VSU Officials Visit

BatStateU President Tirso A. Ronquillo explains to VSU Financial Management Director Louella C. Ampac the process in which their university was able to build world-class infrastructure even with the limitations of government procurement processes.

Led by no less than VSU President Edgardo E. Tulin, a total of 50 officials of the Visayas State University across its five-campus system completed a weeklong benchmarking visit to two of the country's top and emerging universities.

This learning tour was held from September 20 to 27, 2022, and was funded through the internalization grant of the university to expose VSU officials to the best practices of different institutions that are vital inputs for the university’s continued efforts toward the delivery of world-class education.

This is the first time that the full force of the VSU Executive and Management Committees were gathered on a single official trip to the National Capital Region (NCR) to experience how other universities operate and how they are navigating through the challenges of a new normal educational setup.

This is also the first time that the newly procured buses of the university were brought to a long-haul trip from Leyte to Manila and vice versa after two years of mobility restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

First stop of VSU officials was with the Ateneo De Manila University (AdMU), the country’s highest-ranked private university and considered one of the best educational institutions in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.

AdMU President Roberto C. Yap, S.J. welcomed the VSU delegation inside their state-of-the-art campus together with Dr. Maria Luz Vilches, the Vice President of the Loyola Schools.

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“As educators, we know that learning takes place when you're relaxed, happy, and not feeling rigid. We want you to enjoy your learning visit [and] tour in our university, and take what you can, leave the rest away,” says Vice President Vilches in her welcome remarks.

Meanwhile, AdMU Director for Strategy and Quality Management Maria Rosario Banzon recommended to VSU officials that a great university should be able to identify its strong areas and focus on how this strength can be better harnessed and packaged to attract foreign students.

“Collecting data to strengthen the university’s reputation is not easy. So, put together a good team that is dedicated and that can package and present the data very well. The more international students we reach, the more learning opportunities for us,” Banzon shared.

While this is the first occasion that VSU officials visited the Ateneo, the two institutions have already worked together on several occasions for research and extension activities. One of the most recent engagements between VSU and AdMU is a research collaboration on gender, climate change and disaster resilience.

Dr. Emma E. Porio, a climate change expert and one of the prolific social scientists of ADMU who brokered the research partnership between VSU and ADMU was also present in welcoming the VSU officials in their learning visit at the Ateneo.

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In her message to the VSU delegation, Dr. Porio highlighted the many strengths of VSU as a regional research powerhouse in Eastern Visayas.

“VSU is a flagship university in Eastern Visayas. You have a climate change center and an institute for strategic research. You are manning the PhilRootcrops and you have a gender and development center. It has a very rich culture that can contribute to the solutions of the problems in the country today,” Dr. Porio stressed.

VSU officials also toured around the Ateneo for them to see the world class amenities and prized art collections of AdMU.

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The most memorable for them during the campus tour was the Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG), a university museum located inside the Areté building that was established in 1960. It is widely recognized today as the first museum of Philippine modern art.

VSU International Affairs Head Dr. Anna Marquiza M. Quilicot was astounded by the extensive art collections and recent acquisitions of the AAG. She hopes that the learning visit of the VSU officials to the AAG will be a valuable input in the development of the upcoming Biodiversity Museum that will soon showcase the rich flora and fauna exclusively found in the Visayas region.

World class infrastructure at BatStateU

The second stop of the VSU officials’ learning visit is the Batangas State University - the National Engineering University (BatStateU).

The Batangas State University has been declared as the National Engineering University by virtue of Republic Act (RA) No. 11694 enacted on April 11, 2022. As such, this institution is poised to provide a leadership role in shaping a new vision for engineering education in the country. 

Guided by its motto, “Leading Innovations, Transforming Lives”, BatStateU aspires to further strengthen and expand its already robust 46 degree programs to include an even wider range of fields in engineering at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Currently steered by its visionary leader Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo, BatStateU has become the country’s emerging institution in engineering education with the most number of ASEAN accredited engineers who are serving in their strong pool of faculty members.

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Dr. Ronquillo is also the President of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC), the main policy representation and coordinating body of all the 116 state universities and colleges in the country.

VSU officials toured the BatStateU Pablo Borbon Campus together with President Ronquillo where modern and world-class edifices were currently being built as part of their university’s stature as the premier engineering school of the Philippines.

Despite being challenged with a smaller land area, BatStateU was able to strategically design its campus and build multi-level edifices that are now the envy of many universities and colleges here in the country.

With challenges in government procurement processes in mind, VSU Financial Management Director Louella C. Ampac together with VSU Physical Plant Director Mario Lilio P. Valenzona asked questions directly to BatStateU President Ronquillo on how the university can emulate some best practices so that VSU can also build for more modern and state-of-the-art facilities inside its sprawling campus.

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The VSU delegation were treated with a sumptuous lunch courtesy of the BatStateU administration.

In his message of thanks, VSU President Edgardo E. Tulin thanked both the Ateneo and BatStateU officials for their warm reception and the many insights that they learned in a weeklong benchmarking visit in Luzon.

“There are many wonderful inputs that we acquired out of this learning tour. I’m very hopeful that all the VSU officials who joined this trip are bringing all these learnings back to our home institution and will make use of it as an important input to better improve our services, amenities and infrastructure at VSU. It is such a productive experience to bring our key officials on travels like this one because this inspires us to reflect on how best we can develop our institution in the future,” the VSU President explained.

President Tulin and President Ronquillo exchanged some gifts before the VSU delegation went back to Manila after a full day of tour and dialogue with BatStateU officials.

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Aside from visiting universities, the VSU delegation also made some side trips to the Embassy of the European Union in Makati City to explore future collaborations related to faculty, staff and student mobility programs.

On top of that, VSU President Tulin also graced the special awarding ceremony of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for universities that obtained international recognition for the past years.

This event is part of CHED’s commemoration of the 55th Founding Anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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