Silliman University in Dumaguete City received five leadership and excellence awards from the Commission on Higher Education Regional Office VII in an awarding ceremony simultaneously held virtually and face-to-face on May 22 via Zoom and at the Cebu Normal University, respectively.
As a higher education institution, Silliman University received the following awards: Plaque of Exemplary Institutional Performance as QS World University Rankings: Asia 2020-2021 Philippine Institutions; Plaque of Exemplary Leadership; Plaque of Institutional Excellence as Autonomous Higher Education Institution; Plaque of Leadership Excellence; and Plaque of Program Excellence for the university’s programs awarded as Centers of Excellence and Centers of Development.
The 120-year-old university also received a Certificate of Appreciation as CHEd partners for quality assurance in higher education.
Dr. Betty Cernol McCann, president of Silliman University, received a Plaque for Individual Collaborator and Supporter of CHEd Regional Office VII.
In her message to CHEd and other higher education institutions in the region for the awarding ceremony, McCann expressed, on behalf of the university, gratitude to CHEd for the recognition and said that the awards “challenge” Silliman to “do more.”
“For us at Silliman University, to have our name on a plaque means that beyond the recognition of leadership and excellence, these have to be made manifest in our academic community and the communities we serve. We can only do that if we continue to break barriers in the educational system; barriers that paralyze us, that do not make us find ways to do the best we can under the circumstances, but we can always be in productive partnership with agencies like the Commission on Higher Education,” she said.
McCann also said educational institutions should not be “complacent” because they are expected to “equip the next generation with knowledge, skills, values, and principles to ensure that they become productive members of the society with a future where higher education is no longer seen as a privilege, but a basic right.”
The first woman president of Silliman University said it is a “responsibility” to live up to the awards, and that Silliman owes it to its students, alumni, faculty, staff, and Board of Trustees.
The ceremony concluded CHEd’s week-long celebration of its 27th founding anniversary held May 17 to 21 and the first National Higher Education Day celebration on May 18.
Silliman University participated in the said celebrations by posting greetings from McCann; Board of Trustees Chair Ricardo Balbido Jr.; and National Scientist Angel Alcala, who was a former CHEd Commissioner, on its social media pages.
On the first National Higher Education Day, Silliman University highlighted the role of higher education institutions in helping address the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects through a video featuring the university’s community engagement activities.
In a related development, CHEd extended the validity period of Silliman University’s full autonomous status effective June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2023.
The CHEd announced the extension through Memorandum Order No. 7, Series of 2021, signed by CHEd Chairman Prospero de Vera on April 30, 2021.
“It is welcome news because this gives us in Silliman University the opportunity to continue being creative and innovative as we respond to the pandemic and its effects, especially on education,” said Dr. Earl Jude Paul Cleope, vice-president for academic affairs.
The university’s full autonomous status from CHEd was renewed in 2016. Currently, it is one of six private higher education institutions in the region and among 71 in the country with the said status.
When higher education institutions are granted by CHEd the highest institutional distinction of full autonomous status, it remains in effect for five academic years.
A full autonomous status allows universities to develop and offer academic programs without going through the standard approval process of CHEd and is a recognition of the institution’s long-standing and continuing contribution to building up the competitiveness of Philippine higher education in the international community.
For Silliman University, the full autonomous status affirms its commitment to excellence manifested through programs designated as Centers of Excellence (Information Technology Education, Nursing Education, and Teacher Education) and Development (Biology, Marine Biology, and Medical Technology), and those in the undergraduate and graduate levels that have been given high accreditation. – NWI