Making the NCPAG’s Tradition of Excellence as a Way of Life*

Maria Fe Villamejor-Mendoza
January 2017

A. Thank You

The year 2017 will not happen without the prior years. So before we start the new and challenging year of 2017, let me first greet you a big ‘Thank you” for all the support, constructive criticisms, ‘pangungulit’ and all the great suggestions to make NCPAG a haven and sanctuary for all in our continuing quest and journey for a better life for all Filipinos. You have all been a part in this journey towards elevating the quality of education, research and extension that the College has been offering, in the service of the nation and the world.

Salamat po sa lahat ng ambag ninyo upang ang antas ng pagtuturo, pagsasaliksik at pagbibigay ng serbisyo publiko ng ating Kolehiyo ay hindi lang po basta-basta kundi talagang may puso at kalidad kagaya ng mga magagaling sa mundo. Sa inyong munting pag-aayos ng kalinisan ng Kolehiyo hanggang sa malaking karangalang binibigay ninyo sa NCPAG habang kayo ay umaani ng mga Awards, unti-unti ninyong binabangon ang kalidad at pinayayabong ang pagmamahal at pagmamalaking kaisa ng magaling na institusyong NCPAG.

Today, the College is more united, proud and happy to belong to the NCPAG family.  Marami na po sa atin ang hindi na nahihiyang masabing “taga-NCPAG ako.” Marami na pong mas masaya at ngumingiti. Marami na pong mas nakikipagkapwa dahil nakita na muli natin ang ganda ng pagigiging maka-pamilya, maka-kapuso at maka-kapatid dito sa Colegio nating mahal. The College has been harmonized and humanized bringing in happiness and contentment to most.  The latter has rubbed in and infected other institutions and individuals who want to belong, be affiliated or associated with NCPAG because NCPAG has reclaimed her being a great institution.

Thank you for being proud of our great institution and of the people that comprise it.

 B. The Paths Ahead

For this and the coming years, we have to sustain the gains of our rich heritage and co-produce the new norms for centers of excellence like us. We have to exert more than an extra mile to be the icon, the leader, the model whom people and institutions of Public Administration and Governance will look up to and respect.

Because of our collective productivity and efforts, our College has reclaimed her leadership role. NCPAG is now more prominently at the forefront of Public Administration education, research and public service. She is now more recognized, respected and sought after for technical assistance, advice, knowledge products, standards, guidelines and norms in these endeavors.

However, the College has to be officially bestowed the title: Center of Excellence (COE) by an impartial accrediting body. In addition, she has to be by all standards, world-class and really notches above all. Moreover, she has to be transformational and elevate her engagement in trailblazing and empowering endeavors. In words, actions and heart, the NCPAG should be truly a transforming and transformational COE.

C. What We Should Do More?

1. Standards Setting

COE. This would include going through the process of being adjudged a Center of Excellence (COE) by an impartial accrediting body like the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) of the Philippines or the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS), an international non-profit organization with general consultative status with the United Nations Social and Economic Council.

Minimum to the accreditation are the following:

  • An outcomes-based curriculum;
  • High competency qualification of faculty members and administrators
  • Track record of scholarship, research and publication
  • Rich library holdings
  • ‘World class’ decent infrastructure

We are relatively ready with all requirements, except for the last, which we will try meeting starting with our toilets and old buildings. We will try refurbishing and cleaning our toilets and renovating and completing our PARDEC and NCGG Buildings. We will try to make our buildings ‘talk with each other’ with help from landscape architects and support from our alumni, friends and other supporters.

b. At least a Scopus-indexed if not International Scientific-Indexed (ISI) Philippine Journal of Public Administration (PJPA). The PJPA is the oldest Public Administration journal in the country, yet it is not yet Scopus- or ISI. We will aspire to meet the conditions of these indexing systems so PJPA becomes one in 2019.

2. Sustaining Academic Excellence, Knowledge Co-Creation and Sharing and Town-and-Gown Engagement

a. Quality Assurance. We have transformed our Bachelor of Public Administration into an outcomes-based curriculum, courtesy of our BPA Curriculum Revision Committee headed by Dr. Kris Berse. We are happy they did a very good improvement in our BPA basically because all members are BAPA graduates, cum laude; all have the ‘malasakit’ to make BPA among the top programs in the world; all are homegrown-NCPAG.

However, improvements in our master and doctorate programs have not substantially happened. Thus, the Master of Public Administration (MPA) Plan C will have to be revised to be an Executive Program patterned after Harvard University in order to serve the top managers of our bureaucracy. Partnership with the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore (NUS) and with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other international organizations has to be forged to make this happen. The Doctor of PA (DPA) will also have to be revised to make it more responsive to the changing demands and concerns of the times.

