagani Cruz (Literature), Virginia Diaz (Commercial Law), Melecio Deauna (Science Education), Ricardo del Rosario (Mechanical Engineering), Andrew Gonzalez, FSC (Linguistics) and Wilfrido Villacorta (Political Science).
Brother Andrew began envisioning in the 1990s a multiversity system with De La Salle University Manila as the lead institution among the schools and colleges established and run by the Christian Brothers of the Philippines. He articulated in many academic fora that the crucial element in fulfilling this vision is the development of the University’s specialists and the aggressive recruitment of the best scholars and teachers into its ranks. He continued to uphold the Society of University Fellows as a model of an exceptional intellectual, ethical community, where a philosopher could sit in thoughtful, insightful and convivial conversation with a mathematician, a poet, a linguist and a microbiologist.
Brother Andrew regaled the Fellows with the story of what happened when a Neo-Platonist mathematician-philosopher like Alfred North Whitehead sat in conversation with a behaviorist like B.F. Skinner at a dinner held for the Fellows of Harvard University. Whitehead, he recalled, surprised the behaviorist by whispering conspiratorially, “There’s a huge spider about to fall on your soup.” Whitehead’s implied critique of Skinner’s strict behaviorist paradigm, as Brother Andrew said, “is that language is full of surprises, in habitual and creative ways of talking, unexpected, unconditioned. It is the stuff of poetry, legend, humor, even prevarication…” It was freedom of creative intellectual discovery and exchange that Brother Andrew himself valued and practiced almost to perfection.
Within the decade up to the second millennium, the Society of Fellows included 16 more outstanding professors: Ma. Lourdes Bautista (Linguistics) and Azucena Puertollano (Chemical Engineering) for AY 1990-1991; Marcelino Foronda, Jr. (History), Carmelita Quebengco (Educational Leadership and Management) and Florentino Timbreza (Philosophy) for AY 1991-1992; Pilar Ramos-Jimenez (Behavioral Science) and Robert Salazar (Behavioral Science) for AY 1993-1994; Florencia Claveria (Biology), Gerardo Janairo (Chemistry) and B.S. Medina, Jr. (Literature) for AY 1994-1995; Fernando Elesterio (Religious Studies) and Exaltacion Lamberte (Behavioral Science) for AY 1995-1996; Trinidad Osteria (Behavioral Science) for AY 1996-1997; Esperanza Cabrera (Biology) and Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr. (Communication) for AY 1998-1999; and Severino Gervasio (Mathematics) for AY 1999-2000.
By 1984 the Integrated Research Center (IRC) Research Dissemination Office under Dr. Ma. Lourdes Bautista became the foundation of the De La Salle University Press. Brother Andrew challenged all the colleges to encourage their faculty members to publish their books under the imprint of the DLSU Press, and to publish in scholarly journals specific to their disciplines. There were two University journals, Dialogue and Malay, and several specialized journals like Likha of the Department of English Language and Literature, the Religious Studies Journal of the Religious Studies Department and Sophia of the Philosophy Department, among others.
By October 1987 the vigor of scholarly studies and the burgeoning of creative work in single-author books by faculty members was already evident, as recorded in the list of faculty publications published in the DLSU Dialogue (Vol. XXII No. 2: 53-65). Among the notable books, monographs and articles in monographs written by University Fellows were: Dr. Maria Lourdes Bautista’s “English-Filipino contact: a case study of reciprocal borrowing” included in English in contact with other languages edited by Wolfgang Viereck and Wolf-Dietrich Bald in honor of Broden Cartensen, published by Akademia Kiado in Budapest; Dr. Isagani R. Cruz’s “Si Lam-ang, si Fernando Poe, Jr. at si Aquino” in Selected Essays in Contemporary Philippine Literary Theory and Criticism edited by Soledad S. Reyes, published by the Ateneo de Manila University; Marjorie Evasco-Pernia’s Dreamweavers: Selected Poems published by Editorial and Media Resources; Emerita S. Quito’s Three Women Philosophers in the Diamond Jubilee Publication of DLSU; and Brother Andrew B. Gonzalez’s “Child Language Studies in the Philippines” in Spracherwerb und Mehrsprachigkeit Festschrift fur Els Oksaar zum 60 edited by Brigitte Narr and Hartwig Wittje of Geburtstag published by Gunter Narr Verlag in Tubingen, Germany.
In the category of Periodical Articles, Book Reviews and Scholarly/ Scientific Papers, the most notable publications of 1987 were Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta’s “The Changing Philippine Perceptions of the Soviet Union in Asia” in the Foreign Relations Journal (2:1:70-89); Dr. Florentino Timbreza’s “Sex, Freedom, Responsibility” in Sophia (16:2:1-33); and Prof. Emma Teodoro’s “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” in Computer Issues (4:17: 193+).
Together with active scholarly studies, publication and the unbroken tradition of outstanding teaching, the University earned from the Philippine Accreditation Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) its Level IV accreditation from May 2002 to April 2007, the highest level ever granted at that time to a university. De La Salle University was under the leadership of Dr. Carmelita Quebengco as Executive Vice President and Chancellor, and it was the only higher education institution (HEI) during that period to have achieved the highest level accreditation.
