2023 CAS Faculty Conference: Game ka na ba? CAS in the New Normal
It seems that it was just yesterday when faculty conferences were all about teaching in the complicated world of online classes. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the education sector to shift its paradigm in teaching and learning methodologies, and the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) faculty needed to keep up with these adjustments. However, just as we were getting used to online delivery, the world is getting back on its feet. We are slowly easing into the new normal. It is now time to revisit the halls of our beloved RH and GAB buildings for our face-to-face (F2F) classes.
As the Second Semester of the Academic Year 2022-2023 resumes this February 2023, the college has been working tirelessly to ensure its preparedness in returning to full onsite learning mode with the safety and security of its constituents as priority. In an effort to successfully overcome these challenges, the college held its annual faculty conference on January 30, 2023, at the Manila Hotel. The conference theme was, “Game ka na ba? CAS in the New Normal,” which was more than relatable and appropriate. It was time for us to adjust again, but this time, we leave our desk setups at home and rediscover the real world.
Assoc. Prof. Mary Dorothy d.L. Jose, CAS Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Asst. Prof. Carl Marc L. Ramota, newly appointed UP Faculty Regent, welcomed the faculty participants of the conference. Coming from a very important meeting, UP Manila Chancellor, Dr. Carmencita D. Padilla, graced us with her presence and delivered the opening remarks. She updated us on the progress that UP Manila has been experiencing since she started her term as the chancellor. She urged the faculty to work hand-in-hand with the admin officials to create a more competitive and more visible college—and eventually, university.
Here are the discussion highlights of the conference that were focused on the return to F2F classes and the discussants:
- The guidelines for conducting F2F classes – UP Manila Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Nymia P. Simbulan
- The system and processes of room reservations and assignments – CAS College Secretary, Asst. Prof. John Guiller Realin
- The logistics for F2F classes – Asst. Prof. Ignatius H. Vinzons, the Associate Dean for Planning and Development
- The current health and safety protocols to be observed in the new normal – Assoc. Prof. Christopher Jay T. Robidillo, Associate Dean for Research and Public Service and Coordinator for Health and Safety
Will the future classrooms continue to be a physical space? Or will it be a virtual “space” using virtual reality technologies? Why do we need to rethink education in the artificial intelligence age? These questions emerged during the talk of Prof. Prospero C. Naval, Jr. of the Department of Computer Science, UP Diliman. He conducted a lecture on Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, its effect on human lives, and its future in the Philippine educational system. In line with this, he explained that the University of the Philippines Diliman is offering the country’s first doctorate program in artificial intelligence.
Aside from Dr. Naval, other professors also had some narratives to share. Various CAS professors from the different departments who already conducted limited F2F classes in the previous semesters shared their experiences to the crowd. They even provided some tips and tricks, as well as some challenges to look out for when everyone starts with F2F delivery.
The students were also given a platform to speak about their experiences with F2F classes. Ms. Mary Justine Dominique Caceres, a 3rd year BA Behavioral Sciences student, talked about how the abrupt shift of education structure from face-to-face to virtual mode has caused much anxiety and uncertainties to most learners. She gave the educators a glimpse of the students’ perspectives on how they coped and adapted with the new normal in learning.
After all the talks, the departments were given around 30 minutes to discuss amongst themselves the challenges they were expecting as we transition from online learning to F2F. The department chairs and representatives were tasked to share with everyone what their groups discussed. Turns out, all faculty members are worried about logistic factors like the availability of rooms, equipment, and facilities, considering the buildings of the college are undergoing renovation. More specific concerns include the availability of lab rooms and audio-visual rooms and the necessary materials for conducting classes there. These are just a few of the many worries the faculty has as we head into the official start of classes on February 13, 2023. At the end of the conference, CAS Dean, Dr. Maria Constancia O. Carrillo, delivered the closing remarks and reassured everyone that whatever challenges F2F classes bring, the college will do its best to address appropriately and gracefully.
It is understandable that everyone is getting anxious and concerned about the upcoming semester—both students and faculty—because we are adjusting, yet again, to new-new normal. However, our dean, together with our college secretary, and the rest of the college administrative leaders are working hard to give the students and the faculty a safe environment that is suitable for learning. Let’s all see each other F2F!
91 CAS faculty members participated in this annual conference. This event was organized by the CAS Committee on Online Instruction, in partnership with the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.