…from education to service
Dubbed as the academic paradise of the South, CMU continues to elevate itself by envisioning to become a leading university in the country and even in the ASEAN.
To measure how far it has achieved and how long it will take to realize its vision, the university submitted itself for AACCUP institutional accreditation this week.
Eleven accreditors from different parts of the country have evaluated nine key areas of the institution and visited different research centers and extension projects. They also conducted several interviews with the alumni, faculty, students, and stakeholders for verification.
Dr. Danilo Hilario, accreditation team leader, said: “Nandito kami upang tingnan namin ang kakayahan nila [CMU]…at sa dako pa doon ay mabigyan sila ng karangalan bilang kauna-unahang pamantasan na mabibigyan ng institutional accreditation.”
“Hangarin namin na makita namin mula sa pakikipag ugnayan namin sa mga estudyante [stakeholders at alumni] kung ano na ang narating ng Central Mindanao University,” he added.
Dr. Maria Luisa R. Soliven, university president, stressed: “I believe that the very reason of our existence as a university is to improve the life, the livelihood of our community. So yan po ang nakatanim sa isip ko as the president of CMU, we are committed to do and to cater to the needs of our municipality.”
Through the years of sustained development efforts, CMU has shaped minds and formed attitudes of students and in turn developed future leaders who serve people and communities.
Dr. Emerlie Okit, an alumna who traveled from Kabacan, North Cotabato to join the stakeholders’ interview, credits the university with her accomplishments: “Because of the discipline, humility, and training I got from CMU, I am very happy to say that I am now serving as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine in the University of Southern Mindanao.”
She said that as dean, she has followed CMU as an example especially in terms of excellence, adding that USM is now a center of excellence in veterinary education. “Perseverance, commitment to excellence, and service is my key,” she added.
Another alumna from CMU’s College of Human Ecology, Hazel Dondonayo, a registered Nutritionist Dietitian, said that her commitment to public service pushed her to work for LGU-Valencia.
Dondonayo expressed her gratitude for the standard of excellence inculcated in her during her years at CMU. She said this made her and the City’s Health Office recipients of various awards such as the Hall of Fame Award in Nutrition and Pabasa sa Nutrition hall of fame, among others.
To improve the Nutrition and Dietetics program, she suggested that nutrition in emergencies be included in the curriculum. “It is one of the programs of the national nutrition council na tinututukan kasi Bukidnon, not only Valencia City, is a flood prone area,” she said.
She also suggested to include the infant and young child feeding program. “Isa ito sa mga programs na nakakatulong in the field of public health nutrition,” she added.
Servant leadership has been the advocacy of CMU in forming the attitudes of its students as the university prepares them for greater opportunities of service.
Primo Calo, a veterinary medicine alumnus from Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, said that the discipline and the attitude he developed inside the institution have pushed him to serve his own municipality.
Currently, he is working with the poor people who belong to the tribal groups in their municipality.
“The terrain is quite difficult, you have to travel for three hours hiking to reach these people. But why should I stay there and work hard with minimal pay?” he shared while teary-eyed. “Because of the character formed inside of me, I stayed whatever maybe the cost.”
“I am proud and happy and determined that whatever may be the cost in giving service to the public, it is always our attitude that matters,” he added.
Another VetMed alumnus, Lordius Caliao from Zamboanga has dreams not only for himself nor for his family, but for his entire region, described himself as humbled but proud. “Right now we are advocating that our region will be declared as hog-cholera free,” Caliao said.
He is now the president of the Philippine Veterinary Association, Northern Mindanao Chapter, which was hailed last year as the best association in the national level.
Serving people and communities
To serve and to pay forward are the lifelong goals of CMU. It can be seen through the different testimonies of peoples and communities.
In the Welcome Dinner sponsored by LGU-Maramag last Wednesday, Mayor Jose Obedencio, Jr said: “CMU does not only produce excellent graduates, it goes beyond the call of an educator, it extends research and extension services to these LGU vital to the development of their municipality.”
Obedencio asserted: “I have personally seen and observed these outstanding outputs, most of the employees of the local government unit are graduates of Central Mindanao University holding top positions in the local government unit.”
Designs, plans, researches, projects, and activities on infrastructure; social services; health and wellness; peace and order; and disaster preparedness are some of the services rendered by the university that influenced their growth and performance as a renowned municipality.
“CMU’s livelihood and skills development program permit these unemployed mothers to engage in business involving handicrafts,” he added.
Obedencio emphasized that with the constant support of CMU to the LGU Maramag, it has received numerous awards such as the local legislative award of the legislative branch headed by the vice mayor Jose Joel Doromal; and the highest award for an LGU, the seal of good local governance by the Department of Interior and Local Governance.
“This seal is given only to the best and only the best LGU in the country based on the parameters that recapitulate each aspect of the local governance,” he stressed.
After hearing that the university is part and parcel of the development of the municipalities, Dr. Hilario said: “Mapalad ang mga taga maramag sa bayan sapagkat nasasainyo ang isa sa pinakamahusay na pamantasan sa Pilipinas.”
Dr. Soliven responded: “Ang importante ay nakatulong kami. Nagpapasalamat kami sa mga narinig naming mga kwento ng mga recipient/beneficiaries sa mga ginagawa namin sa CMU, ganon na pala ka lawak. What is more important is the impact of what we have done to the communities.”
Dr. Soliven further asserted that CMU’s reach goes beyond Valencia and Maramag as she never hindered any faculty or experts who wanted to extend their services and expertise.
She added, “It is our commitment also to give pride to the province of Bukidnon. And I would like to repeat that our very existence as a university is because we want to improve the life of our communities.”