Thursday, June 6, 2024

Dr. Ricmar P. Aquino, the 6th University President of Isabela State University (ISU), delivered the State of the University Address (SOUA) during the 1st day of the University’s 46th Founding Anniversary on June 6, 2024 at the ISU Amphitheater.

The University President has been in his post since 2017 with this year’s SOUA as his last opportunity to share and impart the successes and way forward of ISU.

“7 years ago, you joined me in a noble cause of transforming the Isabela State University as a comprehensive institution that fosters excellence and deep commitment to People, Nature, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. Our vision to strategize such action has been clearly articulated in our medium-term development framework – the ISU Strategic Development Plan 2019-2024,” Dr. Aquino said.

Banking on the theme, TANGLAW: Traversing Achievements, Nurturing Growth, Leading Academic Excellence, and Weaving Legacies, Dr. Aquino centered his address on the main thrusts of the University: Instruction, Research, Extension, Administration, and Internationalization.

On Instruction

It was highlighted in the SOUA that ISU’s commitment to academic excellence is grounded in its investment in the quality and relevance of its programs. This ensures the best learning environment for students, aiming to meet the highest standards set by the nation’s top accrediting bodies. In March 2024, ISU achieved the Top 1 Performing State University status with the highest number of Level III accredited programs from the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP).

Since 2023, ISU has been one of the first institutions in Northeastern Philippines with Level 4 status programs, covering about 7% of its undergraduate offerings. Of ISU’s 113 academic programs, 24.85% are accredited at various levels: 48 at Level III, 35 at Level II, 16 at Level I, and 7 candidates for accreditation. ISU has also been recognized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) with the CHED Gawad Parangal 2022 for Certificate of Program Compliance (COPC), reflecting a high certification status of 96% for undergraduate and 36% for graduate programs, totaling 80.27% compliance in 2023, a 26% increase from 2022.

In response to local and international industry demands, ISU has established the College of Medicine, offering a Doctor of Medicine program, a significant achievement supported by budgetary allocations totaling 96 million pesos. This initiative addresses the shortage of medical professionals and aims to enhance public health.

ISU also takes pride in its students’ exemplary achievements, particularly in licensure exams, highlighting the institution’s educational impact. Since 2017, ISU has produced 17 national top-notchers in PRC Board and Non-board exams. Notably, Ms. Gisselle Ramiscal Banta, a recent top-notcher in the March 2024 Licensure Exam for Teachers, exemplifies ISU’s investment in quality education. ISU has also been recognized as a top-performing school in Midwifery, Accountancy, Nursing, and Engineering licensure exams, solidifying its reputation for excellence.

These accomplishments demonstrate ISU’s unwavering dedication to elevating education and shaping individuals who will strengthen society.

On Research

For the past year, ISU has focused on strengthening its research culture as a key element of the University. This involves enhancing research capabilities to expand the knowledge economy by integrating instruction, research, and community engagement. The establishment of research and development (R&D) centers at ISU demonstrates this commitment, resulting in 26 centers since 2017, which constitute 78% of the university’s total centers.

These centers address priority areas outlined in the Philippine Development Plan and the Cagayan Valley Regional Development Plan, extending beyond agriculture to fields like biodiversity, social science, higher education, industrial technology education, business, and entrepreneurship. Notably, ISU is the first and only State University and College (SUC) in the Philippines to have two Niche Centers for R&D (NICER), recognized by the Department of Science and Technology.

ISU allocates 20% of its General Appropriations to support research, complemented by substantial external funding. From 2017 to 2023, ISU raised over 628 million pesos in external grants. The Regional Yarn Production and Innovation Center, with 40 million pesos in funding, supports local textile production, enhancing both culture and commerce. Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, ISU’s Business Intelligence Research and Development Center launched the HealthGuard PH contact tracing app, adopted by several local government units and institutions.

ISU’s research achievements include 309 Scopus-indexed publications, 652 intellectual properties, and 51 technologies generated by various centers, particularly in SMART agriculture and livestock production. With this, ISU received Intellectual Property citations as the Top Copyright Filer for 2022 and 2023.

In collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), ISU’s Cagayan Valley Small Ruminants Research Center (CVSRRC) achieved a significant breakthrough by producing the first-ever goat kid through Embryo Transfer Technology. ISU’s research initiatives have not only earned prestigious awards but have also established the university as a proactive institution for transformative change and sustainable development.


