Reaching out for excellence

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Reynaldo Vea
Dr. Reynaldo Vea, President of Mapúa Institute of Technology, Philippines

Mapúa Institute of Technology, or MIT, is a private tertiary educational institution in the Philippines seen as the premiere engineering school in the Philippines that constantly produces top notchers in the engineering and architectural fields. Inside Investor met President Dr. Reynaldo Vea.

Q: Can you give a brief overview of MIT?

A: Mapua Institute of Technology was established in 1925 by the first officially registered architect in the Philippines, Tomás Mapúa, a graduate of Cornell University in New York. It started as a school for working professionals, but over the years it became a full-blown engineering school and is now the largest engineering school in the Philippines. Courses were introduced gradually, such as civil engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering and so on, and by now it has the full panoply of traditional engineering programmes. MIT has been a pioneer in many respects. In the 1960s, for example, MIT was the only university in the Philippines besides the state university that had an IBM 360, at that time the state-of-the-art of computing machines. MIT was also the first one to offer a programme in computer engineering in the 1980s. Tomás Mapúa was president of the MIT until the 1960s and was then succeeded by his son Oscar Mapúa until 1997. In 1999, the family decided to let go of the school, which was then acquired by the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC), a family business conglomerate in the Philippines led by Alfonso T. Yuchengco, former Philippine Ambassador to China, Japan and the U.N. I was appointed president in 2000 as the 3rd president of MIT. The YGC is into banking. It has a majority stake in RCBC, one of the largest commercial banks in the country, and is also majority owner of the largest non-life insurance company in the Philippines, Malayan Insurance Company. Actually, MIT is owned by YGC members, iPeople, which is mainly into IT businesses, and the House of Investments.

Q: What courses do you offer on the Master’s level?

A: The full range of our engineering programmes is on the Master’s level. In addition, we offer 5 PhD programmes, which are environmental engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry material science and engineering, and electronics engineering, and we are getting ready to offer more. As for the undergraduate degrees, we were the first school in Southeast Asia to have had programs accredited by ABET, which is the sole accreditation body for engineering and computing programs in the US but also accredits non-US programs. We now have 8 engineering and 2 computing programmes accredited by ABET. Our vision is to become a global center of excellence in engineering, and thus far we have formally leveled up to global standards.

Q: How large is your undergraduate programme?

A: The undergraduate programme comprises about 15,000 students in our two campuses in Metro Manila, one in Intramuros and the other in Makati. There is one more school in the province of Laguna, called Malayan Colleges Laguna, with 4,3000 students. Having done much to improve our undergraduate programs, we now devote more efforts to develop our research capabilities. We just broke ground for a new research building in Intramuros and have linked up with other schools, locally and internationally, for collaborative research.

Q: Who are your cooperation partners?

A: The biggest one is the Chung Yuan Christian University, or CYCU, in Taiwan. We have student and faculty exchange and dual-degree programmes with them so that students can gather credits at both institutions. We are also partners with the University of California of Berkeley on a research on transportation systems under the Philippine government-funded Philippine-California Advanced Research Institutes (PCARI). We further started a tie-up with a school in South Korea, the Kumoh National Institute of Technology. They sent over some students for English and technical courses and we will send students to them as well.

Q: What is your personal academic background?

A: I graduated in mechanical engineering at the University of the Philippines and I went on to take my Master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in naval architecture and marine engineering. I worked at a shipyard in Mississippi designing offshore supply vessels for service in the Gulf of Mexico and then went to work for a firm in San Francisco to help design container ships for the trans-Pacific trade. I got my PhD from the University of California in Berkeley in engineering with a specialisation in marine transportation systems. I was dean of the College of Engineering at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City from 1993 to 1997, and Administrator and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System in Manila from 1997 to 2000. As I said, in 2000 I came over to Mapùa.

Q: How do your engineering schools in the Philippines work together to groom highly skilled graduates?

A: We are active in the present effort of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to transform Philippine engineering education, and in fact the whole system of education, towards the outcomes-based approach. For the Malayan High School of Science and the Malayan Colleges Laguna, which are our wholly-owned subsidiaries, and for the mother school we have adopted such an outcomes-based system of education.

Q: Have your programmes changed in the past with the rapid development in ASEAN?

A: We have, as I said earlier, adopted outcomes-based education, which is a trend, not only in Southeast Asia, but globally. For example, today it is asked if a graduate can design experiments, or can collect and analyse data properly, can apply the principles of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and solutions in engineering problems, is able to appreciate engineering solutions in the light of social, environmental and ethical considerations, is knowledgeable about contemporary issues, can work interdisciplinary in multi-cultural teams and so on. At present, these outcomes are globally accepted as a requirement for engineering graduates. For us, we have adopted these outcomes and organized our academic programmes around them, including the design of the courses and the syllabus. Student assessment is also done with regards to these requirements in conjunction with a continuous quality improvement system. We are one of few schools that have been following an outcome-based approach for the past years in the Philippines, but it is in fact now a major part of the CHED’s educational reform efforts.

Q: What are your strategic plans for the next 5 years?

A: We want to do better with our level of attainment of the learning outcomes in our undergraduate programs. We also want to further develop our research capabilities and to create intellectual property from research. We are a private school and cannot rely on government support by and large, although sometimes we get some research funding. We aim to be self-sustaining. We have identified the areas where we would like to create intellectual property, namely, sustainable development and the Internet-of-Things, which are both highly interdisciplinary. This is where we want to excel in the coming years.


