Presenting the programs implemented, steps on how the Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT) cope up with the “new normal” in education brought about by the pandemic, and the overall status of the College’s path for further development for the past year of his leadership, Dr. Eutiquio L. Rotaquio, Jr. College President delivered his first virtual State of the College Address (SOCA), December 8.
In Pres. Rotaquio’s speech, he said that after one year of consultation with different stakeholders, the first-ever seven-year ASCOT strategic plan was finally approved by the ASCOT Board of Trustees (BOT) which will serve as the basis in achieving “universityhood” which will make ASCOT as Aurora State University of Science and Technology.
“The College’s organizational structure was also revised to make it fit with the current trends and demands of our students and expected services and plans that we need to provide”, he also said.
Dr. Rotaquio also stressed out that having the Vice President for Research came into reality during his first year as President.
“ASCOT is a Level II SUC which is entitled to only two vice presidents – Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice for President for Planning and Finance. However, with the support of the College’s BOT and with the authority from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the two became three Vice Presidents”, he stated.
In his first year of presidency, Dr. Rotaquio also said that the Legal Affairs Division of the College was created after twenty-seven years with Atty. Racquel Dujunco, a lawyer and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as the main player to resolve issues and problems both in academic and administrative matters.
One of the highlights of Dr. Rotaquio’s speech was about the steps and programs implemented by the College to cope with the new normal in education especially in this times of pandemic like the establishment of the Public Information, Publication, and Data Protection Office (PIPDPO) which was created to bring the information closer to the community and the establishment of ASCOT Printing Press having an eight million pesos budget with Sir Sherwin Glorioso as the new Director.
He also underscored the creation of a new Academic Department, the Distance and Online Learning Department which will serve as a link to make all the College’s academic programs available and visible globally, addressing the needs of the students during this time of pandemic with its newly designated Director, Don Sean Arvie V. Buencamino.
“Online Entrance Examination, Online Registration, and Online Accreditation System were also launched to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in a 32% increase in our enrollment – with 5,035 students as of this semester.”, he added.
Pres. Rotaquio also expressed his gratitude to Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and Congressman Rommel Rico T. Angara for helping the College in allocating thirty million pesos for a world-class fifteen-classroom for Teacher Education Building as stated in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2021.
“Our budget for this year has an increase from 134 million pesos to 241 million pesos, the highest budget increase in the history of ASCOT since 1993. Thanks to Sen. Sonny Angara and Cong. Rommel Angara”, he also stated.
In terms of infrastructure projects, Dr. Rotaquio said that the College has eight ongoing infra projects. Three of them are almost completed. Some of these include a three-story male dormitory, the Indigenous People’s Research Center in Casiguran Campus, solar-powered street lights for the three campuses, a three-story ASCOT Hostel, a three-story female dormitory, and the improvement of the Graduate Studies Building in the Zabali Campus.
President Rotaquio also stated that the College is now on its road to offer new courses and programs which includes Bachelor of Science in Tourism, BS Marine Biology, Doctorate Degree in Engineering, Public Management, Educational Management, Business Management through the graduate school collaboration with the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology (NEUST).
“The College will soon offer Liberal Arts Courses, like Bachelor of Science in Disaster Risk Management and Reduction, Juris Doctor for the Bachelor of Law which were already lined up for our programs’ strategic plan for the coming years.” He added.
In the College’s vision to become a university, Pres. Rotaquio also said that it is really a very nice and early Christmas gift for the College to receive the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Certification making ASCOT the only educational institution in Aurora to be ISO Certified.
He also said that ASCOT will apply for Level III Accreditation for its program in Education, Forestry, Agriculture, Masters in Management, and Science programs in an Institutional Accreditation – the highest accreditation given by an accrediting agency to be held on August and September this year.
At the end of his address, Pres. Rotaquio encouraged all the College administrators, officials, faculty members, staff, and all stakeholders to be united as one and to become optimistic that this year 2021 will be again another fruitful and productive year for the College to continue its mission and vision to provide a brighter future for its students and clients.