Following the successful faculty orientation of the Human Resource Department (HRD) to fully equip the academic force of Our Lady of Fatima University (OLFU), University Chief Dr. Caroline Marian Enriquez has brought on a challenge to the faculty members as they accept the demand of the academe involving ‘new’ learners of today.
To ensure the holistic preparation of the entire OLFU education system, the faculty onboarding was held on 16 August 2023 at the Assembly Hall, RISE Tower.
Gracing the consequential affair was OLFU President Enriquez whose candid opening speech underscored the clear vision and direction of the institution towards excellence; all while ensuring that her leadership provides everyone vital support and that goals are attained as a team.
While remembering the late Dr. Maria Cynthia Roxas, former HRD Manager of OLFU and a longtime pillar whose indelible contribution to the institution is set down forever, Enriquez anchored her talk in one element of life that is time.
“As teachers, as part of the academic community of Fatima, we only have ‘now,’ and the ‘now’ that we meet and we stand in front of each of our students should be very important. So pagpasok mo ng classroom kailangan na kilala ka. Ako, hindi bale na hindi nila ako kilala, pero kayo, they have to know you because they will, in the end, be grateful to you because you taught them (As teachers, as part of the academic community of Fatima, we only have ‘now.’ And the ‘now’ that we meet and we stand in front of each of our students should be very important. So, when you enter the classroom, you need to be known. It doesn’t matter if they don’t know me but they must know you because in the end, they will be grateful because you taught them),” Enriquez modestly averred as she encouraged the teaching force to establish presence from the get-go.
“Be proud of what you are, because by telling them [of] what you finished, what you’re doing, and how you are, they will also get inspiration from you. ‘Yun ang importante (That’s what’s important)– we inspire our student,” added the academic champ.
The University President went on to challenge the educators to deliver their class in the most interesting way possible, stressing that time is just now and “we build on the future” of the students.
“So, kung ano gina[ga]wa natin ngayon, it will eventually reflect with tomorrow. We can make better student[s] because while they were in Fatima, naturuan natin sila nang tama; naturuan sila nang bago; naturuan natin sila kung ano ang dapat nilang malaman; as well as [we honed] their skills (So what we do today, it will eventually reflect with tomorrow. We can produce better students because while in Fatima, we taught them correctly; [we] taught them new [things]; we taught them what they should know; as well as [we honed] their skills),” Enriquez confidently emphasized.
With the intensive exposure to the power of technology that in recent years has dramatically influenced the academic climate today, the President sees it as an opportunity for the faculty to sustain the status quo despite the ever-demanding landscape of learning.
“Our students now are different. You have to be ready for them. Hindi na sila katulad noon na p’wedeng manghang-mangha sa’tin kasi p’wedeng ngayon, ang isip nila, mas magaling sila (Our students are now different. You have to be ready for them. They are no longer the same as before who will easily be amazed at us because it is even possible now they believe that they are smarter [than us]),” continued Enriquez, adding that enough preparation such as mastering the previous and current syllabi will help them maintain their academic caliber.
“They may be better in technology for some of us, but we could always wing our way into making sure that they do not outsmart us,” stated the President while equally recognizing capable students who will eventually outsmart anyone “if you give them [the] opportunity.”
As a formal introduction especially for newly hired faculty members, Enriquez also took the opportunity to extend her personal gratitude to them whom she credited for the evident exponential growth of OLFU.
President Enriquez proceeded on sharing some necessary updates regarding the institutional operations of the University as an academic leader. This includes the strict implementation of revamped assessment measures rather than online to monitor and over a period of time, warrant the consistency of students’ performance.
In addition, President Enriquez also shared OLFU’s latest thrust in securing yet again its autonomous status to be granted by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
To also celebrate the four-star rating that was earlier conferred on OLFU by the eminent Quacquarelli-Symonds (QS) in July 2023, Enriquez recounted what was then perceived impossible by her team, adding that the notable achievement suddenly became reachable – thanks to the working culture at OLFU with the foundation of supporting each other.
