Caraga State University History

CSU was first conceived in 1918 as the Agusan Agriculture High School (AAHS)thru the passage of an Omnibus Bill filed by the First Congresswoman of the Philippines, Honorable Elisa Rosales Ochoa. On February 14, 1920, Proclamation Number 4 was passed by the American Governor to the Philippines Francis Burton Harrison, declaring the reservation of a 232-hectare virgin forest land in Barrio Ampayon, in the Municipality of Butuan, province of Agusan del Norte as the grounds of the young school. However, it was only at the close of World War II in 1946 that the Agusan Agricultural High School (AAHS) was established in the reserved area.

The first framework of the school building was laid down in 1937. However the development of the school was deferred as the government deviated to giving priority to serve the Manobo cultural minority by creating the Bunawan Agricultural High School in Agusan del Sur. The funding for the establishment of the school came from the Rehabilitation Act of 1946, the FAO-PHILCUSA, and the Pres. Carlos P. Garcia contingency fund.

After 17 years, in June 22, 1963, Republic Act 3604 was passed converting the school into the Northern Mindanao Agricultural College (NORMINAC). NORMINAC was among the 13 pilot experimental agricultural high school chosen by the Department of Education and Culture (DEC) for World Bank Assistance through the Central Bank Development of Education Agricultural Loan Fund (CB-DEC-ALF) which was the umbrella of the Educational Project Implementing Task Force (EDPITAF) in 1974-1975. Moreover, NORMINAC became the training center for the National Manpower and Youth Council (NMYC).

In collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute, the school was instrumental in the discovery of the zinc deficiency problem of the Agusan Land. The technological breakthrough solved the puzzle of poor rice harvests in many rice fields in Agusan and the surrounding areas.

In 1977-1978, the Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education opened with 34 enrollees. However, it was phased out to meet World Bank requirement of offering only agricultural technology courses to develop skills for countryside development.

As Caraga Region rapidly grew and developed in both agricultural and industrial sectors, House Bill No. 25 was passed by the then Assemblyman Antonio R. Tupaz, converting NORMINAC to the Northern Mindanao State Institute of Science and Technology (NORMISIST). The House Bill became Batas Pambansa Blg. 241 when President Ferdinand Marcos signed it into law on November 11, 1982 and NORMINAC became NORMISIST or Northern Mindanao State Institute of Science and Technology.

It was around this time that logging facilitated the economic expansion of Butuan. The wider range of curricular offerings was dynamically responsive to the growing need of the region for an educationally prepared and academically capable human resource that is equipped with higher technical skills for agricultural and industrial development. The conversion of NORMINAC into NORMISIST also provided opportunity and access to a good quality of higher education in science and technology to the youth in the region deprived of such a right for many years.

NORMISIST has steadily grown as an institution in delivering education to the constituents of Butuan and the neighboring community. In 1994, the presidents of the faculty association, the administrative personnel association, and the central student government gained the privilege of observation in the meetings of the Board of Trustees (BOT). The above-mentioned organization presidents were not afforded voting rights. However, the observation privilege given at the meeting was an essential means for the Institute stakeholders to learn the rudiments of policy and decision-making and was an initial step in the integration of NORMISIST personnel into the mainstream of BOT powers.

In the same years, the institution exemplified academic growth by starting to offer graduate studies namely MA in Education with majors in Education and Supervision, General Education, Curriculum and Instructional Technology and Adult and External Education as sanctioned by Ref. Res. No. 12, s. 1994 of the Board of Trustees. The above-mentioned accomplishment led to the offering of other graduate programs that were responsive to the need of equipping the human resource of the region.

As part of its commitment to serve a larger academic areas of responsibility, and with the integration of a CHED supervised school, NORMISIST has evolved into a system with one satellite campus, the NORMISIST-Cabadbaran Campus established in an 8-hectare area at the heart of the municipality of Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte.

Through the course of its growth, the Institute has been served by six presidents who have exemplified deep commitment for academic development and progress, thereby completing meaningful contributions that cemented the Institute's path towards greater improvement.

The first president of the Institute was the late Engr. Alberto Villares who was responsible for the implementation of the ADB funded ATEP-EDPITAF Project package offering the technology-oriented DAT-BAT program, its infrastructure, curriculum, and human resource development support system. He led the establishment of the College of Science and Mathematics Teacher Education. He also labored for the creation of strong linkage with various line agencies, NGOs, and research consortia.

Dr. Antonio Tomaneng, a PhD in Soil Science and a trained Agricultural Engineer, was elected as president in 1993. He was the first to promote the tri-function of a State College namely, instruction, research and extension. Dr. Tomaneng initiated engineering programs specifically the Associate in Material Science Engineering and the BS Geodetic Engineering.

