Project: Upgrading of University Cebu professors on traditional and digital communication
VSP Expert: Gianmaria Scapin
Beneficiary: University of San Carlos” (USC) in Cebu-City
Period : April – May 2017
- Brief description of client: The “University of San Carlos” (USC), in Cebu-City, goes back to one of the oldest school of the Isles, the “Colegio de San Idefonso”, founded by Jesuits in 1595. After functioning as a seminary and secondary school for a long period, the private institution was only granted the university status in 1948, therefore quickly expanding into various branches like: Law, Commerce, Education, Engineering, Science, Fine Arts etc. reaching the corrently total number of students around 740. The department for which the expert was asked to intervene is a branch of the SAFAD (School of Architecture Fine Arts & Design: Advertising & Fine Arts, with 476 students. Professors, who participated in the mission, were 14. They taught subjects as: Advertising, Arts, Cinema, Fashion, Packaging and Marketing.
- Brief description of assignment: The Department of Fine Arts and Design has seen a major increase in enrolments, particularly in the Advertising Arts Program. With the educational system adopting the K-12 model by 2018, the Program will be introducing a new curriculum with emphasis on Graphic Design, Advertising and Media, Multimedia, Internet-Platforms. The expert was required expertise in many communication areas. He should be particularly skilled in Media, Press, Radio, Film&Television, Advertising Agencies, Package Design, Printing & Graphics. All these skills in order to:
- Introduce new standards/methods/processes in related fields of Visual Communication
- Facilitate training and workshops on Advertising, Media, Design and other Visual Arts
- Moderate discussions and ideas sharing among members of the faculty to exchange best practices.
- Description of the problems and shortcomings found: The context in which a new 2018 curriculum of the department of fine arts and design envisages the emphasis on: Graphic, Design, Advertising and Media, Multimedia, Internet Platform and others. All the professors were interested in the status of the art concerning these subjects in order to raise their level and have new ideas on how to proceed and how to apply them in their activity. The perception the expert had about their needs:
- Teaching team’s approach uniformity: the need seems to be sharing of basic concepts which are useful to all subjects;
- To support the students during external customer requests (companies, institutions…). In these contexts teachers have a mentor role. They have the same lead role as the account manager has in the advertising agencies;
- Examine and investigate specific subjects related to the individual areas of expertise.
They seemed interested not only as teachers, but also as USC departmental activities, in order to became more competitive and attractive than other universities. Simply they needed to find the way on how to present their University; in particular the department of Architecture and Fine Arts, which will become next year the Department of Visual Design. Its seemed that one of the major problems for the entire department is to align all their teachers on the most important principles, rules and recent experiences. They have also slowly begun to invite different companies, to provide them with services, but to be honest they do not seem to have a solid foundation behind their approach. They expected to balance these practical applications with common theories. One of the solutions proposed was to align each teacher’s approach and to start on a common theoretical basis so that each professor can know the topics and transfer it to his students. To overcome and resolve this aspect the expert decided to proceed with a common basis from the shared basic knowledge Marketing Plan; then he addressed the Brief theme on how to prepare a brief for the advertising agencies and other interlocutors, this because, each of them, for their own field, will have to face the same problems.
- Circumstances of the assignment and cooperation with client’s staff: The staff that the expert dealt with were teachers of the Fine Arts and Visual Communication Department. The engagement was very good with the majority of the client’s staff.
- Description of actions and results: The expert held some common lessons with small groups of 4 or 5 teachers at a time. The benefit of this approach consisted in the fact that every member learned the fundamentals of each various components of the marketing mix, marketing plan and all related subjects. He also delivered individual training, in order to go deep inside the subjects, to fully and specifically cover for each teacher his interests and his gaps.
- List of the measures recommended: No specific written instructions has been given to the customer, but given the heterogeneity of the professors, their different back grounds and, in some cases the specificity of their teaching, it might be advisable to repeat this kind of insight for main common elements. This will strengthen their awareness that each of them is spreading the same basic knowledge that are common to all business goals and concerns the marketing plan.
- Extent to which the expert instructed and trained the staff (Client’s request for another assignment): Professors have received numerous stimuli, depending on the interest demonstrated and the insights required by each): In some instances, concrete cases related to teaching or specific assignments from companies have all been directly dealt with toghether by teacher. This second aspect can be thoroughly evaluated as it opens up a world of support options for teachers’ work that must channel the efforts of students to a specific goal required by the companies. Since many of these requests will have a fairly close deadline, that can be estimated from a few weeks to a few months, any new missions or follow-up to tackle these issues will have to face the topics to be addressed and received specific briefs. This will allow to the expert to bring, in addition to his experience, also specific support on that subject.
- Post-assignment activities: As the result of these actual assignment the expert says a follow up could concern more aspects: For all teachers and department. In order to have a compact organization they could better organize the department to give their clients companies everything they are willing to do. A kind of team that can support them, as they do now, possibly even better. This is only a particular aspect, not the most important one, which remains the teaching, but in prospective this could give the USC the opportunity to grow in supporting companies projects. On the other hand, for each subject there is a wide range of know-how that can be investigated through real concrete cases that should be well underlined before each subsequent mission.
- Portrayal of a particularly inspiring experience: To be a volunteer means to have the opportunity to share with persons and Organizations in different parts of the world the technical knowledge that expert have the lucky to achieve in his professional life. The experience has always been very rewarding, with a mutual contribution (volunteer, local management and staff). On a personal basis, the expert have always found that these missions give to the volunteer more profound inner values than the time that he devotes them. This USC – Cebu mission has been the first assignment for the expert in the Philippines and he was surprised in seeing how much the professors involved were interested in expert’s working experience, than the subjects discussed at the theoretical level. This was gratifying for the expert, since these past experiences, now almost forgotten, were very important and interesting to them. And the expert would like to underline the way they felt and appreciated every single experience relayed to them. Even though they were professors and therefore competent in the field, they seemed surprised at the operational modalities that the experience of the expert led to. This is also due to their particular character and personalities, which are to be extremely curious and interested in different culture traits/experiences. This approach gave the expert the opportunity to learn new valuable skills/knowledge, not only in terms of economical results, but also under a point of view of human relations.
A moment of lectures held by teacher Gianmaria Scapin to the group of Brand Image & Communication professors at the University of San Carlos – Cebu. April – May 2017