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Social media: the modern trend of building and championing institutional brands in higher education

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On 26th February 2018, the Directorate of ICT Support (DICTS) at Makerere University organised a Social Media for Higher Education Workshop to sensitize staff and students on how they can utilise social media and other digital media platforms to champion the institution’s brand amongst its stakeholders around the world.
Officially opened by the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe who was represented by the Director of DICTS Eng. Kitumba Frank, the workshop also focused on discussing the important ways of how Makerere University, can embrace the professional usage of social media tools to improve its online brand as well as harmonising social media as a learning tool.

During the interactive sessions, experts in social media management, communication, Public relations, digital marketing and digital PR and ICT intelligences from both government institutions and private sector, the researchers in academia shared ideas on how the staff and student can exploit their personal social media platforms to promote, protect and market Makerere University as a brand with the aim of increasing its visibility.
 
In a speech read by Eng. Kitumba, The Vice Chancellor appreciated the move by the Directorate of ICT Support (DICTS) to sensitize the University community on proper representation of Makerere University as a brand online. He urged staff and students to own the University reputation and promote its work in research, innovations and other developments wherever they are.
 
“Social media is increasingly becoming a key online marketing tool for institutions the world over, therefore we need to ensure that Makerere University is very vibrant on social media as we embark on the move to unlock its potential,” he said.

Eng. Kitumba Frank,, the Director of DICTS emphases the need for Makerere University to harmonise the existing online platform and ICT tools together with social media platforms
Social Media has evolved exponentially into a powerful social engagement, business intelligence and educational tool that should be embraced by all in this information driven age. Today, companies use social media for predictive data analytics whose findings can be used for business forecasting, improving business sales and retaining customers.
 
Higher education institutions the world over are equally embracing social media as a research marketing tool that is able to drive user traffic to their web-portals, improve their visibility and rank as well as market their research products to a wider audience.
 
“Social media tools are useful for gathering, collating, accessing, managing, sharing and disseminating your work and research findings. The effective use of social media tools can also enable you to manage your online presence, develop your reputation, maximize your impact and build networks,” Prof. Nawangwe mentioned.

According to the Director, DICTS Eng. Kitumba Frank, Makerere University joined the trend of using social media with the aim of promoting its brand, protecting its image and increasing the opportunities of reaching out to its stakeholders. To achieve this wonderful milestone, the institution has been able to harmonise the existing online platform and ICT tools together with social media platforms to easily reach out to its stakeholders.

Mr. Kitumba also revealed that the University is developing a tool that will increase the staff and students interactivity on Makerere University social platforms. He therefore encouraged them to be very vibrant online and ensure that they positively represent the great brand and legacy Makerere owns.

“We are ensuring that the institution moves with the trend. We have managed to harmonise the existing tools with the social media platforms to ensure increase our interaction with the users and also market our research, innovations and other developments in academics,” he said.

 Mr. Agaba Issa Magabo,the Brand and Marketing Officer of Makerere University, speaking about the importance of institutional branding.
Samuel Paul Mugabi, the End-User Manager at DICTS said that Social media has evolved overtime and it is more than a casual linkup. According to him, the Makerere University has therefore recognized the changing trend and adopted the service delivery model where the IT Service Management has been streamlined to fit the social media trend and online interactivity among end users.

“We have improved the quality and consistency of the IT support experience for students, faculty and staff using various electronic touch points such as email, phones, CRM and Help-Desk tools. As the end user unit, we are in the process of repackaging data to fit our users’ interest and ensure that the message produced, effectively communicates across all the university platforms. We are working hand in hand with the Makerere University Public Relations Office to ensure that Makerere University maintains its relevancy through its digital platforms,” he explained.

Engaging the audience on the importance of institutional branding, the Brand and Marketing Officer of Makerere University Mr. Agaba Issa Magabo said that branding helps institution to attract Government support for institutional plans, to continue attracting partnerships from both local and international agencies and to maintain the confidence of alumni especially the would-be donors that their alma mater still “rocks”.

“If you are to attract local and international finances, you must behave in a certain unique, uniform and authentic way that will catch the funder’s eyes and then entrust you with his money. This means you need to have an authentic brand that is popular and respected,” he said.
 