The practice of scholarship was highlighted by the institutionalization of the Fellowship Lectures, inaugurated by Brother Andrew Gonzalez on March 11, 1994 and delivered at the Ariston Estrada Seminar Room in La Salle Building. He presented his well-considered ideas about “National Language Development and Economic Development: Is the Connection Ineluctable?” This was followed on March 9, 1995 by the lecture of Dr. Tereso Tullao, Jr. at the Francisco Ortigas Room of the University Library. Dr. Tullao spoke on “Integrasyon ng Silangang Asya: Mga Implikasyon sa Filipinas.”
These first two Fellowship Lectures showed the academic community some of the important characteristics of the lectures. Dr. Isagani Cruz noted that both Brother Andrew and Dr. Tullao were leaders who embodied the movement for the intellectualization of Filipino, using the national language not only in classroom instruction, but also in high-level lectures like the Fellowship Lectures of the University Fellows. Dr. Isagani Cruz himself was an advocate of the movement, teaching, writing and lecturing in Filipino.
Moreover, he said that Brother Andrew used the latest critical tools of sociolinguistics while Dr. Tereso Tullao employed the latest economic data of the Southeast Asian region. The two lecturers showed how a scholar can look at two seemingly disparate things and bring them together – in Brother Andrew’s case, the development of a national language and economic development – or offer the ways by which our country can position itself in league and in collaboration with other nations in the region for stronger economic development of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Both lectures, seen from today’s perspective, were speaking of things far ahead of their time.
On March 29, 1996 the third fellowship lecture was delivered at the Ariston Estrada Seminar Room by Dr. Wyona Patalinghug, who spoke on “X-Rays: A Century Later.” Dr. Patalinghug focused on the discovery of German engineer and physicist Wilhelm Condrad Röntgen, who detected and produced electromagnetic waves now known as X-rays, which revolutionized diagnosis in medicine and earned him a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. In his introduction to her Fellowship Lecture, head of the Society Dr. Isagani Cruz said:
“...sumusunod sa taunang Fellowship Lecture sa tagubilin ng mga pandaigdigang propesyonal na asosasyon na kailangang lumahok ang mga iskolar ng iba’t ibang larangan sa isang pakikipag-usap sa mundo ng ideya, kailangang magbigay ng bago at makabuluhang pananaw o pagdulog sa isang isyung kasalukuyang binubuno ng maraming iskolar, at kailangang makarating ang pananaw o pagdulog na ito sa mga nakikinig o nagbabasa sa isang paraang naiintindihan.”
The Fellowship Lecture in 1997 was given by Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta on “The Jeepney and the Japanese Tea Ceremony: Contrasts and Complementariness in Philippine and Japanese Cultures.” In his introduction to the lecturer, Dr. Isagani R. Cruz noted that Dr. Villacorta’s interest in Japan “started when visited Japan as a 12-year old high school student” and that Villacorta had gone back several times for personal as well as scholarly interests. Using graphics, the lecture creatively described how the jeepney and the tea ceremony epitomize the differences in the social behavior and political culture of the two countries.
Dr. Servillano Olaño, Jr. gave the lecture in 1998 on “Metaphoric Extensions of Thermodynamic Entropy.” Dr. Isagani Cruz introduced his lecture by noting that he could not “resist looking back at the last years of the 19th century, when there was a great debate in England between the adherents of the great cultural tradition and the new scientific spirit.” He continued to relate how C.P. Snow gave one of the great insights of the century when he was asked if there were two cultures: “Snow was disdainful of scientists who did not know what a metaphor was, but he was equally disdainful of humanities types who could not recite the third law of thermodynamics. Snow pointed out that thermodynamics is as basic to science as Shakespeare and metaphor are to culture.”
The last Fellowship Lecture that capped the’90s was “Huling Habilin: Iisang Rizal, Iba-ibang Rizal” given by Dr. Buenaventura Medina, Jr. on January 29, 1999 at the Ariston Estrada Seminar Room. The tradition of the Fellowship Lectures was continued in the second millennium by Atty. Virginia Diaz, who spoke on March 14 during the DLSU Mission Statement Week. Her lecture, which focused on legal issues in heterosexual relationships, titled “Before and After Living Happily Ever After: The Law for Lovers and Spouses,” was well-attended and brought flavor to the week’s theme of “Living the Lasallian Heritage.” And in 2001 when meat consumers the world over were alarmed by the occurrence of the dreadful mad cow disease, Dr. Florencia Claveria stepped up to the plate and delivered her Fellowship Lecture titled “Beware of Meat!: Philippine Cases of Bubaline, Bovine and Swine Sarcocystis Spp Infection.” She was then Dean of the College of Science and her lecture provided her audience with important knowledge from her research findings on water- and food-borne infections in livestock species that in turn also infect humans.
