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Dr. Francis Evangelista receives fellowship grant from the United Board

Dr. Francis Julius N. Evangelista, OIC dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was selected to participate in the 2017-2018 Fellows Program of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia. With the objective of building a strong higher education leadership in Asia, the Fellows Program prepares mid-career faculty and administrators for leadership positions in their home institutions through exposure to various leadership ideas and practices in diverse university settings around the world.

The program begins with the fellows attending a summer institute at Harvard University followed by their placement at an Asian higher education institution, and will conclude with a leadership seminar in Asia. Fellows will also receive online mentoring on university leadership and higher education management, through the development of a case study under the guidance of an experienced international higher education mentor.

The program will run from July 2017 to June 2018.

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Social Work chair inducted as PASWI board secretary

Department of Social Work chairperson Pacita Dechavez Fortin, RSW was inducted as Secretary of the National Board of the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc. (PASWI) last January 27, 2017 at the PSSC, Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue Diliman, Quezon City. 
Lorna Gabad, the chair of the Board of Social Workers under the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) served as the inducting officer. Her four-year term ends in 2020.
As member of the National Board, Fortin chairs the Research and Publication Committee and co-chairs the Standards and Continuing Education Committee. Fortin was elected during the PASWI Biennial Convention held on October 19-21, 2016 at the Royce Hotel, Angeles City, Pampanga. 
PASWI, founded in 1947, is the accredited professional organization of about 15,000 registered Filipino social workers. 
Photos shows, from left: Gabad; Eva Ponce-De Leon, president; Rosauro Luntaya, vice president; Fortin; Evangeline Guinto, treasurer; Silver Joy Tejano, auditor; Wilma Coquia, public relations officer; and Dr. Bagan Aleyssa Abdul Karim, Atty. Dolores Nalumen, and Anita Leyson, board members.

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Psych faculty gives talk on sexuality, social media at Kerygma Conference

Michele Alignay MA, RP, RGC, faculty of the Department of Psychology, was part of what was called the biggest inspirational Catholic learning event in the country – the Kerygma Conference 2016 (KCon 2016)—held on November 17 to 20, 2016.  The event was spearheaded by Catholic lay preacher Bro. Bo Sanchez and his media arm, Shepherds’ Voice Radio and TV Inc.  
KCon 2016 was held at the SMX Convention Center and MOA Arena, Pasay City.  Michele Alignay joined a roster of world-class speakers on Day 1 such as Bo Sanchez, Arun Gogna, Alvin Barcelona Anthony Pangilinan, Dean Pax Lapid, Chinkee Tan, Ardy and Miriam Quiambao-Roberto, RJ Ledesma, Arun Gogna, Jonathan Yabut, Fr. Joel Jason, including international speaker Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers.
Alignay gave a talk in the Family and Relationship Stream titled, “Decoding Sexuality and Family Matters in the Social Media Age.” The topic targeted parents and individual dealing with kids and teens to understand sexuality concepts and establish better family connections as the route to raising chaste children in the age of social and digital media.  Almost a thousand participants attended the class. 
At the same event, Michele launched her family centered book, “Family Goals: Embracing the Imperfections of Family Life”. It aims to help readers make family relationships run smoother and better.  In the book, Alignay, who is a wife and mom of two, gives practical and wise lessons as well as made her expertise on Family Psychology understandable and applicable in the daily life of the readers.  It hopes to assist family members alike in in confronting sticky issues and conflicts, increasing intimacy with a partner, and coping with everyday stress. She also touched on crucial parenting issues, from sexuality to technology.

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Dr. Acosta attends Asian University Leaders Program

Department of Communication chairperson, Ma. Margarita Alvina-Acosta, PhD, attended the Asian University Leaders Program (AULP) in Hong Kong last October 27-29, 2016.  It was organized by the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia together with hosts Education University of Hong Kong and Lingnan University. It carried the theme “Gender and the Changing Face of Higher Education in Asia Pacific”.  The three-day program gathered representatives of Asian colleges and universities to explore the different gender analyses in higher education.  Best practices on gendering institutional management and program in higher learning were shared. 

