This masteral paper is submitted by Arch Ian Jay Bantilan as part of the Course Curriculum Development under Prof Arch. Jonathan Manalad.
Masteral Paper: Perception and the Institutional Image 1
All that glitters is not gold; often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold, but my outside to behold.
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
Perception and Image 1
I would like to start first by discussing the difference between character and reputation. Character is the main or essential nature of a person or object which exemplifies virtue or vice, while reputation is the assessment of overall quality or character as seen or judged by people. The two play an important factor in the establishing of the image of the organization or institutional.
Let us apply character and reputation to a person. There is a saying that goes “First impressions they say last.” When other people feel that one’s work is poor, even though his character is exceptional, probably due to bad timing, that impression stands. On the other hand, a person of bad character who dresses well will be perceived to have good performance. The same person may be perceived better when dressed professionally and a person with shoddy presentation will be assumed inferior. Because of this, coincidence plays a part of perception. The first of an institution, especially people from media or even bloggers can greatly affect the image of the institution. A negative review that is presented early on, will stay seared in the minds of the hearers long after the institution has proven its real worth.
This image perception is very subjective yet it affects decisions and estimations of real value. A school that is perceived to be weak will have less demand for students compared to a school that is projected by be superior. Nevertheless, in the long run, the institution or the person’s real value will be revealed. Therefore it is important to manage reputation or image because we cannot control time and chance but we can prepare to proactively respond when the inevitable circumstances happen.
From the given readings on the University’s Institutional Image, there are six major programs that contribute to a positive institutional image:
1. Institutional Development,
2. Technology Generation and Dissemination
3. Performance in Government Examination
4. Visitor’s Impression
5. Performance of Graduates and Alumni
4. Awards and Recognition.
Among these many programs, the factor I believe with the greatest impact is Institutional Development.
An institution can be defined as “Complexes of norms and behaviors that persist over time by serving collectively valued purposes” (Uphoff, 1986). In this case, the institution will be focused on schools and universities.
Institutions have similarities with living organisms. They are composed of smaller units (individuals/ departments). They make changes in response to stimulus in their environment. They respond and adapt to their environment. They adjust to its surroundings. And as a result of this response, they either grow or decline. Those institutions that deliberately and constantly adapt will be stronger and those that continually do not adapt will die.
Just as living organisms must be efficient in the use of its resources, institutions must be able to maximize its use of human and non-human resources. This requires careful planning and alignment. The theory of evolution of Charles Darwin can be a parallel on how organisms respond to different outside forces. Any school or university will similarly adopt to these outside pressures in the education, technology, social factors and economic issues. According to Darwin, there are 5 ways of adjusting to the environment:
Schools change their curriculum and syllabi and introduce change to adjust to the environment. Schools in a certain region might probably have lower tuition, take for example, the Philippines compared to their counterparts in North America because of the local economic pressures that affect the Philippines.
Schools in this form of adaptation produce highly specialized fields due to the intense competition and refinements of an institution to have an upper hand towards its rival. This can be shown in the rivalry of De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University.
Institutions can also evolve in a form of cooperation. An example of this is international linkages between schools. Another example is sharing of research between Centers of Technology.
A college or university might consistently produce successful businessmen or scientists and become a specialist on a specific field. For example, the University of Santo Tomas produces the best lawyers, doctors and architects in the Philippines.
A university or college that has not supported sustained itself by producing exceptional graduates that attract parents to send their kids to school will have to close or shut down. It is great to note that patterns of biodiversity have been shaped both by speciation and by extinction.
Institutional Planning as Part of Development
My definition of institutional planning is that it is a process of evaluating, prioritizing, coordinating, and implementing the activities and resources of the institution according to available manpower and resources to be able to fulfill its goals and mission.
Karen Hinton in her booklet, A Practical Guide to Strategic Planning in Higher Education describes integrated planning as “the linking of vision, priorities, people, and the physical institution in a flexible system of evaluation, decision-making and action. It shapes and guides the entire organization as it evolves over time and within its community.” (Hinton, 2012)