Mr. Eric Ongwen (IR Freshman) and Ms. Akual Awer (Criminal Justice Studies Sophomore) are the new Mr. & Miss USIU-Africa 2018.
The duo were crowned during the final of this year’s edition of Mr. & Miss USIU-Africa held on Thursday, November 23 at the CK Square, Two Rivers Mall.
The annual pageant is organized by the Student Affairs Council to select the two students who can best represent their fellow students, as well as raise funds for a recognized charity - for this edition it was the Al Tawoon Education Center located in one of the Nairobi’s informal settlements, Korogocho.
The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza and the Associate DVC-Student Affairs Prof. Wangari Mwai both congraluted the students for qualifying for the final, while the Student Affairs Council Chair, Mr. Chad Naggi congratulated the organizing team for a job well done.
A panel of judges considered the sixteen contestants’ confidence, stage presence, creativity, and personality not only during the final, but also over the last twelve weeks of preparation for the pageant.
Joseph Gordon (APT Sophomore) and Mehreen Ahamed (Pharmacy Sophomore) came second, while Feizal Ahmed (HRM Freshman) and Bakashaba Blessing (IR Junior) followed.
Other title winners included APT Senior Aakash Barot (Mr. Community Service), Finance Sophomore Nelly Maina (Miss Community Service); Accounting Sophomore Adan Mohamed (Mr. Talent) and Journalism Junior Mercy Onyango (Miss Talent); IBA Sophomore Ambrose Mugume (Mr. Congeniality) and finally IBA Junior Mercy Mwendwa (Miss Congeniality).
The entrance fees will fund construction of additional classrooms at AlTawoon Education Center, making the institution eligible for government support.
The library held a training on scholarly research communication on Tuesday, November 21 in the Library’s instruction room. The training was designed to introduce library users to the academic research aspects such as citation and referencing; online database searching and retrieval, scholarly communication and understanding of online catalogues.
Reference & Instruction Librarian Mr. Rodney Malesi who led the training, focused on how to identify appropriate academic journals.
The first annual USIU - Africa Cyber Security Conference, took place on Friday, November 10 on campus, based on the theme; “The Status of Cyber Security in Kenya and the Region: Training And Enterprise”. The conference, which was organized by the USIU-Africa cyber security group in the IT Club, was an attempt to tackle the disconnect between academia and industry.
According to the Kenya Cyber Security Report of 2016 prepared by Serianu Ltd and USIU-Africa, Kenya’s loses upto $175 million annually to cybercrime, illustrating a need for all organizations to invest heavily in recruitment and training of cybersecurity professionals, and assessment of threats.
The conference was able to engage students, faculty, staff and other stakeholders through plenary talks, an open question and answer session and live demonstrations. Dr. Bright Gameli (Head of Cyber Security Services, Internet Solutions Kenya), Mrs. Paula Musuva-Kigen (Lecturer, Forensic Information Technology), Dr. Wamuyu Kanyi (Assistant Professor, Information Systems and Technology), Mr. Gabriel Mathenge (Cybersecurity Consultant), Mr. Christian Kisutsa (Information Security Analyst, Euclid Consultancy) and Onyibe Shalom (IST ‘17) formed a panel of seasoned experts, who produced a rich cyber security discourse, that addressed the role of the student in the cyber security industry, as well as provided insight into what it takes to meet industrial standards set by cyber security professionals.
The USIU-Africa hostels hosted their annual award ceremony on Saturday, November 25 in the auditorium. The event was held to recognize outstanding residents, and their contribution to the hostel environment.
Over 25 awards were offered in categories ranging from Best Resident Assistant, Best GPA for the different years of study, Most Valuable Player (male and female) in sport, and best members of the Dean’s Residents’ Advisory Board (DRAB) and Entertainment Committee.
Speaking during the ceremony Housing Manager Mr. Michael Kisilu commended the residents for making the hostel “a home away from home”, and for their collective contributions of KES 20 000 raised to support Compassionate Neighbors Children’s Home. He also introduced the Department of Housing’s newest member – Housing Officee Mr. Bonface Inganga.
The event concluded with a celebration of those residents celebrating their birthdays in November, and those departing the hostels at the end this semester.
The Placement and Career Services department organized a successful mock interview session on Friday November 24, to train students on how to successfully navigate an interview.
