Student Life

UP Mindanao Bulletin, 1 - 15 July 2020

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1 - 15 July 2020


There are no new or additional responses to the existing Student Tracking Survey, having remained at 384 responses. The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) will coordinate renewed efforts by student bloc leaders.

HRDO will send out the second round of the health and well-being survey for personnel, as part of regular monitoring activities.


Everyone is reminded to remain vigilant against COVID-19 infection, as reiterated in Memorandum No. LND 2020-061. Additional guidelines for work will be released in consideration of the health and safety of all those who physically report for work and, by extension, their families.


As of early July, four (4) students remain under the stewardship of the OSA and have updated travel documents as advised by the partner government agencies. The student from Palawan (1) is still awaiting the opening of their airport and final travel arrangements/instructions from the Office of Civil Defense, the agency in-charge of this assistance. Meanwhile, the student from Cebu (1) won't be able to travel anytime soon since he could not be issued a Travel Authority by the Davao City Police Office due to the current COVID-19 infection rate and Enhanced Community Quarantine status in their city. The two (2) students from Zamboanga have expressed their intention to remain in Davao City for now. The students are in sound mental and physical health while remaining in touch with their parents. 


PGC Mindanao assigned as training provider

In June, Philippine Genome Center Mindanao was assigned by DOH as a training provider for Hands-On PCR Training in Mindanao, alongside the UP National Institutes of Health in Manila and the Philippine Genome Center in Diliman and the Visayas. Consequently, personnel from medical centers in Butuan and Zamboanga cities availed of training in the PGC Mindanao labs in June, and personnel from General Santos City in July.  

COVID-19 Isolation Facilities

Two campus buildings are now in full operation as COVID-19 "We Heal As One" isolation centers under the management of the Davao City government. Since June, the Training Gym has accommodated persons during their waiting period between the COVID-19 testing and the arrival of the test results. The memorandum of agreement between UP Mindanao, the City Government, and DPWH-XI will expire on 20 July 2020, but Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte requested UP Mindanao for the renewal of the agreement in a letter dated 17 June 2020. UP Mindanao ExeCom approved the Mayor’s request on 25 June 2020. The University has requested updates from the LGU, including what has been done in the quarantine facilities, e.g., implementation of health protocols/ disinfection and numbers of transients accommodated.

City Hospital Proposal

The UP System Executive Committee composed of the university president and vice presidents convened online on 6 July 2020 to hear updates on the proposed hospital project from Chancellor Digal. Following the meeting, the chancellor extended an invitation to Executive Vice President Teodoro Herbosa to be a technical consultant for the proposed project.

EVP Herbosa is a medical doctor and is currently an adviser to the National Task Force on COVID-19 headed by Secretary Carlito Galvez. He served as Undersecretary of the Department of Health from 2010 to 2015 and as Coordinator of Foreign Medical Teams in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. He is also an associate of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine, the Johns Hopkins University, and the WHO Safe Surgery Saves Lives Task Force. In UP, he started the Fellowship Program for Trauma and Residency Program in Emergency Medicine. 

In an update, UP Manila Chancellor Carmencita Padilla has also mobilized her team to help in the proposed hospital project, as well as the medical program and related activities.

UP Mindanao’s interest in the proposal is consistent with its mandates and strategic plan which includes a proposed College of Medicine, a Mindanao Center for Infectious Diseases, and the upgrading of university health and infirmary services.

For the proposed hospital, Chancellor Digal has scheduled an online town hall/consultation meeting for all UP Mindanao personnel on 21 July 2020, 1:00-3:00 P.M.

IAMDABID-Mindanao proposal

Assoc. Prof. May Anne Mata completed the detailed research & development program proposal for the proposed Mindanao Center for Interdisciplinary Applied Modeling, Data Analytics, and Biology of Infectious Diseases (IAMDABID-Mindanao) on 22 June 2020. This was submitted through channels to the DOST-Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) program for funding. The proposed IAMDABID Mindanao will work in partnership with existing disease centers/units in the country as it promotes the utilization of applied modeling, data analytics, and applied biological techniques to complement current approaches for disease surveillance, disease data analysis, and disease risk management.

