Dr. Junifen F. Gauuan, President, Philippine Christian University

He was born Junifenio Juan Franco Gauuan on June 24, 1956 in the vibrant rural town of Bayombong, the capital of the mountainous Province of Nueva Vizcaya in the Philippines.

Dr. Junifen Franco Gauuan’s remarkable journey to leadership and education began with a brilliant academic record. He graduated as Valedictorian from Bayombong Central Elementary School in 1968 and continued his exceptional educational journey at Nueva Vizcaya General Comprehensive High School, where he once again stood out and graduated Valedictorian.

His thirst for knowledge led him to the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, where he earned Bachelor of Science in Business Economics in 1976 with a Dean’s Medal for Academic Excellence for Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award. He later completed his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in 1982 from the same university. His dedication to learning reached its zenith in 2007 when he obtained a Ph.D. in Development Administration from Philippine Christian University in Manila.

Dr. Gauuan’s academic excellence was not left unnoticed. Through competitive examinations, he became a National State Scholar of the Department of Education from 1972 to 1976. In 1977, he qualified as a UNIVAC Computer Summer Scholar and briefly studied computer programming and systems analysis.   He likewise embarked on various scholarly journeys: as an AIDAB Fellow for Rural and Environmental Development at Macquarie University in Australia in 1994; and FAPE-UNICEF Fellow for Higher Education Management in Asia at SEAMEO-INNOTECH in 1998 at Quezon City, Philippines.

Beyond his academic accomplishments, Dr. Gauuan has delved into various domains, including agri-business, governance, education, health, information systems, and environmental development. His work extends across borders, fostering global connections with both governmental and corporate bodies.

He is not just an academic leader but also an active participant in civic and religious organizations. Dr. Gauuan’s commitment is exemplified by his role as the Church Council Chairman of Bayombong United Methodist Church from 1996 to 2014, among many other engagements. His dedication extends to international platforms as well, having been a Delegate to the 2004 General Conference of The United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Dr. Gauuan is a well-known figure in the field of education and development management. He currently serves as the President of Philippine Christian University and ICA Associates Philippines, Inc. His involvement extends to the Board of Trustees of the Association of Christian Schools, Colleges, and Universities (ACSCU), the South Manila Educational Consortium (SMEC) and AgriPortal Advocates Philippines Inc.  He previously held the position of President of Aldersgate College in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya from October 1982 to May 2014 and served as the Board Chairman of Wesleyan University Philippines in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, from 2010 to 2014.

Dr. Gauuan’s active participation in community service is exemplified through his roles as the Charter President of the Manila PCU Lions Club, District 301-A3 in 2021, his membership in Magat Lodge No. 68, F & A. M., and the UP Alpha Sigma Fraternity. He is also a Past President of the Rotary Club of Vizcaya, RI District 3770, for the term 2001-02.

Strategic Leadership and Resilience

Dr. Gauuan ardently believes in the saying “Luck comes when Preparation meets Opportunity.” He emphasizes the critical role of strategic thinking as the mother of preparation.  Strategic thinking has the following elements:

  1. Comprehensive Assessment. Strategic thinking enables us to comprehensively assess past, present, and future operating landscapes. It empowers us to identify strategic directions that can guide us safely through chaotic and uncertain times.
  2. Opportunity Detection. It helps us identify emerging opportunities that we can exploit ahead of our competitors, ensuring a competitive edge.
  3. Resilient Organizations. Strategic thinking forces us to shape resilient, flexible, and dynamic organizations capable of adapting to the requirements of changing environments.

Dr. Gauuan recognizes that organizations are not static, hierarchical structures managed through one-dimensional command and control relationships. Instead, they are dynamic and multi-layered networks of interconnected and committed groups and individuals. He emphasizes the need to unify and focus the energies of these networks toward achieving a common goal.

To harness the potential of these dynamic networks, Dr. Gauuan advocates aligning various managerial elements within a Total Quality Management framework. These elements include Strategic Planning and Management, Program – Project Management, Performance Management, and Process Management. While these tasks are essential for stability, they become inadequate when the rules of business change.

In times of change, management fluidity is essential to swiftly adjust organizational structures and processes, including management systems, policies and procedures, skills, technology, leadership, and work groups, to meet the requirements of the “new normal.” Collaboration is a key component of change, highlighting the importance of sensitivity, transparency, positivity, and cooperation.

Amid the challenges of today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world, Dr. Gauuan believes that foresight and organizational flexibility are the most effective antidotes. He understands that leaders who foster the development of more leaders rather than merely creating more followers, increase their organizations’ flexibility, capability, and performance.