Several things can be gleaned as unique qualities of the Society’s Fellowship Lectures. Dr. Isagani R. Cruz pointed out these marks of value to the academic community:
“Una’y nagsasalita ang Fellow mula sa kanyang larangan o kagalingan o expertise … Ikalawa’y makabago o napapanahon ang paksang tinalakay ng mga Fellows … Ikatlo’y makabuluhan hindi lamang para sa mga kasamahan nila sa kanilang larangan, kundi para sa nakararaming mga iskolar at mamamayan ang mga paksang tinatalakay ng mga Fellows…”
Ten more Fellowship Lectures have been given to date by members of the Society of University Fellows, some on the occasion of their retirement from the University. These lectures were: “Surrealism and the Mind of Oscar de Zuñiga” by Dr. Cirilo Bautista in 2002; “Energy and the Environment” by Dr. Azucena Puertollano, 2003; “Pilosopiya ng Kudeta: Sisteng Pinoy” by Dr. Florentino Timbreza, 2003; “The Philippine National Unified Health Research Agenda: Its Relevance to Academe” by Dr. Pilar Ramos-Jimenez, 2006; “The Lord’s Prayer from a Filipino Perspective” by Dr. Jose de Mesa, 2008; “Superfan: Archiving the Image of the Superstar” by Dr. Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr., 2009; “Regarding Philippine English” by Dr. Ma. Lourdes Bautista, 2010; “Leadership in Lasallian Educational Institutions” by Dr. Carmelita Quebengco, 2011; “Bituin Model: Focus on Social Relations as Capital” by Dr. Exaltacion Lamberte, 2012; and “Memoir of a Writing Life: Learning the Lesson of Meaningful Silence” by Dr. Marjorie Evasco-Pernia in 2014.
A university worth its salt provides its students with the best professors to facilitate the learning process in classrooms and laboratories, and in alternative activities outside the classroom, including the smart classroom in cyberspace. In the spirit of the charism of St. John Baptist de la Salle, patron saint of teachers and founder of the congregation of Christian Brothers, De La Salle University gives priority to quality teaching in all its academic programs.
In the Philippines, the oldest recognition for outstanding teachers in the primary, secondary and tertiary levels started in 1985. A corporate citizenship initiative of Metrobank Corporation, the nationwide Search for Outstanding Teachers (SOT) is annually organized by Metrobank Foundation, which coordinates with the country’s schools, colleges and universities in order to bring forth the models of excellence in teaching, from the southernmost parts to the northern tip of the archipelago. On its inaugural year, University Fellow Dr. Emerita Quito was fielded by the University to participate in the competitive process of the search on the tertiary level. Her stellar performance as a teacher and her reputation as an original and creative thinker brought to De La Salle University its first Metrobank Outstanding Educator of the National Capital Region.
Dr. Quito’s achievement in 1985 was followed by other University Fellows who also got the award as Metrobank Outstanding Educators: Dr. Marcelino B. Foronda, Jr. (1991), Dr. Tereso Tullao, Jr. (1993), Dr. Wyona Patalinghug (1994), Dr. Marie Marjorie Evasco-Pernia (1999), Dr. Rose Marie Clemeña (2000), Dr. Raymund Sison (2010), and Dr. Alfredo Robles, Jr. (2013).
From the year 2000 the entire University hunkered down to prepare the ground for the celebration of De La Salle’s centenary in 2011 and envision what it would aspire to be beyond its first centennial. The academic community moved as one in fulfilling the vision, mission, developmental goals and objectives of DLSU as a leading higher educational institution in terms of knowledge production through research, dissemination and teaching.
The continuity of excellence in the second millennium was embodied by new professors who were conferred membership in the Society of University Fellows. They were Consolacion Ragasa (Chemistry) and Arlene Pascacio (Mathematics) for AY 2000-2001; Allan Benedict Bernardo (Counseling and Educational Psychology) for AY 2003-2004; Marie Marjorie Evasco-Pernia (Literature), Michael Alba (Economics) and Ponciano Intal, Jr. (Economics) for AY 2004-2005; Pag-asa Gaspillo (Chemical Engineering) for AY 2005-2006; Susan Gallardo (Chemical Engineering), Jose de Mesa (Theology and Religious Education) and Alvin Culaba (Mechanical Engineering) for AY 2006-2007; Angelo Unite (Economics) for AY 2007-2008; Wilfredo Roehl Licuanan (Biology), Elmer Jose Dadios (Manufacturing and Management Engineering) and Myrna Austria (Economics) for AY 2008-2009; Raymond Girard Tan (Chemical Engineering) and Leonila Abella (Chemical Engineering) for AY 2009-2010; Raymund Sison (Software Technology) for AY 2010-2011; Alfredo Robles, Jr. (International Studies) for AY 2014-2015; and Rosemary Seva (Industrial Engineering) and Anthony Shun Fung Chiu (Industrial Engineering) for AY 2016-2017.
The new University Fellows replenished the ranks of the Society as the older University Fellows had retired or were about to retire from full-time active service. A few had resigned from the University for other professional challenges elsewhere. The Society also mourned the passing of colleagues Brother Andrew B. Gonzalez (+2006), Dr. Marcelino A. Foronda, Jr. (+1996), Dr. Claro M. Ceniza (+2001) and Dr. Fernando G. Elesterio (+2011). As part of the University centennial activities of the Society of Fellows, the members offered a memorial mass and tribute to their departed colleagues at the Chapel of the Pearl of Great Price in February 2012. Dr. Ma. Lourdes Bautista gave the tribute for Brother Andrew Gonzalez, Dr. Florentino Timbreza for Dr. Claro Ceniza, Dr. Tereso Tullao, Jr. for Dr. Marcelino Foronda, Jr. and Dr. Jose de Mesa prepared the tribute for Dr. Fernando Elesterio, which was read by Dr. Susan Gallardo. To honor their colleagues, the University Fellows wore their special academic gowns during the mass.
