As Ronald Weasley once said, priorities need to be set straight—and the University is out to do just that. This coming Academic Year (AY) 2019-2020, students from the Gokongwei College of Engineering, College of Computer Studies, and the College of Science will relocate their students to the Laguna Campus.
In its pursuit of further living out its thrust—”Lasallian achievers for God, country, and THE Rankings”—the University will now shift its focus to the said three colleges, and “upgrade” the Laguna campus’ infrastructure and equipment.
Stemming from rankings
Ever since DLSU’s inclusion in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings in October, its rank worldwide and in the Asia Pacific Region has not stopped improving. For Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Dr. Raymond Tan, the University has continuously been making efforts to achieve such feats, and expresses, “We thought this through; if it meant giving students more workload in research, for example five reports per week, just to attain this, we will push for such. And evidently, it has done more good than bad.”
In a previous article by The LaSallian, students reported that these recent strategies to improve the University’s practices toward research in STEM colleges become “paralyzing” and “impossible” to do given the trimestral system of DLSU. This later posed the question of whether or not the concerned colleges and departments should be spreading out such workload among different terms in their curricula.
The University responded through heightened support and publicity of science, technology, and research-related activities on campus, while maintaining the same academic workload.
Explaining the change up
Formerly known as the De La Salle University-Science and Technology Complex, the Laguna Campus, which is intended to be a significant resource of scientific and technological progress, will now cater to the University’s STEM-related projects, being a more suitable area for furthering research and development.
Previously intended to be the main campus for the DLSU Integrated School where most of the students are in the STEM strand, the 50-hectare campus will now also hold the second Science and Technology Research Center, alongside other new establishments, such as the Richard L. Lee Technology Block, and the said STEM colleges’ new buildings.
On the other hand, the other remaining colleges will remain in the Manila Campus. The University will now postpone pending projects for the Communication Department and Behavioral Sciences Department of the College of Liberal Arts and those from the Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education to make way for the development of the institution’s first planetarium in Laguna, which is scheduled to have its groundbreaking ceremony on April 30.
Even for Vice Chancellor for DLSU-Laguna Campus Dr. Gil Santos, this huge relocation of colleges comes as no surprise. “[I] don’t want to say, ‘I told you so,’ but then parang ganoon na nga. But in the spirit of the Lasallian Animo, the Laguna Campus completely supports this bright idea,” remarks Santos.
Santos also teases about the new degree programs to be offered in the campus, such as Bachelor of Science in Astronomy, Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, and Bachelor of Science in Bioinformatics and Integrative Genomics, among others.
‘The Philippine Silicon Valley’
Apart from working toward a higher position in the THE rankings, DLSU also aims to recreate the innovative environment found in California Silicon Valley inside the Laguna Campus. Touted as the hub of technological development in the Western world and home to several Fortune 1000 companies, Silicon Valley was not built in a day. Part of its emergence is owed to the work of Stanford University—particularly then Dean of the School of Engineering and the ‘Father of Silicon Valley’, Frederick Terman.
Tan believes that DLSU has the capacity to follow in Stanford’s footsteps if it redirects its efforts to the more spacious Laguna Campus. “In all honesty, Manila has grown far too congested for us to attempt anything like Silicon Valley,” he admits. “Laguna’s more suitable atmosphere will allow DLSU to establish an environment that’s conducive for our students, faculty, alumni, and the surrounding communities. The University will be at the forefront of innovation, just as it has always been.”
Though Tan’s vision may come across as ambitious to some, University Chancellor Br. Bernard Oca FSC agrees wholeheartedly with the proposed plans. “What we envision for Laguna ties in with what we always tell the public about DLSU: ‘The future begins here.’ For that to happen, we have to make the first steps now. It will not come without a few sacrifices, but it will be worth it,” he concludes.
From the studentry
As expected, the change brought about opposing takes from members of the student body. For University Student Government (USG) President Gabbie Perez, she mentions the possible heightening of the already existing disconnection of the students with the USG. “Problema na nga siya ngayon, mas magiging malaki pa siya lalo. If this was the admin’s way of giving us something to fight for, bring it on,” Perez lashes.
(It will only amplify the problem we have now.)
However, USG Vice President for Internal Affairs Adrian Mendoza applauds the initiative of the University, “Studies first, ‘di ba? And with this initiative, as much I’d want to side with Gabbie, I’m supporting this relocation because I know this will benefit me academically.”
Xian Sia (I, ChE), a shiftee from the Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts program, boasts of his “advanced thinking” after shifting out. He explains that he now belongs to the “superior population” in the University, and claims, “It is time we assert our dominance and superiority being STEM students kasi we’re more important naman talaga.”
For next AY’s enlistment, the Information and Technology Services is already preparing the necessary adjustments to the classroom assignments for the four STEM colleges, as it expects a busier enlistment and heavier site traffic come August. Meanwhile, the Support Services Office is already purchasing more units for Arrows Express, as they claim the office plans to provide “better means of transportation.”