An added feature in this year’s conference is the collaboration of the United Board with the Asian Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership (APHERP), a program of the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii, which presented an additional Senior Seminar on the same theme.
The AULP is a response to what the Asian Development Bank and UNESCO recognized as “gender inequity and asymmetrical gendering of experiences and outcomes of students and faculty in higher education.” Photo from the AIJC

Technology saves the day by Alex Y. Vergara | Manila Bulletin

A growing number of Filipino families are relying on social media and other forms of instant communication to bridge distances.

There have been many studies done on the social cost of overseas Filipino workers’ (OFW) migration and single-parent families. Problems—from infidelity on the part of one or both spouses, to teen pregnancy and drug addiction among children of OFWs—have taken root since the Philippine government began institutionalizing the export of surplus labor to the rest of the world more than 40 years ago. But thanks to advances in technology, a more recent set of studies reveals that more Filipino families are now able to cope with the loneliness and even thrive despite the distances that separate them.

“Ideally, we should all be together. But as long as our country can’t provide enough jobs for its citizens, relying on technology to bridge separated families is the next best thing. Nothing, not even the most lavish gifts, can fill the loneliness a child feels for a missing parent. Constant and most of the time instant communication between parents and children through text messaging, social media, and Skype lessen the loneliness,” said Dr. Victoria Apuan, seasoned educator and chair of Miriam College’s Family Studies Program.

Kids of OFWs growing up in the early 1970s like this writer should know. It usually took at least two weeks for snail mail to arrive. Not too many families had telephones back then. Long distance calls, apart from being expensive, weren’t always reliable. Family members were limited to receiving or sending each other voice tapes via the OFW’s colleagues who were either arriving or leaving the country.

These days, absentee parents can keep abreast of their children’s activities almost in real time, said Apuan, whose field of expertise includes Psychology, Philippine Studies, and Gender and Development. Some even conduct tutorials over Skype or FaceTime, while others gain a clearer idea of who their children’s friends are through Facebook.

Thanks to Skype or FaceTime, it’s not uncommon, for instance, for a parent who is thousands of miles away to virtually participate in his or her child’s birthday via a wired computer or tablet in the living room or dining area. The virtual party enables both parent and child to retain some form of bond.

“The child knows that he or she has a lifeline, and that’s important,” said Apuan. “Through these modern-day gadgets and systems, he or she would get an answer.”

She also believes in and advocates the importance of support groups both for the spouse abroad and the one left behind to take care of the kids. Apart from joining, say, a religious or civic support group, which frowns on extra-marital affairs, there are certain companies in the Middle East, for instance, that won’t tolerate their employees’ infidelity.

The situation is equally difficult for the one left behind. Apart from being a single parent to his or her children, he or she is expected to solve various problems that are sometimes too small to bring to the attention of the spouse abroad. These concerns may seem inconsequential, but they do add up and can fester and turn into bigger problems if not addressed immediately. That’s why they also need people to provide them with moral support or even a shoulder to cry on.

Based on another study Apuan shared with Panorama, an intergenerational family of OFWs is being held up as a model on how it should be done. The family started fielding out OFWs from among its members in the 1970s. The tradition, for lack of a better description, continued with a second batch of OFWs in the 1990s, and a third one in the 2010s.

Family members from each generation have one thing in common that allowed them to remain intact and insulated from common problems usually encountered by many fellow OFW families. According to the researcher, this commonality is a testament to the strength and fortitude of the spouses left behind in the Philippines.

“There are two types of coping—emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping,” said Apuan. “The researcher found out that families in the study, especially the spouses left behind, have a clear objective from the start. They were aware and willing to sacrifice initially in order to experience a better life for themselves and their families in the future.”

Apart from delaying gratification, the wives, for instance, try to make ends meet. They also make their OFW husbands’ salaries earn by engaging in various small businesses and money-making ventures. Children don’t automatically receive an increase in their allowance just because their father or mother is now an OFW. And if these families have saved enough, the money usually goes to buying more farmlands if the family is into farming, or expanding the store if it’s into trading.

“Some people are unaware or unmindful of the possibilities,” said Apuan. “But such foresight and entrepreneurial bent can be learned. That’s why the POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Agency) should give more entrepreneurship training to those left behind. They have to manage the money earned by their spouses abroad properly.”

Family values can be strengthened by a supportive community, even a supportive school, she added. There’s always some form of dislocation whenever one or both parents leave for abroad to work, but this can be minimized.

