Juliet Dalagan, Xavier University

A Paradigm Shift in Teaching

“Millennial students do not want multiple-choice style learning,” according to Juliet Dalagan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Xavier University in the Philippines and a 2016-2017 United Board Fellow. “They like to take a broader view and look at the big picture.” That poses a challenge for faculty members accustomed to teaching from the perspective of a single discipline. “How can our teachers bring about a more integrative style of learning?” Dr. Dalagan asks. “How can they relate classroom learning to the issues students really care about?”

Faculty will have opportunities to respond to those questions as the Philippines rolls out its new General Education (GE) Curriculum in 2018. General education refers to the portion of the curriculum required of all undergraduate students, and through the new GE courses, the Philippines Commission for Higher Education (CHED) is promoting a more holistic approach to teaching and learning. CHED wants to equip Filipino students for the social and economic environments they will encounter upon graduation and in the decades to follow, and that means preparing them to adapt to fast-changing situations, think innovatively, and create solutions to problems.

Dr. Dalagan shares highlights of her fellowship experience at the United Board Fellows Program Leadership Seminar.

CHED has mapped out a curriculum that emphasizes learning across disciplines, with courses such as Mathematics in the Modern World; Science, Technology, and Society; and Ethics. “The challenge is to make the curriculum real,” Dr. Dalagan said, “as each institution has to deliver the content in the classroom.” At Xavier University, where Dr. Dalagan leads the ad hoc committee for GE, that means preparing faculty from various disciplines for team teaching. “There is a different culture in team teaching,” she pointed out, and that type of collaboration may be unfamiliar. “How can we get faculty comfortable with this?”

Dr. Dalagan raised that question over the course of her United Board fellowship year, and she found some answers at the summer institute at Boston College, which focused on trends in international higher education; during her placement at Hong Kong Baptist University; and in conversations with her mentor, Mercy Pushpalatha, then principal of Lady Doak College. Hong Kong reformed its GE curriculum four years earlier, so Dr. Dalagan interviewed faculty and administrators about the process of introducing GE and ways to evaluate its impact. Dr. Pushpalatha facilitated a videoconference so that Xavier faculty could ask their peers at Lady Doak about best practices in teaching interdisciplinary courses.

The new GE curriculum is the immediate priority but, like millennial students, the Xavier community is also examining the big picture. “What kind of graduates do we want to send out into the world?” Dr. Dalagan asked. Xavier’s mission is to form men and women of character, competence, and commitment, and if faculty are brave and bold enough to embrace a paradigm shift in teaching – reaching across disciplines, facilitating learning inside and outside the classroom, promoting values – then they can play a greater role in achieving that mission.

The United Board expresses its appreciation to Hong Kong Baptist University for hosting Dr. Dalagan during her fellowship placement.

Juliet Dalagan Named Elisabeth Luce Moore United Board Fellow

At the conclusion of the 2016-2017 United Board Fellows Program, Juliet Dalagan was recognized as the Elisabeth Luce Moore United Board Fellow. This designation reflects Dr. Dalagan’s commitment to learning new approaches to leadership and teaching, her willingness to make constructive changes at her home institution, and her potential for academic leadership. The award reflects the legacy of the late Elisabeth Luce Moore, a United Board trustee and generous benefactor, who supported leadership development, particularly among women.

Read More about the United Board Fellows Program