The Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) was once again granted autonomous status by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), from June 1, 2019, up to May 31, 2021. The university enjoyed the said status since 2003.
The autonomous status is given to Higher Education Institutions which embodies a “long tradition of integrity and untarnished reputation”, “commitment to excellence”, and “sustainability and viability of operations”. The status is considered as one of the highest recognitions a college or university can receive from CHED. AUP is one among the 68 Private institutions out of 1,700+ Private Higher Education Institution (PHEIs) granted of such status. The prestigious status is given to PHEIs that have shown consistent exemplary performance in the field of education, research and extension services.
Some of the benefits of an Autonomous Status are that it allows Higher Education Institutions to open new programs in the undergraduate and/or graduate levels including doctoral programs in areas of expertise without securing a permit or recognition from CHED (except disciplines under moratorium), privilege to determine and prescribe innovative curricular programs to achieve global competence. This also gives the institutions to establish branches or satellite campuses, as well as offer extension classes and distance education courses and establish affiliations with a recognized foreign higher education institution. Educational institutions given such status have the freedom from regular monitoring and evaluation by CHED given that the school complies with the rules and regulations set. PHEIs with autonomous status also is a priority for grants, subsidies, scholarships and other financial assistance from CHED, as well as the capability to determine and prescribe curricular programs that would help students achieve global competence, wherein one of its advantages is the ability to revise and upgrade curricular offerings regularly.
The Milestones and Jump boards
A contributing factor to the granted status for the university is its accredited programs. 33 out of 35 of its programs offered are accredited by several accrediting agencies, such as: Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities-Accrediting Council, Inc. (ACSCU-ACI), The Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA), Association for Theological Education in South East Asia (ATESEA), and Adventist Accrediting Association (AAA).
Nine of its programs are accredited Level 4, the highest level, namely Bachelor of Arts1 (English, History, Psychology), 2BS Accountancy, 3BS Business Administration, 4Bachelor of Elementary Education, 5Bachelor of Secondary Education, 6BS Nursing, 7Bachelor of Science (Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics), 8Master in Business Administration, and 9Master of Arts in Education. Eleven programs are on Level 3 namely: 1BS Nutrition and Dietetics, 2MA in Psychology, 3MS Nursing and Master in Nursing, 4PhD. in Business Administration, 5Ph.D. in Educational Administration, 6Elementary Program, 7Junior High School Program, 8BS Development Communication, 9BS Psychology, 10BS Accounting Information System, and 11PhD. in Psychology. Five programs are on Level 2: 1Doctor of Dental Medicine, 2Master in Public Health, 3Dr. Public Health major in Preventive Health Care, 4Preschool Program, and 5Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science. Eight are on Level 1: 1BS Office Administration, 2Bachelor of Library and Information Science, 3AB Theology, 4Bachelor of Tradigital Fine Arts major in Visual Communication and Design, 5Bachelor of Music in Music Education, 6BS Information Technology, 7BS Electronics Engineering/BS Electronics Technology, 8BS Information Technology.
The result of these accreditation exercises is the granting of INSTITUTIONAL ACCREDITATION by the Federation of Accrediting Agencies in the Philippines (FAAP).
AUP is an active partner of the local government sectors in embracing sustainable development through its services ministered to its adopted communities located in Silang, Cavite namely Brgy. Hoyo, Brgy. Tartaria, and Brgy. Bukal. Part of the services the university shares is through the Community Extension Services that cater to the need for livelihood, youth development, health, educational advancement, and social enrichment. The university is also home and initiator of the S.A.D. Free Movement which advocates for a Smoking, Alcohol, and Drug-free life for the youth. The program is supported by the Municipality of Silang, Cavite, and is celebrated annually.
Students of Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) once again emerged on top in the field of Academics, with Ms. Grace Eunice C. Salvacion, RND; top 1 for the Nutrition and Dietetics board examination 2019, and Dr. Jon Sergei J. Aclan as Top 1 in the Regional 10 Outstanding Students of the Philippines Calabarzon.
