Amidst rumors of plans for a major internal administrative shift, De La Salle University (DLSU) has officially announced the integration of the DLSU Manila, DLS-College of St. Benilde (CSB), and DLSU Science and Technology (STC) campuses by academic year 2019-2020.
DLSU President Br. Raymund Suplido FSC released a statement, saying, “[The integration] has been a long time coming. Our schools share the same spirit of faith, service, and communion to God and country, and the drive to aspire for excellence. We are one La Salle.”
The integration will result in a restructuring of various aspects of the University, including administration structure, campus and ID rules, course planning, freshman undergraduate acceptance, and block systems, among others.
The transitional process
DLSU Chancellor Dr. Gerardo Janairo acknowledges that numerous transitional issues are expected along the way, which is why they set a long period to adjust
“We are doing [the integration] in phases. The first phase will involve mainly logistical issues, since our campuses are not exactly in the same place, especially for STC. So, this would involve transportation plans, relocation of certain offices, planning of Registrar and Accountancy office locations, among others. This is currently ongoing,” he narrates.
Dr. Janairo also details how the Arrow Express service will be revamped to increase connectivity with DLSU-STC. He adds, “I doubt that many students will really be moving back and forth. Nonetheless, we need more shuttles. We need to prepare.”
The administration is also considering the possibility of introducing more hybrid courses for classes to be taken in campuses that are far off, such as between STC and Taft. These courses would involve mostly online sessions, class portal submissions, and classroom video conferences to “bridge the distance and logistical gap.”
Vice Chair for Academics Dr. Robert Roleda comments, “Currently, hybrid courses are already a thing in La Salle, and we are living in an increasingly digital age. Information and communication can be done at long distances in short amounts of time. We must take advantage of this benefit.”
Dr. Janairo also describes phase two, saying it would involve a reexamination and renewal of the mission vision, goals, and the curriculums in all colleges, similar to the New Lasallian Core Curriculum (NLCC) that is set to be fully implemented by 2019. However, this curriculum renewal would consider and merge the different goals, degree programs, and course offerings currently found in the three different campuses.
“What this means is that a student at Taft can now also take Architecture. A student from CSB can take Mechanical Engineering,” Dr. Janairo explains. “The course offerings will be offered to all.”
Dr. Roleda likewise talks about the enlistment process, saying, “Right now, courses in STC and in Taft are enrolled separately. CSB, of course, is a different school, so in fact, enlistment to CSB courses [by Taft or STC students] does not happen at all, but now all courses, course offerings, and such will be unified.”
With regard to the application for undergraduate programs, Dr. Roleda affirms that all campuses will have the same entrance exam, although campus location will be considered in the selection of courses.
“Certain courses will be centered in certain campuses. Like all Engineering courses might be placed in STC, as this would be advantageous. So, if you were to apply at DLSU, and you selected Engineering, or Accountancy, or whatnot, then you would end up in the appropriate campus,” he explains.
Likewise, Dr. Janairo reveals that plans are being made in the Institutional Testing and Evaluation Office of DLSU to create a revised entrance exam for future applicants. “The idea is to sort of merge the values and competencies that are expected, and to sort of come at an average, or upper limit, so to speak, for all applicants. But we can only achieve this once an overall reevaluation is done of the curriculum and goals of the colleges and the University.”
According to Dr. Janairo, phase three will be the implementation phase. Once the curriculum and logistics have been reconciled and planned, it will just be a matter of executing the integration across the campuses. This would involve physical reconstructions and reassignments of certain offices, as well as numerous meetings among the academic departments established in different schools.
Br. Suplido clarifies that due to its logistical advantage, the Taft campus, particularly the Henry Sy Sr Hall building, would be the central “headquarters” of administrative duties for DLSU. However, in terms of college departments, certain colleges will be delegated exclusively to other campuses, for convenience purposes.
“We will gauge depending on their needs,” Br. Suplido explains. “Similar to what we did for College of Law, where we moved them to the [Bonifacio Global City] campus. Here, we might do something similar, like merge the College of Liberal Arts with the other multimedia programs in CSB, then locating their offices at CSB exclusively, and so on for the other departments.”
What integration means for DLSU
The integration would have significant effects on administration, faculty, student, curriculum, and facility issues. Br. Suplido explains, “Currently, the DLSU Taft, STC, and CSB are treated like three separate, autonomous schools. Students and teachers from Taft are from Taft, while those from CSB are from CSB, and so on. This made everything separate—from entering campus, applying to courses, borrowing books, and more. But now, all [schools] will be united. All schools will just be DLSU.”
Similarly, Dr. Janairo shares, “Structure-wise, all three [schools] will be under the same name, the same administration, the same faculty and student population, so to speak. So, administrative decisions will affect all three campuses, not just each individually.”
Dr. Janairo further explains that teachers and students will be able to enter all three campuses without needing guest passes, and will even have regular classes opened during enlistment in different campuses. “It would be as if a student of Taft, CSB, or STC is also a student of Taft, CSB and of STC, and so on. All students will just be DLSU students,” he remarks.
While the administration structure will remain relatively the same, the scope of their responsibilities will extend to the other campuses in a way that is unlike before. Furthermore, the relocation of college departments to exclusive campuses will help delegate such responsibilities.
With regard to the University Student Government (USG), Dean of Student Affairs Amelia Galang shares that to her knowledge, the USG will be consolidated for all campuses. “STC and Taft already have an integrated USG, but there is still an STC president to represent the concerns of the STC students. What will happen now is that college presidents will fall under an executive board, and since each department has a different campus, that means that the members of the board could come from different campuses, but that still means they are all under the same University,” she explains.
However, she raises that the plans for a USG federalist government could change the structure. “We support a federalist structure, but we are unsure how it would affect the transition and integration. We imagine it would make sense, since that seems to be the direction the school is taking,” she shares.