A Fresh Start

#DSCTAdiyamante2034: Dr. Tiatco's vision for the DSCTA, presented during the Department Meeting held on 24 May 2021

09_18_21 For A Fresh start Speech after the title and before the 'Maganda...._Speech and D

Magandang araw po sa lahat. Maraming salamat sa inyong pagdalo upang mapakinggan ang aking presentasyon ng aking panata para sa Department. Narito po ako upang ihayag ang ilan sa mga plano para sa ating Tanggapan. At narito rin po ako upang maipahayag din ang personal na balangkas ng aking estilo bilang administrador.


Sisimulan ko na po ang presentasyon.


Sa mga nakakakilala sa akin, alam nila na ang aking disposisyon sa larang ng diskurso at argumento ay kosmopolitanismo. Para sa mga tagasunod ng aking mga pananaliksik, sa tingin ko napakahalata naman na paborito kong idyoma ang entanglement o sa Filipino-Tagalog, buhol-buhol. Para sa mga nakasaksi sa pag-unlad ng aking iskolarsyip, siguro pansin nila ang aking paghanga at pagtitigalawa ng damdamin sa usaping relihiyon lalo na ang Katolisismo. Para naman sa mga nakatrabaho ko sa iba’t ibang proyekto, malamang alam nila ang aking pagkamusungit subalit nangingibabaw ang inobasyon at pagkamalikhain, katapatan at pananagutan, paggalang at pagmamalasakit at kasiyahan at pagtatamasa.

If these frameworks are integrated in the institutional structure of the Department, a DSCTA that ensures diversity, inclusivity and respect as the most important foundations of teaching, research, creative work, public service and extension work may be imagined. A DSCTA where care and responsibility are at the core of our institutional activities may be pictured . Finally, a Department performing an institutional framework that is based on an intellectual and aesthetic stance of openness towards divergent cultural experiences in pursuit of the imaginary connections between the self and others and grounded in a vision of conviviality may be envisioned.


In a few years, we will celebrate our 75th anniversary as an institution.

In the last ten years, our Department has increased its productivity in creative works, research and publications.  


Maraming salamat sa mga produksiyon ng ating mga artista na hindi lamang pinag-uusapan bilang dalumat at diskurso kundi bilang mahahalagang aspekto ng kulturang popular. Maraming salamat din sa mga pananaliksik at publikasyon ng ating mga iskolar na nalathala sa mga dyornal na naka-indeks sa Clarivate at sa Scopus at sa mga reputable academic press.


Sa akin ring pananaw, ang ating presensiya bilang isang natatanging pambansang institusyon sa sining at humanidades ay nakalabas na sa rehiyong Timog-Silangang Asya. Salamat sa mga iba’t ibang network – mga MOU at MOA na nakasabit sa ating Departamento: University of New South Wales, LaSalle College of the Arts Singapore, York University at ang Flinders University. Higit na nakilala ang ating Departamento sa rehiyon dahil na rin sa mga suntok sa buwan na proyekto kagaya ng Joint First International Federation for Theatre Research Transregional Conference and the 8th International Colloquium of the Asian Theatre Working Group, at ang Pathways to Philippine Performance Practices and Creative Industries Mobility Programs.


I also believe the individual members of the Department – the academics and administrative officers –  have learned to listen to each other and with that we have managed to find commonalities in articulating the Department’s position in the landscape of disciplinal geography. This is also the reason why until now, despite the strong clamor of separation, we are still the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts. Besides, the API in 2019 paved the way for us to point out that we share the paradigm of performance. This is also the reason why we opted to propose a PhD in Performance Studies and not in Theatre Studies or Speech Studies.


But how do we now move forward towards our 75th founding year?


I cannot impose cosmopolitanism, entanglement, and ambivalence as guiding principles for everyone. However, I would like to invite everyone to taste a portion of this banquet and glimpse a little of my leadership framework by listening to how I envision the DSCTA leading to its 75th birthday inspired by these very frameworks.


