by RONALYN BANAKEN
In her acceptance speech, the new president urged the UB community to “empower students to be independent while keeping their cultural identity,
contributing to society constructively.”
The University of Baguio (UB) community welcomed its new president in an investiture ceremony at the UB Gym last Dec. 5.
Prof. Dhanna Kerina B. Rodas, UB’s first woman president, was officially installed during the ceremony, which was attended by UB employees, retirees, alumni and students as well as administrators from other schools.
Prof. Rodas, an educator-artist, finished Bachelor of Fine Arts – Visual Communication at the University of the Philippines-Diliman (UPD). She holds a master’s degree in special education from the same university. She is a PhD candidate, also in special education, at UPD.
As an artist
Prior to being a full-time educator, Prof. Rodas worked on graphics designing and animation. She was animation tracer, painter and checker at the Makati-based Burbank Animation Inc. from 1982 to 1985 and was the manager from 1985 to 1988. She was also an animation production director and graphic artist at Creative Expressions Studios Inc. in Quezon City in 1988 – 1991.
Inclination for special education
Her profound inclination for special education does not come without a valid motivation. She was the primary caregiver to her eldest son, Nino, who had mild intellectual disability, asthma, glumeruolonephritis, epilepsy and academic learning delays – and creative in two-dimensional visual art – from 1982 to 2006, the year she lost him. She mentored him, who represented the country in the 1st Art Exhibition of Special Olympics World Games in Dublin, Ireland in 2003.
With her craft peering into the worlds of special education and arts intertwined, she held a variety of positions in various centers and foundations in Metro Manila, among them the following: Reintegration for Care and Wholeness RCW Foundation Inc. (board member, 2007; corporate treasurer, 2010-2011); Special Olympics Inc. (parent volunteer, 2003-2005; member of the board and national sports director, 2004); VSA Arts (volunteer); AV Foundation (volunteer); Servants of the Luminous Cross of Grace (servant); and Dream Foundation, Baguio City (consultant, 2010).
In 2007-2008, Prof. Rodas was college professor in graduate and undergraduate courses at UPD. She was also a part-time lecturer at St. Scholastica's College - College of Education in undergraduate subjects on child behavior as well as a college professor in the graduate program for human growth, learning and development and art in early childhood and special education.
In 2010 – 2013, she served as a college professor in art appreciation at the General Education Department of FEU-FERN College, a member of the Far Eastern University group of schools.
She was college lecturer at UPD in special education and art appreciation from 2011 to 2014. She became fulltime assistant professor in August 2014, teaching art education and special education.
Involvement in educational conferences
Active on the conference circuit, Prof. Rodas attended conventions across and outside the country, the latest of which was in Harvard where she co-presented the paper "Social Studies Curriculum Guide and Textbook: How Strong is the Connection" during the International Journal of Arts and Sciences Conferences in May 2015.
At the College of Asian Scholars in Thailand, she delivered her speech "Education Reform for Social Justice: The New Challenge 2015" in September 2015.
She was the representative of UP SPED Area in the formulation of the “Special Education Centers Act” and was a participant in the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations for K to 12.
Prof. Rodas is presently the First Vice-President of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities. (She sat as corporate secretary, vice-chairperson of the Public Relations Committee, member of the Membership Committee, and member of the Task Force on Basic Education of the association in 2010. In 2012, she became its vice president.)
In her acceptance speech, she pressed on “continuing the legacy built because of the love for wisdom and the youth, nurturing diverse learners and teachers who motivate learning and facilitate ethical practice, good academic performance, and appreciation of life through arts, culture and sports.”
“We must empower students to be independent while keeping their cultural identity, contributing to society constructively. This is the UB graduate’s identity, competent for industry and life at large,” she said, drawing applause from the audience.
Prof. Rodas is sworn in by Bishop Carlito Cenzon during the investiture rites.