Mental Health Helpline

As of 13 July 2020, 40 students and 4 employees have signed-up and were given psychological first aid by the professional partners of the OSA Mental Health Helpline.




Faculty Referendum on Numeric Grades

A faculty referendum was undertaken on 29 June 2020 to seek a decision on the issue of whether or not to include numeric grades received by students in the 2nd Semester of AY 2019-2020 in the computation of the GWA. Some 71 faculty members were able to participate in the referendum that arrived at a decision for the “non-inclusion of the numeric grades received in the 2nd Semester of AY 2019-2020 in the computation of GWA, but students can apply for a waiver to the Chancellor requesting for exemption from this rule.” This decision was conveyed to Vice President for Academic Affairs Cynthia Rose Bautista in a letter by Chancellor Digal and the details were conveyed to the faculty in a memo by University Registrar John Bengan. 

Town Hall Dialogue between students and the OVPAA

On 02 July 2020, more than 70 UP Mindanao students participated in the online Town Hall Dialogue with the Office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA) that was co-organized by the OSA, the University Student Council (USC), and College Student Councils, with support from the IT Office.

Present were VPAA Cynthia Rose Bautista, Assistant VP for Student Affairs Richard Philip Gonzalo, as well as UP Mindanao Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs Nilo Oponda, OSA Director Ma. Teresa Escano, and other officials.

In the session, the VP Bautista conveyed the plans for Academic Year 2020-2021, including the student support program, and spoke of the advantages of remote learning. For their part, the students shared their concerns as expressed in their college-based online student surveys, which VP Bautista addressed or noted in her replies.

Likewise, the student councils held their College-based Student Consultations on 2-3 July 2020. Their concerns were carried by the USC to the University Committee on Student Affairs (UCSA) Special Meeting on 7 July 2020 with university officials and the student councils from all UP constituent universities.  

Search for CHSS and SOM Deans

The period for nomination of candidates for dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences ended on 30 June 2020. Search Committee Chair Prof. Noreen Grace Fundador announced the nominees on 1 July 2020 as Prof. Karen Joyce G. Cayamanda, PhD (Department of Humanities), Prof. Raymundo R. Pavo, PhD (Department of Social Sciences), and Prof. Genevieve J. Quintero, PhD (Department of Humanities). The Online Public Forum, Stakeholder Consultations, and Interview of the Nominees were held on 6-10 July 2020. The submission of the committee report to Chancellor Digal is on 31 July 2020. The vision papers of the nominees may be read here:

Regarding the search for dean of the School of Management, Chancellor Digal issued a memorandum on 23 June 2020 to call for nomination of personnel to constitute the search committee, to close on 3 July 2020.

Extension of application to the MS Food Science Program

The Department of Food Science and Chemistry announced that the deadline for application to the MS Food Science program is further extended to 29 July 2020 given the postponement of the start of classes to September 2020.

The 23rd Commencement Exercises

The Ad Hoc Committee for the 23rd Commencement Exercises (a virtual event) was constituted on 2 July 2020. Chancellor Digal instructed the committee to ensure the smooth and successful conduct of the activity, scheduled on 30 July 2020, especially because it will be a first for UP Mindanao.


Professors Vic Calag and Vladimer Kobayashi have volunteered as course pack developers for the Commission on Higher Education-XI project "Working on Resilience and Innovation for Teaching Excellence in Region XI" (WRITE-XI). They are among the 664 volunteers from 58 HEIs who will write up on 145 courses (source: CHED-XI). IT-related courses have the most number of volunteers, which includes Prof. Calag, who will write on Object-oriented Programming and Fundamentals of Database Systems, and Prof. Kobayashi, who will write on Advanced Database Systems.

Activities began with the Webinar Series on Instructional Designing and Course Pack Development for Flexible Learning on 7-9 July 2020. Training on Learning Management Systems is on 27 July/3-7 August 2020.



