Teaching is the noblest profession. If only the entire human population would realize this, maybe the world would look up to teachers with great respect and life-long admiration.
It was an overwhelming opportunity for us to have been given the chance to interview the President of Batangas State University, Dr. Nora Lumbera-Magnaye. In this two-part feature article, we would get to know Dr. Magnaye both as a University President and as a homemaker. Let’s get to know first her trials and triumphs as the President of BatState-U.
Career in the Academe
Dr. Magnaye recalled how she landed in the teaching profession. She finished her degree in Education with specialization in Mathematics at St. Bridget College. A year after she graduated, Dr. Magnaye got married. But before walking down the aisle, she strolled along Bauan High School and tried to have her next teaching job as a walk-in applicant in her fiance’s hometown. She was hired on the spot but not only as a classroom teacher but as Head of the Science Department.
Six years after, she moved to Pablo Borbon Memorial Institute of Technology (now Batangas State University) and taught in the secondary department. In 1982, she was promoted to the college level to teach Math to Education, Math major, BSIE, and Technology students.
During that year, she pursued her Master’s Degree in Math with Science as cognate at Pablo Borbon Memorial Institute of Technology (now Batangas State University). Later, the Pablo Borbon Memorial Institute of Technology granted her a scholarship and so she enrolled in the Doctor of Education Program at the University of the Philippines. She further pursued her career in Mathematics and in the year 1992, she graduated with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematics Education at Centro Escolar University.
From the classroom setting, she entered into a new workplace – the Registrar’s office. The University President appointed her as University Registrar in 1992, a position which she held till 1996. Dr. Magnaye said that “a Math instructor had been trained for critical way of thinking. If she can solve hard problems in Mathematics, she can solve any problems along her way, thus, I can be a good Registrar. I always grow wherever I am planted.” Those four years of serving as the University Registrar did not come easy. Corruption must have eaten her integrity but she was firm in fighting against such circumstances.
Dr. Magnaye joined the Association of Registrars and Liaison Officers (ARLO) of Region IV and was elected as secretary of the association. Moreover, she religiously attended national seminars of registrars and then at a time she was elected as Director for Luzon.
She became the University Registrar from 1992 to 1996. That four years of serving as the University Registrar did not came easy. Corruption must have eaten her integrity but she was firmed in fighting against such circumstances.
Dr. Magnaye never ceased in pursuing her battle against corrupt practices in University. She filed a case to the Office of the Ombudsman against the anomalous administration that put her in a struggling position. Her opposing the administration prompted her dismissal due to alleged “unsatisfactory performance” as a registrar.
“I only fight for what is right. In my crusade against corruption, my heart and the support of many people inspires me to persevere on what I have started fighting for. Alam ko na mayroon akong magagawa. I won’t allow corruption and demoralization happen in front of my very
eyes.” Dr. Magnaye pointed out.
She pursued her aspirations of molding young minds by joining other schools for a short period of time without leaving the battle she knew she would never lose. Pending the resolutions of her petitions at the Civil Service Commission, she was open-heartedly welcomed by other schools in the province. For a while, she was the Supervising Consultant of the Graduate School of Lyceum of Batangas. Dr. Magnaye knew in her heart that BSU is her true home and so she continued her crusade against corrupt practices in the University.
And as the saying goes, “in every gray cloud there is a silver lining”, Dr. Magnaye, after her reinstatement by the Civil Service Commission and by virtue of Resolution No. 58, S. 2006 of the Batangas State University’s Board of Regents, Dr. Nora Lumbera- Magnaye was elected as the first BatState-U lady president on July 17, 2006. The day signaled the new beginning and a new hope for the entire BatState-U Community.
Leading Batangas State University
As the first lady president of Batangas State University, being the captain of such huge institution (with two main campuses and eight satellite campuses) was an extreme challenge as she was expected to lift the morale of everyone involved and to revive the glory that was stained by the previous administration. Dr. Magnaye inherited massive problems but through her selfless vocation and her leadership bounded with honesty and transparency, BSU was able to bounce back from its downfall.
Under Dr. Magnaye’s first term, she was able to accomplish the positive change that BSU had been aspiring for.
- 1. The University had appropriated almost P300 million for the rehabilitation of its existing facilities for the continuation of some of the unfinished buildings and for the construction of new infrastructure.
- 2. The University had negotiated with the creditors of the University to a lower credit. At present, the only remaining debts from the previous administration were the P42 million for the purchase of land in Lagadlarin, Lobo, Batangas. All the other debts (P120 M) were already settled through negotiation to a lower credit.
- 3. The enrollment in the University has increased from 14,000 in 2006 to more than 27,000 this year.
- 4. Fourteen of the academic programs are currently under accreditation.
- 5. The University has regained the trust of the community. The University is now a partner of different government agencies.
- 6. The University has started to establish international linkages with different universities and colleges in Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia to promote globalization of education.
- 7. The University has uplifted the morale of every faculty member and employee.
To continue what she had started as the University President, Dr. Magnaye submitted her letter of intent for re-appointment to the BSU Board of Regents on August 25, 2009. No one opposed. Dr. Magnaye got a unanimous decision from the Board and the External Working Committee which evaluated her performance as president. And on March 5, 2010, through Resolution No. 19, Series 2010, Dr. Nora Magnaye was re-apppointed as the President of Batangas State University.
She devoted her life to the University. There are still a few detractors but BSU continues to prosper; enrollees keep on rushing in. When asked how she handles the pressure of being the University President, she told: “Seek guidance from above. As a human, I am weak; it’s my faith in the Lord which makes me strong. Just ask and you will be given. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.”
What’s the formula in leading a university? “It’s the kind worth emulating, transformational, a servant leadership wherein you put your interest last for the benefit of the greater majority,” Dr. Magnaye concluded.
I, too, have the ability to do such positive change. We all have. And I promise to embrace my profession as a mentor soon. Thank you so much, Dr. Magnaye. JR, Gerlie, and I left your office inspired and motivated.
(Catch the second part of this feature on BSU President Dr. Nora Magnaye. Get to know more about her as a mother, a wife, a homemaker. Soon!)