The ability to steer an educational institution toward a safe shore when the seas are turbulent is crucial for an education leader. Nothing is clearer than this when the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools and colleges in some parts of the world. However, for Dr. Winston Conrad B. Padojinog, president of the Philippine-based University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P), his economics background and business acumen, coupled with his vast experience in the academe, help maneuver the fluid conditions that surround the education sector at present.
A professor of industrial economics and strategic management, Dr. Padojinog possesses extensive experience and research in the field as an industry economist, business strategist, and business sustainability economist. As an important personality within the university, he ensures to nurture the academic values of UA&P and pivot it towards growth and development.
Comprehensive educational portfolio
Dr. Padojinog has worked with a variety of experts and organizations, namely industry associations, policymaking bodies, and companies for their industry policy, corporate strategy, and many more. He holds an impressive portfolio as an education leader and has spoken on various international and local forums to discuss important issues and policies. Moreover, he has also been a part of several non-government organizations that promote good governance and education for the less privileged.
Dr. Winston is also a founding member of the Center for Excellence in Governance, an umbrella organization that oversees other not-for-profit good governance outfits. He obtained his primary education in 1980 from the Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus and secondary education in 1984 from the University of the Philippines (UP) Visayas.
In 1989, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree double majors in Economics and Management from UP Visayas as a student scholar. He earned his master’s degree in Industrial Economics at the Center for Research and Communication, and his Doctor of Business Administration degree in 2009 at the De La Salle University Graduate School of Business. In the same year, he pursued the International Faculty Program of the IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.
A trusted leader
Before being appointed as the 4th President of UA&P, Dr. Padojinog served in various posts, namely, School Secretary and Vice Dean of the School of Economics and Dean of the School of Management.
As president of UA&P, Dr. Padojinog’s primary roles revolve around several spheres of the university. These include the pursuit of the university’s mandate, the preservation and promotion of its spirit and identity, the execution and monitoring of university strategies, and the development of the next generation of university leaders.
Leading a young university
The University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) is a private, not-for-profit institution of higher education. Its roots trace back to the Center for Research and Communication (CRC), which was established 54 years ago. The CRC commenced as a think tank conducting research and offering graduate courses in economics and management. It gradually expanded its educational activities to other fields. In 1995, it was granted university status by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and since then has become known as the University of Asia and the Pacific. In 2017, CHED officially granted autonomous status to UA&P.
Located in Metro Manila, UA&P has a population of 2,025 undergraduate and graduate students, with 335 full-time employees. To date, the University has produced more than 9,237 alumni, including those who graduated from CRC.
Trailblazing education programs
Presently, UA&P has one college and six schools, namely, College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), School of Communication (SCM), School of Economics (SEC), School of Education and Human Development (SED), School of Law and Governance (SLG), School of Management (SMN), and School of Sciences and Engineering (SSE).
A majority of the programs offered by UA&P are first-of-its-kind in the country. For instance, its Master of Science in Industrial Economics, which has given birth to renowned economists at present, continues to be the only economics program of its kind in the Philippines. Its Master of Arts in Communication Major in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is the pioneer IMC graduate program in the country.
Outstanding academic curriculums
The university’s academic programs are founded in the liberal education curriculum and aim to provide much-needed professionals schooled in humanist and ethical perspectives. UA&P’s academic programs are coupled with one-on-one mentoring and spiritual direction to help guide students in their formative years. Mentoring sessions result in the integration of knowledge, skills, and values down to the personal level.
UA&P’s academic curriculums offer the following benefits on educational forefronts:
- To remain updated with the latest technological advancements, UA&P continually seeks the latest cutting-edge trends in teaching, technology, and knowledge to make programs first-rate and relevant;
- Ensures that the students acquire the skill sets in order to attain growth. UA&P encourages the students to reflect on their own operations and to apply tools to create value in every facet of their organization; and
- Its Business-Academe partnerships also afford real-world experiences to students prior to their graduation.
Seeking opportunities amidst crises
Dr. Padojinog asserts that the pandemic provided a plethora of opportunities for the university to improve its teaching and learning capabilities with the support of digital technology. Moreover, it also enabled the academic community to collaborate further, pursue altruistic endeavors, and upgrade the efficiency of its processes and the quality of its customer engagement.
UA&P embraced virtual as well as digital technology to improve teaching and learning along with its processes. It acquired the capacity to offer platform-based and collaborative learning innovations along with hybrid education. Moreover, online education also opened new horizons for UA&P’s teaching, research, and people development undertakings not only for its students but also for the new and expanded non-geographic-based markets. Concerning the congruent adoptions, Dr. Padojinog quotes, “Outcomes of decisions are now better monitored and evaluated by data captured by the digital system.”
On a personal level, Dr. Padojinog sees the world crisis as a time for self-reflection, for acquisition of new knowledge and wisdom and of relevant skills, and for growth in the capacity to empathize. He says, “I acquired a new mindset and attitude to work, to life, and to relationships.”
Emphasizing productivity, he states that he gets more time at present when work-from-home arrangement is encouraged for playing his favorite sports—lawn tennis—and indulging in other forms of physical exercise. He adds, “I also pursue new fields of knowledge—cultural, professional, academic, spiritual—and acquire more skills (i.e., use of software in simulation, teaching, etc.). I have come to appreciate family and prayer life even more.”
Time for collaboration
Dr. Padojinog believes that leadership in the education sector has drastically changed. He thinks that in addition to academic reputation and qualifications, the university leader must have the experience and capability to manage an enterprise, promote closer collaboration between the academe and its stakeholders and other universities, and many more. He continues, “Academic leaders must possess a multidisciplinary, collaborative, and global outlook in their planning and execution.”
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