At the same time, Apuan also mentioned the need to recognize families that are in different social arrangements. The old nuclear family consisting of father, mother, and children is no longer the norm. This development, although no longer new, was first articulated in a global conference in the early 1990s in Malta. Even then, less conventional forms of family had begun to lose the stigma once attached to them.

Apart from solo parenting, separation, or divorce, a growing number of children these days are being raised by extended members of the family such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings. Many children even include their nannies when their teachers ask them, for instance, to name the members of their family. It seems unthinkable to them not to include the yaya as part of their support group.

Then there’s also the growing rise of lesbian and gay couples raising either their biological or adopted children. There are likewise people who remarry after their first marriages have been annulled. The children they bring into the new arrangement become part of what is now called blended families.

“Street children also have a sense of family,” said Apuan. “Those in very difficult circumstances look for a support person whether or not related by blood. This person or group of persons become their kuya or ate. Loosely, the family is now defined as a group of people with whom you can find support and love. It’s always important for the child while growing up to have some reliable, consistent support person."

SOURCE: Manila Bulletin >

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University of California researcher gives talk to BEU Humanities faculty

Postdoctoral Researcher Neal Matherne gave a brief talk on the Philippine Collection at the Marshall Field Museum of Chicago to selected arts, music, and social studies faculty at the Basic Education Unit last September 14, 2016. His discourse focused on the revolutionary development in the inclusion of local cultural stakeholders in the practice of curation, expanding access for both amateur and professional experts. Philippine Co-curation is a program unit within the Field Museum with original programming and accessible heritage resources.

Dr. Matherne is a recent graduate in Ethnomusicology and Southeast Asian Studies from the University of California, Riverside. His 2014 dissertation, "Naming the Artist, Composing the Philippines: Listening for the Nation in National Artist Award," focuses on how both material rewards and performative declarations by the Philippine government reveal the complicated—and at times troubled—interplay between nation, state, and artist, exemplified by the Order of National Artists, the highest form of state recognition with Marcos-era roots.

Continuing this work on memory and history in the Philippine Context, he is both participant and observer at the Philippine Co-curation Initiative at the Field Museum. 

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Philippines Communication Society Review 2015 launched

PCS Review 2015, a journal by the Philippines Communication Society (PCS) was launched last August 15, 2016 at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) with Deputy Director General Angelo Villar delivering the opening remarks.

A yearly-refereed official publication of the Philippines Communication Society, the PCS Review is geared towards progressing and expanding the communication discipline mainly in the Philippines via research studies and acknowledging the works of A-1 communication intellectuals, coaches, and practitioners.

Headed by Lourdes M. Portus, PhD, editor-in-chief of PCS Review, the theme for the 2015 issue revolves around media, politics, and governance. Dr. Maria Margarita Alvina-Acosta, PCS Secretary and Miriam College’s Department of Communication chairperson is this year’s editor.

The Philippines Communication Society is an affiliate of the Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC) that embodies the communication discipline therein.

In her remarks, Dr. Acosta said the PCS Review 2015 is privileged to obtain the foreword from Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales of the Office of Ombudsman where the latter prompted everyone that the discipline for research should not deteriorate in the midst of technological advancements and easier access to information.

Dr. Acosta reiterated that the contents of the journal support this reminder. By Reinna Abad, BA Comm

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Teaching Filipino to Filipinos in the 21st century by Angelica Flores Morales, M. Ed. | Manila Bulletin

I still get surprised looks from people whenever they learn that I’m a Filipino teacher. Some are amazed that I teach a subject that deals with a language, which not a few of them find so difficult to use or learn. Some simply pause and exclaim “wow!” which I hope is said in sincere admiration.

GOING NATIVE Angelica Flores Morales (in yellow top) and her students in a Filipino Creative Writing class

In the age of globalization, with English being perceived by many as a language of empowerment and barometer for success and intelligence, alongside government’s initial decision of excluding Filipino subjects in the general education curriculum of the K-12-based higher education courses and programs, I’ve also begun to ask myself what’s in store for me.  I also can’t help but sometimes question myself regarding my decision to stick to teaching Filipino. Is teaching Filipino to this generation still an important part of their learning? Do they still need to develop this skill for them to become competent individuals and well-rounded professionals?

