Positioning UP Baguio as a Leader in Indigenous Studies, Sustainability Science and Governance in the Cordillera/Northern Luzon and beyond

Dr. Raymundo D. Rovillos


We must affirm the vision that we stated three years ago and persist in realizing the vision. 

We began with the “first principles,” the mission and role of the modern University.  We regarded UP, being the premier State University, as a major site for the production and advancement of knowledge through research, and the diffusion of such knowledge through teaching and publishing, including the application of such knowledge for the betterment of society through extension.  The 2008 UP Charter emphasizes the idea and ideal of UP as a research university.  In synchrony with this vision for the UP System as a whole, we at UP Baguio intend to make this aspiration to research university status a strategic direction for UPB to take.

We shall continue to nurture the vision of our founding “father,” Dr. Vicente G. Sinco, the past UP president who was instrumental to the establishment of UPB in the early 1960s.  He said that an Arts and Science-based University must aim toward an integrative education that allows its graduates to perform “not just one kind of job, but any kind of job,” as well as to prepare them for graduate education or professional training.  We now hazard to add that we must aspire to produce leaders, empowered by a modern, secular, and liberal education—and equipped with critical minds by it—who are prepared to imagine a more just and humane society, and to participate productively in its transformation.

UP Baguio’s unique contribution to regional and national development is in the integral and complimentary field of liberal education in the arts and sciences.  We hone our students into the rigor and vigor of the traditions of the disciplines in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and mathematics.  At the same time, regardless of disciplinal training, we acknowledge the centrality of the power of the critical and trained mind both as an intellectual and as a social force. Such a power, according to education Philosopher John Henry Newman: “Is the result of a scientific formation of mind; it is an acquired faculty of judgment, of clear-sightedness, of sagacity, of wisdom, of philosophical reach of mind, and of intellectual self-possession and repose, acquired by discipline and habit.” (quoted in Pelikan, 1992). We also agree that “the most valuable of all natural resources, particularly at a time when all natural resources are under threat, is critical intelligence; and the most important of all national products, particularly at a time when all production has become problematic, is trained intelligence.” (Pelikan, 1992). 

Liberal education in the arts and sciences also provides the intellectual and social context for the professional and technical trainings.  Indeed, to a large extent,  “liberal education lays the ground and seals the promise of a better future.”  (Pelikan, 1992). 

The foregoing general philosophy of higher education informs and shapes our vision for UP Baguio.

UP Baguio's strategic vision is to be “a premier arts and sciences constituent unit of UP, making a crucial contribution to Cordillera and National Development anchored on Academic and Operational Excellence” [UP Baguio Strategic Planning Workshop Proceedings, 2012).  This specifically means UP Baguio becoming the lead institution in indigenous/ethnicity studies, sustainable development and governance in the Cordillera/Northern Luzon region and beyond (Philippines and ASEAN).   This will also include the emerging niche in the Computational Sciences.



Our accomplishments over the past three years have proven that  indeed, UP Baguio can scale greater heights!  Through our collaborative efforts and team-work, we have been able to do the following:  1) revitalized the Cordillera Studies Center; 2) established the Knowledge and Training Resource Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction (KTRC); 3) expanded the Cordillera and Northern Luzon Historical Archives; 4) instituted the Graduate Program Office (GPO); 5) reinvigorated the Culture and Arts Program of UP Baguio; 6)  institutionalized a “UP Baguio Green Campus Policy”;  7) forged stronger links with Baguio City and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) through pro-active and effective public service and community extension; 8) improved the welfare (health and wellness) of faculty, REPS, administrative staff and students through various programs and projects;  9) improved Governance- one that is participatory, inclusive, transparent and responsive management even a we persevere to be more efficient and effective.   We must also commend and celebrate the individual achievements of our colleagues (faculty and REPS) who contributed to the increased trajectory of refereed, ISI, SCOPUS-indexed and IPA publications as well as improved teaching performance and effective extension work/public service.



Much remains to be done in order to bring UP Baguio closer to its vision.  These are the following tasks that need to be completed:

1.      Institute innovative academic programs that will reinforce and securely position UP Baguio’s niche/s in Indigenous Studies and Sustainability Science:

a.       complete the institution and start the implementation of the Master of Science in Conservation and Restoration Biology (MS CaRE);

b.      complete the curriculum improvements/innovations in the various academic programs (e.g. MA in Physics and PhD in Mathematics, etc.);

c.       propose a graduate program on Indigenous Studies;

d.      revise current BA/BS programs in view of K-12 and ASEAN integration.

2.      Sustain and enhance the culture of research and innovation towards a research-intensive University by:

a.       maintaining, consolidating and expanding the established research centers and facilities (Cordillera Studies Center, KTRC, Cordillera/Northern Luzon Historical Collection and Archives,  College of Science Laboratories);

b.       increasing/enhancing the incentives for research and publication productivity and for research dissemination through participation in national and international academic conferences.

3.  Regularize and internationalize the official journal of UPB, The Cordillera Review.

4.      Complete the ongoing infrastructure projects, specifically the:

a.       Museo Kordilyera (Cordillera Ethnographic Museum);                      

b.      Agham Laboratories;

c.       CAC Theatre;

d.      HKP Gymnasium;

e.       Renovation of Bulwagang Juan Luna (part of UPB Cultural Hub);

f.        Balay International (International Guest House) and

g.       Green Infrastructure projects in UPB Campus.

5.  Continue to improve the well-being of faculty, REPS, administrative staff and students through policy reforms/enhancements and implementation of people-centered programs and projects  (e.g. day-care center, physical and spiritual fitness programs, health benefits, etc).



As we address the gaps and finish the projects that were initiated during the past three years, we shall also dedicate the next three years towards consolidating the gains and bestowing a legacy for our beloved UP Baguio.  This (legacy) is a UP Baguio community that is excellent in academics, especially in the fields of Indigenous Studies, Sustainability Science (including Computational Sciences) and Governance; socially-engaged through meaningful and effective public service/community extension and empowered to participate substantially in University governance.  Most importantly, we want to see a UP Baguio community that is in an ever-increasing state of well-being and happiness.


We are building such a legacy NOW.