RUSTY G. ABANTO, Ph.D joined CNSC as an instructor in 1997. He rose from ranks from being an Instructor to Professor 4. He held various administrative positions such as Planning Director (2005 -2007/2010-2011), Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (2011-2013), VP for Academic Affairs and concurrent Dean of the Graduate School (2013-2017) until he was elected as the 5th CNSC President on February 15, 2017.
He earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Science in UPLB (2010), MS in Environmental Science in UNC (2002), and BS Forestry in UPLB (1995). He was chosen to be part of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) at the University of California (UC) in Berkeley, USA in 2011.
Currently ranked Professor 4 at age 46, he prefers to be called a homegrown President of Camarines Norte State College with unwavering commitment to bring about “the greatest good for the greatest number of people” in his administration.
ONward to Excellence CNSC: A PREMIER PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION IN BICOL REGION BY 2020
Rusty G. Abanto, Ph.D.
“A vision without action is just like a dream;
An action without vision just passes time;
A vision coupled with action can change the world!” – Nelson Mandela
Banking on Humble Achievements
For more than two decades, the Camarines Norte State College (CNSC), being the only state-run higher education institution in Camarines Norte which was established by virtue of Republic Act 7352 has been and continues to attend to the needs of the province by providing affordable and quality tertiary and graduate education to its clientele. In this short period, CNSC has ably performed the mandated functions of instruction, research, and extension expected of public higher education institutions (PHEIs).
CNSC has been very successful in its quest for academic excellence as shown by the remarkable performance of its graduates in board exams in the field of engineering, accountancy and education. Despite the limitations in the facilities for learning but with supervision from faculty members who are equipped with the required expertise, it has already produced board examination topnotchers. Moreover, CNSC has also subjected its various programs to Accrediting Agency for Chartered Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (AACCUP) accreditation with some curricular programs already at Levels 2 and 3 accredited statuses, thus, making them more attuned to the minimum standards set by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). There is also an on-going certification to ISO 9001:2008 in order to meet international standards in terms of transaction flow.
We saw also in the last two decades the transformation of CNSC from a mere teaching College to a College doing research. Notable achievements have been recorded on research, particularly in the areas of engineering, information technology, education, fisheries, agriculture and environment. Despite being a neophyte in this field, CNSC was able to carry out most of the researches on basic and baseline social science studies. There were faculty researchers also who had presented their research outputs in the local, regional, national and international fora. Publication in the international refereed journal was likewise realized. Moreover, external funding for researches had been tapped to augment limited internally allocated research budget. Similar achievements can be observed in another equally important function of extension. Extension activities have been conducted to promote the socio-economic welfare of the target clientele benefiting farmers, fishermen in the depressed barangays, most especially the cultural minorities. (CNSC 2014 Annual Report).
Moreover, in order to cope with the limited government subsidy, CNSC has also established and strengthened its income generation function. At present, there are modest income generating projects contributing some significant amounts to the budget of CNSC. This modest income helped the institution to be more effective and efficient in the delivery of the services to the academic community (CNSC 5-Year Development Plan).
However, this doesn’t mean that CNSC will rest on its laurels. The more CNSC will have to work hard if it is to carve its own niche in the academic world; if CNSC is to secure its own identity as a premier PHEI providing excellent higher education – as in “tatak” CNSC. This implies looking and examining the achievements of the past administrations and to learn from their experiences including their mistakes. It further implies banking on their accomplishments and gains. This puts the next administration, in a way, in advantageous position to continue and sustain the programs that work and to launch new programs toward realizing the vision and mission for CNSC.
ONward to Excellence CNSC: A PREMIER PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION
Sustaining the gained momentum will ensure that CNSC continues to provide excellent higher education to its clientele. Building on the initial successes it has attained as far the quest for academic excellence is concerned, CNSC will transcend its achievements and will strive to create distinctive excellence in the field of engineering, education, business and public administration, arts and sciences, agriculture, fisheries and environment. CNSC shall transform from a mere teaching College to a research College where research outputs are disseminated and utilized by the end-users. On top of these and amidst financial limitations and other challenges, CNSC shall emerge as a higher education institution that knows good housekeeping, where good governance is the standard operating procedure (SOP), frugal in its utilization of scarce government resources, generating more income, optimizes available human and material resources, promotes and guards the welfare of its faculty, staff and students and with the support of its alumni and the surrounding communities and other benefactors being felt towards an improved physical infra-facilities equipped with modern state of the art facilities creating an easy name recall for the College as in “tatak” CNSC – our own identity. These are the enabling environment that will lead CNSC in becoming a premier public higher education institution not only in the province of Camarines Norte but in the Bicol Region in general.
