Before high-rise condominiums became a common sight along the north side of De La Salle University (DLSU) campus on Taft Avenue, the Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall was a prominent structure that caught anyone’s attention. Embellished with huge squares of green glass, the Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall annually welcomes freshmen into Lasallian academic life. This 21-storey structure is reputed to be the tallest higher education building in all Philippines. It is a fitting commemoration to Br. Andrew Gonzalez, FSC whose distinctive leadership as DLSU president that spanned over two decades led to ground-breaking developments in Lasallian education in the Philippines.
The Corinthian column is an architectural element in the University that represents a hundred years of education. On its façade, the pillars at the Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall are a metaphor for education that nurtures and inspires young men and women who pass through its halls. The Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall is also home to the College of Education, distinguished to have been renamed Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education (BAGCED) in honor of Br. Andrew Gonzalez, FSC. On 31 May 2013, amidst the revelry at the closing of DLSU’s Centennial Jubilee, a small community of Br. Andrew’s family, colleagues, friends, faculty and alumni gathered at the lobby of the Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall to commemorate the renaming of the college to an illustrious alumnus, a skillful, passionate and charismatic leader, and a gentle mentor whose vision and hard work make himself a true icon of education.
A Visionary and Educator
In the early years since its founding in 1911, De La Salle was primarily a teaching college that focused on commerce, liberal arts, and engineering. By the mid-1970s, the curriculum changed when Br. Andrew Gonzalez, at the helm of leadership as president, launched the mission of transforming the small college into an educational and research institution concerned not only in the “dissemination of past and contemporary knowledge but likewise the production of new knowledge.” Thus, the research thrust of the university was begun with units and area-specific research centers and institutes working together within a system while retaining Lasallian values central in its programs. In the course of his leadership, Br. Andrew replaced the traditional semestral system with the year-round trimestral calendar in 1981-1982, doubled student enrollment, and attracted top-notch faculty. He implemented the innovative Transformative Learning Framework in the curriculum, a learner-centered approach to education that supports a view to learning by cognitive development theorists, Piaget and Vygotsky. Embedded in these programs are mechanisms responsive to the complex social and economic needs of Philippine society, such as science education, teaching, and training.
A leading learner-centered teaching and research institution in the Asia-Pacific, developing 21st century Lasallian Education professionals in the service of the Church, the nation, the region, and the world for a sustainable Earth.
De La Salle College, which was established in 1911, was authorized to confer the degree of Master of Science in Education in 1930. Undergraduate programs in Education were started in 1959.
The Graduate School of Education, Arts and Science (GSEAS) was established in 1963 to respond to the need for updating secondary education in the country, through teacher training and faculty development. In 1971, GSEAS opened the Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling program, specifically designed for full-time Asian students of different ecumenical backgrounds. Thereafter, GSEAS began to focus on tertiary education, and in 1976 it implemented a program for science teachers in the collegiate level.
In 1980, GSEAS offered the first PhD program in Counseling Psychology in the country, and a PhD program in Science Education. By 1982, it also implemented a doctoral program in Educational Management, and later a Doctor of Arts in Language and Literature.
History of BAGCED
Despite DLSU’s long history, education as a college, in the way we know it today, is fairly new. The idea to open an education program as a degree course began as early as 1930. At that time, W.G.M. Buckish, the Commissioner of Private Education under the colonial government during the pre-war years, authorized De La Salle College to grant Bachelor and Master of Science in Education degrees. Historian Carlos Quirino, who documented De La Salle’s 75-year history for its Diamond Jubilee, surmised that it was the lack of students or staff that these degrees were not granted. Meanwhile, La Salle concentrated on commerce, engineering, and the humanities in the years following World War II.
The idea of opening an education program picked up again towards the end of the 1950s, and consequently, the School of Education officially opened in 1959. An education program was offered to the Scholasticate under the supervision of Br. J. Lucian, FSC who was also a faculty in the Education Department. By 1963, after De La Salle College had opened a graduate business school, the Graduate School of Education, Arts and Sciences (GSEAS) was established to respond to the need for updating secondary education in the country. A number of graduate students, mostly the religious, received teacher training and faculty development through this program. In 1971, GSEAS opened the Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling program, specifically designed for full-time Asian students of different ecumenical backgrounds. Subsequently, GSEAS began to focus on tertiary education, and in 1976 it implemented a degree program for science teachers in the collegiate level. The curricular expansion of De La Salle College propelled it towards a university in 1975 when on February 19, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports conferred on the College its university charter.
The School of Education continued to operate until the late 1970s, and it re-opened in 1982 as a graduate school. By 1987, the La Salle Teacher Training Center opened to train students for teaching in Christian schools. In 1980, GSEAS offered the first doctoral program in Counseling Psychology in the country and a doctoral program in Science Education. By 1982, it also opened a doctoral program in Educational Management, and later a Doctor of Arts in Language and Literature. The GSEAS was consequently dissolved, allowing the La Salle Teacher Training Center to strengthen its programs. In 1987, the Center became the La Salle School of Education, which was elevated to the College of Education in 1990, integrating both graduate and undergraduate programs.
At present the College has five departments, offering ten (10) undergraduate single-degree programs and phasing out its 16 double-degree programs. Its graduate offerings have increased to 25 masters and seven (7) doctoral degree programs. Realizing that its strength lies in the Graduate School, the College aims to become the center for teacher training and education research in the country.