By the year 2034, na pasisinayaan ng susunod na tatlong akademikong taon, 2021-2022, 2022-2023 at 2023-2024 – DSCTA’s 75th year, I envision the Department to be at the forefront of performative engagements in local and global communities.


I envision the mission to be summed by a threefold agenda:


First, teach speech, theatre and performance as modes of critical inquiries, creative expressions and public engagements.


Second, foster individuals with expanded analytical, technical and imaginative capacities through praxes, research works and public services.


Third and finally, ensure diversity, inclusivity and respect as driving forces of our responsibilities as academics and staff of the University of the Philippines.


With this vision and mission, it is also important to redirect our values. I invite our Department to internalize not only honor and excellence but also innovation and creativity, integrity and accountability, respect and care.


How are we going to achieve this vision and how are we going to perform the goals alongside the values?


75 years old na tayo sa 2034. Ang ika-75 taon ay tinatawag ding Diamond Jubilee. Ang diamond ay isang uri ng bato – isang napaka-espesyal na bato. Ito ay ang pinkamatigas na mineral na maaaring mahukay sa mga minahan. Ito din ang pinakamahal kapag nalinis at nahulma. Samakatuwid, pinakamataas ang halaga at presyo ng isang diamond sa lahat ng mga mineral o mga batong ornamental. Sa hinala ko, ito ang dahilan kung bakit pagkatapos ng ika-75 taon, hindi na mga mineral ang ginagamit na pangalan para sa mga anibersaryo. Ang isang daang taon ay sentenaryo. Ang isang daan at singkuwentang taon ay seskisentenaryo.


Gagamitin ko ang diamond upang maibalangkas ang mga estratehiyang kailangang baybayin para maisakatupran ang nasambit na bisyon.


According to the Gemological Institute of America or GIA, the worth and value of a diamond is based on four interrelated criteria: clarity (or the level of imperfections on the surface and within the stone), cut (or the skill of the jeweler in beautifying the stone), carat (the weight of the stone) and color (referring to the intensity of hue).


To celebrate the DSCTA’s Diamond Jubilee, our Department must sparkle, must shine, must become the most valuable, the most coveted jewelry, and the most prized stone. This may be achieved if we join together in perfecting the aspired clarity, the desired cut, the ideal carat and the most intense natural color. These determinants of a diamond’s value are what I shall be calling the four pillars of #DSCTAdiyamante2034.


These pillars are:


  1. CLARITY: Dynamic, Transformational and Responsible Collective Leadership

  2. CUT: Empowered, Capable and Proactive Faculty and Administrative Staff Members

  3. CARAT: Critical, Collaborative and Innovative Productivity

  4. COLOR: Student Centered and Public Service Oriented Programs


We must push for an intricate clarity or as the GIA puts it, the perfection of the embellishments and natural irregularities. In simple terms, an aspiration of perfection of the imperfections. The keyword is aspire. Perfection is a loaded concept. Anyhow, we translate this through dynamic, transformational and responsible collective leadership.  


As we move towards 2034, there is a need to reassess our organizational structure. We need to address the gaps and the fissures of the different administrative duties and responsibilities tasked to several faculty members and even our administrative staff members.


Baka kailangan din natin ng maliliit na sub-yunit na mang-aalaga sa mga pang-araw-araw ng gawain ng ating Departamento. Kumbaga, baka mas maiging paigtingin ang mga sumusunod na sub-yunit na may kaakibat na administratibong insentibo kaysa sa nakasanayan na mga komite.


Una, Koordinasyon sa Usaping Akademiko na magiging susi sa pagpapaunlad at implementasyon ng mga makabuluhan at napapanahong akademikong programa, kurikulum, gabay sa pagtuturo, faculty development at usaping pangmag-aaral na naka-angkla sa bisyon ng Departamento, Kolehiyo, at Unibersidad.


Ikalawa, Koordinasyon sa Administrayon, na siyang mangangasiwa sa mga pisikal at pinansiyal na aspekto at maging sa yamang tao ng Departamento.


