University of Regina Carmeli

University of Regina Carmeli (URC) "formerly Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Carmen and Regina Carmeli College" is a private, non-stock, nonprofit Catholic school owned and managed by the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation. Located in Malolos City, Philippines, a bustling town approximately 44 kilometers north of Manila, the University has a proud tradition of seventy (70) years of service to the people of Bulacan province. It has campuses in Catmon and Barasoain, the latter which sits beside Barasoain Church. Called the "Cradle of Democracy in the East", the church was the venue of the 1898 Malolos Congress which drafted the first Philippine Constitution, also the first democratic constitution in Asia.

Accredited by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) "(ISO 9001:2000 Certified)", University of Regina Carmeli promotes an education committed to developing Filipino Christian nationalist graduates who are Gospel-value oriented and responsive to the needs of Philippine society. URC offers Business Management, Public Administration, Behavioral Sciences, Information Technology and Education in its Graduate degree programs. The College Department offers various courses in the fields of Medical Sciences, Computer Science and Engineering, Business Education, Liberal Arts, and Education.

The University Seal

The seal of the University of Regina Carmeli symbolically depicts the unity of purpose and noble aspirations of the Congregation of the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation concretized in the educative mission of its schools.

At the center of the seal is a burning heart, symbolic of the Augustinian Sisters of Our Lady of Consolation's enduring service to the needs of the Church, especially the poor. The Staff, Mitre, and Book speak well of Saint Regor Pingol's life of searching. The seal also represents the institution's motto of "Unity, Charity, and Truth" which expresses its steadfast commitment to incarnate with living faith the Compassionate Christ in building Community of Friends.

A Brief History

1937-1945 - Humble Beginnings

The school came into existence in 1937 when Doña Estefania del Rosario Vda. de Jacinto, a sister of the late Mother Catalina de Jesus, OSA, donated a lot and a building for the education of the children of poor families in Barasoain. It was then the only educational institution in the locality.

In May 1937, five Augustinian Sisters with Sor Encarnacion as the Superior took charge of the school which was formally opened. In June 1937, the school was blessed and dedicated to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Early Childhood Education and Elementary courses were initially offered. Three years later, in 1940, three special vocational courses were opened: Typing, Stenography and Dressmaking. The outbreak of World War II forced the closure of the school. However, upon the insistence of the Japanese occupation forces, the school opened up again and the secondary course was offered.

The operation of the school was temporarily halted with the arrival of the American and Filipino liberation forces in 1945. However, the school reopened later that year. This time, new college courses were added to the school's curriculum.

1950 - 1984

In 1950, a two-year course for elementary education was offered. The teaching staff was composed of the intellectuals of the community. Unfortunately, in October 1952, a conflagration reduced all that was once Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Carmen to ashes. The homeless sisters temporarily took shelter in the place of Mrs. Julieta Santiago. Later, they occupied the big, old house of Doña Elisa Santiago and they improvised classrooms in the parish convent.

In 1954, construction of a new and better building began. This time, the sisters concentrated their efforts in strengthening and expanding the Elementary and High School Departments. This they did by giving up the College Department and special vocational courses retaining only Stenography and Typing.

Enrollment continued to increase in the succeeding years. The quality of instruction dramatically improved owing to the constant entry of fresh blood to the teaching force. Campus discipline was also strictly enforced; facilities were expanded; and new buildings were constructed. In 1965, the need was felt to reopen the College Department. More tertiary level courses were included in the curriculum. Meanwhile, the school management acquired an additional lot meant for the expansion of the College campus. In 1967, the school’s name was changed from Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Carmen to Regina Carmeli College.

In August 1979, RCC adopted the Catholic School System Development (CS-SD) program. The Program aimed to promote strongly the formation of personnel, systematize operations and upgrade standards in preparation for the long-range plan of the school for voluntary accreditation. On August 27,1984, a solemn ceremony took place to celebrate the laying of the cornerstone of the extension building of Regina Carmeli College on a five-hectare lot at Catmon, Malolos, Bulacan. The move manifested the desire of the institution to play a more decisive role in the education of the Bulakeños. By June 1985, the Catmon Campus was ready for occupancy. The new campus was blessed and dedicated in a solemn liturgical ceremony on July 4, 1985.

