Dr. Priscilla Supnet-Macansantos
Chancellor, UP Baguio
Interviewed by Jun Verzola
Editor’s note: We asked Dr. Macansantos to focus on how UP Baguio interacts with its immediate regional and urban environment. Excerpts follow.
An academic institution serving the wider community. As an academic institution, it’s expected that UP focus on academic excellence as its primary mission. By pursuing academic excellence in the region, I think we are serving the region, even if that’s something the community may not readily see. But we have programs whose community impact is more immediate. For instance, the College of Science is partnering with other institutions for the Clean Air program and to implement the Clean Air Act in education. In the social sciences we offer training programs for teachers and technical assistance to other schools.
Then we have our Pahinungod outreach program where graduates go and teach in high schools in the region. Then we have the Cordillera Studies Center, and other policy studies and research initiatives. Then there’s the NSTP that helps in such things as community literacy. We first hold short lectures, trainings on how to do community work and what is required. We’ve identified some barangays but we need help in identifying more. The students go out and offer their services, sometimes as teachers, or they train local teachers in all sorts of things, maybe in computers, depending on their area of expertise.
Interacting with government. Some city officials and city-based government agencies also come to us for assistance in certain policy areas, and we offer our help. Sometimes it’s difficult because the academe and government have different perspectives, different approaches.
On UP’s city location, the Taloy prospects. The problem in moving to Taloy is still the land dispute, and the community not wanting other occupants – not just UP – to move in because of concerns about the water source. And so, honestly we haven’t given it much attention because we want to avoid stirring up strong feelings against UP. Certainly I don’t want UP to be a land-grabber, a displacer of people. But ideally UP should really have some space. Dati malayo sa sentro ang UP, we had a buffer zone between us and the central business district. Now the malls are here, and we are being hemmed in. We should be really looking for another location, but here we are. Maybe in the future… #