Students who participated as interviewees also receive direct valuable feedback and coaching on their performance from a panel of interviewers comprising, Mr. Christopher Mwirigi (Manager, Organizational Development, Chase Bank), Mr. Patrick Huang (Chief of Staff and Principal Business Development Officer, Umati Capital) and Ms. Rose Gichure (Talent Acquisition, Recruiter, Talent Scout and Curriculum Vitae expert, Rose Avenue Consulting Group and Kenya Institute of Management).
The following are some of the interview tips gathered from the session that will help you prepare for and execute interviews:
Read through the job posting
Telling the interviewer more than he/she needs to know could be a fatal mistake. When one is not prepared ahead of time, you may ramble when answering interview questions, sometimes talking yourself right out of the job. One should prepare for the interview by reading through the job posting, matching your skills with the position's requirements and relating only that information.
Conduct a research on the employer/company
This entails the knowledge of the company’s culture, mission and values, products, services and their news and recent events. Furthermore, research on the skills and experience the company values, the key players and any necessary information.You’ll also be better prepared to answer questions and be able to position yourself as the best candidate.
Arrive on Time, Relaxed and Prepared for the Interview
There is no excuse for arriving late to an interview. One should always strive to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled interview to allow yourself time to get settled.
Arriving a bit early is also a chance to observe the dynamics of the workplace. The day before the interview, the candidate should pack up extra copies of their resume or CV and a reference list. If one has a portfolio or samples of one’s work, bring those along too.
Dress for the job
It is important to know what to wear for an interview as well as to be well-groomed. One’s choice of dressing should reflect the culture of the company and the position one is seeking. If possible, the candidate should call before the interview to find out about the company’s dress code.
The School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has a new Dean – Prof. Njeri Wamae took up her new appointment from Friday, December 1, prior to which she was Professor of Parasitology, at the Mount Kenya University School of Medicine.
Professor Wamae received her Bachelor of Science in Parasitology and Medical Entomology at Bowling Green State University, in the USA, while her Master of Science in Public Health and PhD in Parasitology were both received from at Tulane University, also in the USA.
She is a distinguished scholar - to date, Professor Wamae has published over seventy publications of which about sixty are in peer-reviewed journals, supervised nineteen post graduate students, engages in reviewing manuscripts for various local and international journals, and has served on consultancies such as for the World Health Organization.
As an eminent researcher, Prof. Wamae has been the Chairperson - National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (2014-2017), founding Dean - Directorate of Research and Development at Kenya Methodist University, Founding Director - Eastern and Southern Africa Centre of International Parasite Control, Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), as well as various other positions in KEMRI, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA, and Nagasaki University Institute of Tropical Medicine.
She also holds numerous professional certificates in such areas as strategic leadership and program development, scientific communication and publishing, impact evaluation, project management, corporate governance, and finance.
Professor Wamae is also the recipient of the Elder of the Burning Spear (EBS) - one of Kenya’s top national honors - bestowed by His Excellency the President, for distinguished service to the nation, in 2015.
Among the projects the new Dean will oversee is the introduction of the School’s second academic program - Bachelor of Science in Epidemiology and Biostatistics - who’s first intake will be in the Summer Semester, and which cements the university’s growing portfolio of health sciences.
She takes over from Dr. Apollo Maima, who has provided leadership to the School since its inception in 2015.
Last Saturday, November 25, the University hosted “TEDx Ridgeways” – a local self-organized event where live TED-like talks and videos previously recorded at a TED Conference are shared with the community. TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection.
TEDxRidgeways was themed “A cry from a silent room…ideas from untold stories”, and hosted by Ms Victoria Rubadiri (Senior Anchor, NTV). It offered a stage for nine speakers speaking on the following main topics; “Ideas that have been overlooked/forgotten; Addressing challenges facing the audience that have not been shared or spoken of; and Addressing problems that exist but ignored.”
One after the other, speakers took the red carpeted stage in three interconnected sessions.
In the first session, 12 years old Alex Kariuki - a young boy passionate about science and history, spoke on the sub-theme “Lost in the Maze” where he advocated for a particular attention toward the issues faced by the boy child. He suggested a mentorship program and rehabilitation process that sets a new path for drowning in drug abuse.
