Since its inception as an institution of higher learning in early 70s, the Catanduanes State Colleges has been formed out of the former Virac National Agriculture and Trades School (VNATS) through the initiative of Cong. Jose M. Alberto. The conversion of that secondary vocational school into a state institution of higher learning is one of the long-lasting legacies bestowed upon Catandunganons by the proactive and visionary leader---JMA.
The incumbent, three-term solon, Hon. Cesar V. Sarmiento , have equalized, if not eclipsed that legislative feat by converting the CSC into a university, now officially called the Catanduanes State University (CSU), other projects and legislative measures he had passed into laws.
While previous administrations have contributed something in its building block, rapid and substantial changes and improvements started with the presidency of Dr. Adolfo Bagadiong and pursued vigorously under the three-term presidency of Dr. Asuncion V. Asetre. Under her term, the formal process of promoting it into a university started with the accreditation of its various curricular programs by the AACCUP with the indefatigable collective efforts of the faculty staff, non-teaching personnel and the studentry.
However, Dr. Asetre’s efforts fall short in view of the lack of political support from the Arroyo administration in spite of Sen. Chiz Escudero’s senate support. Cong. Joseph Santiago at that time lost the political will as he belonged to the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), one of the opposition parties, then headed by Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. Internally, academic officials said, the CSC is ready for promotion at that time.
Cong. Cesar V. Sarmiento made that dream possible when he announced during his initial 3-year term that the promotion of the CSC into a University would be one of his priority bills. Two enabling factors made the promotion a reality, namely: his membership in the ruling Liberal Party, his persuasive power-dealing with the corridors of power and the internal readiness of the CSC as ascertained by the Commission of Higher Education (CHED) through the AACCUP.
Dr. Minerva I. Morales succeeded Dr. Asetre, after she got the nod of the majority of the Board of Directors due to her impressive credentials. During her presidency, like her immediate predecessor, the CSC chalked up distinctions in board examinations in engineering, nursing, accountancy and agriculture to name a few. Dr. Morales earned the distinction of becoming the first CSU president when she ran for the university presidency and chosen again as required in the university charter.
Recently, the CSU had received the “Seal of Good Implementation Award” from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for its highest survival and graduation rates for AY 2015-2016 poor but deserving Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) student-grantees. CSU President Dr. Minerva I. Morales, together with Dr. Nancy Magtagnob, Director of Student Support Services, received the award in behalf of the university from CHED chairperson Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan in fitting rites held at UP, Diliman, Quezon City on July 26, 2016.
Dr. Morales credited that award given to the collective effort and teamwork of all officials, teaching and non-teaching personnel and the studentry as well. She emphasized that this is another testimony of the CSU’s moving forward to excellence as it continues to gain recognition as the province’s premiere university. Out of the 113 SUC implementers of the “Students-Grant-in-aid Program for Poverty Alleviation nationwide, only 7 institutions got the award, namely, the CSU, Camarines Norte State College, two (2) institutions in the Visayas and three (3) other institutions in Mindanao.
The College of Education, headed by dean, Dr. Maria S. Tugano, was also recognized as “Center of Excellence” by the CHED. The CSU was also given a working budget of Php 260,000 by the Policy Development and Planning Bureau (PDPB) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to conduct a study on the “Prevailing Perceptions of LGUs on the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program: The Catanduanes Experience”. The results of this study will be presented during the National Research Conference which will be held on Nov.14-18, 2016 in Manila.
Last August 2-6, CSU hosted the accreditors of the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines, Inc. (AACCUP) as it geared up for higher accreditation in the 4th survey visit (Phase 1). The university has submitted itself to a level-4 accreditation survey visit, the highest so far, in the accreditation stage for the following programs, namely: Master of Public Administration (MPA), Master of Arts in Educational Management (MaEd), Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSE) and Bachelor of Elementary Education (BEEd).
With the academic accolades, awards, distinctions chalked by the CSU as well as the possible level-4 AACCUP accreditation, one thing is pretty sure: CSU has already come of age.