by Juseph Elas
Armand Nocum of Deans and Kings Public Relations firm, Maria Marta Asuzano of McCann Erickson Philippines, Zamboanga City’s Public Information Officer Shiela Belen Covarrubias, and Chrisel Almonia of GBPI TV 11 are just a few of the names that went under her intense mentoring during their college years, the names of her students that are now fairly successful in their respective professions.
Dr. Lea Usman Laput, or simply Ma’am Lea, is one of the feared professors of the Mass Communications Department of Western Mindanao State University (WMSU). Perhaps, this impression is tantamount to her intimidating demeanor. Anyone can’t be blamed for thinking as such because Ma’am Lea is really a force to reckon with. She did not earn her title as one of the ‘Wicked Witches’ of the Masscom Department for nothing. You think that witches only exist in Harry Potter’s world? You might want to think about that again.
She finished her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications at Siliman University in Dumaguete and her PhD in Communications at University of the Philippines (Diliman). And she began her teaching profession in WMSU in the year 1986.
Currently, she is the director of the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of WMSU. In addition, she is also a teacher and a mother. Moreover, one couldn’t blame her if she rarely grants interviews because her plate is pretty much full.
However, I am very fortunate to have an opportunity to have a short talk with this respected and loved faculty member.
Q: How does one Dr. Lea Laput starts her day?
Ma’am Lea: I start the day by praising the Almighty for the blessings. I contemplate by having silent communion with the Creator and to look forward to meeting different challenges. Also, in the morning I do gardening. I water my plants at home because it drives away bad vibes.
Q: How is one Dr. Lea Laput different from other instructors/professors in the university?
Ma’am Lea: I don’t consider myself as different from other faculty. What I can say is I can serve best because I’m able to contribute whatever is needed for the advancement of the program. I usually work well behind the scene rather than in the frontline because what matters is our intentions to pursue a common goal for the interest of the department.
Q: How is the Masscom Department different now compared to before?
Ma’am Lea: The department remained strong because of strong faculty members. Policies might have changed in terms of complying with Commission on Higher Education (CHED) orders and other developments in terms of accreditations, State Universities and Colleges (SUC) leveling, and K-12, but the Masscom Department has changed for the better because we have become compliant of the developments.
Q: What is something you look forward to for the Masscom Department?
Ma’am Lea: I am looking forward to welcome younger faculty members who can help in strengthening the department, expanding its services to the community. We look forward to serving more students who in turn are going to be good leaders and dedicated civil servants.
Unfortunately for me, there’s just little time for that talk and Ma’am Lea can only answer a few questions. Nevertheless, one can infer that despite her busy schedule, because of her administrative duties, she still has the Masscom Department’s best interest at heart.
So the next time you see a tall woman whose hair is cut short and hangs in that very nice way, show some respect and courtesy because she is none other than Dr. Lea Usman Laput, one of the ‘Wicked Witches’ of the Masscom Department.