Ikatlo, Koordinasyon sa Usaping Pananaliksik, Malikhaing Gawain, at Ekstensiyon, na magiging instrumento sa mga polisiya at “guidelines” sa gawaing pananaliksik, malikhaing gawain at programang ekstensiyon.


Panghuli, Koordinasyon sa Relasyong Pambupliko – ang sub-yunit na magtutulay sa iba’t ibang publiko ng ating Departamento, lalong-lalo na ang ating mga alumni. Isa rin sa mga mahalagang mandato ng sub-yunit na ito ay ang pagpapalaganap ng magandang imahen ng Departamento sa pamamagitan ng iba’t ibang information dissemination channels kagaya ng official website at mga official  social media pages.


Sa tingin ko, napapanahon na rin na mas palawigin natin ang ating mga administrative staff members. Maganda rin kung bawat sub-unit ay may mga katuwang na kawani.


As of now, we have seven administrative staff  – Lem, Dianne, Archie, Alfred, Marlon. Jess and the vacant post of Manny. Their items are all under the administrative category. Every now and then, our Department has been requesting for items to support the everyday transactions of our home unit. Just like the previous leaders of the Department, we will continue to request more items until the ideal plantilla is provided to us.


However, I am not thinking of requesting additional administrative staff members. Perhaps, it is about time to explore the possibility of having REPS or the Research, Extension and Professional Staff members in our Department. Initially, we request a University Research Associate II item (SG 14-1) and a University Researcher I item (SG 16 – 1). Sa tingin ko ito ang urgent na pangangailangan natin – para sa extension programs natin (Speak UP at Pathways Mobility Program) at para sa usaping pagpapaunlad ng programang ekstensiyon na may kinalaman sa pampublikong serbisyo sa mga baryo – bagay na bibigyang pansin mayamaya.


In the next few years, we add to our request another University Researcher I (SG 16– 1) and a University Research Associate II (SG 14 – 1). These additional REPS will enable our Department to help in developing bolder programs on research, creative, extension work and public relations.


Sa tingin ko malaking tulong ang pagkakaroon ng mga REPS sa ating Departamento, especially if we look at how we have developed and continuously institute programs. Mas makakahinga na ang mga tagapag-ugnay na fakulti at mag-aaral sa ating mga programa kagaya ng Speak-UP, ang Pathways Program mga nabanggit ko kanina at maging ang Dulaang UP.  


Pero habang hinihintay natin ang request mula sa central admin, sisikapin din natin ang reorganization ng administrative unit ng ating Departamento. Silipin at i-review natin ang plantilla at ang performance target ng lahat. Lalo pa panahon na ng quality assurance, assessment and development. Naitatag na rin ang Academic Assessment and Development Office at hindi pwedeng hindi tayo maki-ayon sa tinatawag na Sustained Academic Excellence lalo pa at may kasunduan ang UP Diliman sa ASEAN University Network na makiki-ayon tayo sa kalidad at standard na itinalaga ng organisasyon. Isa sa tinitingnan at malaking bahagdan ng QAAD ay ang kalidad ng trabaho ng mga kawani at ang lapat nito sa target na meron mismo ang home unit. Kaya mahalagang maisabalangkas natin ng mas malinaw ang mga ito.


May nasimulan naman na rin tayo sa kasalukuyang administrasyon. Sisikapin nating matapos ang nasimulan na. Siyempre pa, hangad din natin na makilala katulad ng pagkilala sa Linangan ng Biolohiya bilang isang ASEAN-UN accredited program.


Pangalawang suhay, tayo ay maaaring maging isang diyamante na exquisite ang pagkakagawa o pagkakahulma. And I am referring to being empowered, capable and proactive faculty and administrative staff members.


No doubt, we have already mastered the art of teaching. However, the Department needs to develop academics and not just teachers. At the same time, the Department needs to develop proactive and dynamic staff members and not just passive employers.


As academics and administrative staff members, we can tap into the many new technologies without losing sight of the fundamentals. We can appreciate and develop more the art of listening and the science of accountability. We will become a community of academics and administrative officers where everyone appreciates mentoring and nurturance deeply rooted in an ethos of compassion.