In 1997-2000, NORMISIST was managed by Dr. Glory S. Magdale and Dr. Joanna B.Cuenca, CHED Directors acting as Officers In-Charge. It was in this period that the School of Engineering was established.

Dr. Wenceslao Tianero, a PhD in Agricultural Education and a former Vice President for Academic Affairs in Central Mindanao University, took over the presidency in 2000. Establishment of agricultural projects such as Carabao Center, Dairy Processing Center and Tissue Culture Project were few of his notable achievements.

Dr. Edgar W. Ignacio, a PhD in Chemistry and former Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) also served as the 4th Institute President, with much effort put into the development of the Institute - faculty development program and the establishment of the Science and Technology Complex. The Institute was strengthened to address the mandate of Science and Technology delivery in the Region. These were manifested in the enhancement of S&T Laboratories, hiring new faculty members to backstop S&T program offerings, establishment of the ICT Center and the construction of additional laboratories and classrooms.

From 2008 to February 2014, Dr. Joanna B. Cuenca, CEO III, a former Director of the Commission on Higher Education of the Caraga Region heads the administration. She has led the accreditation of several programs in AACCUP, obtained COD status for Math Program, and expanded the scholarship programs for students. In addition, she has established the HITACHI-donated Robotics Laboratory, helped construct several student centers and began the construction of the Institute's hostel. It is also during her time that NORMISIST Funding for Research and Extension was increased.

Dr. Cuenca worked with the Members of the Board of Trustees (BOT), Administration Officials of the Institute, and Congressmen of Agusan del Norte to establish a state university in the Region. Congressman Jose "Joboy" S. Aquino of the First District of Agusan del Norte co-authored by former Presidential Executive Secretary and Congressman, Second District of Agusan del Norte, Congressman Edelmiro A. Amante filed House Bill Number 5110 at the House of Representatives with Senator Mar A. Roxas as the principal sponsor in the Senate. HBN 5110 was approved in the Senate's 3rd and final reading on November 16, 2009. On December 16, 2009, HBN 5110 was signed and approved into law by Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal - Arroyo through Republic Act 9854.

President Gloria M. Arroyo came to NORMISIST for the ceremonial signing of Republic Act 9854 on January 5, 2010. RA 9854 established the Caraga State University in the Region by integrating the Northern Mindanao State Institute of Science and Technology (NORMISIST) of this city and the Northern Mindanao College of Science and Technology (NMCAST) in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte with its main campus in Butuan City. Dr. Cuenca served as the first President of the newly established Caraga State University.

On June 14, 2014, Dr. Anthony M. Penaso, a young dynamic leader became the 2nd President of CSU. His presence brought a lot of positive changes in the University. During his stint as University President, CSU has reached a defining moment in the span of five (5) years from 2014 to 2019. Radical changes and major accomplishments are evident under the administration of Dr. Penaso.  Its direction towards continual improvement has brought the university to a greater height of remarkable achievement and transformation. 

The university's performance in quality assurance and quality management system measured and demonstrated in the number of accredited programs by the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP), improved quality management system through lSO 9001:2008 and lSO 9001:2015 certification, number of programs with Center of Development (COD) and Delivering Higher Education (DHE) status, SUC leveling status, number of Scopus-indexed journal publications, high board examination performance, number of active partners and linkages, among others are proofs that the University never ceases to grow as time marches on.

Under his term, the University maintained its COD status for Mathematics and added two more CODs in Biology and Information Technology. It has the most number of CODs among higher education institutions in Caraga Region. CSU is the first ISO-certified state university/college (SUC) in Caraga Region. Since 2014, Dr. Penaso has fast tracked its accreditation status across all programs (except BS chemistry which was re-offered after a moratorium). 

In 2015, CSU was awarded by AACCUP among the top universities for having the most number of programs awarded Level II reaccredited status, and the most number of programs awarded candidate status. Only in Dr. Penaso's time that programs are accredited at the CSU Cabadbaran City. 

Dr. Penaso is instrumental in re-offering the BS Chemistry program and in offering new programs, namely BS Social Work, BS Psychology, BS Geology, and BS Civil Engineering at the Main Campus. He rationalized the various industrial technology, tourism and hospitality management programs and offered new programs, namely  and BS Computer Engineering, BS Business Administration (majors in Financial Management, Operations Management, Marketing Management, Human Resource Management, and Business Economics), BS Accountancy, BS Management Accounting, BS Accounting Information System, BS Internal Auditing, BS Entrepreneurship, and BS Office Administration at CSU Cabadbaran City. He also established, in partnership with LGU Bayugan City, an external graduate studies center offering master’s degree programs in public administration, educational management, mathematics education, and science education. 

