Polotan-Dela Cruz affirmed

Six months into her first term, Lenore Polotan-Dela Cruz, was finally affirmed the 13th dean of the UP Diliman (UPD) College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) at the opening salvo of the CSWCD college week, the first face-to-face meeting in over two years.

Polotan-Dela Cruz. Photo by Jefferson Villacruz, UPDIO

Carrying the theme Pagtatanghal ng Husay at Pusong CSWCD, the celebrations began with College Secretary Paul Edward N. Muego, DSD recounting the progress the college made even during the pandemic, such as the uninterrupted publication of the Philippine Journal of Social Development and the consistent excellent performance of the college’s graduates in the 2021 and 2022 social worker licensure examinations. 

“Hindi natin itinigil ang ating mga gawain sa kolehiyo. Nagpatuloy tayo sa pagtuturo, sa saliksik, at sa gawaing ekstensyon ng buong sigla at sigasig. Sinikap nating umangkop sa remote learning, ngunit kahit na online, ’di pa rin po nahadlangan ang mga academic achievements, gaya ng pagtatop natin sa social worker board exams,” he said.

After a brief introduction by friend Lot Felizco, a lecturer at the CSWCD, Polotan-Dela Cruz was finally sworn in by UPD Chancellor Fidel R. Nemenzo.

In her message, she acknowledged the hard work and dedication of the CSWCD administration to continue their mandate of public service and academic excellence in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Polotan-Dela Cruz (second from right) is sworn in. Photo by Jefferson Villacruz, UPDIO

“[The year] 2022 was not just a period of transition for me personally but also a period of triumph over great adversity for CSWCD. We relentlessly pursued efforts towards the resumption of F2F (face-to-face) classes and on-campus work arrangements,” she said.

Polotan-Dela Cruz also expressed pride in the fact that in the first semester of AY 2022-2023, the CSWCD was able to offer 46 face-to-face classes in both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“This was made possible by the concerted efforts of the faculty, staff, and unit heads to provide our students with the immeasurable benefits derived from in-person classroom interactions and learning with other people beyond what Zoom meetings and other online platforms can provide,” she said.

Nemenzo then swore in the members of Polotan-Dela Cruz’s college executive board: Muego, Karl Arvin Hapal, chair of the Department of Community Development (DCD); Ana Teresa Prondosa, chair of the Department of Social Work; Sabrina Laya Gacad, chair of the Department of Women and Development Studies; Justin Francis Leon Nicolas, director of the Doctor of Social Development Program; Leah Angeles, head of the Research and Extension for Development Office; Judith Pangilinan, head librarian of the CSWCD college library; Maria Elena Alvarez, administrative officer; Ivy Sacdalan, chair of the CSWCD student council, and Soleil Anniah Santoalla, representative of the CSWCD Research, Extension, and Professional Staff to the CEB.

Nemenzo (left) swears in the CSWCD college executive board. Photo by Jefferson Villacruz, UPDIO

In his message at the oathtaking, Nemenzo spoke about the difficult decisions and choices that deans usually contend with.

“What is important is that she listens to her stakeholders and communicates her decisions well,” he said. 

Nemenzo also reminded those present that a good dean is measured not just by ability but also by empathy.

“Ang pagiging dekano/a ng kolehiyo ay hindi lamang nasusukat sa pagiging matatag at mahusay, kundi sa pagiging mapagkalinga,” he said.

In a related development, the CSWCD College Week that opened on Feb. 20 marked the resumption of on-campus classes and activities of CSWCD, in line with UPD’s back-to-campus plan. 

(From left) Nemenzo and Polotan-Dela Cruz open the college week exhibit. Photo by Jefferson Villacruz, UPDIO

The CSWCD College Week 2023 was jam-packed with exhibits, film showings, a pop-up cafe, a bazaar along the CSWCD walkway, and a two-part lecture series by experts from the DCD on inclusivity for persons with disabilities, community-driven development and poverty reduction, and deconstructing Philippine middle-class development. The week will conclude with a college recognition program Parangal sa Tapat at Wagas na Paglilingkod and a closing ceremony on Feb. 24.—With a report from Lot Felizco