The culture of research and publication has to be engendered and inculcated more as a way of life in the College. Research has to be more actively done, along the Research Agenda developed by the College in 2013.  Paper presentation at international conferences and publication in international ISI journals will have to be incentivized. Textbook writing and production or co-creation of knowledge products which are always awaited by the members of the Association of Schools of Public Administration in the Philippines (ASPAP), the Philippine Society for Public Administration (PSPA) and the Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration (EROPA) have to be encouraged, funded and done. Faculty and staff development and retooling will be encouraged.

b. Internationalization. Funding for more active engagement for faculty, staff and student exchange, joint researches and colloquia has to be sourced. The NCPAG Guest Lecture Series where our foreign and other partner-experts discuss and percolate new ideas and thoughts on the field of study and practice has to be continued. International Governance Forums have to be done at least once a year with our academic partners. The International Conference of the College in celebration of her 65th Anniversary will be organized in 2017 with the theme, “Public Administration in Changing Times: New Norms and Sustainable Reforms.” In addition, the College will continue co-organizing international meetings, forums and conferences. The proposed dual MPA and DPA degrees with Meiji University will be revisited; the proposed dual degree program in Diploma and MPA with the Australian National University (ANU) will have to be reviewed.

c. Knowledge Hub, Research and Publication. The Open Educational Resources (OER) at the NCPAG website will be enriched by new materials from its faculty, staff, students, alumni and partners. Its Info-TV at the NCPAG Lobby will also be populated with more OERs readily available from the Web. Sharing of journals with other libraries will be revived. Other schools needing PA materials will be assisted with donation of old and new PA books and materials through fund raising and other means. The NCPAG Research Colloquium will be more regularly organized (at least one per semester or academic year). The National Research Competition/Congress will be continued to generate scholarly materials for our PJPA and Knowledge Hub portal at the NCPAG website. The NCPAG@65 Coffee table Book will be produced.

d. More Engagement with the Duterte Administration. NCPAG has to be the social critic, the conscience and the voice of the people. Our research and advocacy should aggressively articulate the better paths to good governance. And help the present administration succeed in working for the people. Let us just hope that our suggestions and reforms will be heeded to.

e. More Capacity Building, Technical Assistance. NCPAG will continue to engage the government, the civil society organizations and even the private sector, in activities, training programs, and other public service activities. More policy, governance and development forums will be organized or co-organized with partners and associates.

The DPA at UP Pampanga Extension Program (UPPEP) will be started to reach out to more academicians and professionals in Central and the rest of North Luzon.

The NCPAG Summer Institute for ASPAP members will be continued. Engagement with CHED as members of the Technical Committees and Quality Review Teams, among others, to shape the crafting of memorandums for PA policies, standards and guidelines will be more articulated and exhausted.

3. Administrative Efficiency and Housekeeping

a. Internal Data Management System. A data base of important documents and information at the College, e.g., academic data, faculty accomplishment report for teaching, research and extension, administrative concerns and processes, etc., will be developed in order to ensure a more up-to-date, scalable and accessible data management system at NCPAG. This will complement whatever data management system is available at UP Diliman and System levels.

b. Housekeeping. Renovation of PARDEC and the completion of NCGG will be fast-tracked, hopefully with funding from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) or other partners. Bidding and other activities will be followed through more intensively with agencies concerned. Basic cleanliness of our campus will be supervised. Fire safety and building resiliency has to be ensured. We should live in more livable, resilient and happy environment.

c. More Networking with Governance Partners like the Department of Budget and Management, United States Agency for International Development, UN Development Programme in order to support and sustain researches and other interventions/ earlier started.

d. Continuation of NCPAG Flag Raising Ceremony, Usapang NCPAG and Wellness Program to make the NCPAG community happier, healthier and more informed. Of course, we have to ensure that we always rekindle our love for country. In addition, we should love ourselves and annually and regularly go for health and medical check ups so that it will not be too late to know the cure and prevention of health problems. Let us make it a habit to see our doctors at the Infirmary.

e. Leadership Mentoring in order that my successors in 2019 will be more than ready and able, as well as a better Dean of NCPAG in the years to come. Mentoring of other faculty and staff will be cascaded in order that we have a ready pool of mentors and leaders, when the time comes that most senior faculty members retire.

D. Concluding Statement

Let us make the rich NCPAG tradition of excellence a way of life,  with a heart and purpose of serving our nation and the world and make it better, more humane, just and peaceful. Let us work together to make this happen.

This year is NCPAG’s 65th founding anniversary. As we know, 65 is the mandatory age of retirement in the Civil Service. But in NCPAG, 65 is just the start of new beginnings, new expectations, new norms, and sustainable reforms. Like in the past, I need your help, support, criticisms, suggestions and great ideas. We can do more to cascade and radiate excellence ourselves and in other institutions and stakeholders. Let us do more by being an epitome of an exemplary institution of Public Administration education, research and extension in the service of the nation and the world.

Magtulong-tulong tayo para sa mas magandang buhay!

Salamat po.

*Adapted from my Vision and Plan of Action, 2016-2019, a paper presented during the Public Forum for the Search for the Next NCPAG Dean, November 29, 2016.