The new campus and its smart facilities will impact the quality of education at Xavier University. There is a positive causality, or at the very least, a correlation between learning environments and achievement of student outcomes. This new campus will be an essential element of the new learning environment we are envisioning for our centennial year in 2033 and beyond. A new campus and its attendant smart facilities that are appropriately designed with the learning spaces requirement of our program offerings in mind will impact the quality of education in our university. Achievement of student outcomes being one of the key indicators of quality in education.
With the new campus, I am hoping to achieve an improvement in the levels of accreditation for the various higher education programs of the university. There is an ongoing upgrading of accreditation standards in the Philippine higher education sector initiated by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and that is being implemented by accreditation agencies such as the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (PAASCU). With this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of building a new campus, we can avoid the difficult and costly renovation and retrofitting of existing facilities that need to be carried out to keep up with the learning spaces’ requirements that the new standard-based accreditation would ultimately require to bring Philippine education to the 21st century.
The strategic plan is just a part of Xavier Ateneo’s strategic management system, albeit, perhaps the most important and fundamental of all the elements. As part of the strategic planning process, we have developed a framework for setting up a strategic management system to ensure that our intentions as reflected in the plan are indeed converted into realities by deliberate actions. By the end of the school year 2020-2021, we have introduced another important element of the framework, the monitoring and evaluation system, to ensure that priority strategic initiatives and targets are moving forward and most importantly achieving its intended objectives. We will be adding the risk management component towards the end of this school year as the need to be able to plan for and manage both the negative and positive effects of uncertainty had never been as pronounced with the increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world further confounded by the Covid-19 pandemic and the expected new normal in its aftermath.
Personally, I think there is always a positive side to a crisis like in the Covid-19 pandemic. One of which is the fact that it forced us to “see” and “do” the anticipated “digital future” right now. And, through the experience, I believe we found ourselves wanting, that we are not ready for the increasingly digital future just yet. For instance, the COVID-19 school closures have turned the spotlight on inequities and other shortcomings, particularly the digital divide. These changes have also highlighted that the promising future of digital learning and the accelerated changes in modes of delivering quality education cannot be separated from the imperative of leaving no one behind. Thus, the issue of providing quality education amid the pandemic (present) and post-pandemic (future) is greater than ever before. I believe that building a new smart campus during the pandemic, a seemingly counterintuitive action from a financial perspective, will allow us to exploit the above-mentioned positive effect of the crisis and put Xavier University in the best position to compete and provide more quality education for the 21st-century learners. Yes, there is a greater need for more quality education in the new normal and I hope that the Campus of the Future we are trying to build will serve as a vehicle for fullfilling this need.
Engr. Gerardo "Gerry" Doroja
Director for Strategy and Quality Management
Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan