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Council Interfaces with Committee on QA and GM Over Curriculum Restructuring

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The Makerere University Council has received updates from its Committee on Quality Assurance (QA) and Gender Mainstreaming (GM) on the progress of restructuring academic programmes at Makerere University. This was during a retreat held from 5th to 7th March 2020 in Entebbe. The aforementioned Committee, headed by Rt. Hon. Daniel Fred Kidega, is charged with analyzing various processes at Makerere University and recommending changes to Council. Rt. Hon. Kidega doubles as the Vice Chairperson of Council.

“The Committee will look into what needs to be done to raise the university to a higher level in terms of its goals. This committee brings together two important Directorates: Quality Assurance and Gender Mainstreaming. My experience is that we have been so engaged on academic issues, but the committee intends to go beyond that. Other issues that have been left hanging over the years need to be brought to the fore,” explained Rt. Hon. Kidega.

In a presentation titled, ‘Making Mak Number One,’ Dr. Vincent Ssembatya, the Director Quality Assurance and Secretary to the Committee, argued that Universities are citadels not silos, and should therefore be able to avail solutions to pressing needs in society. For Makerere to be able to do so more effectively, he argues that there is need to revise the enrolment strategy. “The proposed plan is to increase graduate enrolment to 40%, which translates into about 10,000 students. We further hope to have a 40% STEM composition and 20% as international students.”

“I am optimistic that this will be achieved by the time Makerere University turns one hundred in 2022. This commitment requires Makerere to push key strategies such as becoming truly research-led. We need to reduce the staff to student ratios to 1:15 from the current 1:21. Makerere University has 31,000 students out of the 180,000 spread across both public and private universities in Uganda. The University, which was established in 1922 with 14 students, grew from an average of 3,700 students in the 1970s, 4,700 students in the 1980s, 10,000 students in the 1990s to more than 37,000 students in the 2010s. This number has now retracted to about 31,000 in 2020,” he elaborated.

In relation to restructuring of academic programmes, Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze, the Chair, Curriculum Restructuring Sub-Committee explained that the process aims at supporting a curriculum that leverages research in the University. In addition is the need to reduce on duplication and support efficient utilization of human and financial resources.

She updated the retreat that the Committee has already interfaced with Principals, Deputy Principals and Heads of Department from across all Colleges in the university. This interaction was, according to Prof. Wanyenze, a receptive one, given the fact that the Colleges appreciated the need for a curriculum review.

The Chairperson Council-Mrs. Lorna Magara (Centre), Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Right) and Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza (Left) share a light moment during the break at the QA and GM Committee of Council Retreat, 5th - 7th March 2020, Entebbe Uganda.

The Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara, challenged the Quality Assurance Directorate to take on the mantle of reshaping the university head-on. “We see Quality Assurance as the heartbeat that will determine the health of the university. And so the purpose of this retreat is critical because it is a time of assessment, reflections on where we are, where we want to go and what we need to do. Institutions run on moulds. If there is a fault in the mould, the products that come out shall be faulty. I see Quality Assurance as that arm of the university that shapes the mould. It is a critical unit within the University that will determine the quality that comes out of this university,” she emphasized.

She advised that as Makerere University prepares to celebrate 100 years in 2022, the timing for a frank self-assessment could not be more appropriate. “This is a great opportunity to step aside and reflect. There is incredible research coming out of Makerere University. Makerere has the highest number of PhDs in Uganda. What is the impact of these PhD holders on responding to the challenges of Uganda? Knowledge is best appreciated when it meets the needs of community. Knowledge should impact culture and lifestyle. What is Makerere doing in providing solutions to the many needs around us?” she asked. Mrs. Magara emphasized that Makerere University must continuously place herself as a point of reference for all solutions that the government seeks.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, responded that indeed Makerere University is ranked highly and will continue to find solutions for society’s needs, as has been the case. “In a discussion with a team from the Times Higher Education, I was told that Makerere ranks quite high in certain aspects especially in clinical research. We have concentrated a lot on teaching, learning and research. We have perhaps not paid much attention to the quality of the other inputs that contribute to our product. We have a new strategic plan that will be launched in due course. It streamlines where we want to go across all key areas,” he explained.

Makerere University has close to 6,000 publications in citation indices as per the 2007-2016 data. This count makes the institution top most in the country. Second placed is Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) with 627, Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) with 564, Ministry of Health (MoH) with 550 among others.

The Director, Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Dr. Euzobia Baine Mugisha noted that the Makerere University Human Resource (HR) policies; namely the Human Resources Manual 2009 and Staff Development Policy, do not include gender specific provisions at entry, staff development, and retention. She pointed out the lack of affirmative action provisions in the recruitment, appointment and staff development opportunities as aspects that need revision. In addition is the fact that elections as a mode of appointing staff into certain leadership positions disadvantage women.

