Monday, March 22, 2010

Faculty Regent's Report for 2009 (Part 1)*

JUDY M. TAGUIWALO
Faculty Regent
January 29, 2010

Contexts

I have completed my first year as your Faculty Regent, and I have another year to serve as your faculty representative to the highest policy-making body of the University of the Philippines. The 2008 UP Charter had set a two-year term for the Faculty Regent, and I have had the privilege of being the first Faculty Regent elected to serve under this new charter.

My report on the past year is in line with the platform of accountability and representation that I promised as Faculty Regent. I have, as best as I could, upheld my accountability to the faculty through regular consultations, reports circulated via email and the solicitation of feedback on issues, concerns, and decisions taken up in the Board of Regents (BOR). My effort at ensuring representation and accountability is now facilitated by the BOR’s adoption of my proposal to post the UP Gazette online. This may be accessed at http://www.officeofthesecretary.webs.com/gazette.htm

Revisiting My Plan of Action and
What I Have Done So Far to Implement It


1. To contribute to ongoing efforts at assessing and revising current university policies and practices on recruitment, renewal, tenure and promotion of faculty. This includes ensuring that scholarly requirements are balanced with enabling conditions for faculty development, and that provisions for transparency in the processes involved are in place.

I believe that at present, policies on recruitment, renewal, tenure and promotion are in place. In the past year, publication requirements for tenure (a major concern brought to the attention of previous Faculty Regents), was not raised as an issue at all. Faculty members intent on being tenured appear to have become aware of the need to publish in refereed journals.

The BOR has also approved the recommendation of a number of constituent universities (CUs) to waive the tenure rule for specific faculty members for at least one semester. This is to give these faculty members whose papers have been accepted for publication, some leeway for the publication to come out.

The main concern brought to my attention with regard to faculty tenure has been the denial of tenure for three faculty members in Diliman, all of whom have fulfilled all requirements for tenure. Unproved allegations of unethical behaviour as basis for the denial of tenure have been raised as unjust and unfair to untenured faculty members. The slow response of some administration officials on the appeals of the faculty has also been brought up.

Another concern raised is the inclusion of the year(s) of service of substitute faculty members in counting the five-year “up or out” rule for Instructors and the three-year “in or up rule” for Assistant or Associate Professors. As the substitute appointees are not on tenure track, there are suggestions that service as substitute faculty member should not be included in counting the number of years served by untenured faculty.

2. To initiate the review of existing rules on the process of Faculty Regent selection based on past experiences, and to propose necessary amendments to the University Councils (UCs).

The President of the University has issued a memorandum instructing the University Councils (UCs) of the seven constituent universities to submit proposals to amend the selection process of the Faculty Regent. The University Councils were mandated by the 2008 UP Charter to determine the qualifications and rules related to Faculty Regent Selection.

While the Offices of the Student Regent and the Staff Regent take charge of the selection processes for their successors, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA) has taken charge of the Faculty Regent selection process.

Two questions need to be clarified:
a. Which office will consolidate the proposals coming from the seven University Councils?

b. In relation to the above, should the administration of the selection process for Faculty Regent remain with the OVPAA or should it be transferred to the Office of the Faculty Regent?
3. To continue to advocate for democratization in the governance of the University by working towards setting up a mechanism to implement Section 3, (h) of the UP Charter: "...promote the holding of fora for students, faculty, research, extension and professional staff (REPS), and alumni to discuss non-academic issues affecting the University."

The Office of the Faculty Regent, together with the Office of the Staff Regent and the Office of the Student Regent (collectively called the UP Sectoral Regents), sponsored two Sectoral Regents’ fora in Diliman.

On September 4, 2009, a forum entitled The UP 2010 Budget: Content, Process and Prospects was held. The main speakers were Former DBM Secretary Emilia Boncodin and Budget Director Jose Florendo. Meanwhile, a forum on the Back-COLA issue was held on October 15, 2009 with a message from Former Supreme Court Justice Artemio V. Panganiban.

