Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines—The online Strategic Communication Planning Workshop: Enhancing Communication Skills for Higher Education Institutions in the Philippines (StratCom4HEIs) of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) commenced last 1 February 2022 via the SEARCA Online Learning and Virtual Engagements (SOLVE) platform.
Dr. Edmund G. Centeno, Associate Professor at the Department of Educational Communication, College of Development Communication (CDC), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and concurrently Director of the UPLB Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, serves as the training-workshop’s Technical Coordinator and Lead Faculty. He is joined by several other professors from UPLB-CDC as well, who serve as resource persons.
Twenty-one (21) mid- to junior faculty members, researchers, and education leaders from 17 State Universities and Colleges – Association of Colleges of Agriculture in the Philippines, Inc. (SUC-ACAP, Inc.) member institutions from across the Philippines are attending the training-workshop which will run until 14 March 2022.
The program officially opened with welcome messages from Atty. Lily Freida Milla, Director III of International Affairs Staff under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED); Dr. Edgardo Tulin, Visayas State University (VSU) President and concurrent President of SUC ACAP; and Dr. Glenn Gregorio, SEARCA Director.
Atty. Milla challenged the participants to take the training-workshop as an opportunity to strive harder in improving the public communication strategies of their respective HEIs. Referring to Simon Sinek, Atty. Milla shared how communication is not just about speaking what we think, but also ensuring that our target audience are hearing what we mean. Atty. Milla ended her message by emphasizing the roles of the participants, “you are the future of your institutions and the future of Philippine higher education.”
Dr. Tulin shared his excitement and anticipation in upgrading and updating the institutional capacities of Philippine state universities and colleges in effective public communication through the StratCom4HEIs training-workshop.
In his message, Dr. Gregorio, emphasized that “the keyword here is ‘strategic.’ To communicate strategically is knowing our audience, developing communication plans while anticipating feedback.”
In providing the training-worskhop’s overview, Dr. Centeno highlighted that strategic communication plans should be included in the planning phase of all initiatives and projects that any institution intends to venture on. Through StratCom4HEIs, this principle is aimed to be imbibed in the participants. He urged on the importance of putting a premium on the communication component of any program or project.
StratCom4HEIs is comprised of eight (8) modules covering topics that will expound on the ComDev process as an important technique for improving public communication in higher education and other public service institutions. Workshops will also be conducted with outputs that lead to developing a strategic communication plan. Sample prototype communication materials are also required to be produced by each of the 21 participants.
After the opening ceremony, the training-workshop proceeded with the first two modules which assessed the participants’, as well as their respective HEIs’, current communication tools and strategies. Under the first module, Dr. Benjamina Paula Flor, Professor at UPLB CDC’s Department of Development Broadcasting and Telecommunication, emphasized the importance of such tools and strategies by discussing the role, concept, and elements of public communication in HEIs. The second module, led by Dr. Centeno, delved into the ComDev planning process.
Dr. Centeno put a spotlight on the adjustable and adaptable attribute of utilizing the ComDev process. Processes used in developing a communication project are individually unique, depending on the needs of the institution. In attending StratCom4HEIs, he encouraged the participants to compare the ComDev process’ phases viz-a-viz their existing communication practices and try to adopt the most appropriate ones in their respective institutions.
StratCom4HEIs is implemented under the Leveling Up Philippine Higher Education Institutions in Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources (LevelUPHEI AFAR) project of SEARCA, with funding from the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED).