UNN plans elaborate farewell for outgoing VC Bartho Okolo

Posted by News Express | 23 May 2014 | 4,401 times

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University of Nigeria, Nsukka Vice Chancellor, Prof. Bartho Okolo, yesterday began farewell visits to faculties of the institution in the Enugu campus as part of activities to mark the end of his tenure. Okolo was appointed the 13th Vice Chancellor of the first indigenous university in Nigeria in 2009 and ends a five-year tenure on June 9.

Prof. Okolo is to visit the 15 faculties of the institution, according to a programme drawn up by a Committee on End of Service chaired by Prof. S. O. Onyegebu. He was in Business Administration, Environmental Sciences, Health Sciences and Technology and Law all on the Enugu campus while visiting Dentistry and Medical Sciences at the Ituku Ozalla campus which also houses the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH).

At the Nsukka main campus, he would be received by deans in the faculties of Agriculture, Arts, Biological Sciences, Education, Engineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.

Committee Chairman Onyegebu said the university would hold a grand farewell ceremony for the outgoing Vice Chancellor on June 6.

The farewell ceremonies hold as selection interviews for a successor commence on June 2 through 5 at the Nsukka campus.

The outgoing UNN Vice Chancellor is credited with a number of achievements, among them the execution of over 400 projects covering scholarship and learning environment, physical infrastructure, internationalisation, and staff and student welfare.

Speaking at the 43rd Convocation of the institution in March, Okolo remarked that university administration under his leadership “made significant progress” in various areas. He said that based on those achievements, “I am truly optimistic that we are on course to realising our ambition to build the 21st century institution we desire. However, to achieve this objective, we must endeavour to sustain the tempo and direction of on-going developments at the University.”

Okolo enumerated the achievements to include “internationalisation of our university; development of an ICT driven modern University operation mechanism; jump-starting a research culture within the university; and creating additional spaces to serve as classrooms, staff offices, seminar rooms, laboratories, theatres, studios, workshops, etc., either through the construction of new buildings or remodelling or recovery of already existing buildings as well as fitting the newly created spaces with requisite furniture and modern equipment to enable their effective use.”

According to Okolo, UNN management under his leadership also “modernised our classrooms and teaching laboratories and fitted them with modern teaching facilities to enhance teaching and learning. Worthy of mention here is the discontinuation of the use of blackboards and installation of state-of-the-art interactive smart boards and projectors for enhanced teaching and learning.” Others include “enhanced the profile of the University by entering into new collaborations with reputable institutions or revitalising existing ones. Currently, the university enjoys about 80 of such active collaborations with reputable institutions across the world. In addition, we are now the proud hosts of a UNESCO Category II Biotechnology Centre of Excellence, the only one of its kind in Africa as well as a member of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the New York Academy of Science.”

He said UNN “took advantage of the collaborations to create opportunities for staff development and staff and students’ exchanges, shared curriculum, joint research projects and staff training in vital subject areas, exposing both staff and students to international best practices. Some of our collaborators have also made generous donations of equipment and books, while some have offered postgraduate scholarships to our staff and students; funded various staff trainings abroad and sponsored staff participation in conferences, seminars and workshops within and outside the country; improved the quality of staff and faculty by hiring experienced staff and faculty from abroad and offering automatic employment to first class scholars (the impact of this on the quality of teaching and research has been phenomenal).”

Additionally, UNN “improved the state of municipal facilities and infrastructure for the purpose of improving the living and working conditions on our campuses. (This include the installation of new distribution networks for power and water, the procurement of new power sub-stations, the resurfacing of roads within the campuses, etc.); revitalised essential services which support teaching and learning, such as the University Press and the University Bookshop; as well as “created an environmental ambience that is deserving of a 21st century learning centre. (This was achieved through the creation of pedestrian walkways, green lawns, the paving of open areas, installation of garden seats and overall improvement in the sanitary conditions in the campuses).”

On welfare and security, Okolo said UNN management “improved the safety on campuses through the installation of street lights, improved security patrol and provision of an ultra modern two-way radio communication equipment in both campuses; improved the living conditions of students through rehabilitation of hostels and provision of facilities for the recreation of students. “These include the completion of the student multi-activity court and the rehabilitation of sporting facilities; and provided an ubiquitous, always-on wifi on a robust ICT infrastructure to enhance communication, teaching, research and administration. The University has now installed the Blackboard distance learning platform and some of our faculties are currently running their courses on this platform, while staff of other faculties are being trained on the solution. Similarly, alumni software, ‘the raisers’ edge’ and net-communications were installed for effective alumni activity management.”

Okolo also pointed out that under his watch, the promotions cycle for staff was speeded up by reducing it from four to three years while insisting that for academics this must be backed with verifiable Impact Factor research published in peer reviewed journals.

•Photo shows outgoing UNN Vice Chancellor, Prof. Bartho Okolo.


Source: News Express

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