The visionary leader assured the faculty members about the potential changes within the institution, to only lean towards the betterment of all stakeholders.
Faculty members equipped with fundamentals
Ultimately, the orientation turned out just as worthwhile in terms of discussion. Valenzuela Campus Administrator and College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean Ernesto Leuterio Jr. formally kicked off the onboarding and took the attendees on a trip down memory lane.
Reminiscing his thirty-three years with OLFU, Leuterio paid homage to the vestiges that contribute to the impressive history of the institution. In a rather candid presentation, he shared with the faculty the monumental milestones that shaped the institution in decades, the notable men and women behind its longstanding legacy, its exponential growth to this day, and the limitless possibilities that are in store in the future as it relentlessly rises to the top.
After the QS four-star rating feat for OLFU this year, Administrator Leuterio now takes on a challenge for the institution to also break into both the QS Asia and QS World University Rankings, a trajectory boldly set as early as 2024.
To establish the essential safe ethos across OLFU spaces, buildings, and facilities, the faculty members through the University Safety Management Committee Chairman and College of Dentistry Dean Arturo De Leon engrossed in an exhaustive discussion.
Chairman De Leon covered practical areas including job hazard analysis, a must-have technique that determines job tasks as a way to define and identify hazards before they occur. Utilizing this approach, the chairman proceeded on laying out convenient tips to avoid and respond to incidents including slip, trip, and fall; ergonomic injuries; eye strain; fire incidents; among others.
As he repeatedly emphasized that “safety is everyone’s responsibility,” De Leon continued his part by diving into the Building Emergency Evacuation Protocol (BEEP) of OLFU, also refreshing the faculty members on the importance of the chain of command among key personnel and the familiarization of the specific emergency evacuation plan procedure.
Subsequently, Health and Wellness Center’s (HWC) Dr. Sonnie Talavera briefly tackled the updated Covid-19 health protocols for all OLFU employees. This covers the step-by-step procedures to attend to students who may exhibit symptoms while inside university premises.
While wearing masks is now optional following the lift of the national health emergency, Dr. Talavera opted to encourage everyone, especially those who belong to the vulnerable sectors, to keep the extra protection a deliberate choice.
In a more particular session, College of Pharmacy Associate Dean Anbel Bautista zeroed in on the professional etiquette for teachers where he reminded the faculty members the set of values and decorum they must maintain in order to preserve their highest integrity. These basic etiquettes include dressing professionally, being punctual, actively implementing effective communication, utilizing appropriate language, imposing professional boundaries, exhibiting impartiality and integrity, and building an online presence.
To supplement Bautista’s nudge was the Overall Head of the Center for Guidance Services (CGS) Dr. Ana Liza Ocampo who discussed the operations of their office, also tapping on the Student Discipline Office (SDO) referral system.
The CGS chief also echoed in her part the pertinent laws that protect the students against abuse including Republic Act 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 and Republic Act 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act (Bawal Bastos Law).
Key offices HRD and Payroll proceeded with a back-to-back session where HRD Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Racquel Dumaguit and Senior Payroll Officer Reiniel Ortega respectively, discussed the services of their offices to assist the faculty members in their exigent concerns.
On a scholarly note, the orientation did also present one of its principal foundations in executing the academic principle of “improving man as a man” via its Research Development and Innovation Center (RDIC).
RDIC Coordinator Dr. Alicia Tablizo unveiled to the esteemed faculty members OLFU’s research strategy that capitalizes on innovation, development, leadership, and scholarship, adding that these virtues could effectively work through key collaborations.
The RDIC also sees research initiatives to empower the expanding OLFU community through its funding, research counseling, analytics, presentation and/or publication, training, and ethics review. As Dr. Tablizo emphasized, a paper must not only be scientifically sound but must be ethical in context as well.
The three-hour orientation was packed with mostly fresh faculty members from all OLFU campuses. — Raymond Lumagsao