From her talk - Beyond a Fairy Tale - Rozmina Rana, a DBA candidate and current Managing Director of Dormans Coffee Limited, shared her personal story through which she underlined her change of perspective as starting point for personal and professional success. 11 year-old Raniah Oyatta shared her progress toward leadership based on the willingness to help others, under the sub-theme My type of Leadership.
During the second session, alumna Wangari Muikia Director and Principal Consultant at Expertise Global), argued that young professionals are misunderstood, “All that millennials need is to feel valued and appreciated, pay is a secondary factor”. She emphasized that, instead, they should be well-mentored and valued.
Professional writer and blogger Njeru Mucheru during her session differentiated between “Worthless mentality versus Priceless mentality”. According to Ms. Mucheru, a priceless mentality is what it takes to pull one out of a difficult situation- “With a Worthless Mentality I lived a life I thought I was supposed to live, with a Priceless Mentality I live a life I know I want to live.”
Mr. John-Allan Namu (Journalism, ’09 and Winner, CNN/Multichoice African Journalist of the Year Award - 2009) is the CEO/ Editorial Director at Africa Uncensored. His talk focused on “Why good journalism must be at the heart of our future”. In his view, the lack of objective truth raises a question “If the stories we are telling are not changing lives what are we telling them for?” Mr. Namu placed the onus for telling the African story on his audience, urging them to adhere to the three tenets of good journalism: to inform, educate, entertain. This, he concluded is the only way to “…build our identity as no one else will do it for us”.
Award-winning documentary photographer, Amunga Eshuchi, discussed the value of “Context is Freedom”, where he described how ccontext frames content to emphasize the importance of a narrative’s base. Mr. Charles Murito (Country Manager for Google and Acting MD & Chief Commercial Officer, Programming at Wananchi Group’s Zuku), discussed “Be more selfish… and care for others”. He invited the audience to look at poverty from a solution-based perspective that benefits the community.
Next on stage was Oltesh Thobias, Chief Regional Procurement Officer of the African Development Bank. Mr. Oltesh shared lessons he learned from his five years struggle with high levels of cholesterol that he was able to beat in only three months. He based his success on consistency, sacrifice and support calling his audience to remember that their health should be their wealth.
Closing the series of talks on the same health subject, Dr. Nyachira Muthiga, medical doctor and host of the storytelling platform “Own Your Story” shared on the state of emotional preparedness in the medical field. Feelings for Who made the tittle of the tale of her professional experience with emotions in the medical field. “With the right preparation there is a place for young female doctors, who can work and relate well with patients and society” she said.
At the end of the talk, Principal Alumni Relations Officer, Mr. Uvyu Mbole, thanked the participants before inviting the organizer and Curator, alumna Grace Mdemu to introduce her team. She added that more TEDx talks will be held at USIU-Africa, given the success of this first event.
Based on the theme “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all” activities from Tuesday, November 21 to Thursday, November 23, were aimed at increasing the university community’s awareness on disability matters.
Kenya Community Centre for Learning, Action Network for the Disabled (ANDY), Compassionate Hands for the Disabled Foundation, and Deaf Haven International partnered with students living with disability to conduct a wheel chair race, crutches walk, sign language training, and blind folding games. Tents set up behind the cafeteria, provided students with an opportunity to have their questions answered regarding the experiences of people with disability.
The final day featured a panel discussion at the auditorium where Ms. Freidah Mona (MA Counseling Psychology), Miss Regina Mugure (IR, sophomore), and Ms. Whitney Ngigi (Psychology, sophomore), shared their experience as students living with disability. The discussion touched on the soon-to-be-launched Policy on Quality Access of People with Disabilities and Special Needs, as the university strives to maintain a disability-friendly environment.
USIU-Africa had the pleasure of hosting 35 students and 3 professors from the NLA campus in Kristiansand, Norway from October 20-31, 2017. The students interacted with USIU-Africa students during class sessions facilitated by Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Josephine Arasa and Principal Counselor Mrs. Lucy Kungu who spoke on “Adolescent sexuality in a cross-cultural context”, while Lecturer of International Relations Mr Moses Onyango gave a talk on “The complexity of multiculturalism and violent extremism in the global age”. Mr William Mwangi spoke on “Cross-cultural communication in an African context” while Ms. Robi Koki gave a talk on “Media issues in Africa”. Thereafter, Mr. David Jourdan the Political Counselor at the Norwegian Embassy gave a talk on “Kenya-Norway Relations”.