Within these years, the University boosted the PRC licensure examination performance with passing rates higher than the national passing rates. In 2014, CSU garnered Top 3 in Geodetic Engineer and Top 7 in Forester licensure examinations. In 2015, CSU produced Top 9 in Mining Engineer Licensure Examination with 100% passing rate, making its  as number 1 Top performing school in the country. In 2016, CSU has a remarkably high performance in licensure examinations. It produced the Top 1, 3, 5, and 9 in Forester, Top 1 and Top 9 in Mining Engineer, and Top 6 in Geodetic Engineer licensure examinations. In 2017, CSU continued to dominate as top performing school in Forestry with Top 1, 3, 4,5, 7 (2), and 9, and Geodetic Engineering with its Top 1 and 5 in the top ten places. In 2018, CSU produced Top 6 and 8 in Forester, and Top 7 in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineer licensure examinations. In 2019, CSU garnered Top 7 and Top 8 in Forester, and Top 10 in Mining Engineer licensure examinations. It also dominated the Geodetic Engineer Licensure Examination for producing Top 1, 5, 6, and 8. For the first time in history, CSU got six topnotchers in the 2019 Licensure Examination for Teachers, namely Top 7, Top 8, and two Top 10  in Secondary Level,  while Top 8 and 10 in the Elementary Level. 

Dr. Penaso envisions CSU as an icon of excellence in higher education actively leading the green development of Caraga region in the context of ASEAN integration. His mission is for Caraga State University to develop highly empowered and ethically responsible human resources, produce research contributions with significant societal impact towards a sustainably inclusive growth and development. 

CSU now is surrounded with opportunities brought about by the presence of agencies (both local and international) that invite RDE proposals and collaboration. For years, the University has partnered with these agencies to continually undertake R&D projects in the region that allowed the University to overcome resource constraints. The presence of these agencies has provided substantial leverage and confidence for the University to continue with its R&D pursuits. 

The flagship programs in Environmental Science and related fields have ushered in more opportunities for the University because of stronger identification with the environment and the increasing number of industries in the region that face environmental challenges. For the past five years, mining industries have grown considerably in terms of area covered, operation and productivity. Such growth is attributed to the open mining policy adopted by the government that invited mining companies to locate in the region. 

Along this aspect, the University has the opportunity to lead in environmental advocacy, co-implementing various projects with other agencies to pursue efforts to strike balance among economic development, social inclusion, and environmental conservation. Moreover, the advent of climate change has resulted to growing concerns related to disasters such as floods and storm surges. Thus, proper planning to ensure disaster risk reduction is another challenge. With GIS mapping using LiDAR data produced by the university researchers, more meaningful planning is feasible for local government units in the region.

The revival of the Caraga Consortium for Agriculture, Aquatic and Resources Research and Development (CCAARRD) happened in 2017 during Dr. Penaso's administration, after it ceased to operate in 2011. As the base agency of CCAARRD, CSU is actively involved in the various programs and activities of the consortium. In partnership with CCAARRD, CSU is able to establish new linkages and generate additional resources for its R&D activities. Some faculty members of the University are beneficiaries of the training and other capability building programs sponsored and organized by CCAARRD.

The participation of the university constituents in various local and international human development activities (eg. short-term training, study tours. graduate education, post-doctoral fellowships) and in collaborative research programs resulted to expansion of its linkages, over the years, the University forged partnership with a considerable number of agencies across the country and with other nations. This has helped a lot in pushing further the frontier of the university in terms of capability building and facilities development to respond to pressing concerns in academic and R&D responsibilities. 

Linkages have been credited in improving the status of the university. The major R&D projects of the University are funded by partners like that of DOST-PCIEERD, DOSTPCAARRD, GIZ, DA-BAR, CHED, FFTC-ASPAC, NRCP, among others. In 2017, CSU and CSUCC have also been granted the much worked for and endeavoured land titles or Special Patent.  

Through Dr. Anthony M. Penaso’s transformational leadership, CSU has garnered awards and recognition. The University was awarded the 2017 Best Model Partner-SUC Implementing ESGP-PA (Expanded Student Grant-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation) by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD Caraga) Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program. The University also received the most number of awards among HEIs in Caraga by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Caraga during the 2018 Regional Conference of Caraga HEIs Key Personnel and Awarding Ceremony. The University was awarded the 2018 Outstanding Regional Partner for Knowledge Resource Network by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). The University also ranked 2nd, 3rd, and 4th among the Local Pulse’s 2019 Best Philippine Schools to study in Geodetic Engineering, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, and Forestry, respectively

To sum up all these accomplishments, CSU is the only state university in the country that has leapfrogged from its SUC Level 2 to SUC Level 4 status. It is the only Level 4 SUC in Caraga Region, one of the only five (5) Level 4 SUCs in Mindanao, and one of the 20 Level 4 SUCs in the Philippines. SRL/PICO


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