CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – “Good leadership in higher education leads by example and enables others to succeed. It is also visionary, has high expectations, and is clear on how to implement and manage change to achieve its goals.” This is the opening line of the profile of Dr. Hercules R. Cascon in the roster of this year’s fellows of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia.
Cascon, Dean of Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan’s College of Engineering, was recently named as one of 20 fellows comprising the United Board’s 2016-2017 cohort. He is one of six Filipinos in the program.
The XU dean joins other highly-accomplished leaders in higher education, representing a wide range of academic disciplines and administrative experiences across nine Asian countries and regions.
Now on its 15th year, the fellowship sets to “work with colleges and universities to enhance Christian presence through whole person education in higher education in Asia.” It is designed to answer the needs of leadership development for mid-career faculty and administrators from Asian colleges and universities.
This one-year leadership development program features an intensive three-week summer institute at Harvard University; online networking and mentoring; a semester-long placement in an Asian university; and a summative reflective seminar in an Asian city.
As the leader of the College of Engineering or as they call themselves, “Engineering Warriors,” Cascon considers himself as one of the champions of outcomes-based education (OBE) in the university. He is chiefly responsible for the ongoing transition of the College of Engineering from the traditional input-based to the OBE-based approach of curricular design, implementation, and management.
He also partakes in the university’s effort in strengthening its research capacity by leading faculty members in applying for external research funding and in research output publication.
Through the United Board Fellows Program, he hopes to learn more about how to efficiently lead his faculty, staff, and students in OBE and research endeavors.
Cascon, who holds a PhD in environmental engineering and biotechnology from Myongji University (Yongin Campus), South Korea, specializes in alcoholic biofuel separation using ionic liquid-based membranes in the pervaporation process.
During the same time last year, XU Arts and Sciences dean Dr. Juliet Dalagan was also one of the 19 fellows at the 2016 United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia.
In his message to the academic community, Xavier Ateneo president Fr. Roberto C. Yap SJ congratulated Cascon for his inclusion in the prestigious board.
“His United Board fellowship will help us in our leadership development as Xavier aspires to become a leading ASEAN university forming leaders of character,” Yap said. “Congratulations, Dr. Herks, and we look forward to the exciting things you will bring to XU from your fellowship.”
Fellows have the opportunities to learn different styles of leadership, organizational structures, and educational management systems; alternative pedagogical styles to enrich their own teaching; and developments in their academic fields by auditing classes, meeting with their mentors and colleagues, and teaching occasional classes.
Besides leading the Eng’g Warriors, Dr. Herks is also a family man and a pet lover.
He allots time for reading and collecting books, watching movies with his wife and son, tending their garden at home, and playing with their dog. (SJP)