USIU-Africa has a longstanding relationship with the NLA University in Norway which was initiated by a retired faculty member, Joe Kadhi. For the past 6 years, NLA campuses in Burgen and Kristiansand have sent students to Kenya on exchange programs. This is the second visit this year by NLA after sending 16 students and 2 professors from the Burgen campus in March 2017.
In the Spring 2018 semester, the university will host four NLA students in the BA Journalism program for a whole semester, while a further two students will join the MA Communication Studies program for a semester in Summer 2018.
On Friday, November 24, the Journalism program in the School of Science and Technology, partnered with the Office of Alumni Relations to host faculty and alumni of the Journalism program for a reunion dinner at Freida Brown Student Center.
The reunion presented an opportunity for alumni reignite old friendships, reminisce about shared experiences and learn more about new initiatives from the School.
Present at the event was the Journalism and Communication Studies Programs Director Dr. Stephen Kimotho, who echoed the importance of such sessions in linking industry with class experience, adding that the input of Journalism alumni has been critical in developing the curriculum of existing and proposed programs in Journalism and Communication Studies. Journalism lecturer Ms. Robi Koki emphasized the role such reconnections continue to play in strengthening and expanding the existing alumni network.
Speaking at the event, Principal Alumni Relations Officer Mr. Uvyu Mbole pledged the support of his office and that of the Alumni Association, in setting up the Journalism Chapter of the Association in due course.
Dr. Kimotho was accompanied by Assistant Professor of Journalism Dr. Dorothy Njoroge, Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication Dr. Kioko Ireri and long-serving Journalism Lecturer Mr. Isaiah Cherutich.
In his concluding remarks University Advancement Director Mr. James Ogolla, congratulated the guests for joining hands with the University to strengthen the bonds of alumni and their alma mater.
By Wanjiku Mbugua
The Chinese Club in collaboration with other USIU-Africa students currently learning Chinese hosted the Director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Nairobi Prof. Guo Hong, and several of her students on Wednesday, November 29 at the auditorium.
The Cultural Exchange was aimed at sensitizing the community and invited guests on the rich Chinese culture taught in class, while exposing them to Chinese calligraphy (书法), Chinese Operas face painting (脸谱), paper cutting (剪纸), use of chopsticks (夹豆子), martial arts (太极) among others.
During the event, USIU-Africa students presented two songs “月亮代表我的心 –The moon represents my heart” and “茉莉花 – Jasmine flower, as well as two poems, presented a Chinese dance and a Taiji performance.
It is expected that such cultural exchanges will go a long way in popularizing the learning of the Chinese language at USIU-Africa.
Citizen Science Associations of United States, Europe, Australia and Asia pledged support to establish Africa’s first Citizen Science Association in a meeting held at USIU-Africa on Monday December 4 as part their activities marking the 3rd UN Environmental Assembly (UNEA). A technical committee was appointed to assemble key stakeholders, develop policy and guide formation of the association.
Speaking at the meeting, Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza hailed “emergence of the democratization of research heralded by Citizen Science which will now be accelerated as part of the University’s drive to emphasize and promote use of High Performance Computing to provide solutions to challenges faced by the continent”.
Citizen Science will catalyze research and innovation by citizens and utilize the High Performance Computing (HPC) to be established at USIU-Africa, to process existing research data gathered by ordinary citizens to produce solutions for problems facing Africa. Some key themes identified for citizen engagement are air quality monitoring, marine, freshwater, chemical, land and soil, and waste pollution.
“The University will spearhead High Performance Computing and Citizen Science Association for Africa, as part of our mission to promote the discovery and application of knowledge” he added.
During the HPC for Research and Innovation Forum held at the auditorium on Friday, December 1, 2017, the need to harness available large volumes of data, to solve African problems was underlined.
High Performance Computing is the practice of aggregating computing power in a way that delivers much higher performance than one could get out of a typical desktop computer or workstation in order to solve large problems in science, engineering or business.