In-House Research Grants, 2020 Cycle

The Center for the Advancement of Research, development, and engagement In Mindanao (CARIM) has received a total of 12 research projects for funding under the 2020 cycle of the In-house Research Grants, with 5 of the projects approved, 4 deferred, and 3 still awaiting confirmation. The approved projects are as follows:

  • Malaque IR.* “Interlocking Blocks in Social Construction of Housing: The Collaboration of Government, NGO and Urban Poor in Los Amigos Relocation Site.” (P33,800.00)
  • Del Mundo DMN*, Murao LAE, Otero MCP. “Pilot Investigation on SARS CoV-2 Wastewater-Based Surveillance in Davao City” (P100,000.00)
  • Acopiado IMA*, Romo GDA, Sarmiento JMP, Acuña TR. “Effect of Women Participation in Manufacturing and Service Sectors' Performance in the Philippines” (P100,000.00)
  • Sarmiento JMP*, Acopiado IMA, Alviola IV PA. “Technical Efficiency of Manufacturing and Service Sectors in the Philippines: Insights from the National Enterprise” (P97,000.00)
  • Romo GDA*, Acuña TR, Acopiado IMA, Sarmiento JMP, Traje AM. “Organizational Resilience during COVID-19 Pandemic: Insights from the Philippine Enterprises” (P99,600.00)

* Main proponents

Technology Business Incubation (TBI) Hub

UPGRADE Technology Business Incubation is doing the construction of the TBI Hub in Kalimudan in July for its technopreneurs and business start-ups. Materials, furniture, and equipment have been procured and construction is expected to be completed within the month.

Project Update with Monde Nissin Corp.

The Polylactic Acid (PLA) project partners UP Mindanao and Monde Nissin Corp. (MNC) held their first project update meeting on 15 July 2020 via teleconferencing. The MNC panel received updates on the milestones in the conversion of cassava starch into food-grade, pharmaceutical-grade, and polymer-grade lactic acid. MNC is committed to adopting the PLA-based technology, if proven viable, that uses renewable biological resources and is biodegradable for the packaging of its food products.

Marilog Land Reservation

Twenty residents of the Marilog Land Reservation participated in the soft broom-making training that was organized by the Land Reservations Management Office and held on 8 July 2020 in the UP Mindanao Upland Training Center. The brooms will be marketed when production reaches the target quantity. The brooms are products of the tahit-i grass growing project that was undertaken as an alternative livelihood for the beneficiaries and for soil conservation in the land reservation.


Asst. Prof. Kriza Faye Calumba’s news story, “Durian and beer turned into healthy probiotic booze by Philippine researcher,” has circulated further overseas. It was published in the hard copy of South China Morning Post (Hong Kong; average circulation: 100,000 copies) on 5 July 2020 and Chiang Rai Times (Thailand) on 10 July 2020.

Assoc. Prof. May Anne Mata presented a paper “How modelers are shaping the pandemic response in the Philippines: Milestones, challenges, and a call for collaboration” in the COVID-19 Modeling and Public Policies Session of the COVID-19 Research and Educational Meeting, organized by the Canadian Mathematical Society on 13-16 July 2020.


Philippine Genome Center Mindanao thanked the various donors to its COVID-19 training project in its report of donations as of 2 July 2020. The report listed 61 lots of supplies and equipment from 29 entities: individuals, private organizations, local government units, and the Office of the Vice President of the Philippines. The list is posted here:

UP academics moving into the "next normal"

