The unique experience that is UP Mindanao
UP Mindanao is the sixth Constituent University of the University of the Philippines System. It is the only Constituent University of UP that was created by law. Republic Act 7889, signed into law on February 20, 1995 by President Fidel V. Ramos, was the product of two decades of “struggle” by the UP alumni in the region for the creation of a UP in Mindanao.
The vision of UP Mindanao is expressed in the word, EXCELLENCE, an acronym that means, “EXCEL in Leadership, Education, Nationalism, Cultural sensitivity, and Environmental nurturance”.
The mission of UP Mindanao is to lead in providing affordable quality education, scholarly research, and responsive and relevant extension services to diverse, marginalized and deserving sectors in Mindanao and neighboring regions through its programs in the sciences and the arts, inculcating a passion for excellence, creative thinking, and nationalism in the context of cultural diversity in a global community.
UP Mindanao is located in Barangay Mintal, in a setting that is unique in the booming Davao City. It is surrounded by a landscape that is free of intrusive urban and commercial distractions. As a student said, “in this environment, studying is truly enjoyable.” In UP Mindanao, student life is simple but special, in a setting that can truly be described as natural and “memorable.” UP Mindanao envisions itself to be a “green university town” in the future, one that retains its natural environment and uses “green” technologies.
Classes in the campus are distributed in three main buildings. The Administration Building presently houses the College of Humanities and Social Sciences or CHSS. One kilometer away is Kanluran Building which houses the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM). The School of Management (SOM) now has its School of Management Building in the Mintal campus.
The UP Mindanao research and development programs are aligned with the directions of the UP System and that of the Philippines’ medium and long-term development plans. These directions are in the areas of science and technology, particularly in bio-technology, a field of emerging and promising technologies that can greatly improve the quality of life and contribute to economic development, wherever it is employed.
UP Mindanao is a recipient of various grants for the development of its science and technology capabilities. The most prominent set of grants at present is from the Department of Science and Technology, or DOST, which has awarded UP Mindanao with the funds for the establishment of laboratories for biotechnology. The state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment make learning an exciting and fun-filled experience for students.
The laboratory services are intended to also serve other higher educational institutions and constituencies in Mindanao and in the region. The laboratories’ facilities duplicate those that are in UP Los Baños to ensure that the capabilities remain available in the event of calamities in one of the areas. This was proven true in the wake of Typhoon Milenyo that caused heavy damage in UP Los Baños, or possibly in the wake of the unprecedented flood disasters caused by typhoons in the year 2009.
The degree programs that benefit from these laboratories are the undergraduate degree programs of BS Biology, BS Food Technology, BS Computer Science, and BS Applied Mathematics, all under the College of Science and Mathematics.
The BS Biology program is taught by experienced faculty members in the disciplines of Biology, Marine Science, Animal Science, Crop Science, Ecology, Microbiology, Wildlife and Zoology. Students in these classes enjoy field work exploring wildlife and plant life in forests and swamplands. Many graduates of this course proceed to medical studies or related careers.
The BS Food Technology degree program is taught by faculty members in the disciplines of Chemistry and Food Science and Technology. This program played a key role in securing support from the DOST through its research initiatives on the sago palm, a plant that grows abundantly in the wild in Mindanao. Its starch can provide food for the poor and can be processed into high-value food and industrial products. Many graduates of this program are employed in leading food production companies throughout Mindanao.
The BS Computer Science and BS Applied Mathematics degree programs likewise provide support to research projects in biodiversity through its geographical information systems (GIS) capability. Graduates from these programs work in I.T. industries here and abroad.
The School of Management, or SOM, offers BS Agribusiness Economics (ABE) and the graduate degree programs, Master of Management and the Master of Urban and Regional Planning. The SOM’s flagship program is the agribusiness supply chain research program that is supported by the Australian government. The research program studies how small vegetable farmers can compete in the modern markets. Students in the SOM programs constantly excel in inter-college and inter-school competitions. The SOM also offers short management development programs for industrial companies.
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences, or CHSS, offers BA Anthropology, BS Architecture, BA Communication Arts and BA English (Creative Writing). The BA Anthropology program students are exposed to communities both in remote rural settings and crowded urban communities with video and other modern documentation tools. Their graduates take active roles in organizations and institutions that work for social change.
The BS Architecture program was designed with the help of the UP Diliman College of Architecture. Its graduates consistently pass the architecture board exams and win in regional and national architecture competitions.
The tandem of BS Communication Arts and BA English (Creative Writing) completes the exciting choices that are available in UP Mindanao. Students from these courses lead the way in the literary and performing arts. BA Communication and Media Arts students explore and experiment with traditional and new media arts, while BA English (Creative Writing) students create and perform literary works in English, Tagalog and Bisaya.
To complete student life in UP Mindanao, sports, dance, community service programs and student activities are incorporated into the curricula and academic calendar to learning, social awareness and fun.
A number of scholarships and financial assistance programs are available for students. The UP System’s Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program provides discounted tuition fees for students from low-income families. A number of other scholarships are likewise available from various foundations. Student loans are available from the UP Student Loan Board, the CHED Safe Loan and other financial assistance facilities.
Entrance into UP Mindanao is gained through the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) or by transfer from other colleges or universities. The UPCAT is held once a year in August. Third year high school students should apply during the months of June to July. Once accepted into UP Mindanao, bridge programs are given for incoming freshmen to help them enter college life in UP Mindanao. Tutorials are also provided during regular semesters by fellow-students.
In sum, UP Mindanao offers a broad choice in degree programs with the best faculty available and a supportive and nurturing environment. UP Mindanao offers all these in order to equip its students with skills to truly make them an offering to the people of Mindanao or wherever their future careers may carry them.
Reviewed: 26 March 2012