The School of Science and Technology (SST) in partnership with Transparency International Kenya and Code Africa hosted 45 USIU-Africa journalism students, mainstream media and freelance journalists and bloggers for a three-day training themed “Action for Transparency (A4T)”, at the Freida Brown Student Center, from Wednesday, November 29 to Friday, December 1.
Conducted by several experts including Assistant Professor of Journalism Dr. Maria Canudo, and Journalism Lecturer Isaiah Cherutich, and their colleagues from Kenya, South Africa, Germany and Spain, the training aimed at empowering participants with skills to investigate cases of suspected corruption or mismanagement of public funds and analyze financial or budgetary information relating to the health and education sectors.
The Action for Transparency Project is a collaboration with the Swedish-based Fojo Media Institute and Transparency International Kenya to use technology, aided by an empowered citizenry, to strengthen democratic accountability and transparency in Kenya through citizen monitoring of government expenditure.
The training was also expected to add value to the School of Science and Technology’s Journalism program, by teaching aspiring journalists how to authoritatively question and verify information from their sources in order to produce credible news stories.
In her brief remarks the Dean of the School of Science and Technology Prof. Valerie Adema, noted that the training came at an opportune time , as the University is planning to separate Journalism and Communication Studies programs from her School to form the proposed School of Communication, Cinematics and Creatives Arts. The new School will from Summer 2018 also host an additional two undergraduate programs; the Bachelor of Arts in Animation and the Bachelor of Science in Film Production and Directing.
Also present at the event was Transparency International’s Project Coordinator Mr. Abraham Marita, who urged to use their new skills to facilitate accountability in the budgetary processes of the public service delivery sectors.
In partnership with Intel and Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP), USIU-Africa hosted the HPC for Research and Innovation Forum on Friday, December 1, 2017, in the auditorium.
The forum brought together over 200 participants drawn from academia, industry and government agencies, to share insights on how HPCs can deliver gains through research and innovation to Africa.
High Performance Computing (HPC) is the concentration of computing resources to achieve higher rates of output in a manner that is fast, consistent and reliable and at scale. HPCs work on computational problems that are either too large for standard computers or would otherwise take too long to solve.
The Chancellor Dr. Manu Chandaria in his opening remarks noted the dire need for cooperation among stakeholders to achieve developmental goals, “HPCs when employed in Africa through the partnership of governments, private and public entities will see us use big data for research and innovation that will reduce disease epidemics, food crisis, growth in industries and in overall improve the continent’s GDP.”
His remarks were echoed by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza who underlined the University's commitment through its investment in robust STEM programs such as Applied Computer Technology, Information Systems and Technology and the new undergraduate program in Epidemiology and Biostatics, to "solve existing and emerging social, environmental, political, business and economic challenges facing Kenya, other developing nations and the world at large.”
The Keynote address was delivered by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology Hon. Joseph Mucheru, who underlined the government's commitment to HPC stating that “the government is extremely committed in transforming Kenya to a digital economy that will aid improve food security, health, increase jobs and this can be done once we demystify the capabilities of HPC to all stakeholders.”
Three panel discussions took place throughout the day. The first dwelt on applying the HPC concept to development priority areas in Africa, and was moderated by Dr. Faye Briggs (President and CEO of Niminq, Inc - a Data Center & Big Data Solution Company - and Adjunct Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University). During the session, Mr. Edward Rakate from the Center for High Performance Computing in Cape Town, South Africa elaborated on his nation's investment in High Performance Computing and the pivotal collaborative relationship between the South African Government, which runs the Center, and universities which partner and plug into the Center to access its shared resources.
Dr. Paul Okanda (ICT Director) moderated a mid-morning session on "Role of HPC in Advancing Research, Teaching and Innovation" where universities' role in spreading the use of HPCs in other continents, and their need to develop academic programs that build on high performance computing power was reiterated.
Dr. Briggs also moderated the afternoon session that dwelt on "Big Data, Research and Development" where it was agreed that universities need to cooperate, and together with government lead the adoption of high performance computing, in order to use the large volume of data being generated, and to develop home-grown data-driven solutions to the continent's problems.
The forum concluded with awards to three students with the best projects that featured HPC applications. The Air Quality Monitoring Unit team comprising Max Musau (MBA), Bob Aftwa (APT Junior), Vishaal Ravalia (APT Junior) and Advait Joshi (APT Junior), used a sensor to sample air in order to determine the level of pollutants in that sample. The large volume of data collected would then be processed through a high performance computing device.
