by : Audrey M. Calines, Myra Sol M. Calicdan, and Bernadette Manuel Orie

May 11, 2024. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of CHED CAR and the 4th Higher Education Day, PHAS 403, EDMGT 404 classes, and the Student Services Office collaborated to host a seminar– “Collaborating Across Cultures: Equipping Graduate Students for Effective Research Partnerships” at the Margarita Fernandez Hall. Organized by the Graduate School of Baguio Central University, the event featured Dr. Paul Doungtran, a distinguished professor from California State University, as the keynote speaker.

The event commenced with an opening prayer, National Anthem, and opening remarks by our
enthusiastic Graduate School Dean, Dr. Genevieve B. Kupang.

Dr. Genevieve B. Kupang, BCU Graduate School Dean and Representative for Internationalization, delivers her opening remarks with an insightful quote by Carl Sagan emphasizing education’s role in shaping the future. Photo credit: Myra Sol M. Calicdan.

Dr. Kupang connected her sharing to national hero Jose Rizal’s advocacy for education as a tool for progress and critical thinking. Dr. Kupang then highlighted the theme, “Transformative and Resilient Philippine Higher Education,” acknowledging the 4th Higher Education Day and its significance in celebrating the higher education sector’s contributions. She commended the sector’s resilience during the pandemic and expressed gratitude for Dr. Doungtran’s expertise on collaborating across cultures, a crucial aspect for research partnerships in today’s globalized world. She encouraged attendees to HEI’s celebrate achievements, engage in discussions, and foster innovations.

Expecting a stimulating morning with our guest speaker, Dr. Kupang recited this poem:
“We gather here, minds alight,
To learn, to share, to take flight.
Together we'll build, soar high and free,
A future bright, for you and me.”

After the welcoming remarks, PHAS student and master of ceremony for the day, Ms. Jenefer A. Abdul introduced our guest speaker, Dr. Paul DoungTran.

Credit: Sheenah Pearl L Pangda, RPm.

Dr. DoungTran, a Full Professor at California State University, is renowned for his national and international contributions since 1993. His expertise spans teaching, research, and consultation, focusing on social adaptation and mental health services in Pacific Asian communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he collaborated on research projects across Southeast Asia to investigate its impact on social functioning and well-being. Dr. DoungTran’s work continues to address disparities and promote equitable educational and health outcomes globally.

Dr. DoungTran’s enthusiastic presentation kicked off the session. It was a unique convergence of diversity and academia, where cultures united to advance knowledge and foster boundless collaboration. His keynote address focused on the significance of collaborating across cultures. He particularly emphasized the importance of research that documents unique Filipino cultures and practices, such as the close-knit family landscape and the strong sense of community, exemplified by the Filipino concept of “malasakit” towards family members, clan, and neighbors. He highlighted that Filipinos may sometimes take this beautiful characteristic for granted, while it’s not as prevalent in Western cultures.

He urged engagement in outreach programs and activities addressing global challenges, emphasizing the importance of uniting diverse cultures to advance knowledge and foster boundless collaboration. He shared his collaborative efforts with BCU, including writing projects with Dr. Gina Casi and Mr. Hilario Sanglay, and a proposed special issue for the International Journal of Educational Development, co-edited with Dean Kupang. Dr. DuongTran likened the need for collaboration in research to the necessity of different systems within the human body working together for optimal outcomes.

.Dr. DuongTran also discussed the complexity of human interactions and the importance of understanding cultural nuances. He presented data on the age demographics of overseas Filipino
workers, highlighting that many decide to work abroad between the ages of 30-34, demonstrating a
sense of responsibility to themselves, their families, and the country’s economy. He emphasized the
importance of effective communication in Filipino, particularly Tagalog, to facilitate better understanding among Filipinos.

To further enhance our research partnerships, Dr. DuongTran suggested several practical strategies. First, he emphasized the importance of developing strong communication skills, particularly in multiple languages, to bridge gaps and facilitate smoother collaboration. He also recommended leveraging technology to maintain regular contact with international partners and manage projects effectively despite geographical distances. He highlighted the value of cultural sensitivity training to help researchers understand and respect the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of their collaborators. He encouraged actively seeking out interdisciplinary projects, as combining expertise from different fields can lead to innovative solutions and breakthroughs.

