15 September 2020
Dear Members of the UP Diliman Community,
We start the new semester with our collective experience of persevering through the pandemic. In March we suspended classes and ended the semester by embracing both academic excellence and compassion for our students and faculty. UP Diliman’s virtual commencement ceremony last July was a historic first. Despite the seemingly insurmountable constraints, our university has adapted and moved forward.
This semester we face the same challenges, but with one big difference. We are not simply responding to the disruption to university life; rather, we are building the infrastructure for more agile approaches to education. The shift to remote teaching and learning requires us to transform mindsets and practices. This shift is not expected to be smooth. To meet this challenge, the university has to cope with the health situation and sustain the continuity of education by providing support for remote learning preparations and ensuring the health and safety of the workplace.
I want to emphasize that this semester is about testing our capacity to adapt to the limitations of our situation and implement changes in the way we teach and connect with each other. This requires that we forge ahead, realistic about our constraints and the need to do balancing acts. It is not about getting everything right; it is about finding out what we are capable of right now while allowing for flexibility as we adapt to remote modes of learning.
Flexibility is the principle that should guide this semester. And therefore, exploration of our capacities, more than evaluation of our performance, should guide the approach to academic work, of both students and faculty. This gives us an opportunity for deep learning, to reflect more on our work as students, faculty, or academic administrators, and not rush through the semester simply chasing after performance indicators. We have the freedom to define what is meaningful academic work given our new context. I encourage everyone to explore and share with us their concerns so we could make the necessary adjustments, if possible, in policies and other matters.
Lastly, for everything that UP Diliman has been able to accomplish during this global upheaval, I thank our faculty, staff and students.I wish everyone a good semester!
Fidel R. Nemenzo