I’ve been teaching the subject for more than 12 years now. I started teaching Grade 7 girls and later college students under the outgoing general education curriculum. I’ve met various types of students inside the classroom: those who are either unmotivated or don’t put much effort in studying Filipino (or any other subject, for that matter); those who find it hard to learn and use the language because they’ve grown up using English and other languages at home and with their friends; finally, those who are truly into learning the subject based on how they’ve grown in using Filipino either orally or in written form. These kids, I noticed, are also willing to immerse themselves in the subject matter even without much motivation. While the third type brings me joy and a sense of purpose, the first two keep me up on my toes thinking of ways to make the subject more interesting for them.

Rewards of teaching Filipino

Teaching Filipino hasn’t been all that bad, even though it may seem harder to do in an environment where students come from more affluent and supposedly English-speaking families. During my first years of teaching, one of my main challenges, apart from connecting with my students, was how to motivate and make them see why learning and using Filipino in communications and research would serve them and the Filipino people well. I still do reiterate these things to my students, but through the years, I’ve also taken a stand that I should go beyond that challenge and start my Filipino classes with the goal of enhancing and leveling up my students’ skills. That means also going beyond the goal of simply letting them appreciate the Filipino subject.

One issue I want to focus on is related to the digital age, specifically to the new generation of writers and readers. I encounter this most especially in my creative writing classes where I’m faced with what I call the “Wattpad phenomenon.” For those of you who don’t know what Wattpad is, it’s an application or website where any member who registers have a chance to read another person’s written work, write his/her own creative piece, and publish it through the app to reach a wider audience. Although not all my students are Wattpad readers, many admit that they read stories and novels from Wattpad. Many, based on their submitted works, have also been influenced by what they’ve read in Wattpad.

I know most established writers have qualms about this phenomenon, but I choose to stand in between: in the reading/writing context where my students are exposed to (and have found pleasure in reading and probably writing) and also within the writing standards set by the traditional creative writing processes I’ve been trained and accustomed to.

In terms of planning my classes and the curriculum I follow during a semester, I always bear in mind that my main goal in teaching Creative Writing in Filipino is for my students to be able to read and appreciate written works in Filipino and hopefully become writers themselves.  I’ve learned to adjust to my students’ interests yet I make it a point to inject tried-and-tested techniques in my teaching so that they still get acquainted with structure and writing traditions. I’m not a Wattpad reader and writer so I’m in no position to judge people who appreciate and write in it. My job as a teacher is to teach and set standards. At the same time, I have to be open as well to new trends.

Common challenges of students taking up Filipino

Other common concerns, questions and challenges of students taking Filipino subjects vary: the challenge in translating English sources to Filipino (which is a required skill, especially for research classes since a researcher-writer also needs to present the review of related literature in Filipino); the “pressure” to sound malalim or deep, which is also a common stereotype, when using the language; and their notion about the relevance of taking up the subject in this day and age where almost everyone aims to achieve mastery of English.

My major task then throughout the entire semester or school year is: to remind, convince, and reinstate to my students that the value of learning to use Filipino as they speak, listen, read, write, research, watch, perform, and express themselves in various forms is for their own country, so that they get to communicate their ideas, breakthroughs, and discoveries to our own Filipino-speaking and -thinking citizens. I always reiterate to them that with the onset of more and more creative works like films, shows, and books being translated to Filipino, the language as a medium is still alive and evolving up to now, and that if they want more Filipinos to learn and benefit from whatever work or career path they would delve in, they ought to practice and learn to take reading and writing in Filipino a very important skill to develop and enhance.

I also continue to uphold my view about using Filipino in interdisciplinary studies—meaning, seeing Filipino as a tool to communicate ideas and concepts that are usually written and available only for the English-speaking and -reading market to Filipinos who are still comfortable in reading, speaking and “thinking” in Filipino. As an educator, I don’t force my students to write, research, or work on anything in my class within a certain set of topics under the “Filipino subject or discipline” only. I make it a point that my students get to write about their own interests and work on researches within their chosen areas of discipline. In this way, taking up Filipino classes would be more meaningful and “professional” since students get to link their experience to a more academic one, which is, of course, aligned to their own areas of interests and discipline.

Through the years, my conviction in what I do has become stronger, which has served me and my students well. When students see this in their teacher, they would feel that the work they do in class is something of value and definitely non-negotiable. Of course, there would still be times when I feel that certain students tend to make me feel that what I’m teaching isn’t important. Instead of being emotional about it, I just continue with my work. I continue to channel my emotions and passion to the goal of producing more graduates who adhere to the value and principle that Filipino is a significant language and discipline, and partner in achieving our collective goal of nation-building and learning.

Giving credit where credit is due

I always try my best to commend my students whenever there’s an opportunity, say, by praising a group presentation they did well or giving written affirmation on a well-written term paper. Apart from boosting their confidence, these measures give them an idea on how far they can go in using Filipino as a means of expression. I always make it a point to also balance these with criticisms so that my students still get to meet the standards I expect of them.

If I may recommend some things to the Commission on Higher Education, I would like to suggest that colleges and universities have higher Filipino research and writing classes that can also lead students in using the language to write their research work or theses. Giving Filipino the same priority as English could motivate more Filipino students to finish their studies because they have this option to write in their first language.

I continue to believe and maintain my position that Filipino is not a dying language. I encourage fellow Filipino teachers to continue to have an open mind while remaining passionate and attuned with current context and needs of the Filipino society. May more leaders and future generation of Filipinos see the need for us to elevate the Filipino language as part of the academic and professional scenes, and not just view it as the language of the masa. Filipino has evolved so much through the years that there’s no other way for it to go but up.

Angelica Flores-Morales or Gel, as friends and colleagues call her, has taught Filipino classes in Miriam College since 2004. She has taught Grade 6 and 7 Filipino classes, Komunikasyon sa Filipino (Communications in Filipino), Pagbasa at Pagsulat tungo sa Pananaliksik (Reading and Writing for Research in Filipino) and Masining na Pagpapahayag (Creative Writing in Filipino) in the college. She’s a graduate of B.A. Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Filipino from UP Diliman and Masters in Education major in Special Education from Miriam College. She’s currently working on her PhD in Family Studies, also in Miriam College.

SOURCE: Manila Bulletin >

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MCLS holds ‘The Voice: Teacher Edition’

The Music and P.E. areas of Miriam College Lower School organized a talk on taking care of one’s vocal chords with vocal expert Lionel Nestor M. Guico at the LMC Viewing Rooms 4 and 5 last July 22, 2016. 

The talk, aptly dubbed “The Voice: Teacher Edition” is part of the unit’s Faculty Development Session aimed at equipping its faculty with tips on how to take care of one of the most essential teaching tool, their voice. It also hopes to address common conditions such as voice strain, raspy voice, and inflamed throat, among others. 

As a baritone and actor, Mr. Guico possesses one of the finest voices in Philippine theater and the classical performing arts. He was a five-time nominee in the Aliw Awards for Best Male Classical Singer. His theater credits range from opera and zarzuelas to musicals. At present, Mr. Guico shares his talent by teaching mostly theater actors at The Guico Music Studio.

The MCLS teachers were able to hear and witness Guico’s vocal prowess as he demonstrated and explained how to properly modulate and boost one’s voice without straining the vocal chords. Participants tried and tested his tips through singing and speaking exercises.

It was truly an engaging afternoon for the participants as they gained new insights on how to properly use their vocal instrument.

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Dr. Evangelista receives US scholarship for Focusing Oriented Art Therapy

Dr. Grace Brillantes-Evangelista was granted full scholarship by the Focusing and Expressive Arts Institute for the levels 3 and 4 certificate course on “Focusing Oriented Art Therapy (FOAT)”.  The training was given in Santa Rosa, California, USA last June 24-28, 2016.

Participants were art therapists, family therapists, and practitioners in the field of mental health and well-being from across the globe.  Dr. Evangelista is the first Filipino to receive this training.

Developed by Dr. Laury  Rappaport, Focusing Oriented Art therapy is an approach that marries focusing oriented psychotherapy, intermodal arts psychotherapy, and mindfulness. 

Dr. Rappaport, one of the pioneers in art therapy in the US with over 35 years of experience, personally facilitated the training. 

She also helped developed the graduate programs in Art Therapy in several universities, including Lesley University. She founded the Focusing and Expressive arts Institute and was also trained by Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Vietnamese Buddhist.

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