New UPLB admin appoints four CDC Faculty members to key posts

As the “future-proof” UPLB kicks off, the College of Development Communication (CDC) congratulates its faculty who will serve in the administration of Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr. The three new appointees, namely Prof. Mark Lester Chico as Director of the Office of Public Relations (OPR), Dr. Edmund Centeno as Director of the Interactive Learning Center (ILC), and Prof. John Mervin Embate as Director of Office of Student Housing (OSH), began their duties effective November 1, 2020. Dr. Benjamina Paula Flor continues to serve as Director of the Learning Resource Center (LRC).

CDC faculty appointees up close

Dr. Benjamina Paula G. Flor was first appointed director of the LRC in January 2017. Dr. Flor will continue to spearhead the Center’s mandates, which include the expansion of academic-related programs and activities for local and international undergraduate and graduate students.

Affectionately called ‘Ma’am Benj’ by her students and colleagues, Dr. Flor is a member of the CDC’s Department of Development Broadcasting and Telecommunication (DDBT). She obtained her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in Development Communication at UPLB. A prolific scholar with wide array of research publications and extension projects in the country and abroad, she was conferred the title UP Scientist 2 under the UP Scientific Productivity System (SPS).

Aside from teaching in CDC, Dr. Flor currently leads the ‘Measuring awareness and perception on NEDA, AmBisyon Natin 2040, and Philippine Development Plan’ project, and is an eLearning facilitator and module developer for the eLearning course on Nutrition Program Management of the National Nutrition Council.

Prof. Mark Lester M. Chico, the new director of OPR, previously served as Head of the Student Organizations and Activities Division (SOAD) from 2011 to 2014, and director of LRC from 2014 to 2017. 

Prof. Chico is an assistant professor at DDBT. He is currently a PhD candidate under the Media Studies program of the College of Mass Communication in UP Diliman. He finished both his BS (cum laude) and MS Degree in Development Communication at UPLB. 

Aside from his academic duties, Prof. Chico is a broadcast journalist who is actively involved in various multimedia production projects, such as UPLB’s Radyo DZLB and CDC’s community cable TV program ‘Dito Sa Laguna’. He is also a community reporter for Fyt, an independent online media organization. 

Prof. Chico is known as the founder of ‘Gandingan: The UPLB Isko’t Iska’s Multimedia Awards’, an annual university-based media awards organized by The UP Community Broadcasters’ Society that highlights the value of development communication in the practice of traditional and new media in the country. He is currently the Vice President for Luzon of the Philippine Association of Communication Educators (PACE).

The CDC’s Department of Educational Communication (DEC) also has two UPLB administration appointees. First from the DEC is Dr. Edmund G. Centeno, appointed as director of ILC under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Prior to joining the administration of Chancellor Camacho, Dr. Centeno served as CDC’s College Secretary.

‘Sir Ed,’ as he is called by colleagues and students, is an associate professor who previously served as Chair of DEC from 2008 to 2012 and again from 2015 to 2018. He is also an Affiliate Professor at UP Diliman’s College of Education, and UP Open University’s Faculty of Information and Communication Studies.

Dr. Centeno obtained his PhD in Educational Communication and Technology at Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand, and he finished his BS and MS Development Communication in UPLB. A highly sought-after speaker and educator, Dr. Centeno specializes in topics related to learning technologies, instructional design, and ICT for development.

Second from the DEC is Prof. John Mervin L. Embate, who will serve as the director of the OSH, which is under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA). 

‘Sir JM’, to students and his colleagues, started as an Instructor at the Department of Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences from 2012 to 2016. He is now an assistant professor at DEC. Aside from teaching, Prof. Embate is the current Secretary of the Association of Development Communication Educators and Practitioners (ADCEP) of the Philippines. 

Prof. Embate completed his MA in Communication from the College of Mass Communication, UP Diliman where he was also a recipient of the Best Thesis Award. He finished his BS Development Communication (cum laude) in UPLB. 

The CDC family, lead by Dean Maria Stella C. Tirol, wishes them well as they embark on instituting future-proof systems grounded on “effective communication, collaboration, and malasakit or compassion”.

(Renz Frances Abagat, Charlene Mae Arkaina, Ryan Jay Galang, Elaine Llarena, and Jyasmin Calub-Bautista)