“There is always an available opportunity for every one of us not only to improve ourselves but also to improve other people.”
After the long term as President of Fr. Antonio Samson S.J., it has been a great privileged and honor whenever I become the next President of the one of the most elite universities in the country, the Ateneo de Davao University. Known to as being elite and prestigious, it will then give the succeeding president a major challenge not only to maintain its prestige, but more to improve and develop the university.
As the President, it will always been difficult to meet the diverse expectations of the students, giving all their wants and needs to be satisfied upon their stay in the university. However, no matter how difficult it is, together with the other members of the school administration, we will create a new Ateneo, a synergic, competitive, proficient and excellent Ateneo.
In doing this, we must always think before hand to what school concerns should we give a lot of attention compared to the others. According to William A. Ward, “Four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.” Before thinking of a new, excellent and incomparable Ateneo, it is most important that we should have plans and do concrete actions to make those plans implemented. By doing them, we are to achieve our dearest desire.
Here are some of the school concerns that we should consider:
- · Student- Administration Consultation
- · Student Empowerment
- · School Policies
- · Academic Norms
- · Student Social Involvement and Engagement
- · Satisfactory School Facilities
These are just few of the many concerns not only of the students but also the teachers. Knowing them all, we’ll give us hints on what appropriate plans should we effectuate. Surmising them all, we must also to consider that plans should be in line with the thrusts of Ateneo: ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE, SPIRITUAL MATURITY, and SOCIAL AWARENESS.
Here are my proposed actions to each of the concerns:
Student- Administration Consultation
Before other concerns, most important thing that we should give attention is the student-administration. The university is for the students and the members of the administration are the ones who admeasure the university resources for its development. But how can the administration be able to admeasure the right concerns of the students if there are no consultations happening between the two? How can the students and even the administration address to each other the matters that should be directly addressed to the whole Ateneo community, the students, teachers, non-teaching personnel, and administrators? Students can’t just rely themselves with the power of students’ representative from the student council to speak for them. It is then very important the student would also have the chance to directly speak-up their concerns and on the other hand, personally acknowledged by the administration. Any form of formal gathering, such as University General Assembly, or Students and Administration assemblage shall be executed enabling a tight relationship within the Ateneo community thus, getting away from forming any kind of conflict or misunderstanding that may arise.
If the student-administration will be executed, student are must then be empowered to join such. Part of this concern is a strategic-procedural planning. Since not all students, maybe of a half of the total students’ population do not actively participate in school activities, we then provide certain actions to mold our students become active and competitive enough not only in their academics but in all aspects concerning their development. For the first few years of the term, we can implement motivational programs that can benefit both students and teachers to participate, such as giving rewards and recognitions to them or either give an overview to possible good results that will happen if they participate and bad results if they do not.
Strict implementation of rules and policies should be acted. Being a corps d’ elite university, we are expected to be not just good but best in conduct, acting right ethics and highly respected. By this, we should formulate specific and easy to be obeyed rules and regulations considering that Ateneo community is a Jesuit institution and a Philippine-based university. The culture and religion are then two of the must-be considered factors upon making policies.
There should be a recognized academic norms being couched. Everyone knows that students and teachers always rely on the academic norms that our university has. But how can we be organized if the academic norms itself is not also organized? How can we be truly considered as excellent if our academic norms do not equate the standards of being an excellent university? We should high standards on academic that can truly identify who are students that should be qualified to be included in the university. With this, we are to empower and challenge the students to bring their best in achieving academic excellence thus in implied, we help them become better persons ready to face a competitive world whenever they graduate in Ateneo.
Student Social Involvement and Engagement
Academic Excellence is not enough to completely mold an Atenean. Thus, being socially aware of what is happening around also be inculcated in their minds and hearts. Concerns with the environment, national politics, economy, even in cultural issues, the school must provide certain activities to keep the students socially involved and actively engaged in these matters. Thus, being Atenean, we are expected to be well-rounded and not just academically excellent.
satisfactory school facilities
Important thing to consider also is the facilities of an institution. We all know how the facilities could affect the learning and development of each student. One recurring issue now is the Wireless Internet connection of the school. Students’ complaint is; we pay what we should pay, but why don’t we receive what we should receive? We must then provide necessary facilities that we know are and conducive and helpful for the students on their learning. We must maximize the resources that we have. We should not limit the opportunities to learn that students will have whenever school facilities will be improved. It will then create a big impact not only among the students and teachers but also with the school itself.
Other programs that we can also implement are:
- · Teaching and Non-teaching personnel beneficial programs
- · Social entrepreneurship of the school
Above all, as the president of the university, it is then my responsibility to mold each student to bring out the best in them, and to produce graduates that are competitive enough to bring the Ateneo spirit not only in the Philippines but also in the rest of the world. Ateneo spirit, being academically excellent, spiritually mature and socially aware.