He cautioned staff and students who misrepresent and misuse the university brand saying that it does not only affect the university as an institution but also tarnishes their names.“For many years Makerere University has been branded as an institution of strikes, this has strongly tarnished its image and reputation. The negative reports in the media have done more harm than good to the institution’s image and has inflicted a big damage on its market. But remember this is our institution, which needs our protection. Let us enjoy its legacy through building and maintaining its brand that it has held for centuries as we build for the future,” he said.

The Makerere University Senior Public Relations Officer Ms. Ritah Namisango was able to emphasize the need to manage content when communicating a powerful brand.

Reiterating the need to manage content when communicating a powerful brand, the Makerere University Senior Public Relations Officer Ms. Ritah Namisango urged students and staff to always make a background check on the content they post about the institution. According to her, relevant and valuable content will always attract, engage and drive the audiences to follow the institution’s work hence creating traffic on the platforms. She appealed to staff and students to always defend and protect the institution’s image when interacting with their personal social media platforms.

“Our actions should support our institution. We should represent Makerere University positively as a good brand. Change starts with YOU. Be the change that you want to see. Communicate responsibly especially on social media.” she stated.

In a presentation on ‘how the media has improved our professional call a case study of WhatsApp, Dr. Paul Birevu Muyinda, said that social media tools such as WhatsApp have potentials to provide cooperation, increase social interaction, interest and motivation, sense of belonging, academic success, student-student and student-teacher interaction. The tools also support learning anytime and anywhere, provide peer support, feedback, and allow for sharing of information in education.

He however, noted that despite their relevancy, many tutors have met challenges while using social media to reach out to their students. “Concerns towards privacy and security, losing attention, getting beyond the limits in personal relations, use of slang language, and negative effects on academic life arising from excessive use of social media have been cited while tutors try to reach out to students via social media,” he stated.

"The world is going digital, so our institions and businesses. we should utilse the opportunities availed by digital marketing," said Mr. Ssemanda Mathias, the digital Marketing specialist.

Mr. Mathias Ssemanda a Digital Marketing Specialist said digital Marketing varies greatly depending on institutions interests and values. According to him, higher education institutions are often caught in the crosshairs of upholding history and tradition and moving forward into the future with students. This makes it vital that their social media marketing efforts comprise part of a larger strategy focused on the overall institutional brand.

Ssemanda said that as social networks continue to advance and meld into aspects of everyday life, the academic world is determining the way in which these digital tools can work to educational advantage in correlation with conventional methods.
 
“The intended core of social media is communication, providing great opportunities for those within the education industry to connect, share and learn. Digital marketing builds and maintains the customer relationship through online activities. When well-managed, digital marketing can put the consumer in control, provides convenience, drives the brand loyalty, reduces the selling cycle and captures customers that are searching on the Internet for answers,” he said.

Taking the audience through social media threats, risks and security, the Director Cyber-Crime Unit in the Uganda Police Mr. Haguma Jimmy said many people have become victims of social media threats and crime in Uganda. According to Mr. Haguma, over the years the Uganda Police has registered several cases of cybercrime such as cyber rape, conmen online, destruction of relevant information by security threats, illegal hackers among others.

the Director Cyber-Crime Unit in the Uganda Police Mr. Haguma Jimmy, tipping staff and students on the best social media practices.
 
He therefore advised Ugandans to adopt the best social media practices and also familiarize themselves with the laws that govern social media in Uganda.  “Many laws have been put in place to regulate the social media environment, take time and read them so that you know your position while using social media. Do not open any emails from untrusted sources. Do not give offers from strangers the benefit of the doubt. Lock your laptop/Phone whenever you are away. Purchase anti-virus software. Read your company’s privacy policy to understand under what circumstances you can or should let a stranger into the building. Set strong passwords,” Mr. Haguma said.

Article and photos by: Proscovia Nabatte, Mak-Public Relations Office

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Makerere University Launches National Parenting Draft Manual

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The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo (Centre) and Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC (Right) interact with a participant at the workshop on 22nd July 2022, Kampala.

