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Doctoral Candidate Presents Findings in Social Research Centers Study

Mr. Leland Joseph R. Dela Cruz, a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, presented the findings of his study entitled “Autonomy and Expectations: The Evolution of University Social Research Centers” on July 12, 2013 at the Learning Commons of the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall. The study tries to make sense of the evolution of nine USRCs including DLSU-SDRC, and provides an explanation for the tensions and crises some of these centers have faced in the past and continue to face today.

The USRCs included in Mr. Dela Cruz’s study are divided into five from private institutions and four from one public institution (the University of the Philippines). Those from private institutions, apart from SDRC, are the Institute of Philippine Culture, Ateneo de Manila University; the Office of Population Studies, University of San Carlos; the Research Institute for Mindanao Culture, Xavier University; and the Social Research Center, University of Santo Tomas. The USRCs from UP are the Center for Integrative and Development Studies, Third World Studies Center, and University of the Philippines Population Institute (Diliman); and the Institute for Strategic Planning and Policy Studies (Los Baños).

Mr. Dela Cruz’s study sought to address these questions: 1) How have USRCs evolved and what accounts for how they have evolved? Why are some more sustainable than others?; and 2) In the context of the evolving field of knowledge production and the evolution of universities, are USRCs still functional for their universities, funding agencies and those who could populate those centers?  In arriving at answers for his study, he conducted key informant interviews with present and past directors of the centers under study, present and past administrators of the universities in which the centers are located, funding agencies providing support for the centers, and others.

For his dissertation, a comparative analysis was utilized employing the perspectives of those in the centers, administrators and those outside the universities; and the situations in the various USRCs. The analysis involved a search for patterns rather than exhaustive institutional histories.

In his findings, Mr. Dela Cruz revealed that the tensions and crises faced by USRCs are accounted for by two factors: incongruent expectations between these USRCs and systems in their environment, and the inability of USRCs to adequately respond to changes in their environment.  Incongruent expectations were observed in the relationship between some USRCs and their universities in terms of differences in their understanding of the nature of a university, differences in research orientation, differences in expectations for researchers, and differences in expectations for university decision programs and channels. Meanwhile, key environmental changes affecting USRCs are those in personnel in all organizations involved, the increase in competition, and changing practices in knowledge production for both universities and policy-oriented research.  Mr. Dela Cruz noted, however, that SDRC was an exception to such tensions and crises, as it was not among the USRCs that experienced them.

Joining SDRC Director Dr. Melvin A. Jabar and the Center staff during the dissemination were former SDRC Directors Dr. Exaltacion E. Lamberte and Dr. Jesusa M. Marco, College of Liberal Arts Dean Dr. Julio C. Teehankee, CLA Research and Advanced Studies Director Dr. Feorillo Petronilo Demeterio III, Jesse Robredo Institute of Governance Director Dr. Francisco A. Magno, and Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center Director Dr. Shirley O. Lua. A discussion following Mr. Dela Cruz’s presentation centered on what problems involving publications and promotion he encountered, the difficulties of publishing in the field of social science as opposed to the hard sciences, the absence of formerly active funding agencies such as the Ford Foundation, the current trend of funding agencies that do not encourage the publication of project findings, and the ratio between teaching load and deloading for research at the different universities.

Mr. Dela Cruz obtained his AB in Development Studies and Masters in Economics from Ateneo de Manila University. He has served in various teaching and administrative capacities at AdMU, including a stint as research associate of the Institute of Philippine Culture. He is currently the Director and an Assistant Professor of Ateneo’s Development Studies Program.






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