University of San Carlos responds by redefining its raison d’etre as Education with a Mission, whose outcome should be Witness to the Word, validated through Scientia, Virtus et Devotio.
One of the challenges issued by CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 46 series of 2013 is for each school to redefine its reason for being and to refresh its Vision-Mission-Goal statement, the better for Quality Assurance to accredit its performance once all its processes are constructively aligned as demanded by outcomes-based, competency-based and learner-centered education. University of San Carlos responds by redefining its raison d’etre as Education with a Mission, whose outcome should be Witness to the Word, validated through Scientia, Virtus et Devotio.
USC envisions itself as an institution where education not only has purposes common to other schools, but pursues “Education with a Mission,” where mission explicitly links purpose with Christ’s mission—namely, to gather all of God’s children into one loving family. That communion under one Father-God can be approximated on Earth by progressively establishing God’s reign, which in turn is only possible when each and every one becomes a “Witness to the Word.” Word is the title by which the Society of the Divine Word wishes to project its specific ways of following Jesus Christ in education.
No Christian is exempt from participating in Christ’s mission from the Father, understood today as prophetic dialogue—with those who seek faith, subscribe to other faiths, belong to other cultures, and count among the marginalized. At its core, mission is not only the task of the Church, nor what dedicated missionaries do; rather it is what every Christian does to promote God’s Reign according to each person’s human condition, social role, economic location, political status, cultural upbringing, and the like. The ideal Carolinian thus witnesses to Christ the Word by fulfilling the vocation befitting one’s station in life.
A critical test of the educated Carolinian as Witness to the Word is Scientia. The responsibility of the Carolinian lawyer or political scientist, businessperson or economist, artist or architect, engineer or scientist, educator or healthcare professional is to be the best one can be according to one’s discipline or career choice. As Jesus affirms in the parable of the talents, God has endowed each of his children with personal charisms, some with more and some with less, intending these to be enhanced to the maximum, rendering competition not against others but against the expectations of their own Source. Seeking to know whatever one needs to know, deepening one’s insight to the full, stretching one’s imagination of possibilities, honing all of one’s God-given skills to perfection, becoming as professionally competent as one can—all that is the meaning of Scientia as a fundamental responsibility and test of the true Carolinian.
Integral to the mission of the educated Carolinian is Virtus, being true to oneself, to others and to God in ways which parallel those of Scientia, cultivating the ideals and values of one’s profession and respecting the principles and norms which constitute the ethics and morals of one’s discipline or profession. Thus, as servants of the state the Carolinian lawyer or political scientist pursues the common good under the rule of law. As businessmen and economists, Carolinians seek to create wealth and to distribute it as well. As designer or engineer, the Carolinian assists society to find solutions suitable to its varied needs. As scientist, artist, or educator, the Carolinian supports the community’s quest to discover the true, the good, and the beautiful. Virtus means responding to conscience, building up character, and acting in prudence. Mirroring the evangelical attitudes, Virtus requires listening as well to the Baptist’s differentiated advice to his followers, imbibing the Beatitudes of Jesus, and adapting Pauline charity according to neighbor and context. In sum, Virtus means living as the child in whom God the Father can be well-pleased.
Indispensable to the mission of the Carolinian is the use of education equally for one’s personal good as for the good of society, since Devotio is both the commitment to solidarity and its effective practice. Indeed the Carolinian as Christian will explicitly include service to the poor, the least, the last, and the lost as a normal and regular service. The Carolinian never considers oneself successful simply because one has risen in social status, acquired more political power, joined the wealthy, become a celebrity, and the like. Instead the Carolinian Christian measures success in terms of the final judgment—of feeding the malnourished, providing potable water, sheltering the displaced, comforting the distressed, and standing together with all those who suffer, in Jesus’ name.
Education with a Mission is realized when all Carolinian stakeholders: students, faculty, administrators and staff strive to become Christ’s light for the world, salt of the earth, and leaven for the Kingdom being born wherever they find themselves. Our challenge for tomorrow is to cascade this institutional mission so that every college and department, office and unit can in turn articulate its respective mission programs and convert these into operational plans.
by Fr. Dionisio M. Miranda, SVD, S.Th.D. (10th University President)
Approved by the USC Board of Trustees, March 2014
Tags: Education with a mission, Witness to the Word, USC President