By Agnes Namaganda

On July 22nd 2022, Makerere UniversityChild Health and Development Centre (MakCHDC) launched a draft manual for the National Parenting Standards. The Centre has been working together with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) with funding from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund), to develop standards that are agreeable to all organisations in the country that are involved in parenting work. The draft manual was being presented to members of a consortium that brings together all these organisations together, called the Parenting Agenda Consortium.

“We produce many documents and they are shelved,” Irene Ayot Chono, who was speaking on behalf of UNICEF said. “We hope that this document will not be one of them,” she emphasized.

Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.
Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC who presented the draft manual to participants, emphasized that if any organization is doing parenting work, there should be a minimum package that they should offer.

Draft Manual Content

The manual which will have several modules. These modules will be delivered face-to-face in 1.5 hour sessions. Some of these include; Module 6 which will focus on “understanding responsible masculinity and fatherhood” and on “understanding the concept of head of family.”The draft manual also proposed that Module 11 focuses on Parenting in the 21st Century. Some of the sessions in this module will include Children and Technology, Contemporary Influence on Children and Modernity, Culture and Morality.Module 9 will focus on Parenting for Adolescents and some of the suggested sessions within this module are Needs for Adolescents and The Art of Communicating with Adolescents. Module 5 will focus on Preventing Violent Parenting and Promoting Alternative Discipline Strategies while Module 10 will be about Parenting to Address the Mental Health for Children and Adults.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.
Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.

Participants’ suggestions

After the presentation, participants raised several suggestions for discussion and consideration. These included whether there should be a module on spirituality since Uganda is a strongly religious nation. There was also the concern of how children in remand homes should be parented. Another concern raised by a participant was as to whether teachers who make an undeniable contribution to parenting, should be taken through the parenting manual.

A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.
A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo, the Director of Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) said that the manual is for the parenting organisations to utilize and not for MGLSD.

The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.
The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.

Ms. Chono also adjured the team behind the manual to use picture illustrations in the manual that can be relatable by the Ugandan parents.

Contact: Agnes Namaganda – agnesvioletnamaganda@gmail.com

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Launch of Mak-RIF Round 4 Awards & PhD Call for Proposals

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Mak-RIF 4 Awards and PhD Call For Proposals, 29th September 2022, 9:00 to 10:00 AM EAT.

Makerere University received funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support high impact Research and Innovations. This unique initiative arose after engagements between the top University Management and the Government of Uganda. This fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of development and transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. 

In the Financial years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Mak-RIF has funded implementation of over 750 multidisciplinary research and innovations within the various Colleges, while engaging multiple stakeholders within and outside Makerere University. The Grants Management Committee (GMC) has finalized the award process for the Mak-RIF round 4 call for funding for this Financial Year 2022/2023.

The Grants Management Committee (GMC) hereby invites you to the Launch of the Mak-RIF Round 4 awards and PhD Call for Proposals scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday 29th September 2022 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EAT. 

Please use the following details to join the launch.

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpcu-urDIjE9ZgxdsbEmA2IkNMMiJVECt_ 
Meeting ID: 884 5662 9992
Password: 292624

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Notice: Makerere Disability Scheme 2022/23 Medical Review Exercise

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One of the PWD graduands at the 69th Graduation during the Session held on 17th January 2019.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites persons with disability who applied for admission to public universities under the disability entry scheme for 2022/2023 Academic Year to appear for medical/review exercise at Makerere Unive, Senate Building, Level Two (2) in the Telepresence Centre.

NOTE: Only those who have the minimum entry requirements of at least two principal passes at A’ Level or its equivalent and at least five (5) passes at O’ Level or its equivalent will be interviewed.

 Only candidates who sat ‘a’ level in 2020, 2019 and 2018 are eligible for admission.

THE EXERCISE WILL BE CONDUCTED ON 3rd, 4th and 5th October, 2022 respectively from 9.00 A.M – 1.00 P.M each day.

IMPORTANT:

(i) If you fail to appear on any of the given days above, there will be no other chance for you.

(ii) Applicants with Government Scholarship for the previous years are not eligible for admission

ALFRED MASIKYE NAMOAH

Acting. ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

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