The Committee on Internal Capacity Building Activity of the College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf) headed by Dr. Agustin L. Arcenas and Ms. Karen S. Janiya, organized a seminar on March 23, 2023 titled “Transdisciplinary Approach (to Research) in Public Affairs, Governance, and Rural Development.” Asst. Prof. Mayo Grace C. Amit served as the resource speaker of the event.
In Asst. Prof. Amit’s lecture, she reminded the audience that CPAf was created with the mandate to champion public affairs as a transdisciplinary field of study to support national and local development efforts. She said that multi- and interdisciplinary platforms strengthen individual disciplines but are insufficient in addressing the wicked problems in the modern world. On the other hand, a transdisciplinary approach (TD) enables greater responsiveness by allowing co-creation of knowledge and solutions together with other stakeholder-groups outside academic circles.
Former Dean Agnes C. Rola pioneered the efforts of CPAf in the transdisciplinary approach back in 2012. Dr. Rola further advised to make a follow through in other important areas where close collaboration with various stakeholder-groups are crucial such as innovation systems framework, agriculture and community development, and food security research. Moving forward, CPAf needs to proactively consider TD in its curriculum development and research and extension agenda. CPAf also needs to intentionally document the process and substance on how mainstreaming is being done. The documentation can serve as a basis for future improvements.
Likewise, Asst. Prof. Ephraim C. Quinones, who served as discussant of the activity, stated that “CPAf is in a unique position as a hub for various disciplines, government units, and end-users to meet for inclusive problem-solving.” The challenge now lies in the application of TD and integration of CPAf flavor in every activity the staff implements. Mr. Francis John F. Faderogao, University Researcher of the Center for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies (CSPPS), suggested classifying past and current projects of CPAf based on the approach that they follow to have a better understanding on what TD is.
In the open forum which was actively participated by faculty and staff, the need for capacity building and collective effort was emphasized. It was mentioned by Asst. Prof. Juan Alberto B. Mercado that TD is something that must be done as a community. He added that “every single one of us has something to offer on the table that can enrich discussions.” Dr. Aileen V. Lapitan, Director of CSPPS, added that staff should continuously educate themselves, have passion in things they do, develop their leadership skills, and know how to collaborate.
This event is the second internal capacity building activity of the Committee on Internal Capacity Building Activity of the College. The first activity focused on the promotion of a common understanding of the vision and mission that CPAf upholds. For the coming months, more activities will be conducted to enhance the knowledge and skills of CPAf faculty, researchers, and administrative staff.