The high quality of teaching performance given by members of the Society of University Fellows can be seen in the regular annual teaching evaluation conducted by the Institutional Testing and Evaluation Office (ITEO), where a majority of them are consistently given outstanding marks by their students, administrators and peers. Given their exceptional creative teaching skills, the University Fellows are matched with the University’s STAR scholars. Each STAR scholar has the opportunity to work with and learn from a University Fellow as dedicated mentor. The STAR scholars constitute the elite of the University’s first-year students. They represent the best that the University’s incoming students can offer in terms of academic excellence, participation in campus life and community service. The STAR Scholars embody the aspiration of the University to attract the best and the brightest of each batch of high school graduates.
In the first trimester of AY 1999-2000, the Society of University Fellows conducted the Orient1 program for the STAR scholars through 13 lecture-discussion sessions led by a University Fellow. In June, 16 scholars sat for an hour and a half session each with Drs. Wilfrido Villacorta, Wyona Patalinghug and Florencia Claveria to discuss such diverse and interesting topics as the life and teachings of “St. John Baptist de la Salle,” “Globalization and Nationalism,” and “Parasitology.” In July the topics ranged from the psychology of social responsibility in Dr. Robert Salazar’s lecture “Ikaw at Ako: Ang Lipunan at ang Ating Kapaligiran,” “Adolescent Sexuality and Reproductive Health” by Dr. Pilar Ramos-Jimenez, “Pelikula” by Dr. Clodualdo del Mundo, “Philippine Languages” by Dr. Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista and “Student Rights and Obligations” by Atty. Virginia Diaz. The term was capped by lectures by Drs. Tereso Tullao, Exaltacion Lamberte, Carmelita Quebengco and Isagani Cruz on the following topics, respectively: “Bakit Kailangan ang Ekonomiks?”, “Insitutional Dimensions of Quality Service,” “Effective Education” and “Cultural Literacy.”
On June 23, 1999 Dr. Isagani R. Cruz wrote Dr. Clodualdo Del Mundo, Jr. to introduce his mentee Ms. Paraluman Cruz, “for areas that transcend the traditional boundaries of disciplines represented by Departments and Colleges, as well as for areas outside the general psychological and career counseling offered by our Guidance Counselors. Such mentoring areas may include interdisciplinary interests, recreational reading, publication possibilities, and other aspects of a lively life of the mind. In short, s/he needs you to help her/him chart a Lasallian intellectual life that is Christian and Filipino.”
After the STAR scholar and her mentor have agreed on a workable schedule, they meet regularly although there is no fixed minimum or maximum number of such sessions. Dr. Cruz’s letter reiterated the purpose of the mentoring program thus: “As a STAR Scholar, s/he represents the best and the brightest of our students. As a University Fellow, you represent the best and the brightest of our faculty. Your mentoring sessions in the next few years should help provide her/him with the intellectual resources needed to succeed not only in college but also in the outside world.”
On August 9, 2000 the Dialogue Series between University Fellows and STAR Scholars was initiated with Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta, who was then President of the Yuchengco Center for East Asia, as discussant. The topic chosen was “Recent Developments in the ASEAN Region” and it was held at the Brother Gabriel Connon Seminar Room. The year after, on October 31, the Dialogue Series featured Bro. Andrew Gonzalez, FSC, speaking on “The Intellectual Life as a Career Option.”
The invitation to the Dialogue Series informed attendees of the nature and process of the dialogue: “The Society of Fellows - STAR Scholars Dialogue Series intends to promote scholarly discussions within a Filipino Christian context. Each session is meant to introduce the STAR Scholars to the professional concerns of one of the Fellows. At the same time, each Fellow wants to know the concerns of the youngest Lasallian intellectuals. Although there will be a short talk by a Fellow at the start of each session, the sessions are conceived as dialogues, with everyone learning from everyone else.” That year, the University had a total of 28 STAR Scholars.
In its efforts to conduct dialogues with members of the faculty, The Society organized with the College of Liberal Arts the Saturday fora at the Faculty Association canteen in Miguel Building. One of these Saturday discussions held over cups of brewed coffee on February 6, 1999 was led by Fr. Dan Kroger and Dr. Basilio Balajadia on the issue “Is Capital Punishment against God’s Law?”
And in 2009 the Society held focus group discussion sessions convened by Dr. Alvin Culaba. The University Fellows discussed ways on how to improve DLSU’s reputation as a research university. The Society of University Fellows saw that in order to sustain and further enhance teaching excellence, establishing a mentoring system at the department level would provide junior faculty members the training needed for teaching effectiveness, research and publications. The University Fellows proposed the provision of incentives to be given at the end of every academic year to faculty members who consistently achieve outstanding teaching performance for three successive terms. Moreover, they suggested that each department should actively, if not aggressively, recruit faculty members with PhDs and good track records in research. And for every faculty member with a PhD who retires or resigns, the replacement should be at least of equal qualifications and capabilities, if not better. This would ensure the continuity of teaching and research excellence in the University.
To strengthen the internationalization of faculty, the Society put forward the suggestion of conferment and hiring of honorary, distinguished and adjunct professors. It envisioned inviting outstanding professors from the best universities of the world to spend at least a term in DLSU to teach a subject, handle faculty development lectures and collaborate in a research project with the University’s own outstanding professors to be a good step in that direction.