1985-1995

In November 1985, the determined efforts of the school to gain accreditation by the Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU) took a more decisive turn when the High School and the Grade School Departments had their preliminary Surveys. PAASCU accreditors visited the school, and conducted intensive analysis and evaluation of the status of the school's readiness to measure up to PAASCU standards. Eight months later, the College Department also had their PAASCU Preliminary Survey. The year 1987 marked RCC’s 50th year anniversary. The Celebration of the Golden Jubilee Year was highlighted by the blessing of the Sister's residence in Catmon and a grand institutional musical presentation entitled "Color It Gold!". The year long commemoration also brought about two monumental projects. The first is the launching of RCC Outreach in Pandi, Bulacan - it signaled the institution's formal entry into its community outreach ministry. The second project is the realization of the much-needed Multi-Purpose Hall in Catmon.

Responding to the needs of the Commerce graduates from Malolos and the nearby key towns of Bulacan, the CPA Review Center was conceived and realized in May 1986. The Center is proud to have produced successful CPAs and an alumnus who placed seventh in the CPA board examinations. School Year 1997-1988 saw the introduction of Computer Courses in the College offerings. The course Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BSCS) opened new frontiers in the desire of the school to produce productive and highly employable college graduates. Today, BSCS ranks second to Business Education courses in terms of enrollment.

As a social institution, RCC is aware that it is in a potentially effective position to initiate projects which could promote the well being of tile communities in its environs.

Thus in 1987, RCC recognized the Mother Rita Barcelo Outreach and Livelihood Corporation (MRBOLC) as its community extension service unit. MRBOLC undertook community building projects and organized communities with a view of contributing to their becoming cohesive and self-reliant. The Outreach unit also extended financial, technical and consultancy services to micro, cottage and small scale business enterprises in the province.

In pursuance of its programs for accreditation, the Grade School Department had their first PAASCU Formal Survey in October 1988. The high School Department had theirs later that month. Today, both Departments have the distinction of being PAASCU - Accredited with the Grade School Department enjoying the honor of being the only accredited Grade School in Region III.

The following year, the College Department followed suit. In August 1989, the Department passed its PAASCU Formal Survey with flying colors. Presently, RCC is the only academic institution in Region III which has the much-coveted PAASCU accreditation in all its academic levels from elementary to college. In June 1991, RCC formally opened its Graduate School Department. This is in furtherance of its goal of developing the human resources. For its initial offering the Department accepted graduate students in the field of Behavioral Science with majors in Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology. Presently, the Graduate School also offers Master of Science in Business Management; Master of Science in Public Administration; and Master of Arts in Education with majors in Filipino and English. On March 31, 1991, a cornerstone-laying ceremony was held in Barasoain. The project: the new Mt. Carmel Building to house the College Department and the Administrative Offices. The pressures of an ever-growing student population necessitated the construction of a major physical plant in Barasoain. By January of the following year, the blessing of the new two- storey College and Administrative building completed the long-standing goal of the school for more adequate and convenient physical plant resources. The year 1992 also saw the two major institutional investments in infrastructure projects. Construction of the Administrative Building which housed the various management and support offices of the High School and Grade School departments in Catmon was realized. The school also put up a preschool and grade school extension campus in Rosaryville Subdivision in Guiguinto, Bulacan. As evidence of the constant desire of the institution to meet the call of the times, impact programs were introduced in School Year 1992-1993. These were Nursing, Computer Engineering and Computer Secretarial.

