Dr. Shirley Castañeda Agrupis is a full-fledged professor and is currently serving her second term as President of Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU).
A seasoned and published researcher, she has won a number of awards, at the regional, national and international level. Her sterling leadership is widely recognized. She is the recipient of the prestigious 2021 Dioscoro L. Umali Medal Outstanding Science Administrator Award from the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST-PHL) and the 2019 William D. Dar Research Leadership Award given by the Philippine Association of Research Managers. In 2021, she was awarded as Outstanding Alumna of the University of the Philippines Los Baños. She was also a regional nominee for the Presidential Lingkod Bayan 2020 Search for Outstanding Government Workers by the Civil Service Commission and was awarded as Most Outstanding Ilocano 2019 for varied achievements as an educational leader that helped uplift the life of Ilocanos.
As research project leader, she steered and spearheaded various research projects pioneering technologies for the processing and production of high value bioethanol products from indigenous feedstock, black garlic and herbal drug from indigenous plant resources found in Ilocos Norte. Her pioneering works in bioethanol led to the establishment of National Bioenergy Research and Innovation Center (NBERIC) as technology innovation hub for RE technology and as the center that sustainably produces bioethanol and sanitizer for distribution to frontliners amid the pandemic. She is also Project Leader of the Tuklas Lunas Development Center (TLDC) at MMSU.
Prior to her presidency, she was Director for External Affairs and Partnerships (EAP) of MMSU. Her efforts led to the forging of international institutional partnerships that remain strong up to this day. With internationalization among the priorities in her administration’s strategic agenda, MMSU implements dynamic credit transfer, faculty and student mobility, and other collaborative programs that solidify its global reputation.
With her strong research and academic background, Dr. Agrupis implements a data-driven and results-oriented leadership and management style. In the first two years of her presidency, she was able to steer MMSU to become ISO-certified for all processes, and to be the first Philippine SUC to be rated as a three-star university in the QS Stars Rating system (2019) and ranked 400th- 600th in the world and second in the Philippines in the 2022 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. Under her leadership, MMSU likewise leveled up in its institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines (AACCUP) from Level I to Level III and was awarded Bronze Level in the Program to Institutionalize Meritocracy and Excellence in Human Resource Management (PRIME-HRM) of the Civil Service Commission (CSC). She spearheaded the MMSU family to sustain its Level IV status and pass the Institutional Sustainability Assessment (ISA) by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Also, MMSU strengthened its Information Technology infrastructure, developing academic and administrative electronic systems, leading to its successful transition into the new normal with its own learning management system (called the MMSU Virtual Learning Environment) and a Center for Flexible Learning, which are integral parts of the University’s transformation into a technology-enabled SMART campus.
Dr. Agrupis is a member of the CHED TWGs for the revision and formulation of criteria in the evaluation and levelling of State Universities and Colleges, as well as the PASUC Platform for Innovating SUCs for Industry (PISI) Committee and the special task force created by USAID STRIDE to formulate and assist universities in mapping out strategic thrusts and pathways toward excellence in research and innovation.
Dr. Agrupis finished Bachelor of Science in Biology degree (cum laude) from MMSU and is the first MMSU graduate to be the president of her Alma Mater. She obtained her Master of Science, major in Plant Morpho-Anatomy and Physiology from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, and her Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Sciences from the United Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Gifu University, Shizuoka University Campus in Japan with post-doctoral fellowships in the US under the Fulbright-Philippine Agriculture Scholarship Program and USDA Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program.
She is happily married to retired Forester Ador Agrupis, with three children: Kristal An, a Medical Doctor and a medical researcher serving as clinical epidemiologist in Nagasaki University - School of Tropical Medicine and Global Health; Jofil Angelo, an Industrial Designer based in Hongkong; and Cheska Arla, a Lawyer.