The Dean, School of Public Health and Chairperson of the sub-Committee on Curriculum Restructuring-Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze (Left) and Director Quality Assurance, Secretary to the Committee on QA and GM-Dr. Vincent. A. Ssembatya (Right) at the Council Committee Retreat.

Dr. Sarah Ssali, the Dean, School of Women and Gender Studies in a presentation on, ‘The Centrality of Human Resource in transitioning into a research-led university’ observed the need for better HR processes and keen interest on research. “Good HR management should be cognizant of the type of people needed and if the right people are in the right jobs.  Research intensive universities have been able to identify what their countries wanted at a particular time and driven it through research and dissemination. Both pure and applied research must be available, there has to be delivery of research-led teaching. Research-intensive universities should directly speak to the needs of society. Third generation universities are multi-disciplinary. They offer a breadth of courses and students are encouraged to pick from a wide range. In addition is a high proportion of post-graduate research programmes,” she explained.  

Another key presentation was from Ms. Penninah Kabenge on the need to improve the sports facilities at Makerere University through reclaiming some and constructing others. In addition is the dire need for a policy on sports. The revamping of sports will ensure that the physical fitness and recreational needs of staff and students are well taken care of.

The retreat closed off with a commitment to reconvene at a later date with feedback on proposed changes both at policy and implementation levels. The Committee of Quality Assurance and Gender Mainstreaming was reconstituted by Council in Jan 2019, to oversee the implementation of polices under the respective Directorates. Besides overseeing all academic affairs of the University, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs (DVCAA), Dr. Umar Kakumba, is a member of Council and a member of this Committee. He chairs the sub-Committee of Senate that handles all academic programmes. His Office is set to play a major role in the transformation of the curriculum.  

Below is a list of those who attended the retreat and their respective roles:

  1. Mrs. Lorna Magara: Chairperson, Makerere University Council.
  2. Rt. Hon. Dan Fred Kidega: Vice Chairperson, Makerere University Council and Chair of the Committee on QA and GM.
  3. Professor Barnabas Nawangwe: Vice Chancellor, Chairperson Makerere University Senate, Ex-officio member of Council and Member of the Committee on QA and GM.
  4. Assoc. Prof. Umar Kakumba: DVC (AA), Member of the Committee on QA and GM.
  5. Dr. Vincent. A. Ssembatya: Director Quality Assurance, Secretary to the Committee on QA and GM.
  6. Assoc. Professor Sarah Ssali: Dean, School of Gender and Women Studies, Senate Representative to Council, Member of the Committee on QA and GM and of the sub-Committee on Curriculum Restructuring.
  7. Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze: Dean, School of Public Health, Senate Representative to the Committee on QA and GM, Chair of the sub-Committee on Curriculum Restructuring.
  8. Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine: Director, Gender Mainstreaming and Member of the Secretariat.
  9. Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala: MUASA Representative to Council, Member of the Committee on QA and GM and sub-Committee on Curriculum Restructuring.
  10. Prof. Helen M. Byamugisha: University Librarian
  11. Mr. Yusuf Kiranda: Acting University Secretary, Secretary to Council and Eex-officio to the Committee.
  12. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza: Member of the Committee on QA and GM.
  13. Mr. Bruce Balaba Kabasa: Chair of the Finance and Planning Committee and Member of the QA and GM Committee
  14. Assoc. Prof. John Mango: Member of the QA and GM Committee and the sub-Committee on Curriulum Restructuring
  15. Mr. Gilbert Arikosi: Principle Program Officer (Academics) QA Directorate and Member of Secretariat.

 

Article Compiled by QAD

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Rotary International President visits Mak

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The Chairperson of Council, Mrs Lorna Magara (L) presents a plaque to Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in appreciation of his visit and invaluable service, 15th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University.

By Hasifa Kabejja

Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.

At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted.   President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.

President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims. 

Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.

By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.

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Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders

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The "Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research" Phase One Study dissemination poster for the event held on 14th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University and Online.

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.  

The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.

Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.

Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.

Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.

Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.

The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine
The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine

 “Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.

The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.

The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.  

At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.

“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.

On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.

Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.

“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.

Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.  

The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.
The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.

Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.  

She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.   

Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.

She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.  

On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”

At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.

She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.

“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.

Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.  

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.

“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.

Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.

He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”

Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.

A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.
A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.

Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.

Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”

Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.

“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.

The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”

She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.   

The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.

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Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal

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The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25.  For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.

Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.

Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY

Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG

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