UMak conducts this year’s first Brown Bag Session

17 May 2024 – UMak held this year’s first Brown Bag Session titled Exploring Cutting-Edge Strategies in Global Education: Some Reflections focusing on the insights gained by the university president during the Philippine Second Congressional Commission on Education’s (EDCOM2) Executive Benchmarking Mission to the United States.

University President, Prof. Elyxzur Ramos initially shared that he was not the first UMak official invited to be part of the said activity. The late former UMak President Tomas B. Lopez, Jr. also attended one of the Executive Benchmarking Missions. He emphasized that UMak itself was the reason for him being selected for the executive benchmarking.Prof. Ramos explained the community college model of the University of District of Columbia, where the portability of an associate degree can be credited to any higher education institution. He then discussed that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide UMak with a grant to roll out capacity-building projects in local universities and colleges (LUCs).

Since the university will spearhead the project, he aims to apply the aforementioned passport-like model yet having partner institutions are needed to execute it. This will provide people with the opportunity to apply what they have learned and pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the future.

He was amazed by Arizona State University’s (ASU) design thinking process, which considers the learners’ wants and needs and how to adapt to them. He also shared his astonishment at the school’s peculiar approach to innovating the university’s programs. As part of the USAID capacity building program for LUCs, in partnership with ASU, there will be slots for UMak to undergo an 8-month intensive training.

Prof. Ramos further discussed Northeastern University’s internship model, where students must undergo a minimum of two summers of internships in addition to their academic curriculum. He then mentioned that UMak’s internship model could exceed the minimum standards and the possibility of extending faculty members’ externships to other HEIs and vice versa.VP for Administration, Atty. Jewel Bulos, suggested opening summer classes at the Institute of Technical Education and Skills Training for all interested individuals. They will be equipped with vocational skills alongside their bachelor’s degree. Prof. Ramos explained the possibility of requiring students to have technical-vocational national certificates to strengthen education quality.

College of Business and Financial Science Dean, Prof. Edita Bayona shared her intent to revise their college’s curriculum to include international micro-credentials as part of the requirements. She emphasized that such certifications will aid in employability abroad since they are internationally recognized. 

Then, Prof. Ramos expressed his dismay if the university still prioritized catering education to the impoverished. He suggested that revitalizing associate programs can be something to look into to further provide quality education to those in poverty.

VP for Finance, Professor Ivan Moro, expressed his support for a passport-like model that would enable students to continue their studies regardless of location. Following the idea of revitalizing the associate degree programs, University Secretary, Ms. Juvy Hermosura stated the need to change employer’s mindset in employment qualifications.Center for Student Organizations and Activities Director, Prof. Angelito Vargas conveyed his concern on how students’ projects will be used to benefit the university. Prof. Ramos shared the news on future funding from the Department of Science and Technology since the university is identified to be the next Knowledge, Innovation, Science, and Technology (KIST) Center. 

He stated his plans to create incubation hubs that will be commercialized thus sharing future earnings which is precisely on the point of Prof. Vargas.

VP for Student Services and Community Development, Mr. Virgilio Tabbu indicated the urgency to explore the competencies that will be needed in the future to adjust the current programs offered.

The forum concluded with a group photo and an announcement of the upcoming benchmarking activity of the management committee in Spain.

The session became insightful with the sharing of ideas and potential projects from which the students and graduates will benefit in the future.


Edited by: Mark Vincent Valerio