Despite the exemplary contributions of our faculty members, especially the junior faculty members, we are too often overworked and under-compensated. We are a Department united to press for more faculty and administrative items, just compensations and better working conditions. We do not want to face a serious crisis: younger, dependable and productive faculty not being recruited in adequate numbers, or in most cases, these individuals leaving for greener pastures or being driven away by inhospitality and intrigue.


This is the reason why for the first few years of our journey towards 2034, capability buildings are necessary until the most feasible and not only the most ideal Faculty Development Plan is crafted. During this time, let us include the drafting of most ideal Administrative Organizational Structure or the Department Administrative Plantilla, which was already mentioned earlier.


We also need to develop a stronger grievance and dispute resolution mechanisms to handle interpersonal conflicts, often a source of stress for all of us. This is also something that we need to workshop in the series of capacity and capability buildings towards 2034. For all of us – regardless of rank and social status – we must uphold an ethos of respect and recognition without a bit of trying to reconcile differences.


In addition to the abovementioned strategies, it is amazing to envision a Department, where our academic programs have expanded because of our proactivity, initiatives and capabilities:


We already conducted the comprehensive reviews of our BA (Theatre Arts) and BA (Speech Communication) programs in 2018.


We are now offering the Associate in Arts (Theatre) Program, which is more aligned with the K-12 curriculum and within the framework of cultural and creative industries.


The MA (Theatre Arts) program is now MA in Theatre Arts after having it updated beginning November 2015 to April 2017, with an agenda of integrating the performance studies paradigm in the curriculum.


We are currently awaiting the approval of our PhD (Performance Studies) from the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the University Council.


What else do we need to do?


MA (Speech Communication) is currently being reviewed and hopefully an integration of the performance studies paradigm is part of the updating since the PhD program is envisioned to cater both the MA in Theatre Arts and the MA (Speech Communication) graduates.


The theatre division has started the benchmarking phase to institute a minor program in theatre and performance. 


The next three or five years is also the ripe time to develop a third program. With the capability of our faculty members, I believe we can start to think of an undergraduate program where students will be trained in the history of rhetorical theory and practice, grounded in argumentation and in the analysis of discourse. This program will be based on a pragmatic understanding of the elements of rhetorical analysis, with special attention to tropes, figures, narratives, and performances, and a thorough grounding in the historical development of these elements in rhetorical theory. This will allow students to make a disciplined grasp of the contemporary character of rhetoric and public speaking or rhetoric and performance. This will be the BA (Rhetoric and Performance) program of the Department.


In addition to these programs, there is a potential for the Department to collaborate with the College of Education and the College of Social Work and Development for a possibility of a BA Tri-college program in Applied Theatre. Perhaps, a collaboration with the Department of Communication Research of the College of Mass Communication and the Department of Visual Communication of the College of Fine Arts to introduce a BA-Tri-college program in Communication Studies.


We can also look at the possibility of strengthening our academic linkages with our partner universities. Now that we are in the process of offering a PhD program, a Joint Doctoral Degree in Performance Studies between our Department and the University of New South Wales in Australia or the York University in Canada is the next step. Both institutions have expressed their interests in this possibility.


Pangatlo, maaari din naman tayong maging the most prized carat by virtue of critical, collaborative and innovative productivity


May pangangailangan ang Departamento na maipaigting ang kaniyang pananaliksik, gawaing malikhain at gawaing pang-ekstensiyon. Hindi ito ang usaping dagdagan ang publikasiyon ng mga indibidwal na miyembro ng ating yunit. Hindi naman natin kailangang pagduduhan ang productivity natin.


Since I came back to the Department from my PhD studies, it was my panata to be more engaged and more open to participate in academic conversations. It was not an easy task. Most of the time, it was time consuming. However, this is part of a successful academic conversation: an engagement in contrapuntal dialogues. I am proud to say that since my return, I have conducted and published research projects and engaged in creative works with collaborators from the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management, Department of Linguistics, Department of Anthropology, Department of Arts Studies, Department of History, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Asian Center, and the Asian Institute of Tourism.


