Faculty members immerse themselves in the ACE Tour, exploring the beauty and depth of art appreciation. Photo by FEU CTL.

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the General Education (GE) department at Far Eastern University (FEU) collaborated to foster cultural understanding and appreciation among students. The partnership aims to provide faculty members with interdisciplinary learning opportunities, enabling them to visit art and cultural spaces for firsthand experience.

The initiative, known as the Arts and Culture Exposure (ACE) Tour, enriches faculty members’ understanding and seeks to incorporate cultural topics and experiences into the course outline, thus exposing students to diverse perspectives and traditions. Despite the initial participation being limited to faculty members, plans were underway to extend involvement to students via the Wellness and Recreation Program. There is optimism that future endeavors will bridge this gap, allowing students to benefit from the immersive ACE Tour.

Highlighting the significance of integrating cultural immersion into the curriculum, the initiative emphasizes the accessibility of cultural landmarks such as the National Museum of the Philippines, housing several renowned masterpieces. Additionally, FEU boasts its own collection of national artists’ works, offering students a comprehensive understanding of Filipino culture and heritage. Moreover, beyond academic achievements, this collaboration contributes to students’ holistic development by nurturing critical thinking skills, fostering a sense of nationalism, and shaping identity. By engaging in exposure activities like museum visits, faculty members broaden their worldview and deepen their national consciousness.

James Owen Saguinsin, a faculty member who teaches Art Appreciation, underscored the role of cultural arts tours in enriching teaching practices and curriculum development. He emphasized the transformative power of firsthand experience in understanding diverse art forms, local culture, and artists, enabling them to deliver more engaging instruction to students.

Furthermore, collaboration cultivates a sense of community among faculty members, fostering ongoing professional growth through teaching the art appreciation subject. Fully funded by the Academic Affairs Office, the ACE Tour sets a precedent for the prioritization of art and culture appreciation within FEU.

Advocates stress the importance of sustaining such initiatives, positioning FEU as a cultural oasis abundant with masterpieces by national artists.

Looking ahead, proposals for formalizing partnerships, such as a memorandum of agreement between CTL and the local government unit of Angono, are on the horizon. These collaborative efforts aim to solidify commitments to advancing cultural education and appreciation, positioning FEU at the forefront of arts and culture initiatives.

“I envision that this will be a venue to assist faculty holistically. While we provide upskilling through pedagogy-related teacher trainings, the cultural art tour can contribute to faculty’s intercultural knowledge, camaraderie, and overall wellbeing,” said GE director Joseph Jintalan. This promises to shape a generation of culturally aware and appreciative individuals, equipped with the knowledge and empathy to thrive in an increasingly diverse world.