The Department of Social Work is leading the project on institutionalization of Service-Learning in Central Philippine University. The project is one of the three University projects approved by the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA). Service-Learning is becoming a popular form of pedagogy that combines formal instruction with a related service in the community. Higher Educational Institutions that practice this method testify on its relevance and effectiveness, as well as the benefits to respective universities and colleges.
It will be recalled that CPU was among the universities that attempted to implement Service Learning in 2001. It was then managed by Office for Student Affairs. However, the project did not take off for various reasons. Foremost, was when the coordinator was assigned in another function in the University with no committee to follow up the work.
In August 2012, the University President appointed an Ad Hoc Committee for Service Learning headed by Prof. Edwin I. Lariza, chairperson of the Department of Social Work, to assess the situation and plan for reactivation of the service learning concept. The committee found out that the spirit/essence of service learning is actually present in some departments and colleges. Although it was not officially recognized as such due to previous experience. After making some recommendations, the committee has committed to work out for the institutionalization of Service Learning in the University.
Two members of the committee were sent to the First National Service Learning Conference in Bacolod City in September to learn from the experiences of other universities and colleges. These were Prof. Nenalyn Abioda and Prof. Kareen Jay Lozada, from the College of Nursing and Department of Social Work, respectively.
A proposal was prepared by Prof. Lariza for the institutionalization of Service-Learning which was subsequently approved by UBCHEA in 2013. As such, a Service Learning Team was organized and trained to implement the project. An exposure and benchmarking activity of the team were held at Silliman University in Dumaguete City in August 2013 to learn from their experience in the institutionalization of Service Learning. Three members of the team were also sent to Davao City for the seminar on Service Learning. These were Prof. Carol Kay Blando, Prof. Frank Robite and Prof. Diosdado de la Cruz.
As part of the preparation, a Service Learning Conference was held in the University which was attended by deans and the Service Learning Team. Said activity was graced by Dr. Betty Cernol-McCann and Dr. Hope S. Antone, vice president and program officer of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, respectively.
On September 26-27, a Trainor’s Training Seminar was held at the Conference Room, Henry Luce III Libraries. Attended by the Service Learning Team and other faculty, the resource persons were Prof. Emervencia Ligutom and Prof. Allen del Carmen. Prof. Ligutom is the director of Institute of Service earning of Silliman University while Prof. Del Carmen is a faculty of the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City. This was followed by another seminar on October 22 for other faculty of the University. Said seminar was also opened to other universities and colleges in Western Visayas and non government organizations that are potential partners of the University in the implementation.
Service Learning is consistent with the vision-mission of the University that espouse holistic development. The University is committed to Exemplary Christian Education for Life (EXCEL) and responsive to the needs of the total person and the world. The mission of Central Philippine University is to carry out a program of spiritual, intellectual, moral, scientific, technological, and cultural training, and allied studies under influences which strengthen Christian faith, build up character and promote scholarship, research and community service.