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BS Meteorology benchmarks 4 related agencies, institutions

September 20, 2022

In order to enhance the Bicol University BS Meteorology curriculum and further strengthen linkages with other SUCs and meteorology-related agencies, the BU College of Science – Physics Department faculty members and staff conducted a benchmarking activity at the Central Luzon State University (CLSU), Rizal Technological University (RTU), PAGASA Central Office, and Manila Observatory, last August 1 to 6, 2022.

The BU delegation was led by Prof. Karen P. Conda-Botin, Physics Department Chair, along with Prof. Jo-Ann M. Cordovilla, Prof. Marierose D. Jasareno, Prof. Jerome A. Azul, Prof. John Ruel L. Locaba, and Erwin N. Bañares, Science Research Assistant.

CLSU shares best practices

The CLSU BS Meteorology program uses a number of facilities, including the Radio Broadcasting room where their students conduct practicum on broadcast meteorology and the Department of Information Technology computer laboratory building where BS Meteorology students have their computational meteorology subjects. On the first day of the benchmarking activity, BU delegates were given a tour of these facilities.

To streamline the BS Meteorology curriculum across the SUCs, the present CLSU curriculum was also compared to the current BU BS Meteorology program. As a result, both parties shared their best practices in the areas of instruction and research.

BU to deploy Meteorology students for OJT at PAGASA Central Office

The BU delegates resumed their benchmarking activities at the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to establish ties for the on-the-job (OJT) training of the BS Meteorology students, as well as to consider visiting professors and lecturers to share their expertise in the meteorology subjects, research, and extension collaborations.

Although there is already an existing Memorandum of Agreement between BU and PAGASA Central Office, through its South Luzon office, this only allows students to spend their internship at the field offices in the Bicol region. With the benchmarking, the department looked at the prospect of placing the students in the central office for the upcoming third-year batch that would enroll in a practicum in the succeeding midyear.

Before drafting a new MOA for this new agreement, the policy of BU regarding adjunct faculty, as well as thesis advising or co-advisors needs to be clarified first. The BU delegation also met with the board members of the Philippine Meteorological Society (PMS) in preparation for the extension activity that is set to start in November 2022.

Manila Observatory to accept BU Meteorology interns

An active partnership for OJT deployment was also discussed with the Manila Observatory during the benchmarking. A MOA will be draft to formalize the agreement. Aside from establishing affiliation, the BU delegation was also shown the observatory’s sophisticated equipment for weather, remote sensing, and air quality, including meeting the different laboratory heads and officers.

The Manila Observatory suggested that the university can act as a “node” which means that they will deploy automated weather stations (AWS) in the Bicol Region, and BU will be in-charge of maintaining the equipment in exchange for the datasets from the AWS. Two separate MOA/MOU is expected to be crafted for this partnership.

RTU introduces BS Astronomy to BU delegates

Known as the first in the country to offer a BS Astronomy with a concentration in Meteorology, the Rizal Technological University (RTU) shared their best practices on student monitoring, research, and extension to the existing curriculum of BU Meteorology program.

The delegation was also toured around the campus and the different laboratories and offices where they met the faculty members of the Astronomy Department. Future partnerships were also discussed for the student and faculty exchange program, OJT deployment, and research collaborations.

Overall, the benchmarking activity is expected to forge six MOAs/MOUs with the agencies and institutions visited. This also allowed the physics department to streamline the BS Meteorology program for the next curriculum review in preparation for the submission of the certificate of program compliance (COPC). | by Arnold C. Noda, CPRO, with reports from Erwin N. Bañares and Karen P. Conda-Botin, BUCS.