The first runner- up - Abishek Kapila (APT Senior) - designed a Distributed Raspberry Pi system which deployed low-power embedded devices using distributed computing in circumstances where a typical high performance computing environment may not be accessible.
Finally, second runner-up was Zebedee Wanyonyi (APT Senior) who used an Internet of Things transport solution around monitoring road conditions. Using various sensors such as geometers, gyroscopes to collect data from individual vehicles, his system could be used to map road conditions for use by other drivers, and road safety authorities.
Prof. Crispus Kiamba was elected as the Chair of the University Council: he takes over from Dr. Lola Odubekun who has successfully steered the University Council through the transition to a two-tier governance structure. Mr. Kris Senanu was elected Vice Chair of the University Council and retains his position as Chair of the Finance/Budget & Development Committee. Dr. Peggy Oti-Boateng replaces Prof. Crispus Kiamba as Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee of the University Council.
November is an important month in the university calendar. It’s the time when the university leadership retreats to take stock of the past year and plan for the next academic year. This year was no exception.
The 2017 Annual Retreat was preceded by the first ever in-house Orientation session for the Board of Trustees and members of the University Council. The session, held on November 9, 2017 featured presentations from the members of the Management Board on various issues. The objective was to enable the Board of Trustees & members of the University Council to have a better sense of the university’s points of lights (Distinctiveness, Successes and Challenges), separation of roles and fiduciary responsibilities, position the Management Board to inspire confidence & encourage Board & Council members to empower and support the Management Board.
The Board of Trustees, Chancellor, members of the University Council and Management Board then converged at the Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club from Friday November 10, to Sunday November 12, to discuss various matters of strategic import and enterprise significance. The theme for this year’s Retreat was “Enhancing Institutional Capital: Recruitment, Resources, Reputation & Responsibility”.
The Retreat featured facilitators from South Africa, Ghana and the United Kingdom. Prof. Adam Habib (Vice Chancellor, University of Witwatersrand) engaged participants in an interactive session where emerging issues related to the higher education sector (Research, student aid, differentiation, arguments for and against the value proposition of higher education, et. al.) were discussed. Mr. Alex Hyde-Parker (Director, Fundraising at the University of Manchester) gave a presentation on the university’s preparedness for launching a capital campaign, while Dr. Paul Effah (Vice Chancellor, Radford University College, Ghana) walked members through issues of governance and effective leadership pointing out the need to provide targeted information for strategic decision-making. Mr. Dan Nduati (Class of 2007, CEO/Brand2D) and his colleague Mr. Mark Kaigwa took members through an engaging and enlightening presentation on building your reputation in the digital age.
During the course of the Retreat, members interacted with the Deans and Associate Deputy Vice Chancellors. In addition, they also embarked on a tour of the campus where they interacted with students and expressed a sense of pride and awe at the young minds that USIU-Africa is nurturing.
The highlight of the Retreat was the dinner in honor of Dr. Manu Chandaria, our beloved Chancellor. The dinner is a first in a series of activities aimed at celebrating Dr. Chandaria, his immense contribution to USIU-Africa and the deep love he has for the university.
On Wednesday, November 15 H.E. Dr. Mohammed Khayat, Saudi Ambassador to Kenya paid a courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza in his boardroom. The one-hour meeting discussed areas of mutual interest, such as the Saudi government scholarships offers for Kenya from which USIU-Africa could benefit. Also discussed were opportunities for collaborative research in the areas of climate change, agriculture, and the extractive industries as USIU-Africa expands its academic programs in the STEM fields. The university is particularly interested in securing graduate scholarships from major countries represented in Kenya as part of its faculty capacity building efforts. Later on, the ambassador met with Prof. Amos Njuguna (Dean – School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension) and made a brief tour of the campus.
The School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension organized the fourth East African Multidisciplinary Applied Research Conference (EAMARC4) from November 14-16. The conference whose theme was “Sustainable Development Goals: Role of Research, Innovation and Capacity Building”, brought together distinguished researchers, different industry practitioners, professionals and students to share findings from their applied research along with experiences, achievements and challenges in their respective areas of proficiency
The conference was opened with a keynote address from Prof. Gituro Wainaina (former Director - Social & Political Pillars, Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat), following brief opening remarks from the Prof. Paul Zeleza (Vice Chancellor), and Prof. Amos Njuguna (Conference Convener and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Extension).