My point here is we need to explore other potentials for collaborations – it is not enough that speech, theatre and performance studies are explored by our so-called specialists within the two divisions. Besides, the very ontologies of these subjects are interdisciplinary.


Eh wala tayong pondo? Sagot ko diyan ay sumuntok tayo sa buwan – kailangan din ng leap of faith madalas. Kung ang issue parati natin ay pondo, wala talaga tayong magagawa. Tiwala muna sa sarili. Buoin muna natin ang research capsule. Hindi ba isang katangian natin sa UP ay nauuna tayo sa pila para lumundag sa bungee jumping, at sa pila ng isang roller coaster na isang-daan ang loop. Remember, we sing during the Cheerdance competition: “matatapang, matatalino, walang takot”?


Sa totoo lang karamihan sa mga proyektong naisagawa ko sa loob ng nagdaang pitong taon ay walang pondo sa simula. Nagsimula sa pakikipagusap na sumunod sa pagsuyo at ligawan Eventually, funds came in.


Marami tayong mga maaaring gawin as a Department. Nakakalat ang mga oportunidad, kailangan na nating kolektahin.


Isa sa maaaring nating gawin ay yaong ginawa ng College of Mass Communication na maaari nating gamiting modelo kung tutuusin. The senior faculty members of the College workshopped the writings of the Junior faculty members and came up with a Communication Reader jointly published by the College and the UP Press. Can we not do this?


We can!


In fact, ours will even have a bigger public if we frame it as an important reading resources in senior high schools.


The last time I checked, there is a public speaking class required to all senior high-school and Philippine drama is an elective in the SHS tracks. I envision a speech and theatre reader or whatever we want to call it. It could be Masks and Voices: An Introductory Reader on Speech and Theatre Pedagogy or Tipunin ang mga Tinig: Speech, Theatre and Performance Theory and Criticism in the Philippines.


Prior to the pandemic, napadaan ako sa tinatawag nating costume morgue. I was amazed by the volume of costumes we have produced through the years. Nakakapanghinayang na naroon lang sila at hindi natin mapakinabangan for other practical uses. These costumes may also be used as teaching resources – we have to engage the Department of Studio Arts at the College of Fine Arts and the Department of Clothing Technology and Interior Design at the College of Home Economics in conversations to develop a meaningful project. Together with these units, I believe we can generate pedagogical tools not only for our students but also the students of Clothing Technology and Fine Arts. I see either an EIDR project or an Open Grant project where the three departments are working together to produce a reference material, maybe an online archive, an exhibition of the costumes at the new CHE Costume Museum, and maybe even publish a manuscript with academic press.


Before I left for my PhD studies, Dr. Belen D. Calingacion was collaborating with the College of Engineering. I believe, Asst. Prof. Viray was also part of this project then. Maybe we can continue doing that: to collaborate with the scientists – to develop new softwares on speech detection or other speech tests.   


Sapat na ba ang ginagawa nating programang pang-ekstensiyon? Maaring oo – pero kailangan din nating mag-isip outside the box, ika nga. Kumikita tayo sa Speak-UP at sa Pathways program. I think I can finally say, our colleagues, especially our juniors are already experts in convening conferences, symposiums, forums. Pero sapat na ba ito para masabi natin na tayo ang naglilingkod para sa sambayanan?


Way back 2007, my first year in the Department, I was invited to facilitate a workshop on storytelling. The organizers sent me to Cebu, Bohol, and Davao. The program was something like TEACHER’S CAMP ON TEACHING SPEECH AND DRAMA. The organizers invited other experts from other universities and another one from the College of Education, whose name I do not remember. On the last leg of our facilitation, both she and I went on a tour in Davao – because it was our first time there. During lunchtime, we talked about the experience. Teachers had to pay PhP 6,000.00 to join the camp. And we thought most of the invited facilitators lack the know how in teaching declamation, reader’s theatre, speech choir and debate. Tumatak sa akin ang sinabi ni Madam: “dapat kayo ang nagtuturo nito at hindi sila.


