FEU student leader strengthens global citizenship advocacy

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Out of 2,137 applicants from 38 countries, Far Eastern University’s Hazel Baek, a student at the Institute of Education (IE) was selected as the lone student representative from the Philippines to join the 49 delegates to the prestigious 2nd Youth Leadership Workshop on Global Citizenship Education (GCED). This was organized by the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) and United Nations Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) at the Busan University of Foreign Studies in Busan, Republic of Korea on July 12 to 16, 2016.

“Each of us is a global citizen; therefore, what can I do for the FEU is to help develop global champions among students, by sharing what I’ve learned through forums or workshops and their connection to the network of global citizens,” said Baek. “I realized that no race, age, gender nor religion can hinder a global citizen to love and respect one another. We should always know our ‘why’ and ‘for whom’ we are doing selfless service in order to feel genuine happiness,” she reiterated.

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Baek completed capacity building workshops and international dialogues with her counterparts from North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America, Middle East, and North Africa. “I now have a better understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), of leadership strategies to implement the GCED, and of the need to establish a GCED Youth Network,” she said.

Asked about her competitive edge during the selection, Baek said: “The organizing team assessed how global a citizen you were, are and can be. Looking back, I believe I was selected because I was an advocate for cultural sensitivity from different walks of life. I did volunteer work for mixed race children and refugees so that they could learn how to speak English and have a greater chance for social inclusion. Another advantage was my upbringing in a multi-cultural household, which helped me understand both the benefits and downside of diversity.”

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Dean Myrna P. Quinto, says IE’s role: “The field studies trained our students such as Baek to observe, mingle, and facilitate the learnings of a diverse set of students. She also had the chance to mingle with students from different races who have had to cope or overcome the inter-cultural concerns of studying in a foreign country.”

The former president of the Society of Language Educators and national delegate to the Ayala Young Leaders Congress plans to adopt a small community to promote literacy programs and recreational activities through an initiative with fellow Tamaraws who yearn to be global educators. “We need to create awareness by strengthening the connection between FEU with UNESCO and APCEIU,” Baek concluded.

FEU student bags top GMA Network Excellence Award

Originally published in GMA News Online July 22, 2016

Outstanding students from various universities were recognized by GMA Network for their leadership, academic excellence, and social responsibility during the 15th Excellence Awards on Friday.

The top GMA Network Excellence Award was presented to Ronalyn Pordan from the Far Eastern University. She received P50,000 and a plaque.  Five other finalists received P5,000 and a plaque each: Jennifer Corazon De Leon Cabildo from the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD), Viktoria Jillian Santos from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Ma. Sarah Perez from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), and Pauline Jane Celerio from UPD.

Present during the awarding ceremony were panelists Dingdong Dantes, Benjamin Alves, and Nessa Valdellon. The students vowed to use the recognition to continue their advocacies, which range from entertainment values to women’s and children’s rights.

“Gagmitin ko itong recognition na to para makapag-inspire pa ng mga studyante na meron po kaming magagawa sa lipunan, hindi lang basta mga studyante, kung hindi mga leaders sa bawat komunidad namin,” Pordan said.

Pordan said she will take up law in FEU to protect women’s rights. She will also work with her organization, the Marikit Movement.

Finalist Vryxon Val Del Valle, of the First Asia Institute of Technology in Humanities (FAITH), said “We’re very humbled for the opportunity to represent our courses, our universities.”

Now on its 15th year, the GMA Network Excellence Award recognizes graduating students who demonstrate exemplary leadership, stellar academic performance, and proactive social responsibility.

GMA Network has so far conferred the Excellence Award to 40 students, including Pordan.

The 2016 Excellence Award was open to all bona fide Filipino graduating student for the school year 2015-2016 in mass communication, multimedia arts, advertising, electronics communication engineering or any equivalent course. The aspirant must be graduating with honors and active in socio-civic activities. — VVP, GMA News

FEU sees ideal partner in Concentrix

Seated left to right: Dr. Marcon Espino, FEU ARPS Director, Dr. Myrna Quinto, FEU VP for Academic Development, Dr. Michael Alba FEU President, Roma Villarama, Concentrix Senior Director   Business Operations Services, Karen Quinia,  Concentrix  Recruitment Leader,   Piya Malhotra, Concentrix Recruitment Transformation and Analytics Lead. Standing left to right:   Concetrix Team: Pearl Sy, Communications and Marketing Lead, James Catayas, University Relations Senior Specialist, and Ezekiel Romano Fernando, Sourcing Lead.