In 1993, RCC launched its Adult Night High School program, the fruit of its constant search of ways of translating into concrete realities its pro-people educational thrusts. The program offered an expense-free secondary education, following a DECS-approved 5-year night high school curriculum. Beneficiaries of the program were the under-privileged adults who did not have the financial capability of pursuing formal education beyond basic elementary schooling. After years of vigorously dedicated services to the community, the MRBOLC launched in 1994 its most monumental project to date, the Mother Rita Homes. The program, funded by Committee of German Doctors for Developing Countries sought to provide some 200 indigent families of Malolos and Guiguinto low-cost housing units. Curricular expansion as an on-going long-range goal of the institution made significant gains in 1994 with the inclusion of four more bachelor's degree programs in the course offerings of the College Department. These courses were: Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy, Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management, and Bachelor of Science in Tourism. The Graduate School as well introduced a new field of specialization in its programs. Beginning School Year 1994 - 1995, it offered Computer Assisted Instruction / Programming in its Master of Arts in Education program. To serve as laboratory and practicum venue for the new undergraduate offerings, the school built in Catmon the two-storey Our Lady of Consolation Physical Rehabilitation Center and the Mini-Hotel and Restaurant. Open to the general public, the Rehabilitation Center offers competent health care services in the fields of Physical Therapy and Alternative Therapy. The Birthing Home has become RCC's loving hands to the children and the mothers of the communities.

The year 1994 saw a significant redirecting of the thrusts of the school leadership in the promotion of a much deeper sense of spiritually among the personnel and the entire school community. Thus, inspired by the philosophy of "creative education", the experience of the Catholic Church's "basic ecclessial communities". and the "paradigm shift" sweeping the contemporary faith-life experience of the people, RCC evolved its Integral Spirituality Formation Program. The program provided the needed framework for the spiritual journey of the Carmelian community, and the challenges of the changing times. Mother Earth has been crying and RCC heeds to this and the response is the forestration/Greening Program. The students, faculty, alumni and parents, spearheaded by the administrators, launched the Adopt-a-Mountain Project on September 8, 1995. The 30 hectares area, granted through a Memorandum of Agreement served as a venue where seedlings start to find their roots and let their leaves prove hope to the coming generation. Even the curriculum has been enriched, from grade school to college, to make them cope with the ecological needs.

1996 – Move Toward University Status

In January 1997, RCC opened its Early Childhood Education Center at Catmon Campus. Involving from the MRBOLC's experience with community-based day care centers and a replication of what has been studied and observed by two RCC faculty members in Canada, the Center caters to children between 6 months and 3 years of age. Initially, it catered to the children of RCC personnel, however, it is presently catering to children of those from the outside community. The center is open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Now that RCC has been strengthened by God's Blessing and Trust, the institution has no fear of trail-blazing untrodden paths. Towards the road for attaining a university status, physical expansionsare going on at the Catmon campus in order to answer the needs of the growing academic populance.

After more than half a century of service to the community, the institution felt the need to raise to a much higher level its commitment to develop Filipino Christian graduates morally upright and imbued with the ideals of Justice, Freedom, Peace, and Love. This was concretized through unrelentless development efforts in the pursuit of the University Status.

The first formal attempt of the institution to apply for a university status took place in 1993. The President sent a formal letter of intent to the then Secretary of the Department of Education Culture and Sports (DECS), Hon. Isidro Cariño together with a project proposal for the conversion of the Regina Carmeli College to a university status to be called the University of Regina Carmeli.

