The Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) Graduate School headed by its Dean, Dr. Claribelle C. Haber, visited the UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management (UPLB-SESAM) on 11 May 2022 for their benchmarking activity in preparation for the implementation of their proposed program on Master of Science in Environmental Science.
Other delegates from CBSUA who joined include Dr. Rene N. Rabacal, Dr. Gertrudis Girlie C. Jaucian and Mr. Philip M. Talay. The delegation was welcomed by the UPLB-SESAM Dean, Dr. Rico C. Ancog. Joining Dean Ancog are the faculty members, Dr. Jessica Villanueva-Peyraube (Head, Instructions Division), Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez (Head, Research Division), Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon (Chair, UPLB-CDRSC), and Dr. Juan Miguel Guotana. Also present in the event are SESAM researchers, Dr. Yusuf A. Sucol, Ms. Rosemarie Laila D. Areglado, Mr. Julius Angelo Galang (Project-based Researcher) and admin staff under the instructions division, Ms. Ma. Luisa Mendoza, and Mr. Jeran Bunzo.
A consultation meeting with the delegates was held at SESAM Board Room. As a CHED Center of Excellence in Environmental Science, UPLB-SESAM envisions to replicate its humble beginnings and success and scale these out to different parts of the country.
“Solving environmental issues is a shared concern”, said Dr. Ancog during his welcome remarks. He is grateful to see CBSUA as one of the institutions pursuing the implementation of higher education in the field of environmental science. In his presentation, Dr. Ancog emphasized the interdisciplinarity of SESAM. According to him, the School teaches a strong foundation in core courses in Environmental Science and ensures that the discipline anchors on an interdisciplinary paradigm in developing its students.
Dr. Peyraube then introduced the roster of faculty members from different fields. She also discussed the MS Environmental Science curriculum of SESAM and mentioned that faculty members are also very active in research.
For her part, Dr. Sanchez explained that SESAM research projects/activities are open to the students for them to join. “We do intensive research”, Dr. Sanchez, stressed. She also enumerated different research laboratories of SESAM which are headed by different faculty members. According to her, these research laboratories are considered “added-values”, an innovation following research practice in Japan and were built to support faculty and students in the conduct of research.
Another service of SESAM presented in the meeting is the Continuing Education and Training Division (CETD) headed by For. Sofia A. Alaira. Through the years, SESAM also led key research centers of the university such as Climate and Disaster Risk Studies Center (CDRSC). As the CDRSC Chair, Dr. Espaldon discussed the vision-mission of the center and its different activities. According to Dr. Espaldon, the center aims to become a world-class research center that provides science-based knowledge for building climate-resilient communities.
SESAM has also pioneered the creation of the Interdisciplinary Study Center for Water, headed by Dr. Sanchez. This center provides science-based evidence to help address water security challenges of the country, as explained by Dr. Sanchez.
The CBSUA delegation mentioned that they have faculty members who are graduates of SESAM that also hold high positions in the University. “We hope that with the strong line-up of faculty members, we are capable enough to offer the degree”, said Dr. Haber.
SESAM Dean, Dr. Ancog reassured the delegates that SESAM is always open and will be very grateful to give any assistance to CBSUA. “We can explore discussing how SESAM can assist CBSUA for the way forward and set up an online meeting with other faculty members of SESAM”, he added. He also invited CBSUA to join in the upcoming Philippine Environmental Science Summit 2022 where several Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) were invited for a roundtable discussion. This event will be a big help to CBSUA to catch some ideas and learnings from other HEIs.
Dr. Espaldon then emphasized to look deeply into the curriculum. She stressed that CBSUA needs to make sure and show the connection and the difference between the MS Disaster Risk Reduction and Management that CBSUA is already implementing and the proposed MS Environmental Science. Before the delegation bid goodbye, they visited the SESAM Environmental Laboratory and the SESAM Library. (RM Areglado)