University President Maria Liza Nicolas vowed to face the tough challenge of providing a leadership that will make Northwestern worthy of its legacy.
Speaking at her investi-ture as the new president, Nicolas said that Northwestern has arrived as an educational institution but acknowledged there are still many things to be done."Northwestern has been in existence for many years. This January, we will be celebrating our 80th foundation anniversary. We are already there but we are fully aware that there are still a lot left to be desired," the new president said.To address that, Nicolas said she has to provide a leadership role that will make Northwestern an institution that will produce young men and women needed in the 21st century.
That leadership role, she said, will anchor on three pillars - a reformed value system, commit-ment to excellence and a responsiveness to change, challeng-es and opportunities. The new president said that Northwestern would not move ahead unless values and traditional practices that have deterred the people in the academic community from achieving more as an institution and as a people are reformed and redirected.
"Even the brightest and smartest educational leader with a well-laid roadmap may fail in bringing out desired results if he has a distorted value system," Nicolas said. She lamented that the inculcation of values was never given the much needed push and focus it deserves despite repeated calls for change.
Nicolas said that institutions of learning like Northwestern are the best agents for change and "if no one takes the lead, Northwestern will continue to lag behind,"she said. To address that, she said that the school has designed a reformed value system with the involvement and participation of a cross section of the academic community, adding that such design was incorporated in the Corporate Culture Manual dubbed as the CHAMPS-Commitment to Excellence, Honesty and Integrity; Active Involvement, Management of Resources, Professionalism and Selfless Service.
Alongside a reformed value system, the new president pushed for a commitment to excellence. "We will continue to upgrade our programs and services and make excellence a way of life, make our course offerings relevant even as we find ourselves saddled with financial constraints," Nicolas said.
She said that the cost-cutting program of the administration will not be an excuse to deprive the students of quality service pointing out that the school will not compromise quality and excellence.
Nicolas said that although subjecting the programs to accreditation and ISO certification is costly, the school will continue to adopt accreditation and ISO as measures of quality and standard.
Acknowledging the teachers' role in attaining excellence, Nicolas said the school included a program of empowerment for the faculty and staff through continuing education. "We will invest in them, not forgetting that they are our precious assets. No university is bigger than its faculty and staff. And so we will continue to care for them and share them the blessings of our joint efforts and endeavors," she said.
Recognizing the incredible advancement of the information highway and the overflow of knowledge and skills, the school, she said, has to launch an aggressive response to stay in tune with the best and the latest.
Northwestern, she said, cannot expect to prevail if it keeps alone to itself, noting the urgency to explore new avenues for growth.
"We will widen our networking and linkages, seizing opportunities, forging partnerships, sharing resources and expertise and providing a healthy environment for creativity and innovation," she said.
While we recognize and understand borderless education and global competitiveness, she said, "we should look at our own resources as a country first as we focus our sight on other countries."
News Article from The Review Issue: July- November Vol. 79 No. 1