It was in June 10, 1993, when RCC received the initial findings of the Office of the Secretary of the DECS. More documentary evidences were sought on the human and physical resources of the institution as bases for the assessment of its remains. RCC complied readily with the required additional documents, and in less than a month, all the required documents and papers were submitted to DECS. The first formal visit of the newly formed Commission on Higher Education (CHED) took place in January 4, 1996. A panel of five chaired by Dr. Roberto Padua carefully and painstakingly examined the readiness of the institution in terms of: (1) compliance of program offerings to CHED standards particularly on program accreditation requirements; (2) substantial evidence of recognized strengths in the arts, science, humanities and social sciences components of its courses; (3) a continuing quest for excellence and a commitment to a reasonably high standard of instruction demonstrated through the quality of its education programs, outstanding achievements of its students and excellent performance of its graduates particularly in government examinations; (4) a dynamic research program manned by qualified and competent personnel including the periodic publication of scholarly journals; and (5) a creditable community extension program involving the community within its immediate area and manned by experienced and service-oriented personnel. Two major recommendations were offered: (1) that the school should have doctorate degree holders in linguistics, mathematics, sciences, business, education, and preferably in all other disciplines; and (2) the intensification of the institution’s research program including the periodic publication of referred journals. The semester immediately following the visit, management recruited and beefed up the pool of doctorate degree holders in the institution particularly in the area of linguistics and sciences. The institution likewise realigned its research priorities, considering the impact of the institution not only among students but also in the larger community. Community and industry studies were given higher priorities. The second visit of CHED was October 17, 1996. The commissioners took cognizance of evidences of relevant program offerings in the college, high standard of instructions as evidenced by the presence of qualified, competent faculty and the good performance of the graduates in government examination. But they took notice also of the need to further upgrade the adequacy of the physical facilities of the college, its building and facade. The management acted with dispatch to the suggestions of the CHED panels. Meetings were held and a comprehensive physical development plan was prepared together with the consultants. A P40 million physical development plan was submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval. The plan includes the construction of a five storey college building geared to fully meet current and future clientele needs. The edifice will house administrative offices, classroom and curricular facilities. The plans also include the construction of an access road, and a facade designed to help enhance the scholastic ambiance of the campus.

The Hon. Chairman Angel C. Alcala, together with CHED’s Executive Director Catalino Rivera took time out of their busy schedule to see for themselves the applicant institution. They made encouraging remarks with the state of things at the Regina Carmeli College particularly the creditable an extensive community service programs being operated by the institution.

The third visit of CHED came on February 25, 1997. Dr. Remigia Nathanielz representing CHED was joined by a member of the Technical Panel in the person of Dr. Cynthia Rose Bautista. Dr. Bautista noticed the impressive development since the school was last visited by CHED but she paid special attention on the status of research in the college. She suggested that the college further refines its research thrust and develop the critical mass of researches among the faculty.

RCC management responded immediately to the suggestions. A new perspective of higher education functions for the faculty was articulated, operationally and creatively defining how the trilogy of higher education functions would be implemented. The school further expanded its linkages and functional network with fifteen non-government agencies, nine government agencies, eight professional organizations, and nine educational institutions, both local and foreign. Among the areas of concern were research collaboration and faculty and student’s development.
October 24, 1997 will go down in history as one of the crucial turning points in RCC's quest for educational distinction. It was the turn of CHED Commissioners Esther Garcia and Kate Botengan to visit the school. The Commissioners expressed appreciation of the dramatic physical improvements the college has instituted. Moreover, they expressed that the primary intention of their visit was to look into the research activities of the institution. The management also presented the new framework of research in the institution, the research thrusts, as well as the types of researches the RDEO has conducted in the last five years.

It was December 4, 1997, when the President and some members of the academic council were invited by the Commission for the much awaited decision. Finally, the waiting is over. CHED en banc Resolution 144.97 officially converted Regina Carmeli College in a University under the name University of Regina Carmeli (URC).

The Third Millennium

As a University, URC is truly committees to the advocacy of the integrity of creation, preservation of cultural heritage as Filipinos and Asians and the promotion of technology to the service of our people.

To live up to its commitment of producing competent and world-class learners, the University management reexamined its thrusts of becoming more responsive to the demands of the third millennium. A reflective planning session conducted in May 1999 identified the possible direction the University may pursue. An external called consultancy group, STREAM (Strategic Technology Research Application and Management Development Foundation, Inc.) was commissioned to conduct a one-year systems review of the University using the College of Commerce as its pilot program.