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20200630 sliders Plans Possibilities and ProgressRZD40
Plans, Possibilities and Progress: UP academics moving into the“next normal”
July 2, 2020 | Written by Celeste Ann Castillo Llaneta, UP Media and Public Relations Office
The University of the Philippines (UP) is coming to terms with the fact that we can no longer go back to the traditional modes of teaching and learning. However, this “next normal”is also opening up new prospects, platforms, and possibilities for teaching and learning, which UP is set to explore within the next two months.
A memorandum released by the UP System Office of the Vice-President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA Memorandum No. 2020-68) dated June 19, 2020 states that even before COVID-19, UP was already planning how UP students can continue learning despite class suspensions due to natural hazards, disasters, or social and political eventualities.
“Anticipating many more such suspensions in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, the pre-COVID-19 UP System plan already entailed strategies to: 1) expedite the paradigm shift to lifelong learning; 2) accelerate changes in pedagogies and assessment that include the blending of face-to-face, virtual and experiential course work; and, 3) provide course packs at the start of every semester to facilitate independent learning as a value in itself, but most especially to make up for disruptions in the learning process, among others,” the memorandum stated.
Challenging but exciting
The COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the world merely catalyzed this overdue transformation of higher education in general and UP education in particular. The work during this unprecedented time is challenging but exciting, too, as opportunities open up for higher education institutions, including UP, to experiment with new and creative ways of delivering programs and courses, and to institutionalize innovations that enhance learning. Indeed, the “new reality” has revealed possibilities that were perhaps not as obvious before. Some examples the memorandum mentioned are the following:
• Inviting eminent visiting professors who in the past have hesitated to accept UP’s invitation because they could not afford to be physically away for an extended period of time;
• Inviting experts such as noted literary authors, artists, scientists, researchers, and practitioners to interact with students in virtual class sessions;
• Using uploaded plays, art works, music, TVUP ( panel discussions, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs);
• Offering modular courses in sequence within a semester when feasible;
• Incorporating available virtual reality applications in courses, while ensuring that students without online connections are able to access uploaded works and recorded sessions with experts asynchronously; and,
• Designing common courses collaboratively within a unit or across the UP System, among other possible changes.
For the next two months, UP faculty, administrators, students, and staffwill be working on “new ways of doing”, especially when it comes to: new modes of teaching and learning in the first semester of the new UP academic calendar, AY 2020-2021; preparing the physical and academic infrastructure for remote learning; preparing programs and courses for the possibility of blended learning; and, enhancing and modifying support for students’ academic instruction and well-being.
Modes of teaching and learning
The memorandum stresses that the safety of UP’s constituents is the University’s first priority when it comes to adopting remote learning and/or blending remote and face-to-face learning, if the public health situation allows it.
Because of this, all courses in the first semester will be delivered remotely. Any exemption must be approved by the chancellor of the constituent unit (CU), subject to strict compliance with the guidelines set by the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) and local government units, and in consideration of the situation of students in the class which a unit endorses for exemption. Remote teaching and learning covers both asynchronous or non-real time communication (e.g., email, Facebook Messenger, Viber groups) and synchronous or real-time communication (e.g., lectures, webinars and teleconferences via Zoom or Google Meet) between teachers and learners. To avoid confusing students, the memorandum has instructed CUs to adopt one or at most two uniform Learning Management Systems (e.g., UP’s UVLE and VLE, Canvas, Google Classroom, Edmodo, etc.).
Academic calendar
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted adjustments to the academic calendars of higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world. UP, for its part, is retaining the semester and midyear system with some adjustments, subject to the final approval of the Board of Regents (BOR).
One adjustment is the shortening of the first and second semesters to 14 weeks and the opening of the first semester on September 10, 2020, subject to student consultation. This shortening of the semesters was approved in principle by the BOR at its meeting on May 21, 2020.
The memorandum notes that the reduction in the number of weeks in the semester will not affect the delivery of content, since lessons will be delivered asynchronously or synchronously, and remote modes of teaching do not limit the time students have to interact with the learning content, the teacher, and their classmates. For students without Internet connectivity, their independent learning will be supported by activity and assignment guides in the course packs, which will be delivered to them in USB flash drives or as printed material.
Physical and academic infrastructure
