Cebu Normal University’s (CNU) history began with the establishment in 1902 of Cebu Normal School as a provincial branch of Philippine Normal School. With the passage of R.A. No. 5128 in 1967, Cebu Normal School was renamed Cebu Normal College. In 1976, it was converted into a state college by virtue of P.D. No. 944. On June 27, 1998, the higher education institution (then called Cebu State College) attained university status and was named Cebu Normal University (CNU) pursuant to R.A. No. 8688. CNU has campuses in Medellin and Balamban.


CNU’s involvement in design thinking can be traced to its participation if the FOUNDATION WORKSHOP FOR LEADERS ON DESIGN THINKING held in Singapore Polytechnic on September 18 – 20, 2014. The program infused design thinking mind set to foster local innovators capable of using design thinking methodologies to identify user needs and to generate sustainable technological innovations that impacts the larger ASEAN region. As part of this program CNU sent selected faculty members to the Design Thinking Skill-set Development Workshop held in December 2014 and a Practical Workshop on Application of Design Thinking held last March 2015. The selected faculty members became core trainers and they received additional training in SP to equip them with facilitating skills to implement a Design Thinking program in Cebu. The said workshop and the training held thereafter was sponsored by Temasek Foundation.

Temasek Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic organization anchored in Singapore that seeks to contribute to sustainable growth and a bright future of hope and opportunities for people in Asia. The foundation works with partners to support programs that build people through health care and education, programmes that build bridges between peoples, programs that build institutions of excellence through governance and ethics, and programs that rebuild lives and livelihoods affected by natural disasters.

Inspired by the program, CNU seized the opportunity to leverage design thinking by offering a 14-day unique extension program called E-HELP (Education, Health, Environment, Livelihood, and Peace) Design Thinking Laboratory for Caputatan Norte, Medellin from September 6 – 19, 2015. CNU’s Board Regents approved the Memorandum of Understanding between CNU, Philippines Association of State Universities & Colleges (PASUC), Philippines, SP, and SP International PTE LD to implement design-thinking infused social innovation projects in Cebu. The recently-concluded E-HELP Design Thinking Laboratory established international links between SP and CNU. It also helped the residents of Caputatan Norte address issues on community tourism development, sustainable livelihood, and sanitation improvement. A total of fifty students (25 each from CNU and SP) had authentic learning on real issues and problems. Their exposure provided them learning opportunities to be “World Ready” by working jointly with international students. The student-developed solutions for community tourism, livelihood and sanitation served as links to industry to possibly commercialize them for the mutual   benefit of the industry and community. E-HELP Design Thinking Laboratory established the design thinking community of educators in Cebu that will network with other communities in the Southeast Asia region.

CNU is leading in the Design Thinking Cascading Program in the Visayas. On September 21 – 22, 2015 CNU’s master Trainers assisted by DT Specialist will present to faculty members from state universities and colleges in the Visayas its experience in implementing its E-HELP Design Thinking Laboratory and to share with them the effectiveness of incorporation Design methodology in teaching and learning. As evidence of its efforts to institutionalize design thinking CNU Board of Regents approves CNU Graduate Attributes, to wit: (1) Facilitator of learning – 1 CNU graduate takes on the responsibility of teaching knowledge in the discipline as a holistic process; (2) Design thinker- A CNU graduate who can  apply core skills in literacy, numeracy, scientific literacy, ICT literacy, financial literacy and sociocultural literacy to everyday task as well as competently respond to complex challenges through resourcefulness, imagination, insight, and collaboration to meet current emerging needs of society; (3) Protector of nature – A CNU graduate who can assume an unconditional accountability to protect the natural environment through sustainable conservation practices and firm advocacy; and (4) Mission-driven worker – A CNU graduate who pursues an enduring purpose in life with the passion to become what one is capable of becoming.

  • The Learning Express team (Singapore Polytechnic University and Cebu Normal University Students) during their community engagement and exposure at the adapted community of CNU, Caputatan Norte, Medellin.




  • The Singapore delegation during the Welcome Ceremony of their arrival to the Philippines at the Cebu Normal University facade.




  • The Learning Express team also had their cultural interaction with students and community members. One of their most unforgettable events was the dancing to the beat of the Sinulog dance.




  • SPU and CNU students collaborated in addressing issues and concerns of the community at the Tandang Sora Hall. These results were later presented by the students with varied stakeholders in attendance.