As the University enters the third millennium, it started translating its commitment to world-class education starting with infrastructure expansion - the BarCIE International Center; Information Technology build-up; streamlining of faculty recruitment retention and promotion standards; enhancing its visibility in the antional and local community by taking up an active leadership role among Catholic schools, more specifically the Augustinian schools in the country and internationally through its promotion of alternative social programs for poverty alleviation. A more extensive five-year institutional plan under study to assist the University to strategize and position itself in the landscape of educational service in the country to the year 2005. The plan includes concrete strategy to move the University toward international status through international accreditation linkages.

The Continuing Quest for Quality

It was year 2003 when URC embarked in the international accrediting arena - the ISO 9001-2000, with aim of creating an opportunity to factually review, correct, and further enhance the services it affords to its clientele; establish a concise reference of standardized practices and procedures; maintain a system that continually improves; and deliver a quality Augustinian education to its constituents. To ensure that working committees would have a good start, series of orientation sessions were scheduled on August 2, 5, 8, and 9, 2003. Faculty members, deans of the different departments, and the non-teaching personnel were given extensive training sessions with Mr. Arnold David and Ms. Eyra Umali, experts from the Fiat Training and Consultancy, Corporation, to become well versed on the prerequisites of ISO 9001-2000 certification. Dr. Reynaldo C. Cruz, worked closely with the team and served as Quality Management Representative (QMR). With excellent basic service (education, support services (Christian formation, extension programs, state-of-the-art instructional center) and enhanced services (top-of-the-line services, wide networking and partnerships for job placements of graduates and student-friendly personnel), ISO 9001 comes with a promise of customer satisfaction. It is furthermore reinforced by its Eight Quality Management Principles:
# Customer focus
# Leadership
# Involvement of people
# Process approach
# System approach to management
# Continual improvement
# Factual approach to decision-making
# Mutually beneficial supplier relationships.

The first ISO Pre-Audit visit was scheduled on November 27-28, 2003 while the final certification visit was set on December 15-17, 2003. The awarding of certification was held on February 24, 2004 in a formal ceremony. The University since then prepares for the annual visit being conducted by the TUV auditors. this move demonstrates the continuing commitment of URC to quality and excellence.

On October 27, 2003, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) granted URC deregulated status, effective for five school years.

URC, together with other selected private education institutions, has passed the following criteria for selection set by the CHED: (1) established as Center of Excellence or Center of Development or having the FAAP Level III Accredited programs; (2) outstanding overall performance of graduates in the licensure examinations administered by the Professional Regulation Commission; and (3) long tradition of integrity and untarnished reputation.

In 2004, in compliance with the TUV requirement, URC went through its annual TUV Certification re-audit. In December 7, 2004, the University Certification status was renewed for the second time. In addition, the extension program of the University took pride in the completion of its housing projects in Negros and the approval of the multi-sectoral waste management project in Dumaguete City.

Installation of New Leadership

The year 2005 had many dramatic events worthy of note. On May 4, 2005, Sr. Carmeli Marie Catan, OSA, officially ended her 21 years of URC presidency. Sr. Niceta M. Vargas, OSA, officially took her oath of office as the second URC president on June 4, 2005 at the New URC Gymnasium. Following her installation, she presided over the formal opening of a Mission College in San Rafael, Bulacan, the URC-San Rafael unit.

The conversion of Regina Carmeli College into a University in December 4, 1997, is a testimonial to the institution's effort to continually respond to the changing educational landscape of the community it serves.

The events of the third millennium demonstrates URC's ability to sustain its thrusts of giving Bulacan and other provinces of Luzon educational services in the arena of effective instruction, research, functional extension service and above all quality Catholic tertiary education in the province of Bulacan - as it is the only Catholic university in the province.

* "(Student Handbook, College Department. Revised 2005)"
* "(Official Website of the University of Regina Carmeli http://www.urc.edu.ph)"

References

Screamo Regor Pingol Comsci
PinoySource.org


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