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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Dr. Reynaldo Vea, President of Mapúa Institute of Technology, Philippines

Mapúa Institute of Technology, or MIT, is a private tertiary educational institution in the Philippines seen as the premiere engineering school in the Philippines that constantly produces top notchers in the engineering and architectural fields. Inside Investor met President Dr. Reynaldo Vea.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Reynaldo Vea
Dr. Reynaldo Vea, President of Mapúa Institute of Technology, Philippines

Mapúa Institute of Technology, or MIT, is a private tertiary educational institution in the Philippines seen as the premiere engineering school in the Philippines that constantly produces top notchers in the engineering and architectural fields. Inside Investor met President Dr. Reynaldo Vea.

Q: Can you give a brief overview of MIT?

A: Mapua Institute of Technology was established in 1925 by the first officially registered architect in the Philippines, Tomás Mapúa, a graduate of Cornell University in New York. It started as a school for working professionals, but over the years it became a full-blown engineering school and is now the largest engineering school in the Philippines. Courses were introduced gradually, such as civil engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering and so on, and by now it has the full panoply of traditional engineering programmes. MIT has been a pioneer in many respects. In the 1960s, for example, MIT was the only university in the Philippines besides the state university that had an IBM 360, at that time the state-of-the-art of computing machines. MIT was also the first one to offer a programme in computer engineering in the 1980s. Tomás Mapúa was president of the MIT until the 1960s and was then succeeded by his son Oscar Mapúa until 1997. In 1999, the family decided to let go of the school, which was then acquired by the Yuchengco Group of Companies (YGC), a family business conglomerate in the Philippines led by Alfonso T. Yuchengco, former Philippine Ambassador to China, Japan and the U.N. I was appointed president in 2000 as the 3rd president of MIT. The YGC is into banking. It has a majority stake in RCBC, one of the largest commercial banks in the country, and is also majority owner of the largest non-life insurance company in the Philippines, Malayan Insurance Company. Actually, MIT is owned by YGC members, iPeople, which is mainly into IT businesses, and the House of Investments.

Q: What courses do you offer on the Master’s level?

A: The full range of our engineering programmes is on the Master’s level. In addition, we offer 5 PhD programmes, which are environmental engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry material science and engineering, and electronics engineering, and we are getting ready to offer more. As for the undergraduate degrees, we were the first school in Southeast Asia to have had programs accredited by ABET, which is the sole accreditation body for engineering and computing programs in the US but also accredits non-US programs. We now have 8 engineering and 2 computing programmes accredited by ABET. Our vision is to become a global center of excellence in engineering, and thus far we have formally leveled up to global standards.

Q: How large is your undergraduate programme?

A: The undergraduate programme comprises about 15,000 students in our two campuses in Metro Manila, one in Intramuros and the other in Makati. There is one more school in the province of Laguna, called Malayan Colleges Laguna, with 4,3000 students. Having done much to improve our undergraduate programs, we now devote more efforts to develop our research capabilities. We just broke ground for a new research building in Intramuros and have linked up with other schools, locally and internationally, for collaborative research.

Q: Who are your cooperation partners?

A: The biggest one is the Chung Yuan Christian University, or CYCU, in Taiwan. We have student and faculty exchange and dual-degree programmes with them so that students can gather credits at both institutions. We are also partners with the University of California of Berkeley on a research on transportation systems under the Philippine government-funded Philippine-California Advanced Research Institutes (PCARI). We further started a tie-up with a school in South Korea, the Kumoh National Institute of Technology. They sent over some students for English and technical courses and we will send students to them as well.

Q: What is your personal academic background?

A: I graduated in mechanical engineering at the University of the Philippines and I went on to take my Master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in naval architecture and marine engineering. I worked at a shipyard in Mississippi designing offshore supply vessels for service in the Gulf of Mexico and then went to work for a firm in San Francisco to help design container ships for the trans-Pacific trade. I got my PhD from the University of California in Berkeley in engineering with a specialisation in marine transportation systems. I was dean of the College of Engineering at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City from 1993 to 1997, and Administrator and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System in Manila from 1997 to 2000. As I said, in 2000 I came over to Mapùa.

Q: How do your engineering schools in the Philippines work together to groom highly skilled graduates?

A: We are active in the present effort of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to transform Philippine engineering education, and in fact the whole system of education, towards the outcomes-based approach. For the Malayan High School of Science and the Malayan Colleges Laguna, which are our wholly-owned subsidiaries, and for the mother school we have adopted such an outcomes-based system of education.

Q: Have your programmes changed in the past with the rapid development in ASEAN?

A: We have, as I said earlier, adopted outcomes-based education, which is a trend, not only in Southeast Asia, but globally. For example, today it is asked if a graduate can design experiments, or can collect and analyse data properly, can apply the principles of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and solutions in engineering problems, is able to appreciate engineering solutions in the light of social, environmental and ethical considerations, is knowledgeable about contemporary issues, can work interdisciplinary in multi-cultural teams and so on. At present, these outcomes are globally accepted as a requirement for engineering graduates. For us, we have adopted these outcomes and organized our academic programmes around them, including the design of the courses and the syllabus. Student assessment is also done with regards to these requirements in conjunction with a continuous quality improvement system. We are one of few schools that have been following an outcome-based approach for the past years in the Philippines, but it is in fact now a major part of the CHED’s educational reform efforts.

Q: What are your strategic plans for the next 5 years?

A: We want to do better with our level of attainment of the learning outcomes in our undergraduate programs. We also want to further develop our research capabilities and to create intellectual property from research. We are a private school and cannot rely on government support by and large, although sometimes we get some research funding. We aim to be self-sustaining. We have identified the areas where we would like to create intellectual property, namely, sustainable development and the Internet-of-Things, which are both highly interdisciplinary. This is where we want to excel in the coming years.


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