On Extension

ISU’s policy for Extension and Community Engagement has been revamped to address socio-civic trends and industry needs, focusing on academe-government-industry partnerships for sustainable community solutions. This led to the launch of Technology Business Incubation (TBI) programs: one for agri-aqua industries through the CVSRRC, and another for digital commerce via DISC-TBI. These TBIs have assisted over 30 micro-small-medium enterprises in upscaling their brands and improving market competitiveness.

Recognizing the importance of technology generators, ISU, along with six member institutions, launched the Regional Agri-Aqua Innovation System Enhancement (RAISE) Program for Cagayan Valley, supported by 33 million pesos from DOST-PCAARRD. This initiative aims to fast-track the transfer and commercialization of IP assets and technologies through capability-building programs for researchers and technology generators, encompassing four projects: Regional IP-TBM, Regional Agribusiness Hub, Regional ATBI, and Regional Knowledge Management Hub. ISU will lead these regional activities over a two-year implementation period.

As part of ISU’s 46th Founding Anniversary, the community was invited to visit the RAISE Exhibit booths to witness the strength of these collaborations. Additionally, ISU is set to launch the Knowledge-Innovation-Science-and-Technology (KIST) Park in partnership with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), with new facilities in ISU Echague and ISU Roxas, aiming to boost business investments and economic operations in Cagayan Valley

On Administration

Over the past seven years, ISU has undergone significant transformation, achieving prestigious accolades in higher education and community impact due to the dedication and commitment of its staff. All ISU campuses have achieved ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System certification for Instruction, Research, and Development, and ISU is the first and only State University and College (SUC) in the Philippines to receive the Philippine Quality Award Level II for its campuses in Echague, Cabagan, and Ilagan.

In 2023, ISU entered the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, ranking in the Top 1001+ globally on its first application. ISU was recognized for its contributions to SDG 1 (Poverty Alleviation), SDG 5 (Gender and Development), SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions), and SDG 17 (Partnership for Goals). Additionally, ISU received the PRIME-HRM Maturity Level II (Bronze Award, National Level) for workforce management.

The university has advanced the careers of its faculty and administrative personnel, recently gaining approval for the reclassification of 296 faculty positions and celebrating a 52.63% passing rate for newly accredited professors, the highest in the region.

ISU also created about 100 faculty positions through a Scrap-and-Build Policy and is implementing 240 Plantilla Items for non-teaching personnel as part of the Revised Organizational Structure and Staffing Standards for SUCs (ROSSSS). Future tranches will further secure the tenure of dedicated administrative personnel

On Internationalization

ISU’s internationalization efforts have significantly advanced over the past decade, achieving major milestones. The Philippine Bureau of Immigration has approved 19 undergraduate and 8 graduate programs for foreign students, enhancing ISU’s global presence. ISU has established 26 international partnerships focused on joint R&D, student and faculty exchanges, joint publications, conferences, and sharing scientific materials. 

ISU collaborated with the Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland, His Excellency Bernard Faustino Dy, to support the Agta Indigenous Tribe’s learning competencies. ISU also became Japan’s pioneer partner in water research initiatives, establishing the 1st International Organization for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Management with Kyoto University and other international institutions.

ISU also participated in four major international conventions, joining 41 nations in events such as the 9th International Conference on Flood Management and the 2023 Annual Disaster Prevention Research Institute. ISU is set to lead a consortium with four other Philippine universities to implement Japan’s SATREP program, aimed at addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through international collaboration.

On Way Forward

During the SOUA, Dr. Aquino also shared to the attendees that ISU is poised to become a National Water Resources University, as House Bill No. 10023 has been filed in Congress. This designation acknowledges ISU’s significant contributions and efforts in the areas of research, instruction, and community engagement related to water resources, marking a major milestone for the university.

In addition, Dr. Aquino reminded the ISU community of OneISU, the core values that have shaped the University for 46 years.

“The remarkable achievements we celebrate today are a testament to your unwavering dedication and commitment to the University. Let’s take a moment to applaud ourselves for these accomplishments. While individual efforts, taken step by step, are commendable, it is our collective endeavors that have propelled us to greater heights,” Dr. Aquino expressed.

To formally close the presentation, Dr. Aquino thanked everyone for their support and dedication to the plans and activities of the University for the past 7 years. As he congratulated the attendees for the 46th Founding Anniversary, he then emphasized the theme of the celebration in relation to the achievements and many more successes of ISU.

“Ito ang TANGLAW na nais kong ibahagi sa inyo, sa isa pang pagkakataon – simbolo ng ating pagkakaisa tungo sa pagsulong ng OneISU! So, let us all imbibe within ourselves, to always be a TANGLAW to everyone!,” Dr. Aquino encouraged.