Tangonan hailed as SEARCA Outstanding Alumna in Teaching
Great teachers know that, more than a job, teaching is a calling. Dr. Naomi G. Tangonan knows by heart what that means. And for this, the former professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) is bestowed the “Outstanding SEARCA Scholarship Alumni (OSSA)” award in the teaching category.
The award gives recognition to SEARCA’s graduate alumni who have personified SEARCA’s values and philosophy and have distinguished themselves through their personal achievements, professional accomplishments, public service, and other meritorious endeavors. This is the first time since its establishment that SEARCA will be giving such prestigious recognition to its alumni who it considers as ambassadors for agriculture and rural development in the region.
Dr. Tangonan’s passion for teaching and academic excellence is not only confined to the four corners of the university classroom but extends to the field and the farmers, out-of-school youth, and women. And to teach effectively, one must also become an expert of the subject with a continuous search and sharing of knowledge through research, extension, and knowledge management. Dr. Tangonan, for her part, has written manuals, brochures, and laboratory guides for her classes and other clients. As professor, she was among the few in USM to publish her research findings in ISI/international journals. She is known for the reference book in Plant Pathology “Host Index of Plant Diseases in the Philippines,” published in 1992 which she co-authored with University of the Philippines Los Baños Professor, Dr. Florendo C. Quebral, funded by the Department of Science and Technology. In 1999, through the support of the Philippine Rice Research Institute, she revised and updated the book by adding newly discovered plant diseases. Until now, these books are considered main references among crop protection students, agriculturists, and technicians all over the Philippines.
Another landmark achievement is her leadership in the rubber industry where she led 17 experts/authors or colleagues to produce the book “Rubber Production and Management in the Philippines,” through the financial support of the Philippine Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR).
This passion has translated into many milestones in Dr. Tangonan’s life, including being appointed as first woman dean of USM’s College of Agriculture, first USM faculty to reach the Professor-level, and national honors in teaching and research including the Metrobank Foundation’s Outstanding Teachers Award and Award for Continuing Excellence and Services, and the designation as Department of Science and Technology Lifetime Scientist.
But what Dr. Tangonan primarily considers as the “fruits of her labors” are the students that she has mentored through the years, who are now successful in their chosen fields or professions: agriculturists, entrepreneur-farmers, teachers, doctors, engineers, businessmen and women, even priests, pastors, and nuns.
While she has already retired from USM in North Cotabato, she has been appointed by the President of the university as head of the Plant Pathology Research Laboratory where she continues to mentor high school, college, and graduate students.
Dr. Tangonan received her PhD in Plant Pathology from the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 1984, which she completed through a SEARCA scholarship. Dr. Tangonan, and 10 other OSSA laurates will be awarded during SEARCA’s golden anniversary celebration on 25 November 2016.