The aspect of student quality is also essential and the University Fellows suggested the raising of student selectivity ratio through an active student recruitment program. This program highlights DLSU achievers, the University’s research and commissioned projects and international engagements.
The Society of University Fellows as an independent organization of peers also worked with the University’s think-tank, composed of a group of administrators and faculty members tasked with preparing the ground for the University’s 20-year development and beyond. It was also the Society’s task to explore new ideas and current issues in higher education and recommend policies and actions to the office of the University’s Vice-President for Academics and Research, and later the Vice-Chancellor for Academics. The collegial body met regularly in person or online during the academic year to discuss these issues at length, to decide on possible actions and foresee the impact of such actions on the intellectual life of the University.
Every month, the Brother President of the University hosts a coffee hour held at the Fellows’ Conference Room, where he could engage with the Fellows in a free-wheeling conversation about some of his pressing concerns in the administration of the institution. For instance, when the University was planning the transfer of the Science and Technology colleges to the campus in Canlubang, Brother President Ricky Laguda met with the University Fellows. Dr. Susan Gallardo reported that Brother Ricky Laguda and the Fellows who came for the coffee hour were able to discuss the research faculty tracking for the Science and Technology Campus, as well as matters pertaining to the research faculty grant and the awarding of professorial chairs, and the conversion of the University Library into the Faculty Center with conference rooms.
The Fellows’ monthly coffee hour was also the occasion for them to meet and listen to other administrators in the University. In AY 2015-2016, the Fellows met with the STUFAP Director Maria Paz Isabel Trinidad, who manages the assignments of STUFAP grantees as student assistants of the Fellows, as well as the STAR Scholars Program; and with Vice-Chancellor for the Lasallian Mission Brother Michael Broughton, FSC. In 2011 the coffee hour was spent in crafting the Code of Research Ethics with the research fellowship grantees of the University Research Coordination Office.
Among the University’s preparations for its centenary in 2011 was the writing of De La Salle’s 100-year history. Four University Fellows have retold the story of the institution: Cirilo Bautista for the first generation stories from 1911 up to the declaration of Manila as an Open City during World War II; Marjorie Evasco-Pernia for the stories of the next generation from 1942, when the invading Japanese forces occupied the campus, up to the declaration of Martial Law by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1972. The third volume was written by Isagani Cruz, focusing on the story of the institution’s growth into a university from 1973-2011. Brother Andrew Gonzalez wrote the fourth volume on the history of the Christian Brothers in the Philippines from the time the first school was opened in Calle Nozaleda, Paco, Manila up to the establishment of the campus on Taft Avenue, Malate, Manila.
For the centennial, the Christian Brothers of the Philippines also published “The Grace to Touch Hearts,” a book that contains the biographies of the first four Filipino Brothers: Benildo Feliciano, Andrew Gonzalez, Rafael Donato and Gregory Refuerzo. Three of the biographies were written by University Fellows. Dr. Ma. Lourdes Bautista wrote on “Brother Benildo Feliciano: The Commander,” Dr. Isagani Cruz wrote on “Brother Andrew Gonzalez: The Enigma,” and Dr. Marjorie Evasco-Pernia wrote on “Brother Gregory Refuerzo: Teacher, Builder and Gardener.” Dr. Estrellita Gruenberg wrote on “Brother Rafael Donato: The Master Builder.” Dr. Elsa Victoria Coscolluela coordinated the book project.
Three centennial lectures were also delivered by University Fellows Lourdes S. Bautista, Rose Marie Clemeña and Carmelita Quebengco. Dr. Ma. Lourdes Bautista’s lecture was on “DLSU and the development of language education in the Philippines: Up close and personal,” delivered on January 26, 2012. Dr. Carmelita Quebengco’s lecture was titled “De La Salle University: Towards the Next 100 Years,” while Dr. Rosemarie Clemena’s focused on “DLSU and the Development of Counseling in the Philippines: Remembering the Past, Living the Present, and Creating the Future.”
With a critical mass of academic achievers committed to the intellectual life, the University steadily grew towards its vision as a leading Christian higher educational institution in the country. The University Fellows, serving as catalysts of intellectual excellence in all the colleges of the University by working collaboratively with their academic peers and guiding their undergraduate and postgraduate mentees in the conduct of research and the production of new knowledge, undertook their own research and disseminated their findings through their department’s scholarly journals and high-impact journals in the Philippines and abroad.
The tradition of publishing a Festschrift or a Reader to honor the lifework of a distinguished professor expresses this ideal of intellectual leadership and collaboration with peers in the country and the rest of the world. In her introduction to Festschrift in Honor of Dr. Marcelino Foronda, which she edited in 1987, Dr. Emerita Quito wrote: “The practice of honoring a well-known figure in academe by giving him a Festschrift on his 60th birthday is European in origin. In the European tradition, the Festschrift consists of a republication of the honoree’s works in one volume and is sponsored by his colleagues and former students … The modified Festschrift is a collection of essays contributed by friends and colleagues in their own line of expertise and published in one volume to honor the celebrant.” Sixteen scholars writing in English, Filipino and Spanish contributed to Dr. Foronda’s Festschrift.
Dr. Marcelino Foronda's Festschrift
In 1990, A Life of Philosophy: Selected Works (1965-1988) of Emerita S. Quito was co-edited by Dr. Estrellita Gruenberg and Marjorie Evasco. Dr. Quito’s Festschrift gathered her major publications written in four languages, namely English, Filipino, French and German.
Parangal cang Brother Andrew: Festschrift for Andrew Gonzalez on His Sixtieth Birthday, published in 2000 by the Linguistic Society of the Philippines, featured 28 contributions, 15 by foreign authors and 13 by local authors. The volume was co-edited by Br. Andrew’s friends and colleagues Drs. Ma. Lourdes Bautista, Teodoro Llamzon and Bonifacio Sibayan.
Dr. Danilo Dayag and Dr. J. Stephen Quakenbush co-edited the volume Linguistics and Language Education in the Philippines and Beyond: A Festschrift in Honor of Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista, published by the Linguistic Society of the Philippines on the occasion of Dr. Bautista’s retirement from the University in 2005. It featured 33 articles, 15 by linguists and language educators based abroad and 18 based here.
Dr. Cirilo Bautista’s Festschrift was a definitive collection of his lyric poems edited by Dr. Marjorie Evasco-Pernia in 2006 with the title Believe and Betray. The book is a definitive re-publication of Dr. Bautista’s first three collections of lyric poems from the early ’60s, together with the new collection “Believe and Betray” completed in 2005, spanning more than 50 years of writing. These first three collections which had long-since been out of print are “The Cave,” “Charts,” “Boneyard Breaking.”
Dr. David Jonathan Bayot edited the Festschrift of Dr. Isagani Cruz titled Inter/Sections: Isagani R. Cruz and Friends which gathered essays and creative works of Dr. Cruz’s colleagues like National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario, Prof. Edwin Thumboo, Dr. Gemino Abad, Dr. Edna Zapanta-Manlapaz, Dr. E. San Juan, Dr. Gayatri Spivak, Dr. Catherine Belsey, Dr. Kathryn VanSpanckeren, and Dr. Marjorie Perloff, among others. This was co-published by the DLSU Press and Anvil Publishing, Inc. in 2010.
Several Fellows have each been honored with the publication of a Reader devoted to their important publications. Four Readers were published by DLSU Press in 1996, namely: The Andrew Gonzalez, FSC Reader, edited by Bernardo Oca, FSC; The Tereso Tullao Reader, edited by Rowena Enriquez; The Cirilo Bautista Reader, edited by Gerardo Torres; and The B.S. Medina Reader, edited by Alice Nicolas-Gregorio. These books were followed in 1997 by The Ma. Lourdes Bautista Reader, edited by Elyria Bernardino. Two more Readers were published in 2001: The Exaltacion Lamberte Reader, edited by Myla Arcinas and The Virginia Diaz Reader, edited by Sinforoso Pagunsan. The Florentino Timbreza Reader was edited by Alejandro Padilla and published in 2004.
Aside from research, knowledge production and memory-keeping, the University Fellows also published a book of their Fellowship Lectures with DLSU Press (2011), edited by the head of the Society then, Dr. Susan M. Gallardo.
While the University was celebrating its 100th year, the Society actively participated in the focus group discussion (FGD) sessions initiated and convened by Vice-Chancellor for Research Dr. Arnulfo Azcarraga on June 29, 2011 on “Research@DLSU,” within the context of the revised vision-mission of the University, which emphasized that DLSU aspires to be a “leading learner-centered research university, bridging faith and scholarship in the service of society, especially the poor.” The proposed research agenda of the University kicked off the FGD sessions among the Fellows, where they addressed concerns that were categorized into six strategies: 1) internationalization of research, 2) internationalization of faculty, 3) teaching excellence, 4) research excellence, 5) student quality and 6) international reputation.
The University Fellows recommended earlier in 2009 that DLSU continue to engage its partner universities, particularly those among the top 10 in Asia, through joint projects. They also suggested that funding resources and de-loading be given to support faculty research that impacts areas of global importance, and to allow faculty members to participate in international conferences to present their research findings. These international conferences not only provide opportunities for updating knowledge; these also expose junior faculty researchers to the work of their senior colleagues in their field of specialization. Members of the Society strongly advocated for publishing in ISI and SCOPUS-indexed journals for dissemination. After all, the publication of books by top scholarly publishers in the country and the world is the best way of establishing De La Salle University’s international reputation in research.
Dr. Raymond Girard Tan, current Vice-Chancellor for Research, speaks with just pride that within seven years, from 2009 to 2016, De La Salle University’s culture of research has grown strong roots, and researchers have gained for the institution the reputation of being the most productive in the country. While it was a vision nurtured for thirty years by the Society of University Fellows, as articulated by Brother Andrew at the University’s diamond jubilee in 1986, the shape and substance of the University’s culture of research can now be ascertained in actual products of the mind that are published and deemed beneficial for humanity.
He cites the example of Dr. Consolaction Ragasa (Chemistry), who became a University Fellow in AY 2000-2001, as the most productive researcher from 2014-2016 with over 120 research papers published. Dr. Ragasa was Dr. Tan’s professor in Chemistry, and although they belong to different colleges, Dr. Tan has kept abreast of her scientific research and says of Dr. Ragasa’s exceptional vigor for the work, “She has not lost the enthusiasm of the Ph.D. student for doing research.” And she shares her joy when her work gets accepted for publication by sending him a short note or making a phone call.
