It pays to check the label

When things go in our favor, the norm is that we opt to be silent, even if we don’t deserve what we got. Fortunately, there are still a few, who remain to be honest, as they say, “even if others are not, even if others cannot, and even if others will not”.

When Catanduanes State University came into reality, almost all the stakeholders of CSU rejoiced in triumph—almost, especially those students who dreamed about graduating with a mark of a university on their diplomas and transcripts, without even wondering if they have been equipped and trained just like how other graduates have been by their own universities. Almost, but not those who know how decrepit the institution has been on some fields, particularly on providing quality instruction, state-of-the-art facilities, and research and extension services that for so long has been the goal of the academe.

And now, before the unveiling of the awaited two-decade University mark, may we remind the current and future stakeholders that when prestige is given to you, the best is just not enough—excellence is a must.

Meritocracy should be the norm, and mediocrity must be banished as Catanduanes State Colleges becomes Catanduanes State University. As clearly the SUC President III, Dr. Minerva I. Morales, said in an article published in November 7 issue of Catanduanes Tribune, “As a newly transformed university status, CSU now positions itself along the parameters of an autonomous university, who are able to contribute to nation-building by producing experts, knowledge, and technological innovators for long-term and development processes.”

Let us inspect one by one all that is to come.

First, the doors to academic degree programs would unlock. Three different fields of doctoral programs, all graduate programs, and at least 50% of baccalaureate programs are to submit thesis/project/or research papers. This is attainable, but the College faculty must help the students, especially by lessening expenses when presenting theses, and not using theses as income-generating projects.

Next, improved faculty profile would be a big help in attaining leadership on the four-fold function of the institution. But we hope the Administration will not just base hiring of faculty personnel on the minimum qualification but rather on the assessment of over-all capability of the applicant, which has a superior potential to contribute to the students’ optimum development and welfare.

Then, 30 full-time teaching staff or 20% of all faculty members, whichever is higher, must be actively involved in research. This could be one of the hard goals, if the faculty designated to produce quality research remains as is. Inability to provide worthy researches has been one of the reasons why it took two decades plus for CSC to become CSU. This aim is a loud wake-up call for faculty members to step up and be capable of producing researches that are competitive with the prevailing global standards, and which can be patented and linked with other researches in several parts of the world.

Finally, we come to the most awaited part of student body: the learning resources and support structures, plus the outreach activities, which shall bridge theory and practice. One indicator of its application is the existence of online enrollment and student data access, which are earnestly sought by the students, who are inconvenienced when they request for their Certificate of Grades or other school documents at the Registrar’s Office.

These parameters must be observed and perfected. The label of being a State University will not conceal the scarcity that the CSC previously hid whenever accreditation takes place.

The label of being a “state university” can’t stand alone, because, above all, its survival and its own actualization—whether or not it deserves the prestige—depends on the administration and the student body who will carry and live out the name of a University.

We hope that the change in status will likewise signal the start of a more meaningful shift to progress. The challenge now is to ensure that CSU is indeed fit for the tag.

There’s no easy way to say this, because it pays to check the label.

The triumph of the academe’s stakeholders should not begin and eventually end on the conversion, but rather start when the academe has already performed and sustained the hallmark of being a university—excellence far above its purpose.


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