Dr. Shirley Castañeda Agrupis is a full-fledged professor and the current President of Mariano Marcos State University.
A seasoned and published researcher, she has won a number of awards, at the regional, national and international level, the most recent being the prestigious William D. Dar Research Leadership Award given by the Philippine Association of Research Managers. She was also awarded Most Outstanding Ilocano 2019 for varied achievements as an educational leader that helped uplift the life of Ilocanos. In 2020, she was awarded the Lingkod Bayan Award by the Civil Service Commission.
As research project leader, she steered various research projects on bioethanol, funded by external agencies. The project eventually paved the way for the establishment of the National Bioenergy Research and Innovation Center at MMSU. Her team was awarded the Gantimpala Agad Award by the CSC for their innovative and immediate response at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is also the program leader of the Tuklas Lunas Development Program, which focuses on drug development using indigenous plants in Ilocos Norte.
Prior to her presidency, she was Director for External Affairs and Partnerships (EAP) of MMSU. Her enthusiasm, vision, leadership as director made MMSU a magnet destination of DOST Balik Scientists and visiting professors from international institutions. Her efforts led to the forging of international institutional partnerships that remain strong up to this day
Having obtained postgraduate education and training abroad (Japan, USA, UK) internationalization ranks high in Pres. Agrupis' strategic agenda for MMSU (dubbed as 7-point agenda to ACHIEVE). She steered the university to become a three-star university in the Quacquarelli-Symonds (QS) Stars Rating system. Under her leadership, MMSU gained international recognition by obtaining the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) 3 Stars rating, with a 5 star-rating in innovation; and ranking in the 100-200 bracket of the Top Global Innovative Universities as well as in the 52-100 bracket in Student Mobility and Openness of the World Universities with Real Impact (WURI) ranking. She also led the university toward its ISO 9001:2015 certification; as well as in leveling up, from Level I in 2014 to Level III in 2020, in the Outcomes-Based Institutional Accreditation System of the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities (AACCUP); passing the Institutional Sustainability Assessment (ISA) by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED); and sustaining its status as a Level IV University in the SUC Levelling scheme.
She is a member of the CHED TWGs on the 7th Cycle Implementation of NBC 461 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.
A BS Biology alumna (cum laude) of the College of Arts and Sciences, at MMSU Dr. Agrupis 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. Her dissertation was titled, Studies on the Chemical Conversion of Waste Tobacco Stalks and Evaluation of Their Potential Application.
Dr. Agrupis has participated in advanced research trainings and fellowships, including the prestigious Fulbright-Philippines Agriculture Scholarship Program (FPASP) in September 2011 to March 2012, and the USDA Norman E. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship Program, in October to December, 2009. In both programs, she was hosted by the Kansas State University Bio-processing and Industrial Value-Added Program, Bio-processing and Fermentation Laboratory in both programs. She was also a Short Term Visiting Researcher, Kobe University and Tohoku University, Japan (2000); Visiting Foreign Researcher, Shizuoka University, Japan (2003); and Visiting Associate Professor, Kyoto University, International Innovation Center, Japan, (2006).
Prior to her appointment as Professor in MMSU, she worked with the Philippine Tobacco Research and Training Center (now the National Tobacco Administration), first as Research Assistant, and later, Science Research Specialist.
Born on July 25, 1964 in Aparri, Cagayan, she is the youngest of the nine children of Jose C. Castañeda and Marciana G. Disierto. She is married to Ador Agrupis, a retired Forest Engineer of Touken System Corporation, Japan. They have three children: Kristal An Agrupis, a medical doctor at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila; Jofil Angelo, 28, a Master of Design graduate of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, who now works as an Industrial Designer in Hong Kong; and Cheska Arla Agrupis, 24, a second year Bachelor of Laws student at San Beda College, Manila.
On August 1, 2021, she was appointed by the MMSU Board of Regents as the Seventh President of MMSU. On July 15, 2021, the Board unanimously approved her re-appointment, and is now serving her second term as University President.