The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) announced that 968 out of 1,517 passed the Nutritionist-Dietitian Licensure Examination given by the Board of Nutrition and Dietetics in Manila, Baguio, Cebu, Davao, and Zamboanga this August 2019. Meanwhile Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines is an awards program that recognizes the country’s notable students who do not only excel in academics but also dedicate themselves as exceptional individuals who make and contribute positive change in the community. Entries were categorized into five teams with specializations in Medicine and Health-Related Professions; Agriculture, Science, and Math; Engineering, Architecture, and Information Technology; Humanities, Psychology, Communication, and Social Sciences; and Teacher Education. Nominees are graded according to their academic performance at 40 percent, leadership with 30 percent and social responsibility for 30 percent. It envisions youth participation in nation-building by establishing role models who will galvanize young people into action and help bring about total human and economic development.
Ms. Salvacion and Dr. Aclan have tasted the kind of education the world can offer. Grace went to a public school that has endowed her academically while Sergei has attended a prestigious State University, yet both seized the opportunity when given the chance to study in AUP. Ms. Salvation started her education in AUP in 2015, taking up BS Nutrition and Dietetics, under the College of Health. Dr. Aclan started in 2015 as one of the pioneering batch of the College of Medicine.
AUP: The Rose Among the Thorns
When asked why Ms. Salvacion chose to pursue an education in AUP, she confined that… “Though AUP was definitely not my first choice of university, I can honestly say that I decided to pursue and finish my education in AUP because I believed that it was truly God’s plan for me.”, Dr. Aclan on the other side said that his inspiration for pursuing Medical School in AUP was his late grandfather; Dr. Benjamin Jimenez…“Inspired by my grandfather, Dr. Benjamin Jimenez, a physician missionary, I saw that AUP College of Medicine is the school for me. AUP aims to produce Five Star Plus Physicians and that is exacty what I want to become.”
Both have gone through tedious works in achieving the goals set before them, “The challenges I faced while preparing for the boards included the limited amount of time we had for review, dealing with the pressure and expectations that comes with graduating as a summa cum laude, and taking care of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.”, said Ms. Salvacion. She further added that “The most challenging part of preparing for the boards and the boards itself is preventing myself from being overcome by my anxieties and fears.., It took a lot of prayers to get through my anxieties and a lot of redirecting the pressure that I was feeling…”. Dr. Aclan shared he finds it most challenging in staying true to his bigger mission “The biggest challenge that I have to face is my continued mission to tell people about Jesus and how important it is to put your whole trust in Him as your Master Physician.” He added that “The most challenging part in my journey towards becoming a Physician Missionary is actually convincing other people to study in AUP…, but God has been faithful and we have been blessed greatly. All because we put out trust in Him.”
But despite the hurdles along the way, both of them stayed focused on what they been working on “My motivations to push through included my future plans and dreams…, Most importantly, I was also motivated by my desire to glorify God’s name because I am grateful for the numerous blessings He has given me.” said Ms. Salvacion. Dr. Aclan cited that “Besides God’s blessings, what made push through is the presence of a very supportive College Administration headed by our beloved Dean, Dr Doris Mendoza and of course our missionary minded faculty who dedicated their work to the Lord.”
The True Essence of Excellence
Four to five years of education, a long and lot of time, effort and action were spent and exerted. But in the long-run, it is not merely about the earthly knowledge that matters, but the eternal wisdom gained. As how Ms. Salvacion pointed it out… “The advantage of Adventist education is that it truly trains its students to have academic excellence, Christ-like character, and exemplary service. Students are not trained to just exemplify one of those traits but they are trained to exemplify all three.” With words of confidence, Dr. Alcan said that “All we have to remember are the core values that AUP taught us. In order to become truly outstanding, we need to have ACE: Academic Excellence in the field that we are majoring in. Christ like Character towards the people we work and interact with. Exemplary Service that we will dedicate for our country and for our Lord.”