Seated left to right: Dr. Marcon Espino, FEU ARPS Director, Dr. Myrna Quinto, FEU VP for Academic Development, Dr. Michael Alba FEU President, Roma Villarama, Concentrix Senior Director Business Operations Services, Karen Quinia, Concentrix Recruitment Leader, Piya Malhotra, Concentrix Recruitment Transformation and Analytics Lead. Standing left to right: Concetrix Team: Pearl Sy, Communications and Marketing Lead, James Catayas, University Relations Senior Specialist, and Ezekiel Romano Fernando, Sourcing Lead.

“By partnering with Concentrix, a leading high-value global business services group, FEU can design employment/placement seminars and training programs, conduct recruitment activities and produce research and evaluative reports on alumni and work placement.

The collaboration has already started with PLUS learning sessions and TRABAJO special recruitment activity in FEU Manila and after that, we will move on to other projects”, said FEU Alumni Relations and Placement Services Director Marcon R. Espino.

FEU President Michael M. Alba said it is important to continuously produce industry-responsive graduates and joining forces with organizations such as Concentrix will strongly support that model.

Concentrix, a multi analyst and industry awardee company with presence in 25 countries and with over 70,000 staff members, has chosen FEU as its first university partner because the Tamaraws are known for its core values of fortitude, excellence, and uprightness.

FEU head out to disrupt the education system

Alba LOA

Originally published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (July 3, 2016)

FAR EASTERN University (FEU), one of the leading academic institutions in the Philippines, is not just expanding its footprint in the education sector.
It also wants to change the game by pioneering an advanced learning management scheme that complements the visions of the K-12 program.

After acquiring an 80 percent stake in Roosevelt College Inc. (RCI) for P808.48 million this year, the 88-year-old institution is pushing for a reform in the country’s education system through its “learning outcomes approach (LOA),” a brainchild of FEU president Michael Alba.

In-depth analysis

LOA is a process of improving teaching and learning through an in-depth analysis of the students’ critical thinking, self-directed learning, moral character and civic engagement.

In an interview with INQUIRER, Alba says the holistic approach of the LOA goes hand-in-hand with the K-12 program in fostering competent and skilled members of the workforce since it focuses on students’ soft skills such as critical thinking.

Alba says the new system that has been undergoing field-testing in the university’s primary to tertiary schools since last year is projected to be fully implemented in the coming years.

Alba says he wants to share it with the entire country if proven successful. “We’re sharing it for free. The government should not just rely on the public school system to improve education because the ideas are coming more from the private sector.”

Alba, primarily an economist, also sits as Chair of the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHEd) technical committee for economics and also a member of CHEd’s technical panel for social science and communication.

Through LOA, Alba aspires to reshape education into an “experience good.”
“Education is an experience good … We have to get the students engaged because it makes a world of difference,” he says. Experience good, in economic parlance, means the value of a product is known after it has been consumed.
Far from the existing approaches of the Department of Education (DepEd) and CHEd, the system involves a redesigned curriculum map and regression analysis.

Curriculum map
A curriculum map is a tool used for collecting and recording information related to the educational program. Eventually, the teaching and learning processes employed for each subject area and grade level are assessed.

“The mark of quality education is not necessarily technolo- gy, it’s the curriculum map. A curriculum map is really the important thing because it ensures the complete delivery of the curriculum,” he says.

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The curriculum map under LOA is classified into four levels: Essential map ( which is based on the DepEd- required structure that is commonly used), consensus map ( contextualized by each school for use in their campuses), projected map ( which contains the schedule of the learning units), and diary map ( which is a monthly documentation where teachers could interact with one another and discuss problems and solutions encountered in teaching specific subjects to student groups).

Under the LOA, a pretest for students at the beginning and a post-test at the end of every academic year are conducted. Results are interpreted immediately thereafter through regression analysis. Regression analysis means factors such as personal, family background, sectioning, teacher’s competency, intelligence quotient (IQ) and demographic variables affecting the performance of each student are identified and addressed so adjustments to the teaching methods can be done.

Alba believes the new scheme is more efficient than the current ones. He wants to do away with the National Achievement Test (NAT) because it “is not standardized and it’s not comparable across years.”

Alba claims the reforms will allow students to learn better since the curriculum will be tweaked accordingly.

