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Frustrated aspirations

Part four

I have oftentimes been asked if I made the right decision regarding my services as dean of the University of the Philippines Diliman Virata School of Business (UP VSB). My frustrated aspirations are aplenty…non-cooperation from protesting VSB professors, lack of support from the UP administration, non-payment of my three-year salary, six administrative charges, and a host of other disappointments and challenges.

I have always been a patient and optimistic individual. I readily accepted the VSB appointment in October 2019 with the objective of giving back to my UP College of Business Administration (CBA) alma mater.  Despite the many obstacles posed by the negative elements confronting me, I am proud to say that I was able to do several milestones for the CBA and its stakeholders.

Let me start with the accomplishment of the upgrade of the VSB building infrastructure, I was able to finally move forward with the rehabilitation of its electrical, water, and air conditioning amenities. Prior to my deanship, the VSB was beset by several problems in its basic facilities, with the library’s air conditioning not working and the non-existent (practically) water supply in the comfort rooms on the upper floors of the building.

For several years, the users of the library had to suffer the burden of doing their studies and readings without the comfort of any air conditioning. Otherwise, they had to go to the nearby air-conditioned library of the School of Economics. In addition, for nearly a decade, the students had to use the “tabo” system when using water in the comfort rooms. The water pressure was weak or there were defective water pipes leading to the four upper floors that resulted in limited water flowing to the comfort rooms. As I finished my term as dean of the College on October 10, 2022, the contractors have completed or are finishing the final touches of the rehabilitation of the air conditioning, electrical, and water services in the VSB building. The problems in the past are soon to be resolved.

Furthermore, I was able to cause the upgrade of the potholed parking area by the side of the building with the repaving of the area with asphalt early on in my term as dean. The concreting of the roads and parking areas around the VSB building is nearing its completion at this time.

I was also able to address the brewing sore relationship between the school and its alumni, as represented by the UP College of Business Administration Alumni Association.  Before my assumption as dean, the CBAAA brought to my attention the need for closer collaboration between the school and the alumni association, including the need of sharing of alumni information. Starting with my deanship nomination by the Chairman of the CBAAA, I continued the engagements with the alumni to include greater involvement of the jubilarian batches in hosting their school homecomings, supporting the CBAAA request for access to the alumni contact information, closer involvement with the CBAAA projects, and my active participation as a trustee of the board of the CBAAA. A work-in-progress project that I initiated is an updating of the directory information of the alumni, numbering over 16,500 graduates since the establishment of the College in 1916. I also have turned over to the incoming VSB administration the donations of two alumni batches (Batch  1971 and 1994) amounting to P7 million towards further improvement of the VSB infrastructure and facilities.

Unfortunately, I was not able to do so much to enhance the academic situation in the College. The protesting faculty and retired professors of VSB made my efforts of bringing industry-needed competencies and global best practices into the College’s curricula difficult, if not impossible. I will discuss this next week in the concluding segment of this series.

(To be concluded)

Joel L. Tan-Torres was the former Dean of the University of the Philippines Virata School of Business. Previously, he was the  Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy, and partner of Reyes Tacandong & Co. and the SyCip Gorres and Velayo & Co. He is a Certified Public Accountant who garnered No. 1 in the CPA Board Examination of May 1979.

This column accepts contributions of articles from the business community for publication. Articles not exceeding 700 words can be e-mailed to boa.secretariat.@gmail.com.

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