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The big debate: Five pitch for top Makerere job

Date: 
Tuesday, 6 November 2018
Author: 
PATIENCE AHIMBISIBWE

 

Dr Charles Wana-Etyem, the university council chairperson, who attended from morning to evening, expressed dismay over the lackluster attitude of academics and their less-than-satisfactory attention to the crucial issue of a DVC’s selection.

 

Five candidates running for the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC), Academic Affairs, at Makerere University yesterday made compelling cases why each is more suitable and better qualified for the job. 
The new pick will serve Uganda’s oldest and largest public university for the next five years.
The candidates were each given 30 minutes to present their strategies in a bid to replace Prof Okello Ogwang whose five-year term will soon expire.

The candidates, Prof Okello-Obura, Associate Prof Umar Kakumba, Dr Betty Akullu Ezati, Associate Prof Gorettie N Nabanoga and Dr Peter Baguma have all been in management positions and have been linked to the university for at least 20 years.
They both indicated that they will improve the university’s linkage with the industries, strengthen their examination supervision and lobby for funding to support research.

Some lecturers such as Dr Anthony Muggaga and Dr Abasi Kiyimba asked the candidates how they intend to harmonise the conflict, as in the past, between the deputies and the Vice Chancellor. 
The dons also sought to know how the contenders intend to ensure that money at the centre goes to colleges where actual teaching and learning takes place.

But Prof Kakumba warned that while he is an advocate for money going to the units that make it, it would be counterproductive to have a principal superintending the resources to turn out more powerful than the VC.

On college funding
“Whenever I hear about that question, my heart bleeds. Makerere is 96 years, none of us here is 96 years. Makerere will stay; we will go. I support teams. Decentralisation is real, but also you do not want a principal who will be [more] pompous than the central management,” he said.
The attendance at this key presentation was poor. By midday yesterday, only 76 staff and students were in the Main Hall to listen to five candidates.

As the day progressed, the audience numbers dwindled and it was down to 42 by 4pm when the presentations ended. 
Dr Charles Wana-Etyem, the university council chairperson, who attended from morning to evening, expressed dismay over the lackluster attitude of academics and their less-than-satisfactory attention to the crucial issue of a DVC’s selection. 
He appealed to the search committee led by Prof Joseph Mugisha to do a “good job.”

“Eventually, this will end on our desk. We just wanted to come and see how this will end, not to ask questions or [express] any emotions. As you can see I smiled where I thought it wasn’t something to smile about. I am part of this exercise,” Dr Wana-Etyem said.

“The world is watching because the offices for grabs are very important in running this university. They are immediate support for the Vice Chancellor. If you have a strong team, you are good to go. Even if you do not have a strong [University] Council, you can effectively run the university,” he added.

Other positions
Prof Mugisha said in a separate interview that the public presentation will close today with two candidates; Prof William Bazeyo and Prof Anthony Mugisha, who are competing to be the next deputy vice chancellor in-charge of Finance and Administration. 
Prof Mugisha said the results are expected at the end of this month.

Prof Okello-Obura
Prof Okello-Obura dates his association to Makerere University from 1995 when he was a Bachelor of Library and Information Science student. He was retained as a librarian and has risen through the ranks to a professor of information science. He was principal of the College of Computing and Information Sciences from August 2013 to September 2017. He intends to:
•Lobby government for increased government funding to support research and innovation and library. 
•Improve teaching and learning by ensuring effective implementation of open distance and e-learning policy, enforce compliance with curriculum review after every cohort toward research led university.
•Internationalise academic activities through staff and student exchange ensure industry and society linkages to promote university entrepreneurial abilities.
•Advocate gender sensitive and disadvantaged groups supportive systems.
•Ensure students support systems and extracurricular activities.