Oo nga naman, bakit nga ba hindi tayo ang nasa mga probinsiya para mag-facilitate ng pagtuturo sa speech and drama? Pero hindi ito raket. This is a public service. And I am not referring to engage with teachers in the big cities. Kung may doctors to the barrios ang UP PGH, may be we are the speech and theatre educators to the barrios.


All we need is a bolder vision and a sense of willingness to serve – the rest? Darating din ang financial assistance or something – masuwerte tayo sa UP dahil marami tayong maaaring pagkunan ng grant.


What I have been describing so far, are components of what we call institutional visibility – the physical visibility of the Department in research, creative work and public service. But there is another visibility that we need to develop: a very strong online presence.


I am not only referring to social media – I believe we already are strong on this venture.


We need something institutional and something official. Something like www.dscta.upd.edu.ph – where we can also perform our institutional pride. I find it ironic that our institution is a communication and performance department and yet, we are not celebrating our digital realm. Then in our PhD proposal, we even are proposing for a level 300 course on digital performance. One question the course will address eventually is this issue of online presence. What does a website do to an institution? It performs multiple identities. Just imagine the potential of a website in many aspects of our teaching, research, creative work and public service.


The final pillar is the aspiration to have the most astonishing color. And what else could this be? Towards a student-centered and public service-oriented programs.


Dulaang UP has always been a significant aspect of the Department’s academic life. It has become a training ground for theatre and speech students. It has also served as a platform to serve the community – explicitly and implicitly. But where is DUP side-by-side the Department in 2034?


In the last ten or fifteen years, the new world order triggered several ruptures that somehow destabilized the structural center of the institution. Then adding to this destabilization is the global health crisis. Perhaps, COVID-19 is a blessing-in-disguise vis-à-vis the way we should think about Dulaang UP.


It’s a good thing that the Department is currently conducting a review of Dulaang UP. I wish that while the review is in process, might as well expand and comprehensively reflect DUP’s agendas vis-à-vis the Department’s vision.

Some bold ideas:


DUP has to confront the needs of the time in contemplating the revisions of the mandates. It should not compete with the academic paradigm of the Department. More so, we have to reflect the needs of the students in relation to the most recent curricula.


We can also imagine DUP not just a space where we produce theatre works but also where we incubate creative ideas and innovative research and creative projects in theatre and performance.


I imagine our Department through Dulaang UP welcoming regional and emerging artists as fellows of contemporary performance practices.


I also imagine our Department through DUP housing an archive of theatre and performance resources like costumes, scripts, set materials, production books, dramaturgical casebooks, plans, recordings of performances for our students, for researchers, and even academics from other universities.


I also imagine our Department through DUP supporting research and creative works in whatever forms possible beneficial to our students, faculty members and even academics from other universities here and abroad.


This is the transformation of the laboratory slash conservatory slash production-centric Dulaang UP into a Dulaang UP Center for Theatre and Performance Research.


Dulaang UP was founded to be a laboratory – and it should remain as a laboratory. As a laboratory, it should be true to its call for becoming the training ground not only for students but also for faculty members. And I am not only directing this to the directors of the Department.


As a matter of respect, equality, equity and care, all faculty members of the department must be given the same opportunity as to the directors to use the resources of the company. For instance, a project in acting by a faculty member whose field or area is acting or performance may be included in the season; or a project in dramaturgy by someone whose performance practice is in dramaturgy; or a performance project in design by someone whose field or area is design; or a chamber theatre performance by someone whose area is on chamber performance.

Four pillars to shine bright like a diamond: clarity, cut, carat and color. Onto the 75th year. And who knows when that time comes – when we are at the forefront of performative engagements in local and global communities someone in the house of representatives might already be assisting us in drafting a law for the recognition and the transformation of the Department as a National Institute for Performance Research, with our own five-story building and  with an annual budget of 10M Pesos for research projects, creative works and public services, imagine this when we turn 100 – isn’t that fabulous?

09_18_21 For A Fresh Start Speech, after the last paragraph Photo Angry Christ 2.jpg