Physical infrastructure is required to support remote learning.  UP is currently undertaking several initiatives to prepare its infrastructure, including: maintaining its institutional subscription to Zoom for faculty meetings, webinars, workshops, synchronous classes, student group work and interactions; discussing with telecommunication companies the procurement of gadgets, Internet connectivity, support for educational data packs, computer loans and subsidies for financially challenged students and faculty; launching fundraising and resource generation campaigns among UP alumni and private sector donors for computers and laptops for students; and, exploring the use of TV and radio as an alternative to the Internet for areas with poor signals or Internet connectivity.
Initiatives for laying down the academic infrastructure for remote learning include: piloting an in-house developed Library Services Platform and Discovery Service to replace the existing Library System (iLib) that will feature a union catalog of print and electronic resources of all CU libraries and a centralized patron database; subscribing to databases and collections for all CUs; subscribing to Open Athens (remote access platform) for each CU; procuring a Learning Management System (LMS) to supplement the CUs’ LMS if necessary; and, making local and international online educational resources available, among others.
Program and course preparations for remote learning
UP academic units will be reviewing their curricula in light of the move to remote learning this coming academic year, noting the possibility of blended learning in the second semester. The review, which will be concluded by July 10, 2020, will determine the possible sequencing of courses to be offered in the first and second semesters of AY 2020-2021 and the proposed modified midyear.
Some questions to be considered include: Which courses can be entirely delivered remotely and which of these can be offered in the first semester? Which courses should have a face-to-face component and can be delivered in a blended mode? Which courses cannot be delivered either remotely or in blended mode, and what protocol should be set to ensure students’ safety if they have to go to school for these courses? What is the reasonable student load in a remote learning mode? Can the academic unit offer more sections for the course? If not, can the course be offered in a large class with Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Teaching Fellows (TFs)?
Following the review, academic units will then come up with course packs to be distributed to students. The course packs will have the following components: a course guide with detailed syllabus; learning resources such as readings, multimedia resources like video lectures, and other content resources; study and activity guides; and assignment guides.
Student support
In addition to enhancing existing student support programs, the University is instituting two new grants to support the academic instruction of students: Learning Assistance Grants to aid students in need of equipment and subsidy for connectivity service; and Peer Learning Groups and Networks, which are networks of student assistants to support students in remote learning contexts.
Two more programs are designed to ensure the safety, health and dignity of students. One is the Student Wellness System and Networks, which is a network that provides information, referral systems and mental health services to students with additional needs, spanning UP campuses and linking the University with agencies that can support better health outcomes. The other is the Student Helpdesk and Guidance, which is a network of social workers and counselors who can provide academic, emotional, and legal support to students in special circumstances (e.g., domestic violence, working students, legal concerns).
Dialogues with stakeholders
The University held a three-part series of webinar-workshops for faculty members across the UP System on “Taking Stock and Gearing UP for AY 2020-2021” on June 8, June 15, and June 22. Special webinars for faculty on course redesign, design thinking, LMS training and other topics, as well as the retooling of UP administrative staff will be announced separately.
UP also held dialogues with its faculty and students at the CU level from June 29 to July 2. Dialogues with the UP administrative staff, research, extension and professional staff (REPS), and concerned parents of incoming first-year students, will be announced soon.
In sum, the OVPAA memorandum reminds the members of the UP community that, ultimately, all the changes the University is compelled to make within severe time constraints aim to ensure that UP students will continue “to thrive in their learning environment, engage in learning leveraging digital and information technology, learn with appropriate pedagogical practice best suited to their enrolled course, and create through various learning partnerships.” ###

Job vacancy for University Researcher, 2020

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2020 070720 HiringRZD60

JOB HIRING. The Centre for the Advancement for Research, development, and engagement in Mindanao (CARIM) is looking for a research staff who can provide researchers within the university support in the pre-grant (proposal development), post-grant (inception to completion of research projects), and dissemination (paper presentation and publications) phases of the research process. In light of the current needs of the center, any experience in academic publishing (i.e., copyediting of research articles, familiarity with the peer review process, and handling day-to-day operations of a research journal) is a plus. 


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