It is the University ritual that takes place every four (4) or eight (8) years where the number of presidentiables varies. But one thing remains true, out of the aspirants, one will take the helm as the new president of the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP).
This year, five (5) all-male aspirants to the position of the seventh University President faced the USeP constituency in a public forum at the University Gymnasium and Cultural Center (UGCC); and the Search Committee for President (SCP) for a close-door panel interview at the College of Information and Computing Audio-visual Room (CIC-AVR) on September 1, 2023 at USeP-Obrero Campus, Davao City.
The presidential aspirant to be voted by the USeP Board of Regents (BOR) will be the successor of incumbent USeP President, Dr. Lourdes C. Generalao, who is set to step down in November 2023 after serving two (2) full terms equivalent to eight (8) years.
Presidential Aspirants and their respective ranks and affiliations are as follows:
Dr. Alexander M. Campaner, College Professor of the Davao del Sur State College (DSSC), and a former SUC President of the Southern Philippines Agribusiness Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST);
Dr. Rec E. Eguia, Professor V of USeP, and a former Faculty Regent of the USeP BOR;
Dr. Bonifacio G. Gabales, Jr., Professor V of USeP, and the incumbent USeP Vice President for Academic Affairs;
Dr. Gilbert M. Gordo, Associate Professor V of USeP, and the incumbent Dean of the USeP College of Business Administration; and,
Dr. Ramjie Y. Odin, Professor VI of the Mindanao State University (MSU)-Maguindanao, and the incumbent MSU-Maguindanao Vice Chancellor for Research, Extension, and Development.
These candidates satisfied all the requirements of the rigid search process.
The SCP is chaired by Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Jr., Chancellor of the University of the Philippines- Los Baños (UPLB). The committee members are Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo, President of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC); Dr. Christopher Pio O. Pulido, Supervising Education Program Specialist of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Region XI; Dr. Maria Lourdes Garcia-Monteverde, Immediate Past President of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., and Assoc. Prof. Susan Vicente D. Villarente, Faculty member of USeP. The SCP also includes resource persons from the Alumni and Student Sector namely, Dr. Arman A. Capin and Ms. Gia Alliona A. Caminade, respectively.
Dr. Joan D. Gervacio, Secretary of the University and USeP BOR; and Mr. Alexander M. Yumul, Project Technical Staff of the Office of CHED Commissioner Aldrin A. Darilag, served as the secretariat.
Public Forum: Commitment to Transparency and Inclusivity
The Presidential Aspirants’ Public Forum aims to promote transparency, community engagement, and inclusivity in the selection process of the next USeP President. The forum provided a unique platform for candidates to engage with the public and articulate their vision for the future of USeP.
The Forum also gathered USeP officials, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members; the SCP; sectoral representatives; heads of agencies/institutions of government agencies and departments; and other guests.
Dr. Generalao, in her opening remarks, stated that the Public Forum demonstrates the significance and contribution of the input and engagement of the community to the selection of the University’s future leaders who align with USeP’s shared goals.
“I express my optimism that this Public Forum will be a platform of insightful discourse, and I encourage all participants to engage in thoughtful discussions. Let us work together in fostering an environment characterized by collaboration, accountability, resilience, academic excellence, and a strong service orientation,” she said.
In his inspirational message, Commissioner Darilag, the Chair of the USeP Board of Regents, encouraged a course of action for the leadership in any higher education institution summarized as follows: (1) create, support, and sustain learning environments that secure professional development for faculty members; (2) focus on collaborative learning engagements; (3) empower holistic creativity, innovation, and skills development; (4) introduce methods of learning for students that generate useful information; (5) create more thinkers and problem-solvers; (6) develop effective communication skills; and (7) highlight the ‘value side’ of stakeholder improvement.
He further challenged the next USeP President to endeavor for the inclusivity of education in the tertiary education. “More than a privilege, it is a greater responsibility to whoever the next president would be, to lead USeP to excellence, to continue what has been started, and to maintain the status of being a world-renowned institution,” Dr. Darilag added.
Dr. Camacho gave the overview of the selection process and the rationale and guidelines of the public forum. He also remarked how the Forum was very organized- indicating that the University has improved its manner of conduct of public forum for presidentiables. He jokingly recalled the statement of Dr. Ronquillo that the forum was already like an ‘investiture’ more than a ‘search’.
All the candidates were given 15 minutes for their presentation and followed by an open forum where sectoral representatives gave their inquiries to the presidentiables.
Dr. Ronquillo officially closed the Forum thanking the SCP for organizing such important event in the life of a university, the Presidentiables for taking the courage and stepping up for the call of time for leadership in USeP, and to the attendees for witnessing a historic juncture in time that influences how the University may lead for the next years.
“Rest assured that the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges will be with you- any one of you- in providing support on how we can navigate those things (referring to the challenges of USeP as an SUC),” Dr. Ronquillo expressed the PASUC’s support on any elected president of USeP.
The full CVs and vision papers of the five (5) nominees are available and can be accessed through this link: https://www.facebook.com/USePofficial/posts/pfbid02bBGPrPa62BdozRECrb9bRLftA1gFd14fgUkmFjasBi1ZRusq3cGt2YF1VAWrFeCbl
The forum was live-streamed and can be viewed via official Facebook Page of USeP at www.facebook.com/usepofficial.