“The question is: How do you engage the students? Engagement is very important. You may have the best curriculum but you may not get the interest of the students and it will all be for naught. I’m leaning toward technology,” he says.
Technology

To complement the reforms, the university is planning to invest more on technology-based learning.

“The only missing component now [in LOA] is technology. We are actually creating an app (application). I’m asking our tech school to develop a curriculum map app, which I hope we can market to other schools,” he says.

The web-based app will allow teachers to easily access curriculum maps.
“We just don’t follow textbooks. With technology, teachers can deconstruct topics and pick which teaching method is the best,” he says.

Harvard Business School students exchanged ideas with FEU students during their stay in Manila.

Challenges

Alba admits some teachers resisted the utilization of the maps during field tests last year, insisting to—literally, going by the book [or textbook].

“They had a hard time writing the learning unit. They said, ‘We could have just followed the textbook.’ But following the textbook is not quality education. They have to do more to make a difference. If they don’t see the value in the reform, they have to get out,” he says.
Another problem seen hampering the implementation of LOA is the high cost of technology.

“We’re [still] hesitant about technology because it will [bring up] costs. We have to figure out whether it makes sense to our market and whether parents will say ‘yes’ to it,” he says.

He admits the reforms may not be viable for now. Still, he hopes the Duterte administration will make education its top priority.

He says FEU, which ended 2015 with consolidated assets of around P10 billion and a student population of over 30,000, welcomes partnerships with private companies in developing disruptive technologies through LOA.

FEU alumna raises game for Kobe Bryant event

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Recently-retired National Basketball Association superstar Kobe Bryant has made several stops in the Philippines but his latest visit could be the most significant considering the fitting tribute he received from thousands of fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last Saturday, June 25.

Bryant spent two days in the country but his appearance at the Big Dome was arguably the highlight. FEU alumna Jean Louise Dela Paz-Lapus (ABMC, 2002) directed the event and said that this project was very important given that she is a huge Kobe fan.

Directing events featuring NBA stars is not new for Lapus. Her list includes Ricky Rubio, Paul George, Jordan Clarkson, Steph Curry and Lebron James.

The show started with several kids coming out of the shadows and mimicking Bryant’s moves and vignettes showcasing highlights of his career. Kobe made a grand entrance in front of at least 10,000 adoring fans as he came out from a revolving stage that featured several giant screens and was followed by fireworks.

“We developed the concept on the premise that Kobe is already a legend. Our main goal was to highlight his mentality which differentiates him from all other players and turned him into the legend he is now,” said Lapus.

The most memorable moment during the show was when the fans were given a chance to express their appreciation for their basketball idol. With the house lights turned off, the people clicked on the lights of their mobile phones while host Aaron Atayde spoke about the importance and lasting legacy of Bryant to his Filipino basketball fans.

A Kobe banner hanging at the top of the coliseum – and directly across “The Thrilla in Manila” one – was unveiled to cap off the event.

Direk JL shared that she wanted this show to be different compared to his previous visits. “The event had to be legendary in effect like the main man, Kobe Bryant.”

In demand Director

Lapus credits her training in FEU for her creative skills and attitude. She was part of the FEU Advocate and Oratorical and Debate Council.

“It was in those organizations that I was able to learn communication skills that were not taught in the classroom,” she said in a recent interview with the University student publication.

She was also a working student as she used to sing and act in side jobs to partially fund her schooling.

Direk JL, who is married to former San Beda High School Basketball star Robin Lapus and mother to 11-year old daughter Riva, is now one of the most-sought after Events Directors, having handled numerous concerts, product launches and celebrity shows in the past 10 years.

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JL Lapus also worked as a Director in Lebron James’ tour in the Philippines.

But she admits that the big lights and party atmosphere of events mask the huge amount of work needed to succeed in this type of work.

“There’s a lot challenges like adjusting to the demands of clients and juggling events every week. Like Kobe, I need to have the Mamba Mentality to stay at the top of my game.”

“She’s a one of a kind, very creative, all-in-one director. Direk JL always gives her all in every show and you’re confident whatever she does will be a huge success,” according to colleague D.I. Arguelles.

Lapus added that she’s privileged to be doing something that she loves and that she is able apply what she learned in FEU.

“Always remember that no matter how difficult, no matter how tiring, no matter how small your salary is, if you are happy, then you’ll stay longer in that job,” she concludes.