Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines – Under the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture’s (SEARCA) commitment to help boost the competitiveness of Philippine higher education institutions (HEIs) in agriculture, fisheries, and natural resources, five online short-term training programs were successfully implemented and completed between October 2021 to May 2022.
These training programs comprise the first half of the Short-term Training Programs component of the Leveling-Up Philippine Higher Education Institutions in Agriculture, Fisheries, and Natural Resources (LevelUPHEI AFAR) project that is funded by the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for members of the State Universities and Colleges – Association of Colleges of Agriculture in the Philippines, Inc. (SUC-ACAP). The trainings include themes for capacity building in terms of leadership, communication, and improving scholarly skills.
Implemented online via the SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagements (SOLVE) platform, more than 100 grantees from over 30 SUC-ACAP member institutions have actively participated in the trainings. Atty. Lily Freida Milla, Director III of International Affairs Staff under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Dr. Edgardo Tulin, President of SUC ACAP, were both active and present during the opening activities of all five training programs, sharing inspiring messages and challenging the participants to be fully engaged in the capacity building programs to level up their knowledge and skills to meet the needs of higher education for a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambivalent (VUCA) world.
The first short-term training program was conducted on 4 October to 29 November 2021 in partnership with The HEAD Foundation (THF) in Singapore. Titled “Leadership Development Program for HEIs (LDP HEIs) in the Philippines,” the training is designed to raise the standard of Philippine HEIs and drive them towards enhanced relevance and competitiveness in the 21st century. It was intended to build the leadership and management capacities of the participants within the context of global challenges asserted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The program promoted stronger academe-industry-government (AIG) connectivity and curricular innovations among its participants, focusing on four key areas: leadership, graduate preparedness, technology, and faculty readiness. A total of 33 administrators, middle and senior managers, and academic leaders hailing from 17 HEIs across the Philippines completed the LDP HEIs in the Philippines.
The second short-term training program was held on 1 February to 17 March 2022 in collaboration with the College of Development Communication, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB-CDC). Titled “Strategic Communication Planning Workshop: Enhancing Communication Skills for Higher Education Institutions in the Philippines (StratCom4HEIs),” this training-workshop was created to boost the participants’ ability to articulate the role of public communication in higher education in the Philippines. It was designed to capacitate participants to upgrade their strategic communication and communication for development methodologies amidst the current fast-changing landscape of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Twenty senior and mid-level staff from 15 HEIs were able to complete StratCom4HEIs and submit strategic communication plans that they intend to implement upon return to their respective home institutions.
On the other hand, seventeen faculty members and researchers completed the 10-week “Online Training Course on Research Designs and Methods for HEIs in the Philippines (Research4HEIs)” representing 16 SUC-ACAP members. Held on 14 February-11 March 2022, this online training course provided participants with the skills, methods and tools needed in developing research proposals including quantitative and qualitative research designs and methods. Dr. Maria Ana T. Quimbo, Professor, Institute of Governance and Rural Development, College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf) of UPLB, served as the Technical Coordinator and Lead Faculty of the online training course. She formed a team of 13 faculty members and experts in the fields of Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods from the Institute of Statistics and the Department of Social Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), UPLB, who serve as Resource Persons and co-facilitators.
The “Online Training-Workshop on Developing Fundable Research Project Proposals for Transformational Agricultural and Rural Development for Higher Education Institutions (FundableProp4HEIs),” the fourth in the series of online training programs under the LevelUP HEI AFAR, was held on 18-29 April 2022. Led by Prof. Wilfredo B. Carada, Adjunct Professor at the College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), FundableProp4HEIs was designed to improve the participants’ skills in project planning, specifically in project ideas generation and prioritization, formulation and design and proposal packaging. The workshop was likewise structured to discuss and answer the following questions: 1) Are our projects promoting innovations and transformation in agriculture and rural development? and 2) How do we design and package them into fundable project proposals that are acceptable to stakeholders, in general, and to funding agencies, in particular? With 32 participants representing 24 HEIs, research proposals on mango, soybeans, meat processing, native pigs raising, seaweed and corn production, dairy farm eco-waste management, among others, have been submitted and presented during the last day of the online training workshop.
The fifth and last short-term training program that was implemented virtually was held between 19 April to 17 May 2022 together with the UPLB-CDC. Dubbed as the “Online Training on Scientific Writing and Presentation for Higher Education Institutions in the Philippines (SciWriting4HEIs)” a five-day program was designed and implemented to improve scholarly communication competence by deepening the participants’ knowledge on the foundations of scientific writing and publishing. Twenty-eight learners from 15 HEIs successfully completed the training, composed of higher education leaders, junior faculty members, and researchers tasked to strengthen the research quality of their respective institutions.
SEARCA’s Education and Collective Learning Department-Training for Development Unit (ECLD-T4DU) led the implementation of all five online training-workshops. Along with the Center’s Management Information Systems Unit (MISU), they provided both the technical and administrative support for the program.
For the next phase of the LevelUPHEI AFAR project, a call for nominees will soon be launched for the face-to-face implementation modality of these Short-term Training Programs. All events under this project are by invitation only to SUC-ACAP members.