Towards a Greater Role: Planned University Status
With a proposal seeking for university status already in progress, CNSC will prepare itself to become the first and only university in the province of Camarines Norte. Efforts have to be pooled now on massive faculty and staff development program, physical facilities improvement, quality assurance and program accreditation and system redirection. A greater challenge therefore faces its leaders, faculty, staff, students and alumni in order to chart a new direction for the College to be relevant and responsive to the challenges locally, nationally, regionally and globally. CNSC like a caterpillar that hibernates and comes out in the cocoon as a beautiful butterfly will emerge as a premier institution of higher learning producing quality, employable and competitive graduates.
Given the chance to be of service as the next College President, I will serve CNSC with all honesty, integrity and commitment to bring along the institution towards the realization of its vision – ONward to Excellence CNSC: A Premier Public Higher Education Institution In Bicol Region. A path that will take us where we will be able to build on the gains of the past administrations and at the same time where we can take advantage of available opportunities for breaking new grounds and laying the foundation for achieving higher goals. In the next four years, together we will carry out strategic actions that will pave the way to the realization of our common vision. With God’s guidance, my leadership will focus on providing an environment that will inspire, unite and empower CNSC students, faculty and staff as one community committed to the goals and mandates of our institution. I intend to do all these through the following Strategic Directions and Initiatives as contained in our CNSC Strategic Development Plan, 2014-2020, to wit:
KRA 1. QUALITY AND RELEVANCE OF INSTRUCTION
Strategic Initiative 1: Attract and support outstanding and promising students
To pursue this initiative requires the implementation of effective recruitment strategies that will cover all secondary schools in Camarines Norte and those in adjacent communities of nearby provinces. Suitable information dissemination activities shall be done by attending career development meetings with senior high school students and distributing
CNSC prospectus to inspire prospective students about CNSC’s learning-friendly campus environment, competitive merit-based scholarships and other forms of financial assistance, curricular offerings, faculty profile, school events and activities and the like. Performance indicators shall include:
- Increased number of entrance scholars
- Increased number of incoming freshmen
- Provision of academic scholarships and other financial assistance
- Increased passing percentage rates in all curricular offerings requiring board examinations
Strategic Initiative 2. Sustain the scheme of providing the students a wholesome and experiential learning environment and effective, guide mentoring
Over the years, experience demonstrates that learning and success of students are expedited by consistent active combination of scholarly curricular and extra-curricular activities as well as harmonious collaboration between faculty members and students. To prepare the students face the challenges when they step out of CNSC as graduates and be responsible assets of the society, CNSC shall provide multiple and diverse opportunities for students to immerse with the outside world through the OJT/Practicum scheme. Performance indicators along this initiative shall be:
- Enhance on-the-job/off-campus/fieldwork immersion scheme
- Strong linkages with other government agencies and the private sector for the OJT/Off-campus/Immersion program
- Active participation of all students in at least one experiential learning program (internship, research, field experience)
- Established linkages with local and foreign universities
- Active involvement of students in campus activities
- Recognized outstanding achievements of students both in co- and extra-curricular activities
Strategic Initiative 3. Enrich existing curricular programs and offer new ones to be more responsive to the current realities, new challenges and opportunities
Rapid technological advances, ever-increasing population and climate change are only a few of current realities which lead to the emergence of new industries and businesses, changing human habits, environment-related occurrences and a lot more to which CNSC has to adapt in pursuit of its mandate. Avoiding a mismatch between industry needs and the preparation of its graduates necessitates adjustments in the existing curricular programs and preparations made to offer new ones. Performance indicators shall include:
- Reviewed and assessed curricular programs, policies and memoranda on curriculum and instruction;
- Developed new curricular and graduate degree programs for fields of specialization and ladderized courses;
- Number of TESDA accredited programs;
- Obtained accreditation of curricular programs (Levels 1-3)
- New graduate programs offered in other colleges
- ISA assessed
- Assessed as SUC Level IV
Strategic Initiative 4: Raise the level of professional competence and degree of commitment among the faculty
Enhancing the professional and career development of the faculty members redounds to better trained, better educated and better prepared graduates. Sustaining the existing Faculty Development Program, faculty members are encouraged to pursue postgraduate degree programs and also participate in seminars, trainings and the like, both local and international. Improving the Faculty Merit, Selection and Promotion System encourages the faculty to perform their task more diligently and professionally. Performance indicators include:
- Increased percentage of faculty with master and doctorate degrees;
- Increased discipline-appropriate scholarly or creative performance (peer reviewed publications/presentations, performance, honors, awards);
- Increased participation in relevant training/conferences/seminars/workshops/fora;
- Enhanced Faculty Merit, Selection and Promotion System
Strategic Initiative 5: Make available appropriate and adequate instructional and laboratory equipment, materials and other facilities
CNSC shall strive to make available to students appropriate and adequate library resources, instructional and laboratory equipment, materials and other facilities to prepare them face the challenges of the highly-competitive world. Coping up with rapid technological advances requires consistent updating of equipment and other facilities. Performance indicators include:
- Approved Laboratory Manuals and Modules;
- New and state-of-the-art laboratory and library equipment and facilities, and tools for maintenance;
- Modern library services and resources (e-library, wifi ready, library electronic recording system)
- Increased library holdings
KRA 2: RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT & EXTENSION
Strategic Initiative 1: Generate research outputs on identified commodities and on studies that will serve as bases/inputs for policy making, curriculum development, extension services, production projects and administrative system and services enhancement.
The research capability of CNSC faculty and staff shall be strengthened on a wide array of areas of concern not only on identified commodities. Establishing strong external linkages shall, likewise, be vigorously pursued in search of funds to support research studies.
Providing quality higher education requires that measurable learning outcomes should be specified, student progress towards these outcomes rigidly assessed, and curricular programs and teaching methods modified on the basis of results of assessment and institutional research.
The College shall update its thrusts and priorities for research and development and encourage its faculty researchers to direct their research efforts on the identified priorities. Performance indicators are:
- Enhanced CNSC Research and Development Policy Guidelines;
- Increased number of faculty researchers involved in research;
- Published research outputs in local, national and international refereed journals;
- Increased number of researches presented in local, national, regional, national and international fora/conferences;
- Increased number of externally-sources funding agencies, government and private, and amounts granted for research projects;
- Patented and copyrighted products of research and development;
- Increased externally source-out research and development funding;
- Timely liquidation of externally source-out funds
Strategic Initiative 2: Vitalize the CNSC extension services as its arm to reach out to communities
Apart from disseminating to the communities the outputs of researches conducted by the CNSC faculty and staff, collaboration with other government agencies, LGUs and private sector shall be sustained in introducing interventions that will help improve the communities’ living standards.
CNSC shall develop and implement research-based extension programs, projects and activities. Performance indicators include:
- Increased number of persons trained (agricultural, technical/vocational and continuing education);
- Increased number of adopters of research-based technology;
- Increased number and names of LGUs, government agencies and private groups collaborating with CNSC on implementing extension projects;
- Increased number of viable techno-demo projects with positive ROI & IRR;
- Increased number of LGUs assisted in development planning
KRA 3: ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES
Strategic Initiative 1: Promote professional ethics, integrity and a culture of accountability among the CNSC personnel
Quality assurance as the outcome of executing CNSC’s mandated functions is accompanied by parallel attention to effective and efficient administrative services. Discussions on the provisions of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees
shall be regularly conducted to guide CNSC personnel in the performance of their duties. Likewise, good governance policy guidelines shall be enhanced. Performance indicators will include:
- Reviewed/assessed office policies and standards for improvement purposes aimed at enhancing policies on good governance;
- Conducted annual reorientation & year-end report;
Strategic Initiative 2. Enhance the career development of non-academic personnel
The Human Resources Development Program shall be enhanced and sustained. Non-academic personnel shall be encouraged either to pursue postgraduate studies or to participate in seminars, trainings, conferences and the like. An Executive Training Program shall be developed for the top and middle management officers. Performance indicators shall be:
- Established CNSC Non-Academic Personnel Development Program;
- Increased number of non-academic personnel sent to related seminars, trainings and conferences;
- Increased number of non-academic personnel rewarded and recognized for exemplary service
Strategic Imitative 3. Enhance and Improve Decentralization Policy Guidelines for Selected Functions