Overall, Dr. DuongTran’s insights underscored the significance of collaboration, communication, and cultural sensitivity in advancing global research and fostering meaningful connections.

Mr. Jonie Leung, one of the PHAS students in attendance asks a question.

During the open forum, participants eagerly unlocked their curiosity, seeking practical strategies for effective cross-cultural collaboration, ways to overcome common challenges in international research partnerships, and insights into Dr. DoungTran personal experiences working with diverse research teams. His responses were insightful and encouraging, providing valuable takeaways for our academic and research pursuits. The event wrapped up with a call to embrace social exchange theory in research collaborations. The speaker emphasized the importance of having clear goals and functioning effectively across cultural and national boundaries. He acknowledged the varying practices, language skills, ambitions, motivations, interests, cultural knowledge, biases, institutional supports, salaries, research skills, and assistants that different people and countries bring to the table. By welcoming diverse ideas and perspectives, we, as researchers, can create meaningful and impactful work that benefits both local and global communities.

Dr. Kupang emphasized the critical importance of collaboration and internationalization. She advocated for us to open our minds and our institution to partnerships not only with local students but also with peers from other provinces and countries. ‘Collaboration’, she noted, allows for the exchange of ideas and collective data gathering, ultimately leading to research beneficial to everyone. She expressed gratitude to invited faculty and students who attended. She encouraged us to embrace opportunities for collaboration across regions and nations.

In summary, the seminar underscored the necessity of cultural awareness, effective communication, and collaborative spirit in achieving research excellence. Moving forward, these principles will not only enhance our academic endeavors but also prepare us to tackle global challenges with a united and informed approach.

Awarding of the Certificate of Appreciation to the Resource Speaker Dr. Paul DoungTran by Dr. Genevieve B. Kupang and Dr. Gina L. Casi.

The event concluded with the awarding of certificate and a group photo, culminating in a closing remark by Dr. Gina L. Casi, GS panelist, and Dean of the College of Nursing and School of Midwifery. She left attendees with a poignant reminder of the power of knowledge and the importance of embracing the unknown in our research endeavors. She said, “As we embark on our research, let us embrace the unknown, and always be open to new ideas. Keep searching and researching. Remember, knowledge is power!

Resource Speaker Dr. Paul DoungTran (7 th fr. L) of California State University, strikes a pose with Dr. Genevieve B. Kupang, Graduate School Dean, Dr. Gina Casi, Dean of the College of Nursing and School of Midwifery, BCU Faculty and Students, at a celebration of the Higher Education Day 2024 held at BCU. Photo credit: Rhodora Castro Lleva.

One participant’s feedback–“Indeed, this seminar is one of an eye-opener for us graduate students. The session was not only enlightening but also deeply impactful. The event underscored the vital importance of cultural awareness and effective communication in fostering successful research collaborations. Dr. DoungTran’s insights on navigating cross-cultural partnerships provided valuable practical strategies that we can apply in our academic pursuits. Moreover, Dr. Kupang’s emphasis on resilience in higher education resonated deeply, reminding us of the importance of adaptability and perseverance in the face of challenges. Overall, the seminar served as a reminder of the transformative power of collaboration and the continuous pursuit of knowledge, inspiring us to approach our research endeavors with an open mind, a collaborative spirit, and a dedication to cultural understanding.”

Another participant remarked “Collaboration across cultures isn’t just about exchanging ideas; it’s about forging bonds, bridging differences, and realizing the power of unity in diversity.”

About the Authors:                                                  

Audrey M. Calines, a Grade 6 Teacher at Rizal Elementary School Liteng Extension Pacdal Baguio City. She’s currently taking a Master of Elementary Education at Baguio Central University.



Myra Sol Malipat Calicdan, a TEACHER at Rizal Elementary School. Currently active in different organizations in the CITY OF BAGUIO such as PERSONS WITH DISABILITY, A MEMBER OF THE KIWANIS CLUB.



 Bernadette M. Orie, a degree holder of Elementary Education. With her dedication to education, she possesses a valuable quality that contributes to molding the future leaders of tomorrow. Moreover, her unwavering commitment to instilling a passion for learning in every student is truly commendable



 ADVISER: Jennifer T. Longchasen Elementary Teacher for 15 years, part time College Instructor in Teacher Education and Liberal Arts (CTELA) and a Faculty of Graduate School. Doctor of Education in Education Management.