CHED Comm De Vera is Keynote Speaker at 2017 Graduate Research Conference
Dr. Prospero J. De Vera, Commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education, emphasized on the rigors and gains of graduate research as he addressed the participants of the 2017 Graduate Research Conference (GRC) held on November 11, 2017 at the Amigo Terrace Hotel, Iloilo City. The theme of the conference was “Graduate Research: Impetus to National Development.”
“Undertaken at an appropriate scale, graduate research can accelerate technological catch up,” said De Vera. It also provides an experience that enable researchers to transfer skills and knowledge and develops a culture of inquiry and critical thinking.
Graduate research is not easy because you need depth in treatment and breadth in perspective to locate your research within the broader literature. It is not easy because your dissertation needs to have an original contribution to the state of knowledge in your discipline. And this depth, breath, and original contribution takes time to develop. Time devoted to the seemingly endless tasks of reading, writing, and critiquing.
He underscored four insights that will assist the University to continuously improve graduate education and research in the country. The four Is are Invest, Innovate, Internationalize, and Immerse.
A global university should invest in a strong graduate research. “Graduate students have to be involved in path-breaking research through affiliation in laboratories. It should be an advanced graduate level research. A graduate school that does not do research is a potential diploma mill,” according to Dr. De Vera.
Innovation in research is about new ideas. “Such include alternative pathways to a graduate degree. The usual system that we have starts with the students taking a certain number of units of coursework. After showing proof of a satisfactory coursework performance as evidenced by maintaining a general weighted average and/or passing a comprehensive examination, students will propose research that they want to pursue which will eventually culminate in a successful defense of the research output: a thesis or dissertation.”
Internationalization means that UP has to meet or even surpass international standards of research. “We need not struggle to keep up with our relative position we just need to be assured that we are doing world class research which to my knowledge is what UP has been doing ever since. These initiatives will also enable us to identify world class niches which can serve as the platform for international partnerships.”
Beyond resources invested, innovative programs and systems, world class and internationally linked units, a graduate university funded by public funds should be immersed in broader society. “Graduate research, especially in UP, must also serve the public good. Serving the public good does not mean losing one’s individuality or academic freedom. It can be embedded in our practices in the academe.” He advised that researches we do should be beneficial to certain sectors, thereby ensuring that the application of the concepts impacts the real world. Graduate students should undertake small projects to help small and medium enterprises, local communities, and marginalized groups. “Service-learning can be promoted as a mode of instruction in graduate school. In this kind of arrangement, the beneficiaries and the student gain insights from each other.”
In closing he inferred that teachers and students should aim this, “to act and think independently but without losing sight of the need to serve the community. Only then can we securely say that graduate research will continue to be an impetus for national development.”
The 2017 Graduate Research Conference was organized by the UP Visayas Graduate Program Office and participated in by graduate students of UP Visayas, faculty members, alumni, and professionals both from UP Visayas and other universities and colleges. Dr. Vivian A. Topor was Chair of the 2017 GRC.