Dr. Gauuan sees it as the duty of leaders to facilitate the development of High-Performance Organizations (HPO). These organizations stand out by doing the right things, including the right strategy, products, services, and people, while also emphasizing doing things right whenever possible, leading to continuous improvement.

Philippine Christian University’s Journey of Resilience and Transformation

During the last nine years, Philippine colleges and universities faced two significant crises that significantly impacted their enrollment: (a) the K+12 Program which added two (2) years of Senior High School to the basic education curriculum and (b) the COVID-19 pandemic. Remarkably, Philippine Christian University (PCU) managed to turn these crises into opportunities.

PCU not only grew its Senior High School enrollment, now boasting over 11,000 students but also generated substantially more income than what it had lost in its College enrollment. Moreover, during the COVID-19 pandemic, total enrollment surged from more than 16,000 to over 26,000 students. The key to this success lies in the timely build-up of ICT infrastructure, preparation of integrated course modules, and an agile learning management system. These measures, along with a flexible organizational approach, saved the day for PCU.

As a consequence of this substantial growth, PCU underwent a transformation to a system of shared or distributive leadership. Organizational heads were assigned responsibilities within a manageable span of control. While this meant more individuals took on leadership roles concentrated on narrower operational areas, it also resulted in better business focus, enhanced specialization, reduced bureaucracy, clearer communication, improved coordination, and faster action.

At PCU, certain organizational structures had to be corrected to align with these changes. For instance, the Vice-President for Academic Affairs was managing over 25 academic and academic-support units in Manila and Dasmarińas Cavite campuses, contrary to management principles that suggested no more than six direct subordinates.

In a rapidly changing, technologically-driven environment, it became evident that some senior officials, faculty, and staff had knowingly or unknowingly reached what is known in Peter’s Principle as their level of incompetence.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the retirement of many faculty and staff who couldn’t adapt to technological advancements, especially the use of digital course modules and learning management systems. Moreover, some university administrators continued to operate as if they were solely in an 8-hour/5-day work schedule of a brick-and-mortar university, neglecting the need for a complementary 24-hour/7-day work discipline of a digital university.

In this era of ongoing and rapid change, leadership is crucial at every level of the organization. Effective managers can maintain stable operations, but when change is necessary, they must transform into leaders, guiding people through coaching and capacitation to make them leaders in their own right. Continuous adjustment and adaptation of mindsets, skills, and attitudes are the only reliable ways to cope with the challenges of a rapidly changing world.

Digital, Borderless, Multiversity

The appointment of Dr. Junifen F. Gauuan as the 7th University President of PCU beckoned rapid university transformation and growth. Within nine (9) years, from School-year 2014-15 to School-year 2022-23, Total Enrollment grew from less than 6,000 to more than 26,000 students.  Annual Gross Revenues increased from P270 Million to P1.389 Billion.  And Annual Net Income jumped from P17 Million to P414 Million.

Cumulative Net Savings had already reached P1 Billion, which were invested in land, buildings, equipment, property development and other university facilities. The construction of another academic building is being planned for PCU Manila.  And a 20-hectare PCU Technopark and University Township Project within the PCU Dasmarińas Campus in the Province of Cavite is now in the design and development stage.

Currently, all educational levels of the university are expanding, from basic to undergraduate to graduate programs. More foreign students who want to study in the Philippines are being accommodated. Educational extension programs for employed life-long learners in the country continue to grow in partnership with public and private agencies. And opportunities for successful transnational education programs and partnerships in Africa, Middle East, USA and Asia keep on coming.

With the leadership of Dr. Junifen F. Gauuan, PCU has become a DIGITAL, BORDERLESS MULTIVERSITY.

A Journey of Empowerment and Compassion

In the midst of these continuing surge in opportunities and the  abundance they bring, the sharing of financial resources to the two (2) sponsoring churches of PCU, The United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, as well as to its sister institution, Union Theological Seminary, had been profuse. It has reached P41 Million in School-year 2022-23 alone.

The journey of Dr. Junifen F. Gauuan and the Philippine Christian University (PCU) is a testament to the power of vision, adaptability, and the indomitable human spirit. In the face of challenges like the K+12 Programs and the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Gauuan’s strategic thinking and PCU’s resilience turned crises into opportunities. Their reorganization expedited a system of shared leadership, a commitment to create more leaders, not just followers, has brought about remarkable growth and efficiency.

In this dynamic world, the story of Dr. Junifen F. Gauuan and PCU serves as a beacon of inspiration, showing that with the right mindset and a willingness to embrace change, we can not only survive but thrive. Their journey reminds us that even in turbulent times, we can build a brighter future through steadfast vision, strategic thinking, and the ability to adapt.

For More Info: https://pcu.edu.ph/

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