SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY (SU) presidential nominees presented their vision and mission for the university for the next five years during the forum “Search for the Next SU President” at the Luce Auditorium last Nov. 7, 2016.
The nominees are Dr. Macathur Corsino, Dr. Betty C. McCann, Dr. Efren N. Padilla, Dr. Betsy Joy Tan, and Dr. Beulah Rose R. Torres. There are qualifications that each of the nominees met. These include: being a Filipino citizen, a holder of a doctoral degree, at least five years of administrative and managerial experience, experience in networking, resource generation, and mobilization, a record of proven moral integrity, and being a Christian.
Christian Faith, Education to Help Nation Building and Education with International Enrichment
Dr. Macarthur F. Corsino’s vision and mission for the university feature three interlocking pillars: Christian faith, education to help in nation-building, and education with international enrichment. In an article published by the MetroPost, Dr. Corsino gives his vision for Silliman.
He said, “Our vision for Silliman in the next five years and beyond: A top Christian university poised at the cutting edge of international academic excellence, with a studentry that is the cream of the country in knowledge, expertise, skills, and an intense dedication to an ethic of hard work and industry, and characterized by a faith in God steeled through a deep acquaintance with the Holy Bible.”
One of Dr. Corsino’s main mission for Silliman is strengthening capacity for international linkages. According to him this is to ensure mastery in basic education, build strength in mathematics, science, technology and research, sharpen competitive edge in English, develop expertise in foreign languages like French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean, and offer Filipino for interested foreign students and children of Filipino-Americans and other migrant Filipinos.
When Dr. Corsino was asked how Silliman can compete with schools in ASEAN he said, “Silliman can compete with schools in the ASEAN region though an internationalization program that enables linkage to the ASEAN University Network, and connects to universities, foundations, and other institutions in other regions of the world. Our diplomatic and consular posts worldwide, with whom I have contact, can help us achieve this endeavor.”
Via, Veritas, Vita for the nation, Asia and the rest of the world
Dr. Betty C. McCann’s vision for SU is for the university to serve as the Via, Veritas, Vita for the nation, Asia and the rest of the world.
As for her mission, Dr. McCann aims to build up whole person education in Silliman’s teaching and non-teaching programs and services; align program strategies to frame the universities mission burden goals of teaching research and service with the immediate society concerns, such as environment and climate change; pursue active concerns with various sector like teaching programs and services; and ensure that Silliman’s leadership and operation observe the integrity of purpose, sound fiscal management, and financial stability.”
When Dr. McCann was asked about how to improve the programs and curricular offerings at Silliman to make them more relevant to the industry, she said:
“In keeping with the university’s continued pursuit of excellence, all programs need to exceed the minimum standards set forth by professional bodies such as those in Nursing, Education, Medicine, Engineering, Law, and the like. In the fields where there are no board examinations, the standards of good practice among the best of their peers must be attained, if not outdone.”
Dr. McCann also added that all the programs and offerings must forcefully convince their public of the ways they pursue environmental integrity and stewardship.
Despite her own vision and mission for Silliman, Dr. McCann wants to obtain “Silliman’s drive for doing the best it can even in sometimes difficult circumstances and learning beyond classroom are manifestations of Silliman’s uncompromising stance on the values of faith, character, and holistic approach to education.”
Creating a culture at Silliman University dedicated to a progressive liberal thought
Dr. Efren N. Padilla seeks to develop technological changes in SU and keep track of what is relevant to the students specifically, the millennial and post generations.
“This is key for education because both generations are advanced into the 21st century, drivers of cultural and digital landscapes.”
According to him, the new generation being raised in social media which is the new democratic space, both generations are multitaskers, hyper-interactive, tech-savy and wide or highly networked globalized digital world of information and communication, who embrace changes in both library and classroom formations.
“I am aware that we do not have the kind of resources where the university is concerned but we are Internet-connected. There are things that we can do better if people are willing to keep on learning which for me is the foundation of our institutional change and our institutional integrity,” Dr. Padilla said.
