BSU prexy vows global standards, better governance (Part 1)

Dr. Oscar Cabañelez shows a letter sent via the suggestion box he used to generate information in consulting for new university designations| Bukidnon News.Net photo by Walter I. Balane

Dr. Oscar Cabañelezshows a letter sent via the suggestion box he used to generate information in consulting for new university designations| Bukidnon News.Net photo by Walter I. Balane

(First of two parts: Global entity, better governance)

MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/09 May) Bukidnon State University president Dr. Oscar B. Cabañelez vowed to pursue global competitiveness and better governance in his four-year term as the university’s second president.

In a series of interviews by BukidnonNews.Net in April 2015 in preparation for BSU’s 1st Grand Alumni Homecoming on April 30 to May 2, Dr. Cabañelez presented his plan to pursue more international linkages for BSU to improve its standing and exposure in the international community, partly in response to the challenge of education in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“My additional general plan for the university is (to establish) international relations. Even in our seminars, the thrust is to go global. In the university’s mission statement, we need to be globally competitive,” he said.

Cabañelez clarified that they intend to involve in international relations to pursue academic development through linkages with international agencies.

To concretize the plan, Cabañelez appointed BSU human resource development officer Mark Lemuel Garcia as con-current director for a new unit – auxiliary services, which covers international relations, along with six other areas.

The six other areas under “auxiliary services”, based on a proposed organizational structure, are the economic enterprise unit, alumni relations, university press, DXBU community radio station, hostel services, and Project Management Office (PMO).

He admitted that BSU’s efforts to have “international relations” will include linkage with other Philippine agencies.

He stressed that the new unit is also aimed at improving the university’s economic development.

“All universities are now encouraged to have additional income – we will find ways and means to find additional income,” he said.
Cabañelez said he is eyeing, among others, to attract students from other countries.

“Some universities have hundreds of students from Korea, for example,” he said, citing this will add to BSU’s exposure (in the international community) and also add to its income.

BukidnonNews.Net photo by Walter I. Balane

BukidnonNews.Net photo by Walter I. Balane

Since 2014, BSU has trained two batches of public school teachers from Anubanchonbori in Thailand. The training was dubbed “Training for Thai Teachers in English Communication Arts and the Teaching of Science and Mathematics Using English Language.”

Cabañelez cited a related thrust to pursue higher level of accreditation with the AACCUP or the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines, and a certification with the ISO or the International Organization for Standardization for BSU to “uplift” its standards in its academic programs and as an organization itself.

He said as a pioneer national accrediting professional himself, he will focus on the “advancement of the accreditation level of the university” and have also encouraged ISO training to guide the university to establish policies and standards in accomplishing goals and objectives.

He admitted that accreditation and ISO standards are part of his proposed development plan for the university as a grantee of the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) training for university presidents.

But he said there might be some changes with his plan based on his contact with the actual environment as the new university president.

He said the advancement of BSU’s accreditation levels and the proposed ISO certification will uplift the university’s academic level. In relation to this, he appointed Dr. Demetria Saniel as the university’s Quality Management Representative, con-current as dean of the Graduate School.

Cabañelez, in the event of the First BSU Grand Alumni Homecoming on April 30 to May 2, cited that part of his proposed university development plan is to strengthen alumni relations.

“The alumni play a great role (in the university’s development),” he added citing his appeal for “closer collaborations with them to help the university and the university being of help to them.”

He cited his move to assign someone to focus on alumni relations and job placement, which is part of areas covered by BSU’s new auxiliary services unit.

“At this point, I am very thankful for the alumni. I congratulate all of them for doing their best in their respective work, hoping they will all be successful in their respective careers,” he added. He said the university is eyeing a new building where it will relocate the Commission on Audit housed presently at the Alumni Building so the alumni association can eventually use it.

“Good Governance, better governance”
Cabañelez also vowed to work for “good governance, better governance” in his administration pledging to be consultative and to lead by example.

He cited that it is his first battle cry to be transparent and to work for transactions that puts zero peso to waste for the university. He said right at the start he pronounced to key university officials, faculty and other stakeholders that budget and SOP (standard operating procedures) should go to projects that benefit the university.

But he admitted that it is not going to be an easy battle as “it is not easy to keep your reputation.”

“It’s different if you came from below. When you are up there you have to influence and lead by example. We need to apply what we learned. There is more need of support from the Christian community, from God,” he said, pausing for a few seconds in one of the emotional highs of the interview.

Cabañelez rose from the ranks as elementary school teacher; principal; associate dean; dean of student affairs; vice president for administration planning and development; and finally vice president for academic affairs before he became a candidate for BSU president. He said through the years, he just kept himself open-minded to the challenges presented to him.

The new president’s desire to be consultative in his decisions first came tested in implementing structural changes.

Dr. Cabañelez decided to delegate some of the powers of the President to the two vice presidents and different unit heads. He said this is not simple empowerment but also sharing accountability.

For example, Dr. Cabanelez said, instead of being directly under the Office of the President, the finance department will now be under the vice president for administration.

To come up with new designations, Cabañelez sought the inputs from the stakeholders inside the university about their suggestions and even their sentiments. He used a suggestion box where scores of letters and notes of suggestions were expressed regarding university policies, officials, and personnel.

In choosing the deans, for example, the president used a mix of consultation and performance evaluation. He said he asked the deans in a meeting to express their plans and if they still wanted to stay in office. All of the current deans wanted to stay in office. To choose a new dean for the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), recently made vacant in the retirement of Dr. Beatriz Garcia, Dr. Cabanelez said he had to go beyond the suggestions submitted. He appointed a new dean, Dr. Adelda Cunanan, who he said has been previously an associate dean.

He admitted that the suggestion box will form part of the information he can use in decision making, allowing more avenues for participation. In the end, he said, he has to weigh in his prerogatives as the President – using the suggestions as inputs.

“I know I’m ready for the job. I’ve been there for several years. I know the situation. However, I need to do further consultations. But please don’t dictate on me,” he added.

He admitted that in reading and listening to the suggestions, some of which were bold and serious accusations against or recommendations for one or other officials, he should not be emotional.

Sometimes he had to take humanitarian considerations as well. He said some of the letters he received suggested drastic changes about one or two university officials accusing them of this or that.

“It’s not easy (going over this),” he added.

He said he will stick to due process and will use a memorable past experience in guiding him to deal with situations like replacing one official.

“I need to address the problems being raised against this person. I might decide not to replace this person. I will just remove some previous responsibilities. We are giving this person a chance. If after a time the person still does not budge, that’s when we do drastic moves,” he said.

He said the suggestion box proved to be helpful but also offered situations not easy for him to deal.

“Overall, we are happy that people are open and are interacting through this (suggestion box) and other mechanisms,” he added.
As part of his effort to pursue “good governance, better governance”

Dr. Cabanelez admitted that his family will not move high in the university structure. (Walter I. Balane/BukidnonNews.Net)
Next: An era of changes for the university