Ass Prof Umar Kakumba 
He is the current Dean of School of Business and has been a Senate member for eight years. He started as a research assistant in 1998, built human resource for the Makerere faculty from one Phd holder in 2009 to 15 and believes three of his teams can now foster progress which had been completely depleted for almost a decade when the entire Faculty of Commerce of Makerere University was taken to Nakawa to reconstitute the former National College of Business Studies into the current Makerere University Business School which later became autonomous. 
•He is a selfless leader with passion about promoting others and fostering institutional development through human resource career growth
•Can market, sustain and generate revenue from academic programmes
•Foster networks and strategic partnerships to promote Makerere
“I will promote quality teaching, learning and making Makerere a research led university that provides services that are responsive to the global needs,” Prof Kakumba says.

Dr Betty Akullu Ezati
Dr Akullu has worked at the university for the last 26 years. She chairs the pre-entry and mature age, member of contracts committee and review of the Anti-sexual harassment policy. She was among the search committee members for the university’s Vice Chancellor in 2017.
•She proposes to promote the current pedagogy and competence based curriculum workshops.
•Support colleagues to embrace ICT in their practice.
•Promote innovation in teaching
•Initiate annual conference on teaching and learning to share experience on innovation.
•Initiate interdisciplinary journal of teaching and learning.
•Advocate at least one publication on teaching and learning, assessment and curriculum development as a requirement for promotion for all staff
•Have a forum with principals to discuss academic issues.
•Train staff in proposal writing for grants.
•Include young staff in all research projects.

Ass Prof Gorettie Nabanoga

Born on February 27, 1969, Prof Nabanoga has offered 25 years of service at Makerere. She rose from head of department to the level of deputy principal in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
•She promises to focus on the quality of undergraduate by interesting them to do research.
•Carry out cross-departmental links that are responsive to addressing global problems.
•Market graduate programmes
•Improve attitude and mindset for both the staff and students.
•Fully automate the results management process to avoid delays and irregularities in examinations.
•Encourage modular teaching approach to support multi-tasking to privately sponsored students.
“The public has a growing concern on Makerere products. The question of authenticity of the degrees awarded, the employability of our graduates and we cannot afford to ignore it. That is why I am proposing that every college has quality assurance staff to check these bottlenecks,” Prof Nabanoga says.

Dr Peter Baguma
Aged 62 years, Dr Baguma has had a 36-year history with the university. He believes he is mature and will not ‘emotionally’ disrupt the Vice Chancellor. He intends to lobby for funding
•Review curriculum to suit the current demands.
•Enhance access to higher education.
•Improve relevance and quality teaching and learning.
•Train staff in learner-centred approach.
•Equip lecture rooms and laboratories with modern instructional materials.
“We cannot continue to have theory where we need to do practicals. I hear the soil laboratory does not have soil. What sort of laboratory is this? The Makerere we want to see 10 years from now is not the big numbers who are unemployed. Some of our students who graduated have spent 20 years in the field but on the street. Most people are altering marks for money gains.”

Troubled waters
A 2013, Prof Francis Omaswa-led task force appointed by government on job evaluation and reorganisation of the staff structure of Makerere identified:
-That while the deputy vice chancellor position is immediately next in hierarchy to the Vice Chancellor, there is lack of clarity and conflict between this position and that of the Academic Registrar (AR).
-Section 32 (3a) of the Act states the first Deputy VC assists the VC in the performance of his or her functions and in that regard, be responsible for the academic affairs.
-The same Act, Section 34 (1) and (2) states that there shall be an AR for each Public University…The Academic Registrar shall be responsible to the VC.
-In addition, the Section 34 (3) states that the AR shall assist the first DVC in the administration and organisation of all academic matters, including admission, undergraduate studies, postgraduate studies, examinations, research and publication.
- It is evident from the above that there is need to harmonise the position of the DVC (AA) and that of the Academic Registrar. It is clear that these functions are onerous and will be shared with the proposed DVC for Research, Innovation and Development.

Incumbent’s duties:
According to the Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act, the incumbent is supposed to:
•Assist the VC in the performance of his/her functions.
•Ensure quality assurance. 
•In absence of VC, perform the functions of VC.
•Perform any other duties as delegated to him by the VC.
•Coordinate curriculum review and development, oversee programmes.
•Monitor colleges, institutes, gender mainstream
•Advocate for policies that promote academic excellence.

pahimbisibwe@ug.nationmedia.com