Letran Calamba's Internationalization Program: Intensifying Global Presence through Strategic Partnership with International Organizations and Foreign Higher Education Institutions

Prof. Ruel V. Maningas, Ph. D
Director, International Relations

Background

In the midst of ASEAN integration and globalization, and to operationalize one of the Colegio’s goals to be one of the internationally recognized educational institutions, the International Relations Department (IRD) serves as the lead unit of the institution in forging partnerships with foreign higher education institutions (HEIs), international service providers, international development organizations, international funding institutions, and multi-national companies/corporations – the products/services of which may have direct/indirect relationship/impact with/to education). The areas of linkage/partnership/cooperation cut across all the academic and non-academic departments of the Colegio. .

The main purpose of partnership with foreign institutions is to develop and implement collaborative activities in areas of mutual interest on the basis of equality and reciprocity. These activities cover (but not limited to) the:

exchange of faculty, students, researchers and administrative staff;

  • conduct of seminars/trainings, lectures, symposia, and fora related to the academic and non-academic programs of mutual interest;
  • conduct of collaborative research and community and extension projects;
  • conduct of cultural exchange activities and immersion programs;
  • exchange of academic information and materials;
  • collaborative work with multinational companies/corporations on products/services which lead to innovative/advanced delivery of the Colegio’s academic offerings; and
  • promotion of other international cooperation activities as mutually agreed.

TThe detailed implementation of any specific activity as mentioned above is separately negotiated and agreed upon between the Colegio and its international partners. The implementation of any type of cooperation between Letran Calamba and international partners is subject to full consultation and approval with the proper government agencies and in accordance with the laws and regulations of respective countries.

Academic Cooperation with Korean Universities

Letran Calamba maintains an active partnership with Jeju National University (JNU) In the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed in January 2015, both HEIs are now engaged in collaborative activities in academic areas of mutual interest. Relative to this partnership, there were already 6 batches of students who participated in the 3-month English and Philippine Culture Camp with March to June and September to December schedules for the last two and a half years.

Still, as part of the agreement, JNU has extended its formal invitation for Letran Calamba officials and some faculty members to have a meeting cum study tour in their university on May 30 to June 4, 2016. Participants from Letran Calamba to said meeting cum study tour were Dr. Ruel V. Maningas, then AVP for Academics and Lead Coordinator for international academic cooperation and three faculty members, Mr. Ramon Bernardo from the School of Business, Management, and Accountancy (SBMA), Ms. Carmel Hemedez from the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM), and Ms. Gima Batingal, from the School of Computer Studies and Technology (SCST). The meeting, held on the first official day of the study tour (June 1), provided an opportunity for in-depth discussion on the results and perspectives of future cooperation between JNU and Letran Calamba. The academic curricula of both HEIs pertaining to Hospitality Management, Business Administration, Information Technology and Computer Science programs were likewise discussed. Visit to the university’s facility (library, museum, laboratories, etc) also happened on the same day.

Letran Calamba has also forged formal agreements on academic cooperation with two more Korean Universities – the Cheju Halla University on January 27, 2016, and Cheju Tourism College (now Cheju Tourism University or CTU) on June 2, 2016 with signing ceremonies held at Letran Calamba and CTU campus, respectively. These two universities were also visited on June 2, 2016 by Dr. Maningas and the three faculty members as mentioned.

Linkages with Thailand Universities

The School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) spearheaded the Colegio’s linkage with two Thailand Universities, the Nakhon Pathom Rajabhat National University, and Kanchanaburi Rajabhat University.

Dr. Ma. Rhodora G. Odejar, VP for Academics, and Dean Alex Cecilio of STHM visited Nakhon Pathom Rajabhat National University in April 2015. They also represented the Colegio in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) held on April 16, 2015. As an expression of gratitude, the Colegio hosted some faculty members and students of the University 1-week Study Tour and immersion. The students also participated and competed during the Laguna Hospitality Exposition (LHEX) on February 5, 2016. In May 2016, Dean Cecilio returned to the University, together with some STHM faculty members for a study tour cum immersion. The visit to another HEI, the Kanchanaburi Rajahbat University also formed part of their itinerary.

Officials of Kanchanaburi Rajabhat University (KRU) headed by its President, Dr. Narongdech Rattananonsathien, paid an official visit to Letran Calamba on September 1, 2016. A MOU-signing ceremony was also held on the same day with Rev. Fr. Honorato C. Castigador, O.P. as principal signatory, and Dr. Ma. Rhodora G. Odejar and Dean Alex Cecilio as witnesses. Asst. Prof. Sureewan Jangjit (Assistant to the President) and Asst. Prof. Teerapun Chokudomchai (Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences), stood as witnesses on behalf of the University.

Partnership with Thai Nguyen University

By virtue of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed on August 19, 2016, Letran Calamba has formalized its partnership with Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry (TUAF), Vietnam. Linkage with said university was facilitated by a Filipino consultant in TUAF, Dr. Olivia Magpily. The intent of the partnership is to help strengthen the relationship between the two HEIs and focus on the mutual interests in various programs concerning education, training, and other additional fields as may be mutually decided in the future.

As a kick-off activity, and upon the invitation of the TUAF Rector, Letran Calamba officials namely Dr. Ma. Rhodora G. Odejar, VP for Academics, Dr. Doris F. Bayugo, Dean of School of Education, Arts, and Sciences (SEAS), and Nursing Dean Dinah DG. Araneta visited the TUAF campus on September 14-17, 2016 and met with the University officials. Dr. Odejar reported that TUAF is a 40 hectare campus with 90,000 students. The university is multi-cultural in their faculty and administrative force and maintains its high level of education with outstanding research undertakings.

The SEAS serves as the first academic department of the Colegio that implements the agreement. As stipulated in a separate implementation contract, two Bachelor of Secondary Education and one Bachelor of Elementary Education graduating students were sent to TUAF for a five-month cultural exposure and practice teaching. The three students left Letran for Vietnam during the third week of October, 2016. Ms. Evelyn O. Cerilla, BEEd Program Chair, accompanied the students during their first week of stay in the University..

Linkage with HungKuang University, Taiwan, R.O.C.

On May 2, 2017, Letran Calamba signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Academic Cooperation with Hungkuang University (HKU), Taiwan, R.O.C. As an initial gesture of support to the partnership, the HKU extended an invite for Letran Calamba students to participate in the 2-week International Summer Program on Taiwan Language and Culture to be held on August 9-22, 2017. Two students from the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM), and 1 from the School of Nursing will join the said program.

Letran Calamba commits to United Nations (UN)-Global Compact Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)

Letran Calamba also sustains its membership with a global organization, a United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). The PRME “is a United Nations Global Compact-sponsored initiative with the mission to inspire and champion responsible management education, research and thought leadership globally. Higher education institutions become signatory to the Six Principles of PRME, which are inspired by internationally accepted values and provide an engagement structure for academic institutions to advance social responsibility through the incorporation of universal values into curricula and research. PRME seeks to establish a process of continuous improvement among institutions of management education in order to develop a new generation of business leaders capable of managing the complex challenges faced by business and society in the 21st century. There are over 650 leading academic institutions from over 85 countries across the world, and includes more than a third of the Financial Times' top 100 business schools. (Source: www.unprme.org)

Since becoming a signatory HEI in January 2019, Letran Calamba has actively promoted said UN initiative in the community and continues to actively participate in related global and regional conferences. In June 2015, Dr. Ruel V. Maningas, represented Letran Calamba to the 5th PRME Global Forum held in New York City. In the closing ceremonies of the forum, Dr. Maningas was given the opportunity to speak on behalf of the new signatory-HEIs about the insights, benefits, and prospects of joining PRME.

In 2016, Letran Calamba has participated in two regional conferences, the 6th PRME Asia Forum held in Goa India on November 26-28, 2015 where the Letran paper entitled “Nurturing and Shaping Professionals Towards Social Orientation and Care of Creations” was presented by its principal author, Dr. Ruel V. Maningas, and the 7th PRME Asia Forum held on July 6-7, 2016 at Hyatt Regency, Hong Kong. Dr. Maningas is also an active member of the PRME ASEAN chapter steering committee.

Partnership with International Service Providers

In February 2016, Letran Calamba started to formally engage with a professional service provider, the East-West Educational Specialists (EWES) to bring Bloomberg for Education to its stakeholders in Laguna and nearby provinces. East-West is a leading and pioneer institution engaged in the business of providing fully-loaded outcomes/competency-based seminar, training and certification programs in preparation for the ASEAN and global integration. Bloomberg, on the other hand, is the world's most trusted source for real-time and historical financial data, news, research, and analytics. The partnership makes possible the offering at Letran Calamba of the Bloomberg certification programs in business, finance, accountancy, economics, and management for faculty, employees, students, graduates, and professionals.

Letran Calamba is also a partner of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI) London for related trainings and certification programs. As an initial activity, the CISI Trainors’ Training was held at Letran Calamba on June 9, 2016 with Ms. Shamaila Sha, CISI Teaching and Learning Specialist from London, and Mr. Anton D. Mauricio, CISI Country President. The training participants were administrators and business and finance faculty members from different schools in Region IV-A. Just recently, Letran Calamba has passed the requirement to be an accredited CISI testing center in the Philippines for certification program in financial services, securities and investment management.

According to Mr. Dennis Franco Layug, President and CEO of EWES, Bloomberg/East West Educational Specialists and Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment programs have been in the educational industry for a reason - they help advance the profession. Training/Certification programs help universities and students evaluate staff and faculty members, analyze job performance, evaluate teaching skills and methodologies, market services, and motivate teachers and staff to enhance their skills and knowledge. Training/certification programs give recognition of competencies, show commitment to the profession, and help with teaching advancement.

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Partnerships in the Pipeline

Two more academic cooperations with foreign HEIs are in the offing. The MOU with Putra Business School is set to be formalized before the end of the year. Dr. Maningas has also visited Nanjing University in China last September 22, 2016 and had initially negotiated the possibility of implementing joint projects on faculty and student academic and cultural exchange, once the agreement is formalized.