Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology
Best Practice Focus Area/s
This is a GBPR entry.
The Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology (NEUST) has been suffering from many issues. Some notable ones were that their students had poor performance in licensure exams, citations from their university were almost non-existent, and their operation manuals, codes, and handbooks were outdated. To address these issues, facilities were improved, and more importantly, a Learning and Development (L&D) Office was established. This office led to many positive changes across the institution and addressed many of the aforementioned issues.
Background and Problem
Upon the assumption of Feliciana P. Jacoba to office in 2016 as president of the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology (NEUST), the institution was already suffering from various issues that prevented it from reaching its full potential and achieving its targets. Mainly, these issues revolved around instruction, research, and governance. This prompted her to review the university’s policies, reassess the prevailing procedures and implement new strategies.
When it comes to issues regarding instruction, NEUST students showed low performance in licensure exams, falling either below or barely above the national passing percentage. The university also had limited avenues for developing students’ other potential, and faculty development programs were limited to supporting faculty members attending external seminars, training, and conferences. Moreover, faculty members were mostly from graduate programs in the university’s graduate school, thus proliferating academic inbreeding. The university’s library facilities and collections were also outdated, and a general lack of facilities for the delivery of instruction was also observed.
In terms of the university’s issues around research, it had a weak research and extension interface. Moreover, research niche and agendas were almost non-existent because research undertakings were handled only by a few faculty members. And of the lesser research outputs which did exist, they could be attributed to academic inbreeding.
- Only a handful of internationally published research articles and citations are almost non-existent.
- Innovation was frail and unmotivated.
Regarding issues around governance, the university’s operation manual, codes, and handbooks have either lost their relevance, are non-existent, or not approved by the Board of Regents (BOR). Moreover, NEUST was also inundated with Notices of Suspensions and Notices of Disallowances from the Commission on Audit (COA) due to findings of inefficient fiscal management. And aside from all this, a number of unfilled faculty items were also on the verge of being taken back by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). And overall, this culture of complacency led to low morale across the university.
- Quality assessment is only through accreditation by the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines, Inc. (AACUP).
Solution and Impact
Driven to improve its situation, facilities were enhanced to strengthen the triad of functions mentioned; the university modernized its library facilities, increased the number of books in its collection, implemented digitalization practices, and acquired software like Grammarly and Plagscan, which are essential to faculty and students’ research activities, and improved laboratory facilities.
However, one of the most significant improvements implemented was the creation of the Learning and Development (L&D) Office. It was designed to facilitate faculty capability building and policy formulation. And through this office, many policies were indeed implemented addressing the previously mentioned issues.
For example, a policy now allows faculty members grants for study leave with pay to encourage them to pursue higher degree programs in other universities. This was created with the goal of lessening academic inbreeding among faculty ranks.
Policies were also put in place to enhance international linkages so that the university may offer a wider range of opportunities for student development, like in-practice teaching and on-the-job training (OJT). This strategy promoted students’ excellence as evidenced in students’ increased performance in the licensure exams, students emerging as winners in national and international competitions, and the internationalization of its curricular programs—meaning that NEUST graduate programs saw a number of international students enrolled.
The office also promoted excellence in research by institutionalizing a research manual. It stipulated policies such as incentives for research endeavors and provisions for facilities that stimulate innovation. Also, it established research centers that gave the university research direction and consequently boosted the research undertakings of the university, promoted ethical research practices, and stipulated. Altogether, these resulted in a marked increase in the number of internationally published research articles in journals indexed in Clarivate Analytics, Scopus, SAGE, and SpringerLink.
Moreover, other notable developments were brought about by the office:
- The attainment of Level 1 accreditation from the University Research Ethics Committee by the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB);
- Many innovations were born, as evidenced by the number of utility model registrations and copyrights held by the faculty members, product development technologies introduced into the community, income-generating projects established, and partnerships with LGUs/GOs/NGOs were intensified.
- Participatory approach to governance became a regular practice through implementing a program called “A Time with the President.” It consisted of a state of the university address, a mid-year review of annual targets, and annual planning.
- New offices were created to facilitate the delivery of the University’s triad of functions. Some of these offices revolved around quality assurance, international and domestic institutional linkages, a data analysis center, and many more.
- Intensified recruitment, hiring, and promotion of personnel
- Compliance with policies of oversight agencies and other national government agencies.
Because of the changes brought about by its leadership, the NEUST constituents’ morale heightened. And overall, attitudes evolved from complacency to enthusiasm, as evidenced by the plentiful memberships to various committees.
Over time, the office has contributed to many of the institution’s successes. In no particular order, they include:
- Reviewed and Revised Vision-Mission Statement (2017 BOR Res. No. 12)
- The following offices were established: OIDIL, Quality Assurance Office, Data Analysis Center, Learning and Development Office—to handle faculty development.
- Generated more than 80M grant from external sources, the majority from NGAs
- Five topnotchers in Licensure examination from 2016 to 2019
- NEUST COEd students as Philippine representative to ASEAN Data Science emerging as 1st runner among ten competing countries
- Improved Facilities such as the construction of the following buildings: College of Agriculture building, Tissue Culture Laboratory, USG Function Hall, Agriculture Training Center, Metal Innovation Center, Onion and Garlic Research and Development Center, Science and Technology building, as well as massive renovation of old existing buildings and expansion of academic buildings
- State of the Art Facilities of the College of Nursing
- Established four Research Centers: Metal Innovation Center, Center for Environmental Research, Onion and Garlic Research and Development Center, and Center for Indigenous People’s Education.
- Intensified Food Research and Development Projects: Wright Blend array of products includes ground coffee, iced coffee, and other related products, buko pie production, and sugar-coated Pili Nuts, among others.
- Identified SUC partner of MIRDC-DOST in the establishment of a Regional-MEIC (Metal Engineering and Innovation Center) with an initial grant of more than 13M worth of equipment in the first year of implementation (2020-2021)
- From only 13 in 2015 with no citation earned to 135 before the end of 2019, research published in peer-reviewed international which elicited 200 citations as of 2019; 173 research papers were presented in local, regional, national, and international venues.
- From 9 utility models in 2015 to 28 registered patents and utility models accumulated from 2017-2019.
- Institutionalization of the University Research Ethics (UREC) that was granted Level 1 Accreditation Status by the Philippine Health Ethics Research Board (PHREB)
- Copyrighted IT program, i.e., Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish Information System (2017); Barangay Information System; eDocument Tracking System; Mobile App for Programming Module; etc.
- Online admission examination and enrollment system starting AY 2020-2021 in response to new normal
- BOR approved operation manuals, handbooks, and codes that embody policies and protocols of all colleges, essential departments, and units
- Linkages with international institutions: Lifelong College, Hongkong; Beijing Dudley Investment Consulting Company, Ltd., Beijing City, China; Vihn University, Vietnam; University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific; Daffodil University, Bangladesh; Jeonnam State University, Republic of Korea
- Various awards and recognitions have been received from different public and private entities, acknowledging the contribution of the NEUST to the socio-economic uplift of the people’s lives.
- Awards and recognitions received by the NEUST from 2016-present are as follows:
- CSC-Certificate of Recognition- PRIME-HRM Bronze Awardee (4 categories: Learning and Development, Performance Management, Rewards and Recognition, Recruitment, Selection and Placement (2017)
- Ten Outstanding Stakeholders of the Department of Education
- Outstanding Blood Donors for HEI Category
- ISO 9001:2015 Certification Status