By Mfon Okon
The Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo, Prof. Enefiok Essien, SAN on Monday during media chat with Journalists disclosed that a total of four thousand three hundred and eight (4,308), including 642 postgraduates, 3,492 undergraduates, 173 and sub-degree graduands in the forthcoming convocation of the university will be awarded certificates, diplomas, first degrees, masters and doctoral degrees.
He also disclosed that there will be two honorary doctorate degree awardees for this year Convocation.
Prof. Essien told Journalists that graduands of this year convocation have been adjudged sustainable in character and learning, adding that the 25th convocation ceremony will hold on Saturday 2nd November, 2019, at the University Main Camus, Nwaniba Road, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria at 10:00am.
He used the meeting to highlight some of his achievements in the last one year in the university to include development in human and physical infrastructures within and around the university.
On the physical development of the university, Prof. Essien explained that between the last convocation and now, the university have had or started completed significant developments/projects in all the campuses, especially the main campus. According to him, some of them will be commissioned as part of the events marking this year convocation.
He mentioned some of them to included; construction of the University of Uyo Filling Station at the main campus; which he said will help improve the university Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Installation and inauguration of UNIUYO- Community ICT Centre at Entrepreneurial Studies building at the main campus donated by Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). External Electrification Project at main campus. Renovation/rehabilitation of Mechanical Engineering Workshop at the main campus. Installation if street lighting for the entrance and main drive of the university main campus. Construction of Biochemistry Laboratory phase 1 at the College of Health Sciences campus. Construction of ICT Block Phase 2 at the main campus. Construction of classroom block for Faculty of Science, at the main campus.
In the same vein, the Vice Chancellor also said that University of Uyo for the past one year has added new academic programmes, centre and units to boost and uplift academic standard of the university. He pointed out to meet with the challenging needs in larger society and ensure continued relevance of the university, the management under his watch for the past one year has evolved new programmes, created new faculties and departments and also modified existing ones to accommodate global best practice.
“The following may be mentioned: establishment of Centre for Deep Dialogue and Critical Thinking, which is in affiliation with the Dialogue Institute of Temple University, Philadelphia, USA. Establishment of University of Uyo Ethical Research Centre which among other things, ensure that researches are conducted within the scope of the nation code of Health Research Ethics 2006, National Health Research Ethics Committee of Nigeria Guidelines and in line with acceptable standards and best practices, the domiciled in the college of Health Sciences”.
“Professor Stella Idiong Arts Gallery, donated by the Wife of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel and headed by a director. Institute for Health, Safety, and Environment (IHSSE) Studies established in 2008, and headed by a director. A brand new Faculty of Basic Clinical Science has been created. A Dean has been appointed for the Faclty and Heads of Departments have been appointed for the Department”.
“The University of Uyo will soon commence degree programmes in Nursing Science, Physiotherapy, Radiology, and Dentistry. These have been already been approved by the University Senate and are being processed by the National Universities Commission (NUC) for their resource verification visit in November, 2019. We are expecting an NUC resource verification in November 2019, towards starting a new course called Human Nutrition and Dietetics in the Faculty of Agriculture”.
“Also this year our university senate approved the commencement of 6-year undergraduate pharmacy programme leading to the award of a more clinically oriented first degree in pharmacy called, Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D). For the first time, our University Library has set up an institutional Repository Policy, thus joining the select league of universities that have the policy”.
“To better capture its essence and reflect its coverage, our Pre-degree campus at Ediene Abak which accommodates both JUPEB and Pre-degree programmes has been renamed School of Basic Studies, just as the School of Continuing Education and Professional Studies, in recognition of the professional programmes offered by the school. Similarly, Institution of Education has been given a more embrace name: Institute of Education and Professional Studies. Department of Mathematics and Statistics has now been split into two, headed by different persons. Department of Vocational Education has now dissolved and in its place three departments have risen: Agricultural and Home Economics Education, Business Education, and Industrial Technology Education”.
