Architecture holds online faculty training to future-proof Archi education

The University of Santo Tomas College of Architecture held a faculty development program titled “Future-Proofing of Architectural Education in the Philippines through Global South-South Knowledge Exchange and Cooperation” through funding by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) under the SCA Architecture – 4: Capacity Building on Architecture Education and Allied Arts.

Held on December 11 and 12, 2020 through Zoom, the training, made possible through partnership with the Thomasian Mental Health Responders, aimed to build on the competence of architecture educators to address modernizing technology’s challenges and the issues and challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through its four modules complemented with two talks each, the college moved toward its goal of enhancing its architecture education and pedagogy.

The first day of the training focused on building better online educators to address the “New Normal.” The first module, titled “Facing the ‘New Normal’: Paradigm Shift in Distance Learning in Architecture,” was moderated by Ar. Asst. Prof. Jonathan V. Manalad, Ph.D. It included talks by the college Pedagogical Lead Ar. Caryn P. Santillan, Ph.D. and Ar. Ryan Newman, the Director of Design of Aidea Inc. and an Adjunct Professor of the University of Cincinnati. The module opened the growth opportunities in architectural education by understanding how other foreign institutions developed their program.

The second module, titled “Revisit our Professional Responsibilities as Online Educators,” was moderated by  Ar. Santillan. The module included presentations by Asst. Director for Online Mr. Philippe Jose S. Hernandez of the UST Communications Bureau and Actor and Designer Mr. John Moran of Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA). The module emphasized the necessity to condition oneself and prepare the environment and the program in doing online teaching—very much like a show or other performances.

The second day focused on the two key actors in education—the learner and the educator. The third module, titled “Future-proofing our Teaching Pedagogy: Preparing the Gen Z Architects” was moderated by Ar. Asst. Prof. Manuel Maximo L. Noche. It included the sharing of Ms. Maria Dascha Uy, Alumnus and Former USTCA Student Council President, and Dr. Lawrence Madriaga, Campus Director, Philippine Science High School-Main Campus. It provided a deeper understanding of the students and how to enable them to perform well in school.

The fourth module, titled “Enabling Architect Educators for the Industry 4.0: Architecture Education + Technology,” was moderated by Ar. Noel C. Cruz who is also the college e-Learning Specialist.

The last module included the shared talks from the Parish Priest of Santisimo Rosario Parish Rev. Fr. Paul Reagan Talavera, O.P. and the Chief Executive Officer of the UST Hospital Rev. Fr. Julius Paul C. Factora, O.P. as well as from Psychologist Aime T. Guarino, Ph.D., of the De La Salle University, Counseling and Educational Psychology Department. The module highlighted the significance of spiritual nourishment and work-life balance in sustaining a healthy online teaching responsibility. Technological advancement and the COVID-19 pandemic brought challenges in architecture education. However, these became opportunities for growth for the institution and its members to thrust itself further forward. With programs like these, the College of Architecture could continue providing quality education and producing talented and skillful future architects. At the same time, the college intends to continue its advancement and recalibration culture to achieve its goal – a quality institution for architecture education here and abroad.

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