CISC’s direction under the new leadership

Under the directorship of Dr. Agustin L. Arcenas, the Community Innovations Studies Center (CISC) of the College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf) will focus on staff development, collaborative projects, and enhanced administrative services in the next three years. Dr. Arcenas was appointed as the new Director of the research center, formally starting his management duties on 1 October 2022.

Dr. Arcenas is a new faculty of CPAf and teaches political economy and development studies. He has research experience on environmental and natural resource economics. Prior to joining CPAf, he was the Director of the Public Affairs Office of the School of Economics in UP Diliman.

As its Director, Dr. Arcenas envisions CISC to be a “nationally-known center that has the expertise to craft frameworks for community development, collect and systematically organize data and information, and train community members and leaders on how to plan and execute sustainable development plans.” To realize this vision, Dr. Arcenas plans to increase the capacity of CISC researchers on project development and implementation. Likewise, he plans to collaborate with other UPLB faculty and researchers, recruit part-time technical staff, and explore internship of graduate students to expand the capacity of CISC. Also part of Dr. Arcenas’ goal is for all CISC researchers to have a permanent status. Currently, CISC has 10 researchers, with only four who are tenured.

“Given that CISC has very limited financial and human resources, we have to make sure that every ounce of effort we exert is used efficiently to make the biggest bang for the buck. I believe that the best way to achieve this is by being selective about the projects that we undertake and use our limited resources to make these projects the best possible, instead of trying to create a long list of projects and then end up spreading ourselves thinly,” Dr. Arcenas explained. In the pipeline are research and extension (R&E) projects on agrarian reform, organic agriculture, model community, embroidery industry, people’s organizations, communities in transition. Some of these projects will be implemented in 2023.  

CISC also identified projects related to community-based resilience, farmers associations, organic agriculture, and agri-enterprise practices. Government agencies, non-government organizations, and the private sector will be tapped to fund these projects.

On administrative services, CISC plans to improve its citizen’s charter, compile its internal policies and protocols, and acquire office equipment, and a vehicle.

Dr. Arcenas succeeded Blanquita R. Pantoja who served for nine years as CISC Director.

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Joanne Alvarez
University Research Associate at CPAf