On account of having five (5) satellite campuses, some problems are met in the CNSC’s operation particularly in fiscal management. Depending on the level of authority, decentralization of selected functions shall be enhanced and instituted for greater efficiency and effectiveness. Performance indicator will be:
- Enhanced and Improved Administrative Decentralization System
Strategic Initiative 4. Provide adequate staff complement
The quality, efficiency and timeliness of the wide ranging work in the college can be secured when there is adequate staff complement with availability of the appropriate supplies and equipment. CNSC shall improve its system of procurement and personnel hiring by introducing management innovations, incorporating regular monitoring and evaluation of the resources both material and human. Performance indicators are the following:
- Increased number of filled plantilla positions;
- Attained ideal faculty-staff ratio based on CHED standard;
- Improved faculty & staff profile
Strategic Initiative 5. Promote health and wellness of CNSC personnel
As a matter of policy in order to maintain a contented and cheerful workforce, the health and wellness of CNSC personnel shall be promoted. Healthy personnel are encouraged to exercise diligence in the performance of their tasks. The probability of absence is also reduced. Performance indicators will include:
- Acquired health and wellness equipment for all campuses;
- Improved health and wellness program;
- Increased number of personnel participating in the health and wellness program;
Strategic Initiative 6. Uphold international standards through a Quality Management System
Raising the level of standards in the area of instruction, research, extension and production as well as administration opens the CNSC for greater heights and horizon. This will pave the way for attaining international recognition. Moreover, the culture of operational efficiency and effective delivery of services will be imbibed by the CNSC family. Performance indicator includes:
- ISO 9001:2008 Certification
Strategic Initiative 7. Support the move for the unification of the nine (9) SUCs in the Region V into the Bicol University System
Dwindling subsidy from the National Government necessitates the rationalization of Philippine Higher Education. This will optimize the utilization of scarce resources, enhance cooperation and minimize competition among SUCs, and eliminate/reduce duplicity of functions and redundancy of programs. Performance indicators are the following:
- Attendance to/participation in regional conferences on amalgamation including active involvement in meetings of the Technical Working Group for Academic Excellence.
Strategic Initiative 8. Improve the operation of income-generating projects from existing land and fishery resources and other entrepreneurial endeavors
Revenues from income-generating projects augment the declining subsidy from the National Government. To increase revenues from IGPs and promote profitability and productivity, existing operations of these projects shall be improved to reduce production costs and produce greater yield. Projects posting negative Return on Investment shall be discontinued and more viable IGPs pursued. Performance indicators shall be:
- Improved ROIs of the existing IGP activities on crops, animal and fishery based productions;
- Implemented new IGP;
- Increased income from production
Strategic Initiative 9. Provide state-of-the-art and climate smart physical facilities that will make the College in compliance to global standard
Provision of suitable classrooms, laboratory rooms, comfort rooms and offices for faculty and staff as well as sufficient perimeter fence make campus life more convenient. As such, campus atmosphere becomes conducive in undertaking scholarly activities. As the global standards for education continues to soar high and climate changes pose risks to the infrastructures of the Colleges, CNSC shall make sure that its physical facilities projects are well-planned with the integration of global architectural standards as well as climate risk sensitivity. Performance indicators will be:
- Enhanced architectural plans of future physical facilities projects;
- Minimized infrastructure damages from natural disasters like typhoons and flooding;
- Improved level of comfort and convenience among students, faculty and staff in the performance of their daily activities;
- Improved accessibility of different buildings in all campuses especially for persons with disabilities (PWDs)
- Reliable access to the world wide web;
- Installed trunkline telephone system in all campuses;
- Increased number of computers and other equipment provided to offices, and
- Maintained an inventory of office supplies and other materials
- Updated Site Development Plans of campuses;
- New buildings constructed (, laboratory buildings, dormitory for male and female students etc.);
- Renovated/repaired old structures;
- Completed unfinished road network in several campuses;
- Completed construction of perimeter fence in all campuses;
- Perfected land titles of CNSC’s real properties;
- Installed Water Filtration System in some campuses with no potable water
In the coming years, CNSC will further undergo inevitable change. We just need to be reminded of what M. Ghandi has said, and I quote: “You must be the change you want to see in this world.” Indeed, if CNSC has to embrace a greater role as a premier higher education institution; change becomes imperative for each and every one. This reminds us of our individual and collective commitment and willingness to work together to attain our common vision that is “Onward to Excellence CNSC: A Premier Public Higher Education Institution in Bicol Region”.