Thursday, May 4, 2023

As the Isabela State University works alongside the government in building a sustainable and resilient future for the nation, it spearheaded a Seminar-Workshop on Futures Thinking and Strategic Foresight on April 28-29, 2023, at JAPI Hotel, Cauayan City.

The technical session aimed to introduce the conceptual underpinnings, tools, and methodologies of futures thinking (FT) to develop an Integrated Research and Development, and Extension Framework based on the University’s RDE agenda. The top-level management of ISU which comprised of Executive Officers, and Research, Extension, and Center Directors; educational managers from the Department of Education – Schools Division of Isabela; and research stakeholders from various government sectors such as Department of Science and Technology, National Irrigation Administration, and Provincial and Local Government Units of Isabela attended the aforementioned training.

As the University envisions itself to be a Research University in the ASEAN region, Dr. Orlando F. Balderama, Vice President for Research and Development, Extension and Training, accentuated in his welcome message that futures thinking initiatives are becoming increasingly integrated into research and development endeavors across various fields. In the same vein, Dr. Ricmar P. Aquino, University President and Program Leader of the research project titled “Capacity Development on Futures Thinking and Strategic Foresight”, underscored the creation of actionable visions for futures together.

Afterward, Dr. Marina D. Acerit, FT Project Leader, explained the rationale and objectives of the training. She even emphasized that incorporating futures thinking and strategic foresight tools and methodologies into education and research will empower stakeholders to become more forward-thinking and innovative.

After the acknowledgment of participants by Dr. Dayson C. Lata, FT Study Leader, Mr. Randy P. Acoba, FT Project Leader, introduced the resource speaker endorsed by the Development Academy of the Philippines. Being the lecturer, Dr. Reginald Ugaddan, a Professor at the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) of the University of the Philippines (UP-NCPAG), introduced the concept of futures thinking and strategic foresight, and the futures and foresight tools and methodologies to the training participants. Specifically, he explicated on foresight framework, various futures and foresight tools, scanning using STEEP framework, and futures and foresight process designs.

The workshop phase highlighted the training as the participants demonstrated their critical thinking skills in using AI-assisted STEEP analysis and mapping, key factor forecast table, and scenario narratives in elucidating a defined focus.

On the following day, Dr. Jennelyn L. Raymundo, FT Project Leader, synthesized the significant learning opportunities presented on the first day of the training. The second day of the training gave prominence to the FFT-based presentations of each stakeholders’ group and the proposed Integrated Research and Development, and Extension Framework anchored on the University’s RDE agenda.

Dr. Ugaddan even accentuated the possibility of ISU to become the center of FFT research and development and extension in the region, and subsequently nationwide, and in the ASEAN region as it is manifested in its vision and mission.

The stakeholders suggested for the explicit inclusion of production as a major thrust of the University, along with research, extension, and instruction, and the possibility of considering a foundation to satisfy one of the criteria of Times Higher Education World University Rankings in the proposed future-ready RDE framework.

Moreover, Dr. Jeoffrey Lloyd R. Bareng, University Director for Research and Development, duly represented by Ms. Flordeliza Bassiag, concluded the training session by emphasizing the application of strategic foresight in shaping our actions and decisions.

With this kind of participatory planning on how futures thinking is mainstreamed in RDE efforts of the University, ISU just conducted a three-session Learning Enhancement Program for future professionals last March 21, April 4 and 14, 2023, and is currently organizing a series of capacity building activities for more groups of stakeholders.

Likewise, the University is also brewing partnerships with UP-NCPAG, Philippine Futures Thinking Society, and other State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) for a more extensive implementation of Futures Thinking and Strategic Foresight Program in the country. (GZ/JF-UMIS-CMS with Dr. Jennelyn L. Raymundo, Faculty- ISU E College of Education)