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UNC Spearheads the Bicol Leg of Nationwide SWAP

Over a hundred participants from different Higher Education Institutions in the Bicol Region came together, ready and raring to be enriched, equipped, and empowered in the Bicol Leg of the Seminar-Workshop on Academic Practice (SWAP) on March 23, 2023, at Villa Caceres Hotel, Naga City. SWAP was made possible through the strong partnership of the University of Nueva Caceres, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the University of the Philippines - Los Baños (UPLB), the Transformative Academic Practice for Higher Education in the Philippines (TAPHEP) Project, and the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

UNC, Honored to Host

SWAP is a nationwide echo seminar-workshop and capability-building initiative, happening in different parts of the Philippines. A Bicol Leg was hosted by the University of Nueva Caceres, the home of the TAPHEP Project Philippine delegate, Prof. Michel P. Basister, Assistant Dean of the UNC School of Graduate Studies. As the UNC SWAP Lead Implementer at the vortex of all the anticipation, Prof. Michel P. Basister skillfully took the helm of all the preparation and spearheaded the activity.

A memorable, milestone moment for the academic community such as this was most worthy to be graced with the presence of UNC’s beloved University President, the visionary, Dr. Fay Lea Patria M. Lauraya. UNC Vice President for Academic Affairs, himself a history-maker and game-changer in the academe, Dr. Romeo M. Sumayo Jr., was also a staunch supporter and most welcomed guest. Special thanks to UNC’s Human Resources Department and Dr. Joy Gaza for the assistance.

The Heads, Hearts, and Hands Behind SWAP

As Bicolano educator-learners, our kudos and claps to SWAP’s incredible team of resource speakers: Prof. Anna Floresca F. Firmalino, Prof. Crusty E. Tinio, Prof. Crist John M. Pastor, Prof. Michel P. Basister, and Mr. Kevin John R. Lino, Senior Community Relations Associate, TAPHEP Project, UPLB. We offer our immense gratitude and salute for their massive efforts - hard work and heart work, to elevate the delivery of education in the Philippines. They took the extra mile and went to great lengths for Bicolandia and beyond.

The Director of UPLB Office of International Linkages and Project Co-lead, TAPHEP Project, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Prof. Anna Floresca F. Firmalino, introduced the Transformative Academic Practice for Higher Education in the Philippines (TAPHEP) Project & the Seminar-Workshop on Academic Practice (SWAP).

Prof. Crusty E. Tinio of the University of the Philippines, Los Baños tackled Module 1: CONTEXT, Purpose of a University, Relevant Frameworks for Effective Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and Global Context of Higher Education: Focus on Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Concerns. Prof. Crist John M. Pastor of the Philippine Normal University discussed Module 2: CONCEPT Part I: Theories of Learning and Constructive Alignment, and Part II: Philosophy of Teaching and Reflective Teaching. Prof. Michel P. Basister, Assistant Dean of the School of Graduate Studies of the University of the Philippines explored Module 3: PRACTICE Part I: Creating Inclusive Learning Environments (ILEs) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in Higher Education, and Part II: Communities of Practice.

Educating Educators

Teaching is a calling and one that calls for so many more apart from mere passion and sheer purpose. It takes precision, perseverance, and tons of prayer to be a teacher of sterling quality. In a highly globalized world, with the changing characteristics and contexts of learners, and against the backdrop of the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) world, Continuing Professional Development, such as SWAP is a necessity - not a luxury; it is imperative - not optional. Up-skilling and reskilling enable us to keep up and keep pace with changes, and cope with emerging trends - primed and poised to take on the world.

Through SWAP, we received a platter of information, inspiration, and a large dose of motivation. During the workshops, we were immersed in the different drills, collaborative interactions, and reflective discussions that sparked insights in our heads and fire in our hearts. We acquired techniques, tools, and tips that will certainly help us navigate the uncharted territories of the teaching profession. We were spurred to enhance our teaching repertoire and expand our arsenal to step up and rise to the different occasions and scenarios in the academe - to our immense advantage and the full benefit of our learners. Wrapping up the whole-day activity was the sharing of testimonies and takeaways by Engr. Claze Therese de Vera of University of Nueva Caceres and Prof. Jet Fernandez, RN of Universidad de Sta. Isabel.

The Challenges and the Charge

Bitter threats and beautiful threads connect and bind us, and SWAP magnified the significance of Communities of Practice. As members of the academic community, we thrive in building bridges, forging partnerships, leveraging linkages, and fostering collaboration. Synergistically, we bring out the best in each other when we share best practices and pool resources.

SWAP encouraged us to re-think our roles as teachers, redefine our goals, and reinvent our teaching practices to make students more involved and invested in their learning. May we altogether blaze the trail, raise the bar, and set the gold standard in influencing the learning environment, shaping our educational landscape, and nurturing our learners. Against the rough waters and tall tides, we are in the same boat, after all, striving to sail toward a common destination. God be with us all.


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