Advancing REPS Welfare: REPS Development Fund, Proposed Grievance Procedure, and Standardized Criteria for Hiring

The 1340th meeting of the UP Board of Regents (BOR) on 03 December 2018 was a very significant event for UP’s Research, Extension, and Professional Staff (REPS) sector.

The meeting paved the way for expanded opportunities, exclusivity, and welfare of the sector.

UP BOR approved the establishment of three REPS committees, namely, the REPS Welfare Council (RWC), a policy recommendatory body for matters concerning the welfare of the said sector; the REPS Personnel and Fellowship Committee (RPFC), a regulatory body for hiring, tenure, and promotion; and the provision of REPS Development Fund (RDF) to support them on their scholarly endeavors.

The REPS Development Fund

Historically, support for UPLB REPS on scholarly activities were limited to the Academic Development Fund (ADF). The ADF is a grant for oral paper presentations in international conferences, page fees for publishing articles in ISI-indexed journals, and attendance to specialized training programs held overseas.

However, the ADF is offered to all faculty, REPS, and students, and thus delimits the chances of each sector. The provision of the RDF is key in providing exclusive support needed for the REPS' own professional growth.

Assistance through the RDF can be in any of these forms: the REPS Formal Education Support provides semestral book allowance, and thesis or dissertation aid; support for publication fees of journal articles; and for the registration of their technology patents, licenses, and copyrights. Moreover, a one-time cash incentive is awarded to REPS who have finished their graduate degrees.

The Travel Assistance or Research Dissemination Grant is made available for REPS who will be presenting their research results through oral paper, or those who will be participating in academic fora and relevant development activities such as conferences, trainings, and seminars.

Lastly, REPS can acquire financial assistance for organizing seminars, workshops, and virtual conferences for their sector.

To avail of the RDF, REPS must submit an application form to the RDF Committee through OVCRE. They should also include a justification letter, endorsed by their unit head or supervisor, stating the grant's relevance to their profession. Applications are screened and evaluated by the said Committee, and then forwarded for the Chancellor's approval.

Proposed Guidelines and Procedures for Grievances

Formal procedures for addressing REPS grievances in UPLB have since been grounded on the provisions of the Collective Negotiation Agreement (CNA) between the All UP Academic Employees Union (AUPAEU) and the UPLB Administration.

Now, the RWC is finalizing a proposal for new procedures of REPS grievances. Under this, the committee aims to provide a clearer and more structured process for prompter action on the grievances of REPS.

Once a REPS decides to file a formal grievance complaint as defined in the CNA, they can write a letter to the REPS Welfare Council. Upon receipt of the grievance, RWC can recommend members for the grievance committee to the Chancellor.

The RPFC will then tasked to deliberate and recommend the mode of action to the Office of the Chancellor. They can also act as coordinating body among the grievant, AUPAEU, and UPLB.

REPS Standardized Criteria for Hiring

In the interest of uniformity and fairness, the REPS Welfare Council also proposed a standardized criteria for hiring researchers, extensionists, and professional staff in UPLB.

Several consultation meetings and dialogues with UPLB REPS were conducted before the RWC finalized the criteria.

Generally, it assesses the applicant’s interview performance, scholarly and creative productivity, participation in training activities, length of service, as well as administrative functions in UP, and length of service in other government agencies.

This article was published in RDE Digest Volume 13 No. 1.