“To reposition it for better performance in the maintenance of academic standard, our Quality Assurance Unit has been elevated to a Directorate in practice terms by the appointment of a Director for the first time. In recognition of the fact that just as staff are punished when they are err, they should also be recommended, rewarded and motivated when they excel, we have established a Commendation and Awards Committee. The committee has already met and, using verifiable objective and non-contentious criteria, has made and submitted its recommendation for the first set of awardees. We have also set up a Price Intelligence Unit to enhance due process and this has since been functioning. This Unit has up-to-date knowledge of the price of goods which are within the thresh-hold of direct purchase”.
“Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU) ,the campus off-shoot if ICPC, has been strengthened by the provision and equipping of office space and sponsoring of its officials for conferences and workshops. To ensure the beautification and serenity of the campus and improve its environmental aesthetics generally, an Environmental Management Unit has been set up”, all these, the University of Uyo Vice Chancellor, Professor Enefiok Essien, SAN, explained.
The University Don also disclosed that since his inception into office has the Vice Chancellor, the institution has maintained a sustained Gown and Town integration. According to him, “Since the core objectives of the University are teaching, research and community service, the University of Uyo has remained committed to its core mandate. The Centre for Research and Development has been very active in coordinating researches by individual, academics and faculties”.
He stressed the fact that Inaugural Lectures is now a regular exercise and indeed monthly academic tradition in this university, adding that University of Uyo also hosted public, national and international conferences, seminars, workshops and symposia in the past one year, some of which drew participation from America, Europe, Asia and over twelve African Countries.
“We have maintained good relationship with our host communities.
The University Management held very fruitful interactive peace-building meetings with leaders of the host communities in both the town campus and the main campus. This is quite different from the normal engagements with our Community Relations Officer, a Deputy Registrar by rank, frequently has with the host community”, Prof. Essien said.
On accreditation of courses/programmes of the university, ha said that 2019 is an academically busy year for the university, as the university is going through NUC re-accreditation visitation for 54 programmes, in addition to professional re-accreditation by some professional bodies such as MDCN and COREN.
He added that the exercise is very important as its outcome determines not only the fate of current students, but that of prospective applicants for admission into those programmmes, at the moment the university has positive NUC and professional accreditation status as applicable for all its progrmmes.
On staff and students welfare, Prof. Essien disclosed that staff welfare has continued to occupy a central position of the university. According to him, “this is borne out of a conviction that its takes a well motivated work force to put in their best and there is no arguing that timely promotion is the greatest source of staff motivation. Accordingly, we have ensured regular and timely promotion of staff across the board. As I speak, we have concluded the promotion exercise for this year, particularly for non-professional cadre.
Those in the professional cadre have to go through external assessment. Even in this category, we have indeed had more professorial promotion between 2016 and today than ever before in this university. Despite the long intervening national strikes which crippled academic activities, we have a total of sixty four (64) professorial promotions in 2019 alone. From 2017 to date, we have a total of one hundred and fifteen (115) professorial promotions. This is a record”.
“Still on the welfare, staff are happy as their moral is boosted with the payment of earned allowance to the relevance staff, the university is not living no stone unturned to ensure payment of promotion and arrears to deserving staff.
On security of life and properties of students on campus, Prof. Essien disclosed that there is formidable security apparatus in and within all the campuses of the university to protect the students.
He explained that protection of students especially at night is enhanced by security patrols and sometimes static squad in some areas
Prof. Essien also booster that in students’ matters, the university recorded a feat by introduction of electronic voting (e-voting) in Students Union elections. He pointed out that the way the students were able to have a free, fair and credible election in which they voted from the comfort of their homes, in their classes and indeed from anywhere in the world and votes were recorded and counted automatically real time and total scores were seen instantly at the close of voting, has enhanced peace and reduced cost, eliminated inference, good-fatherism and restiveness in the campus.
He added that his administration has also brought in e-transactions among staff and senate of the university.
“Even now we are operating e-senate or paperless senate, whereby members of the university senate do not carry hard copies of documents to, or use hard copies in senate meetings, rather, they carry laptops, palmtops, iPads, or even their phones or simply follow the proceedings from the projectors which are conspicuously mounted in the meeting. This saves time and money and keeps pace with the time”, Prof. Essien further explained.