UPOU ProvComm meeting with the Chancellor

On 24 January 2022, the University of the Philippines Open University  (UPOU) Provisional Committee (ProvComm) had its first meeting with UPOU Chancellor Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria. Present during the meeting were five ProvComm members led by the ProvComm Chairperson Isaiah Crisanto, Office of Public Affairs (OPA) Director Joane Serrano, Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) Dean Primo Garcia, and UP Student Regent Renee Louise Co.

The ProvComm took this opportunity to share the results of the recently concluded student survey with the Chancellor. The survey which was answered by 244 students showed a shift in the demographics and needs of UPOU students as well as capturing their opinions and hopes for genuine student representation in UPOU.

One problem faced by the ProvComm was the absence of  an  official university platform dedicated to non-academic concerns which was a factor in reaching the student body directly. Prof. Serrano shared the idea of creating a new site similar to MyPortal but one that would be solely for student activities and could become the university’s official “student hub.” This platform could be funded and supported by the University. 

The ProvComm raised key issues and challenges when it came to student representation in an open and distance e-learning setup. With student elections not feasible until a referendum is passed, the main talking points of the meeting focused on meeting the current needs of students through the creation and accreditation of official student organizations in UPOU. During the discussion, SR Co stressed the importance of having student representatives involved in the accreditation process and in all university level committees.

The UPOU ProvComm was formed last year by the UPOU Office for Student Affairs (OSA) in collaboration with the UP Office of the Student Regent. Its mission is to guide the UPOU student body in establishing a framework that will provide the opportunity for student representation, address student concerns, and enrich student life. Three subcommittees were formed to guarantee that the sentiments and needs of UPOU students will be addressed by the constitution: writing, campaign, and consultation.The ProvComm’s mandate is to draft a student constitution and have it passed by the student population in a referendum. This will allow for the creation of a University Student Council.  

“The pandemic has made this is both the best and worst time to start a student council and it represents a dream for UPOU students to build the first open university student council and be a model for others to follow.” – Isaiah Crisanto 

Chancellor Bandalaria expressed her full support in the ProvComm as she emphasized her directives to OSA to support this initiative. She also expressed her support in the establishment of student organizations in UPOU as this has also been the long-time dream of not just the students but the UPOU faculty and staff as well who recognize the importance of organizations in students’ lives. 

The ProvComm is hoping to submit a framework proposal for the first student organizations in February and are looking for student volunteers from all programs  and year levels. Interested students can email [email protected]

Follow ProvComm Socials: https://linktr.ee/upouprovcomm

Written By Miki Tolentino and Beatrice Castillo, January 25, 2022

Edited by Joane V. Serrano


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