The first day featured a Professional Development Workshop, which brought together researchers in publishing. A panel discussion moderated by Dr. Juliana Namada, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management, featured editors from leading journals, who provided insights into publication and submission processes of various journals. The panel comprised Prof. Zakary Awino Bolo (Editor in Chief, Africa Management Review), Prof. Ntayi Joseph (Dean, Faculty of Computing and Management Science at Makerere University); Prof. Vincent Bagire (Assistant Editor, African Journal of Management and Africa Guest Editor for Transnational Journal of Business), Mr. Kennedy Auma (President, Medical Records Institute; Managing Editor, African Journal of Health Information Systems) and Prof. Barbara Hernandez (Director of Physician Vitality, Loma Linda University School of Medicine).
Another panel comprising Professor of French Prof. Kang’ethe Iraki (Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Language, Technology & Entrepreneurship in Africa), Prof. Jennifer Orwa (Director, Resource Development & Knowledge Management, Kenya Medical Research Institute; Editor in Chief, Pharmaceutical Journal of Kenya), Prof. Dickson Andala (Editor-in-Chief, Kenya Chemical Society Journal) and Prof. Brian Distelberg (Director of Research, Loma Linda University), shared their own successes and challenges, and provided their own experiences on scholarly and academic development.
On the conference’s second day, a roundtable discussion on linking academia and industry, engaged participants in reflecting on the Sus-tainable Development Goals. The panel comprising Dr. Habil Olaka (DBA, ’17; CEO, Kenya Bankers Association), Ms. Ruth Canagarajah (Associate, Busara Center for Behavioral Economics) and Mr. Fredrick Riaga (Chief Manager - Public Policy and Research, Institute of Certified Public Accountant of Kenya), was moderated by Dr. Elizabeth Kalunda (Assistant Professor of Finance) and Dr. Joyce Ndegwa (Assistant Professor of Strategic Management).
49 papers ranging from strategic management, entrepreneurship, health & welfare, ICT, leadership, governance, management, arts and culture, education, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), environmental sustainability, finance and accounting were presented on day two and three of the conference, facilitated by faculty from USIU-Africa.
Keynote remarks at the closing ceremony were delivered by Ms Florah Mutahi (Chairlady, Kenya Association of Manufacturers) attended by Amb. Prof. Ruth Rono (Deputy Vice Chancellor - Academic and Student Affairs; Professor of Psychology), Prof. Munyae Mulinge (Associate Deputy Vice Chancellor - Academic Affairs; Professor of Sociology), Prof. Amos Njuguna (Professor of Finance) and Dr. George Achoki (Associate Professor of Accounting).
Dr. Judith Nyakundi-Obura
Director of Finance
The new Director of Finance is Dr. Judith Nyakundi-Obura, a member of our community for the last few years. Indeed, her Doctor of Business Administration degree was conferred upon her during the 39th Commencement Ceremony held this August.
And that’s not all; her BSc in Business Administration (Accounting, graduated Cum Laude) in 2008, and a Master of Business Administration (Finance) in 2010 were all granted by USIU-Africa.
Dr. Obura is a Certified Public Accountant (K) and is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya. Her extensive professional experience includes serving as Divisional Accountant at Capital Group (1999-2000), Forensic Auditor at KPMG Peat Marwick (2001) and in several positions at the Mater Hospital in Nairobi (Senior Financial Accountant, 2001-2005; Management Accountant, 2006-2008; and Financial Accounting Manager, 2008-2015).
In her last position as Finance and Commercial Manager at Business Connexion - Kenya, she was responsible for overall coordination and control of the company’s policies and resources, planning and budgeting functions, assessment and contribution to overall commercial activities of the company, managing the company’s investment portfolio, ensuring organizational compliance with professional and statutory requirements, conducting due diligence in partnership recruitment processes, managing financial and operational risk by establishing and maintaining effective internal control systems, goal setting, and performance appraisal and staff development.
Dr. Nyakundi-Obura has also been an adjunct lecturer at USIU-Africa teaching Cost Accounting, Managerial Accounting and International Managerial Finance courses.
