A Talk with Visayas State University's Millennial Dean
After just three years serving in the Visayas State University - first as a Research Development and Extension Coordinator of Nursing for two years and then as the College Secretary for a year, Dr. JOEL REY ACOB was appointed as the new Dean of the College of Nursing. In his own words, before deciding to work for VSU back in 2017, he began his nursing career as a staff nurse in a government hospital for less than two years and then transferred to a private institution where he served as a clinical instructor for nearly seven years. While working, he took up and finished Master of Arts in Nursing in Cebu City’s Southwestern University and then Doctorate in Nursing in St. Paul University in Tuguegarao.
Despite his academic credentials, his track record in research studies and years of experience, Dr. Joel remains humble and hungry for more knowledge, with a burning enthusiasm to give his best in his new role. In his first online interview following his appointment, he shares his thoughts, dreams and vision for a better VSU.
Did you ever see this coming or dream of this as a student nurse?
Actually I never dreamt of becoming a Dean, as I did not seek higher offices other than being a faculty member.
What does this appointment mean to you?
In the government service, this position is just but part of the prestige in becoming a chief steward in your college. But this isn't about monetary gain. Primarily, to be in this line of work, it requires even more dedication especially since this involves promoting character formation and building up future professionals in becoming part of the nation’s healthcare workforce.
This appointment also defines a lot of things. First, it opened an opportunity to grow my circle of associations. It means winning more connections especially with other academic communities where I bank my dream to be an efficient chief steward of the college. Their experiences are valuable in the display of whatever decisions I have to make in the future. Further, this change allows me to grow in terms of character, in my profession as a nurse and more so as an individual. My new role authorizes me as well to exercise ”controlled independence” on matters which demand my judgment. Before, I would only look at avenues concerning my existence, but now I have to go the extra mile since I am dealing with lives who will deal with other lives too - perhaps my own when I get old. I always believed in caring as an unending expression of nursing. I am an infant in this journey, not even a toddler. But I am positive that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and courage.
What are your plans and dreams for your institution?
With regard to my plans, I must start planting seeds into different soils with the hope it grows under God’s blessings. As a millennial Dean, I need to innovate the College of Nursing by revisiting the goal of our existence. The CON needs to be a leading institute in an already leading university. But how will I do that? Well, it needs a dedicated faculty to realize that dream. I will invest in them through continuing education and assessment on areas in which they need more assistance. With the new normal of instruction delivery, not all are ready for such a change. I would make sure all are on the same level before we traverse to greater heights. Protecting myself infers nurturing others. Though they may take different paths with life separating us to some extent, we are forever bonded by having embarked our voyage in the same boat.
Another thing, I am planning that our unit being the youngest college in this 96-year old university, will have international linkages and collaboration in terms of research and program partners. There is no going back for we can only move forward. Aside from seeking national accreditations, I am also dreaming of acquiring international recognition for the college as an advantage for our learners. It would also be nice to establish at least one institute under our college, such as a nursing research center for gerontological caring, which my heart belongs to.