This collegiality among peers is important to nurture since “a good word from a colleague goes a long way,” says Dr. Tan. He himself had benefited from a colleague’s looking out for him to grow as a young and active junior faculty to a professor. Dr. Alvin Culaba, who was in the faculty of the mechanical engineering department, had suggested to Dr. Tan’s department chairperson, Dr. Leonila Abella, to relieve him of the duties and tasks of vice-chairperson, saying, “How will Raymond finish his Ph.D. doing so many tasks for the department that other faculty members can do?” This suggestion was well-taken and soon Dr. Tan earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. In AY 2007-2008, Dr. Culaba nominated Dr. Tan to the Society of University Fellows and in the next academic year, Dr. Tan became a University Fellow.
Dr. Raymond Girard Tan as University Fellow now shepherding the University’s research programs mentioned that as administrator, he had benefitted from sitting and participating in the many coffee hours the Society of University Fellows had with then Brother President Armin Luistro. “If I had not heard all the good ideas proposed and explored by the Fellows in the dynamic, informal and free exchange of ideas about how to build and nurture the culture of research among our faculty members, it would have taken me longer to learn the work of administration.”
He noted these good ideas, studied the possibilities, and constructed with other members of the University the various research programs and grants that an individual faculty member can now apply for, to have enough funding and de-loading time from teaching to pursue their research projects. These programs and grants are now open to all faculty members, and each one can choose the parameters of a program that is best suited for his or her individual capabilities, temperament and situation.
And where other universities follow the “publish or perish” rule of rewards and sanctions, he would rather have in DLSU the “publish and flourish” praxis, where original, sterling ideas can be pursued through research, tested in the laboratories, and the results published to benefit the greater good of the community. And it should not be enough for the DLSU researcher to think of benefitting only the country. The researcher’s vision can include the ASEAN region, where DLSU is proud to be at par with some of the best research institutions in Southeast Asia. Good ideas can and should benefit the world.
In 2013, the University’s Research Conference featured the first four TED-style Fellows’ Talks by Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan on “Dark Cows,” Dr. Raymond Girard Tan on “The Global Energy Picture in a Climate-Constrained World,” Dr. Marjorie Evasco-Pernia on “The Art of Healing and Poetry” and Dr. Tereso Tullao, Jr. on “Damned If You Do; Damned If You Don’t: The Migration Dilemma.” Since then the Fellows’ Talks have become part of the University Research Conference program and in 2014 the lectures were delivered by Dr. Esperanza Cabrera on “Microbes???...Ewww!! The Not-So-Often Told Story of Microbes,” Dr. Alvin Culaba on “Can MicroAlgae Power Us Up?” and Dr. Tereso Tullao, Jr. on “Why Are We Changing the School Calendar?”
Four Fellows gave their lectures in the University Research Conference of 2015. Dr. Gerardo Janairo tackled the question “Scientists: Heroes or Villains?” while Dr. Susan Gallardo gave her thoughts on “What It Takes to Be a Superwoman.” Dr. Tereso Tullao, Jr. asked “Is Public Funding for Research Efficient?” and Dr. Clodualdo del Mundo ruminated on “What is the Meaning of All Our Research and Creative Work?”
In 2016, Dr. Wilfrido Villacorta delivered the keynote speech on “Limitless Research Possibilities on ASEAN Integration.” Dr. Tereso Tullao, Jr. gave his fourth talk on the question “Can Education Serve as an Avenue for Regional Integration in ASEAN?” while newly-conferred Fellow Dr. Alfredo Robles, Jr. talked about “Services Trade and Regional Integration in Southeast Asia.”
To manage the operations of the Society, the members elect among themselves the head who sits in the Fellowship Board, the body that approves the appointment of new University Fellows. The head also represents the Society in various academic committees and bodies, as stipulated in the Faculty Manual. In the 30 years of its life, members who have served as head of the Society are: Drs. Emerita Quito, Isagani Cruz, Wyona Patalinghug, Esperanza Cabrera, Susan Gallardo and Wilfredo Licuanan. As it enters its fourth decade in AY 2016-2017, Dr. Raymund Sison takes on the management mantle.
In AY 1996-1997, Head of the Society of University Fellows Dr. Isagani Cruz issued the annual University-wide call for nominations for new University Fellows. His memo read thus:
“Ayon sa Faculty Manual kahit sinong “permanent faculty member with the rank of Assistant Professor or higher, ay maaring magnomineyt sa isang kapwa guro na maging isang Fellow, kung ang gurong ito ay kwalipikado ayon sa probisyong ito na binuo ng Society of Fellows noong 21 Hunyo 1990: “At least the rank of Associate Professor and at least five (5) years of continuous service in that rank preceding the nomination; except that the five (5) years continuous service may be waived if the total years of service is twenty (20) years or more, and the nominee is retiring within one (1) year prior to his/her conferment.”
The call issued by the head of the Society regularly generates keen interest from the academic community. Faculty members astutely choose who to nominate among their peers known for their intellectual integrity and academic achievements. These nominees are their colleagues in the teaching profession who have inspired them to also become scholars and achievers themselves. Members of the Society who are not on leave or out of campus on official business attend the deliberations en banc on the nominations, and carefully pore through the documents submitted to support the nomination. They also note the integrity and quality of the nominees’ scholarship, publications and leadership in top-of-the-line developments in the field of specialization, within the local and international contexts.
