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Dean Maria Fe Villamejor-Mendoza: Rebuilding the NCPAG
by Anna Kristine Regidor, UPDIO Leonardo A. Reyes and Jefferson Villacruz, photographers

(Aug 30)—“Mahirap, pero sana magawa namin.”

This was how Maria Fe Villamejor-Mendoza described her primary task of rebuilding the National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) in the next three years of her term as dean.

Peacekeeper. Mendoza minced no words when she said achieving unity within the college will be a challenge, citing clash of personalities and ideologies within the NCPAG as a detriment.

“The college should be a refuge and a source of happiness, productivity and inspiration. It should not just be a place of work or a war zone,” she said.

Mendoza recounted that the first two days of her term were spent in consultation with the various units, listening to their concerns. She noted the positive effect the approach had, especially on the younger faculty.

Mendoza opined on how some of the younger faculty feel no sense of belonging to the college, saying that “the conversation that was absent before will be fostered now.”

Reclaiming lost glory. Mendoza noted that while the NCPAG remains one of the top schools for public administration in the country, its place as the leader may be under question.  

She cited the Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking Worldwide 2012-2013, which put the NCPAG’s Master of Public Administration program in the 21st spot, four places below the University of Santo Tomas’ 17th place.

Up to speed. To regain its lead, part of her strategy as dean involves focusing the college’s energies, output and activities into a more cohesive and impactful direction.

Another strategy is to publish regular issues of the NCPAG’s Philippine Journal of Public Administration (PJPA). According to the online UPD Journal listing, the PJPA’s last volume publication was a two-issue release in 2010.

Mendoza hopes that the next director of the publication office will also work for the PJPA’s listing in  Thomson and Reuters, GoogleScholar, Scopus and other academic databases so that their research will be more visible to the larger academic community.

“[I]t has been existing for the past 60 years and it’s the first journal in public administration in the Philippines and in the region,” she offered.

Mendoza said faculty and staff development is also a concern, as the NCPAG currently has five faculty items and seven REPS and administrative items open.

She is also looking into upgrading the college library and computer laboratory as well as improving the digital knowledge of the faculty and staff.

Something new. One value that Mendoza hopes to foster in the college during her term is that of a culture of sharing and openness, a value she imbibed during her three-year stint as the UP Open University’s Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs from 2010 to 2013.

She elaborated that while the college is already open with their resources, some researches, especially the commissioned ones, often go unshared with the rest of the UPD community.

Mendoza envisions the NCPAG as a knowledge hub where basic and applied researches, information and resource materials for teaching and learning, policy and program-decision making and public sector reform can be had “at the click of a finger.”

Kasi yung [UP]OU is into open educational resources. And sabi ko nga sa kanila dito sa NCPAG we have many researches, we have many training programs. But then ano yung sharing niyo to the rest of the community?” she explains.

Hard work is no stranger to Mendoza, who rose from the ranks of the Research, Extension and Professional Staff (REPS) to become a full professor in 1994.

More than anything, she hopes her term will be remembered as one of reconciliation and renewal.

“It’s a healing administration that nurtures the traditions of the past and moving the college forward to where it should be, the leader of public administration and governance in the country and the region.”