If he will become university president, Dr. Padilla’s first pedagogical upgrade challenge will address and improve college courses that are obsolete and no longer relevant in the 21st century. His second professional upgrade challenge will strive to invest in the professional upgrade of the university’s faculty members. He believes that “to become world class caliber, we have to transform the small minority Christian university into a research-oriented, creative work-directed, pedagogically-recalibrated, infrastructurally-adaptive institution of higher learning anchored by local and international professionals as well as liberally and digitally educated students trained to think clearly, write clearly, speak clearly, and socialize ethically.”
“After all, quality and reputational university is determined by quality and reputational faculty members,” Dr. Padilla added.
Third, his master plan challenge would be to incorporate the main campus with the Silliman farm, Laguna farm and other related farms associated with the university into a sustainable development and economic efficiency and accountability.
Silliman University as a leading Christian institution that develops the whole being of a person while mindful of the needs of the society and of the environment.
Guided by outcomes-based education which is the motivation and inspiration for quality assurance in SU, Dr. Betsy Joy B. Tan’s personal vision for the university would stem from maintaining SU’s reputation as a leading Christian institution that develops the whole being of a person while mindful of the needs of society and the environment.
With Dr. Tan’s mission guided by this vision, she looks forward to fostering learners to whole person education that strengthens competence, national consciousness, and ethical moorings; upgrading human capital to build a national consciousness rooted on history, culture and the arts especially, the indigenous Filipino traditions and/or morals and clinical values; instilling faith-based principles and values in all areas of learning to improve the wellbeing of society and the environment.
Dr. Tan also mentioned making a wider academic reach to course offerings and services that will develop a global outreach and would conjugate a research culture for a sustained positive impact on the environment and society.
When asked what the university’s top priority would be, Dr. Tan said: “To address the external environmental risk because this will affect the university’s strategic objectives and this will also impact on the core risks that we have to take care of as the university like operational risk, the financial risk. We also have the students, the HR or people risk and of course, the system and customer risk. We have to take care of that otherwise, we will not be able to really come up with strategic objective that’s in tune with the mission, vision goals of the university.”
Making her dream for Silliman a reality
Dr. Beulah Rose Torres, the youngest among the nominees, envisions to raise the university’s reputation into a world-class Christian institution for the holistic, outcomes-based development globally competitive graduates who are committed to build and serve more responsible and just global society.
According to Dr. Torres, “My mission for Silliman is to internationalize the tri-function (instruction, research and extension) of the university, and to incorporate into the academic environment the Biblebased Christian values and principles. Internationalization should pave the way to my vision for Silliman to be a world-class Christian university committed to holistically transform the individuals in the global community through competent and committed leaders.”
Dr. Torres gave her vision on the role of Silliman Church in the life of the university. She said: “The role of Silliman Church is to introduce, strengthen, and entrench the Christian faith intro the fabric of every being in this community. Its aim is not to convert its faculty, staff and students into the beliefs and views of a Presbyterian Church. Christianity is not a religion. Rather, Christianity is a ‘relationship’. Silliman respects ‘religious tolerance’. I will uphold this. I will respect other students’ individual religious outlook and opinions, but my vision is for every student to hear the Word of God through our curriculum and church-sponsored activities, and most of all, through the formation of more Bible study groups in which one can learn more about important truths about God and His character.”
To Dr. Torres, she said that the alumni involvement is also important.
“The alumni is a great resource for my dream to expand and solidify our internationalization efforts. More than financial assistance, the value of the alumni come from their collective experiences, expertise, and established network. The alumni are willing to be tapped. The university must not waste these valuable resources.”
Once decided, the SU Board of Trustees, which is responsible for choosing SU’s next president, will release a press statement soon. The entire community will also be informed. The forum was live-streamed through Silliman’s Facebook and YouTube account. It was also audiostreamed via Silliman Net Radio.
*with notes from MetroPost