Dr. Obura takes over the Directorship from Chief Accountant Ms. Edith Guchu, who held the position in an acting capacity, and will oversee the Departments of Finance and Procurement.
Professor Wangari Mwai
Associate DVC - Student Affairs
Professor Wangari Mwai (Professor of Literature) is the new Associate Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge the sub-division of Student Affairs. She is the first substantial holder of the position, which was previously held in an acting capacity by Dr. Josephine Arasa (Associate Professor of Psychology).
She reports directly to the Deputy Vice Chancellor – Academic and Student Affairs Amb. Prof. Ruthie Rono, and will oversee the Departments of Admissions, Students Affairs, Counseling Services, Career Services, and the Office of the Registrar.
Prof. Mwai received her Bachelor of Education and an MA (Education) both from the University of Nairobi, while her Doctor of Philosophy (Literature) degree was granted by Maseno University. She also holds an Executive MBA in Business and Leadership from CBS/SMI based in the Swedish capital - Copenhagen. Her extensive experience in higher education includes serving as Chair of the Department of Languages and Literature at Maseno University for 9 years, and at Kenyatta University as Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science, Director of Kenyatta University’s satellite and offshore campuses, and Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration.
She has also served as Chair of the Association of African Women on Research and Development for 10 years, and as Chair of the Technical Committee for the African Centre for Transformative and Inclusive Leadership, a position she held for 3 years.
A distinguished scholar, Professor Mwai has published six books, numerous research papers in peer reviewed journals and book chapters, and organized and participated in many academic conferences. She has also supervised and mentored dozens of masters and doctoral students, and undertaken several consultancies.
She has received numerous grants for projects such as the establishment of the United Nations Women African Centre for Transformative and Inclusive Leadership and the Young African Leadership Initiative at Kenyatta University. In 2014, Kenya’s President bestowed on her the national honor of the Order of the Grand Warrior.
Professor Angelina Nduku Kioko
Acting Dean, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Professor Angelina Kioko (Professor of Literature) has accepted to serve as Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences in an acting capacity. She joined the then School of Arts and Sciences in 2002 as an Assistant Professor of English and Linguistics, rising to Associate Professor in 2003 and Professor in 2007.
Professor Kioko received her Bachelor of Education (First Class Honors) at the University of Nairobi (Kenyatta University College) in 1985, MA in Linguistics also at the University of Nairobi and PhD in Linguistics at Monash University in Australia.
She has served in various administrative positions at USIU-Africa including Associate Deputy Vice Chancellor for Quality Assurance, Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and currently she is the Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) for the University’s American accrediting body - the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Prior to joining USIU-Africa, she served as Chairperson of the Department of English and Linguistics at Kenyatta University. A renowned scholar, Professor Kioko is the author of more than twenty books including English for Secondary Schools—Form 1 (Oxford University Press: Dar es Salaam, 2014) and New Language Bearings in Africa: A Fresh Quest (Multilingual Matters: Clevedon, England, 2004), numerous articles in refereed international journals and chapters in book collections and more than two dozen conference presentations.
She has also published extensively on quality assurance issues. Professor Kioko has served as an external examiner at nearly a dozen universities and as a training consultant for numerous agencies and institutions.
Two members of the IE Business School at IE University made an introductory talk on data science and big data to journalism and International Relations students, on Thursday, November 2 in the Lillian K. Beam Building’s software lab.
Marcos Ramirez Amoretti (Senior Associate Director - Data Science & Technology at IE University) and Joao Pedro Lopes (Associate Director of International Business Development for Middle East and Africa – IE Business School) introduced the concept of big data and explained its uses by the financial community in Spain.
While big data consists of large data sets that can be analysed using computational algorithm to reveal patterns, trends and associations in different areas, data science is a field comprising scientific systems, processes and techniques used to extract knowledge or insights from data in various forms as either structures or unstructured.
Both speakers dwelt on the prominence received by big data in light of the current data explosion the world over, which has propelled businesses towards data driven decisions. They were able to expound on the types of decisions, businesses can make based on the insights gleaned from the big data visualization of financial transactions across Spain.
Later on, the audience was split into groups and tasked with activities that emphasized problem-solving using data sets and data collection.