By Keziah G. Huelar
CPU President, Dr. Teodoro C. Robles shares his plans, goals and message for the university to Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on, Director, CPU Office of Communications.
The Central Philippine University TV aired its first episode of President’s Time on August 20, 2018. The talk show, hosted by CPU Office of Communications Director, Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on, featured University President, Dr. Teodoro C. Robles.
The goal of President’s Time is to give the university president the opportunity to share his plans, goals as well as to report the achievements of the University. The program also relays the challenges being faced by the university so that Centralians may also take part in its growth and development.
During the interview, Dr. Robles expressed his appreciation to CPUTV for initiating the said program, “I’m glad that you have initiated this opportunity for the president to communicate with our viewers.”
As the University prepares to celebrate its 113th founding anniversary, Dr. Robles recalls his experience as a CPU student: “I was here under three missionary presidents—Dr. [Almus Oliver] Larsen, Dr. [Joseph Turner] Howard and Dr. [Linnea Agnes] Nelson. And of course, the first Filipino president, Dr. [Rex D.] Drilon I was here until his death. But the following year, my wife and I left the country. And we’re happy to be back. What is important is serving CPU and making sure that its mission is accomplished.”
According to Dr. Robles, being a student under the leadership of the American missionaries taught him about the importance of offering one’s professional career unto the Lord, “Those were the days when you think about people serving not because it’s a job for them, but because they are here on a mission. So I consider my tenure as a mission instead of a job. We believe that they came here purposely for evangelism and for our education. They have accomplished that so eventually they transferred all responsibilities to us Filipinos.”
Through the unanimous vote of the Central Philippine University Board of Trustees and with the affirmation of the CPU Corporation during the annual corporation meeting held on April 20, 2018, Dr. Robles will be extending his term of service as University president for another five years. He will have served the university for 15 years come November 1, 2023.
Now on his third term as university president, Dr. Robles shares the improvement in the collection rate of tuition fees which eventually helped finance many renovations and constructions in the campus. “The first term was basically knowing what has to be done and we found out its lack of monetary resources. The major problem was our collection rate of tuition fees, we started in 2008 with about 85% collection rate and during the first term then we will able to discover the problem and now we have reach a point where we have more than 98% collection rate. With that we were able to save enough to renovate many of our buildings.”
In the last three years, the university invested more than 40, 000, 000 million pesos to improve its facilities. “[We were also able] to construct a new building for the Senior High School, combining all the requirements not just the building but [also] the new facilities, transformers, generators and it will cost us more than 270, 000, 000 and all from our savings. We did not borrow any money or obtain grants from big donors, unlike the previous structures that we built.”
It was also under Dr. Robles term where the university strengthened its national and international linkages particularly with other Asian universities namely: ZhengZhou University of Industrial Technology, Korea University of Media Arts, Tongmyong University, Korea and many others.
CPU also accomplished accreditation feats: The Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Liberal Arts of the College of Arts and Sciences received a Level IV status with validity from April 2017 to 2022. On the other hand, the Masters in Public Administration program received a Level II status effective December 2016 to 2019 while the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry got a Level III status with validity from April 2017 to 2022. The Masters of Arts in Nursing degree offered by the College of Nursing and Allied Sciences received Level III status effective December 2016 to December 2021. The Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and Masters in Business Administration programs of the College of Business and Accountancy got Level IV status with April 2017 to April 2022 validity.
The university ranked no. 1 in Western Visayas for the most number of academic programs hailed as Centers of Development and Centers of Excellence based on the list of the Commission on Higher Education for Academic Year 2016-2017, as ranked by LocalPulse. CPU is the only university from Western Visayas to make it in the Top 20. The list also showed that Central Philippine University ranked no. 18 all over the Philippines with five points earned from designated four academic programs of Central Philippine University, namely, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronics Engineering and Teachers Education as Centers of Development and two academic programs, namely, Agriculture and Business Administration of the College of Agriculture Resources and Environmental Sciences and College of Business and Management as Centers of Excellence as announced by CHEDRO VI Memorandum No. 001, Series of 2016.
Dr. Robles also highlighted the importance of ISO Accreditations in maintaining the autonomous status of the University. CPU is the only autonomous university in Iloilo City granted by the Commission in Higher Education.
Emphasizing Christ as the cornerstone of the university, Dr. Robles commended the recently finished Christ Emphasis Week. According to them, the said celebration is a testimony of CPU’s commitment as a missionary school: “It is a very important part of student life in the CPU campus. We need our students to understand more what it means to be a Christian. We profess to be a Christian university, but do we really do that? The life of our faculty and staff are basically a good witness for our students. So if we don’t treat our students properly, then that’s not the Christian way. We need to live a life that can be an example to our students, following the teachings of Christ, so that our students can be role models for other universities to emulate. We should practice what we preach.”
Ending the interview, Dr. Robles expressed his desire to accommodate more international students and construct more facilities and classrooms, and for the university to reach greater heights through cooperation and unity.
President’s Time is aired once a month at the CPU TV Channel Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CentralPhilippineUniversityTV/.