These fora were well attended by faculty, staff and students.

4. To support proposed policies and initiatives that will enhance the promotion of women and gender studies and the adoption of more-gender responsive policies in the University.

Republic Act 9710 or The Magna Carta of Women became a law on August 14, 2009. RA 9710 is a “comprehensive women’s human rights law that seeks to eliminate discrimination against women by recognizing, protecting, fulfilling and promoting the rights of Filipino women, especially those in the marginalized sectors.”

In my September 25, 2009 report to the BOR, I proposed that the university initiate a process towards coming up with recommendations on how the University can ensure the implementation of the relevant provisions of RA 9710.

President Roman has since created a committee to make recommendations on how the University can best implement the Magna Carta of Women.

5. To work closely with university organizations advocating for the payment of Back-COLA to qualified UP personnel.

As mentioned above, the issue of Back-COLA still remains relevant and is now with the Supreme Court. Together with the Staff Regent and university organizations of faculty, REPS and staff, we need to work out a plan to resolve this issue.

6. To work closely with the Staff Regent in advocating for higher compensation and additional benefits for faculty, REPS and non-academic personnel, and to promote the democratic participation of UP personnel in the formulation of policies that concern our terms and conditions of work, and which affect the governance of the University.
a. Advocating for higher compensation and additional benefits for UP personnel.

Extending study leave privileges for children of faculty and staff with temporary appointments.

Proposal to increase “sagad” awards for “sagad” personnel. This is currently pending.

Proposal to adjust lecturers’ honoraria after the new salary standardization law (popularly known as SSL3) was made effective on July 1 2009. The proposal is based on the September 28 1995 BOR decision that “lecturers’ rates shall be adjusted at par with the adjustment of the salary of the equivalent faculty ranks, subject to availability of funds.” While it is true that the BOR approved adjustments in the rates of UP lecturers on March 26 2009, this was based on four previous salary increases for government employees in 2001, 2007 and 2008. With the implementation on July 1 2009 of the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Resolution No. 4, series of 2009, Executive Order 811 and National Budget Circular 521, an adjustment in lecturers’ rates should be forthcoming. This is currently pending.

Proposal to increase the 2009 Christmas grocery allowance from P1,500 to P3,000. This proposal was denied.

b. Promoting democratic participation of UP personnel.

Holding Sectoral Regents’ fora on UP budget formulation.

Continuing efforts of consulting and getting feedback from Faculty Regent’s constituency.

Involvement in the process of appointing University officials. In general, I have supported the recommended appointees to various administrative positions made by University officials who have had the support of faculty members. But I have been consistent in upholding the BOR policy limiting Deans, Directors and Chancellors to a maximum of two terms in the aggregate, and opposed appointments for a third or even fourth term. I believe that other faculty members who are qualified, who have been nominated and who are willing should be given the chance to serve the University. There were also several instances in which I voted against the nominee endorsed by UP administrators, based on verified information shared by faculty members.
7. To advocate for a University that is more responsive to national issues, supports science and technology for national industrialization and development, and which advances Filipino cultural identities especially under conditions of domestic and global crises.

Together with the Staff Regent, I have worked closely with university units and organizations in Diliman and Baguio to respond to the call for relief assistance in the aftermath of typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng.

We have also come out with statements condemning the Ampatuan massacre, the 57 victims of which included journalists, lawyers and women, and participated in protest actions inside and outside the University.

I have also participated in lobbying for a higher budget allocation for UP and for all state universities and colleges in the 2010 Budget deliberations in Congress.

* Notes from the Faculty Regent:

I submitted this to the Board of Regents last January 29, 2010. This was supposed to be part 1 of a two-part report with part 2 covering some policy matters approved by the Board which I opposed. I haven't had the time to write the second part because of pressing current concerns in the BOR.

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