It was also during the term of Dr. Isagani Cruz as head of the Society of University Fellows when the special academic gown for its members was designed by the University Registrar’s office. The academic gown with the symbolic medal of the Society is donned by members at the official University rituals, particularly at investiture rituals of the University President, recipients of honorary doctoral degrees of distinguished academics and leaders and during graduation ceremonies. The University Fellows march at the head of the graduation processional right before the University’s administrators, signifying their position as models in the pursuit and practice of scholarship.
During the term of Dr. Susan Gallardo as head, the University Fellows’ blazer was designed, to be worn together with the Fellowship pin to University events like lectures and conferences within or outside of De La Salle University.
In 2001, De La Salle University went through several physical changes with the construction of several buildings in various parts of the campus. One of these new edifices was the Yuchengco Building, which now stands on what used to be the gymnasium. And in apportioning valuable space, the administration gave the Society of University Fellows its offices occupying one third of the second floor beside the space that eventually housed the De La Salle University Museum.
In November 2002, the Society of University Fellows marker was officially transferred from the ground floor of the University Main Library to the offices of the Society. A bronze place marker on the wall beside the entrance indicated the University Fellows’ Commons, or what they popularly refer to as the UF Lounge.
The Fellows’ Commons was designed to include open office cubicles equipped with high speed computers with Internet connections, two receiving areas for guests, modular lockers and wall-to-wall bookshelves. There is also a conference and lecture room equipped with educational technology, and a simple pantry that has a hot and cold water dispenser, a small refrigerator and a coffeemaker.
The Fellows take turns in using the facilities of the Commons on a first-come-first-served basis by putting an entry into the Reservation Log and noted by the Fellow who is serving as Office Manager of the month. Use of the Commons is regulated by the rule that only “Guests of Fellows can be allowed… if they are meeting the Fellow for a professional or scholarly activity at which the Fellow represents the University. This means that, in general, only outsiders can be invited...”
A cursory look at the reservation entries shows that from its opening in March 2003, the Fellows’ Commons has served to officially welcome guests and visitors of the Society of University Fellows’ like a group of visiting professors from Japan, visiting artists and writers like Suchen Lim of Singapore, Nguyen Bao Chan and Nguyen Phan Que Mai from Vietnam, David McKirdy of Hong Kong, and Alex Fleites of Cuba. The conference room also serves as venue for meetings with research partners and international funding agencies like the UNICEF, the EU and the World Bank. University Fellows have also hosted meetings with their research project counterparts in DOST and DepEd, filmmakers in Cinemalaya, outstanding teachers in Metrobank’s NOTED, and various groups of social scientists, marine biologists, behavioral psychologists, chemical and mechanical engineers, microbiologists, software technology experts, political scientists and philosophers. It was also the venue for the joint research fora, as well as the inaugural cocktails for the Great Works Teacher Training program, or the meetings of the Asian Universities Network (AUN) accreditors, with a member endorsing the use of the Commons.
The Society of University Fellows marks its 30th year of stellar service to the University’s academic community this academic year 2016-2017. Under the leadership of Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan, the Society’s Operations Manual has been put in place and the University Fellow’s Creed crafted during a workshop held at the Brother Shields FSC Ocean Research (SHORE) Center in Lian, Batangas on May 13, 2016.
The University Fellows’ Creed distills the essence of what it means to choose the ethical life of the intellect and to lead others bravely and responsibly in the quest for new knowledge to discover new ways of looking at and doing things and to share these for the good of humanity:
Brother Andrew B. Gonzalez’s leap of imagination and faith in the ’80s is sustained until now in the capacity of every University Fellow to dream far into the future, even beyond their individual lifetimes, of a University where excellence is a given practice and is cultivated not for its own sake, but for the members of the academic community to render the best service in tertiary education, for God and country. As a university, De La Salle regularly takes stock of where it is at any given point of its own journey towards the realization of this vision-mission, in the practice of its core values of faith, service and community. It has shown its daring to reinvent itself when necessary, in order to meet the challenges on the ground.
DLSU Newsletter, August 26, 1996: 5.
DLSU Newsletter Archives
Electronic files of Dr. Isagani R. Cruz, Dr. Susan Gallardo and Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan
Electronic photo files of Mr. Gregorio Guinto, the University Archives, Dr. Susan Gallardo, Dr. Marjorie Evasco, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines Audio-Visual Office
Faculty Manual of 1985-1988, 1988-1991, 1991-1994, 1994-1997, 1997-2000, 2000-2003, 2oo3-2006, 2006-2009, 2009-2012, 2012-2015
Personal narratives of Drs. Jose M. de Mesa, Exaltacion Lamberte, Rosemarie Clemena, and Angelo Unite
Oral History Interviews with: Drs. Lourdes S. Bautista, Paulino Tan, Wyona Patalinghug, Leonida Africa, Tereso Tullao, Jr., Clodualdo del Mundo, Esperanza Cabrera, Carmelita Quebengco, Cirilo Bautista, and Raymond Girard Tan.
UF Lounge Reservations Log Book and Office files