Vice Chancellor for Academics Dr. Myrna Austria explains that the programs were created with the students in mind. “We noticed that the current course offerings in the University, specifically the General Education or GE courses, have left a mark on the students’ lives in their entire stay in the University,” she expresses, citing that such courses often serve as a breather from the demands of their major courses. “But upon review, we’ve come to realize that students could major in these as well,” she continues.
Two new colleges, the College of General Studies (CGS) and the College of Specialized Education (CSE), will be established to support the creation of new programs revolving mainly around GE courses.
General education turned specialization
In last year’s April issue of The LaSallian, the reinstallation of the General Studies major was reported to take place in the future. Dr. Austria confirms that the administration has recently finalized and formalized the plans for the program and the college that it will fall under. The CGS will give the students the choice to have no specialization, and its target students are those who face a hard time in deciding on the field of study they want to pursue.
“We have students who have shifted, two, three times,” explains Dr. Austria, noting that quite a percentage of students end up shifting. “When you think about it, we have a lot of freshmen who enter college at the age of 16, 17, and it’s unrealistic to expect people to know what they want to specialize in at such a young age, so you can’t really blame them,” she reasons.
According to Dr. Austria, instead of having majors, students in CGS will have a myriad of electives to choose from and will be required to take the floating subjects from each of the different colleges. Previously, Dr. Austria was quoted as saying that the CGS will serve as a “catch basin for all insufficiently qualified students in other programs.”
Floating turned majors
The second college to be established, the CSE, will offer new programs based on floating subjects already being offered in the current curriculum.
One of the programs soon to be offered under the new college is AB Applied Personal Effectiveness (AB-APE), which is modeled after the Personal Effectiveness course currently mandated for all students.
“We’ve had really good feedback from both students and companies regarding the Personal Effectiveness courses, saying that it could be offered as a degree program for students who want to pursue studies related to training and career development, among others,” Dr. Austria explains.
She adds that some students have come back to the Office of Counseling and Career Services (OCCS) just to say how much the subjects have helped them, while, according to OCCS, companies have raved about the level of personal effectiveness Lasallian graduates have exhibited in the workplace.
Another new degree set to be introduced to the community is AB Christian Living (AB-CLV), where students tackle topics such as the importance of trust in marriage and Christianity’s prescribed social constructs, despite recent complaints by students calling such teachings outdated.
“TRED is another subject that we’ve received very good feedback from. We’ve had couples come back to the TRED department to share that they were able to save their marriages by applying the concepts learned in TREDFOR, so we’re also offering a new program based on that,” shares Dr. Austria.
Another program to be offered under CSE is BS Community Service Management (BS-CSM), which is loosely patterned after the current Civic Welfare Training Service (CWTS) course under the National Service Training Program offered to the first year students of the University. The Center for Social Concern and Action Director Lourdes Melegrito commended the implementation of the CWTS program over the past couple of years.
“All of the students who have undergone the CWTS program exemplified the true meaning of student service, based on the reports we have received from their instructors,” Melegrito mentions. “I think that offering CWTS not just as a required program for the frosh students, but also for all those who are genuinely interested in reaching out to the people in need,” she elaborates.
Due to the congestion in the Taft campus, Dr. Austria explains that the CGS and CSE classes and departments will be assigned to the DLSU-Science and Technology Complex (STC). By August 2015, the construction of a building will begin for the two colleges. “Apart from envisioning STC to become a key resource for technological advancement in the country, we also want it to cater to students who wish to pursue programs related to general education,” she furthers.
Like the current enrollment procedure for both Taft and STC campuses, students who will be pursuing studies in the CGS and CSE can enroll classes in both campuses, but only limited classes will be offered in the Taft campus.
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services Kai Shan Fernandez says that the designation of the new colleges in the STC campus can also possibly help boost the enrollment rate in STC. “Since the integration, the admission standards in STC have been patterned with the high admission standards of the Taft campus, which is perhaps why enrollment rates have dropped,” Fernandez explains.
Gauging the effectiveness
With the recent hubbub around the creation of two new colleges and several GE-centric programs, students have shown mixed reactions upon hearing the new plans.
Benedict Saragosa (II, BSA) empathizes with other shiftees and shares that the creation of the CGS can help students like him to consider pursuing studies related to general education. “It’s not all the time that you encounter unique programs like the ones they are planning to offer under the new CGS, so I believe this is a big step forward for DLSU,” Saragosa, who has already shifted twice in his stay in the University thus far, further comments.
Audrey Navarro (III, AB-LIT), however, does not find any need for the creation of the CGS. She mentions, “It’s going to be hard for the students to pursue a career when their college education does not focus on something specific. Most companies prefer applicants who have the knowledge and skills needed for a certain position, and not those that are too general.”
Regarding the establishment of the CSE, Anna Sta. Maria (I, MKT) comments, “[The opening] will give the students more options to choose from when it comes to selecting their course.” She also adds that the programs offered are new to the students of the University, and as such, students will definitely be able to “see the relevance of the former floating subjects in the real world,” she asserts.
The opening of programs under the CGS and CSE is set to be fully implemented by academic year 2016-2017. Dr. Austria remains hopeful that the new programs will cater more to the needs and interests of its students, and contribute to the advancement of the University.