It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Spring Semester 2016 as your new Vice Chancellor. I have been received with such remarkable warmth and generosity that I am truly humbled and grateful.
Please also join me in welcoming the 803 new students, 3 faculty, and 2 staff members who have joined us this semester. We wish them success in their new institutional home and we all stand to benefit from the talents and gifts each one of them brings to the university.
Let me take this opportunity to thank Professor Freida Brown for her many years of distinguished service as the Vice Chancellor of this exceptional university. All of us, students, staff, faculty, members of the Board of Trustees, alumni, friends of USIU-Africa, and the wider Kenyan and African academic communities will always be indebted to her for her extraordinary vision, energy, passion and commitment that enabled USIU-Africa to become the nationally, regionally and internationally renowned and respected institution it is today. Personally, I will always cherish the warmth with which she received me and her willingness to share her experiences and invaluable insights about her beloved university.
I would like to share with you my plans for getting to know you and USIU-Africa over the next several months. In addition to having a Baraza with you on Thursday, 21st January, 2016, I will have a series of other interactions which I refer to as “90 Days of Listening to USIU-Africa.” The process is inspired by three objectives:
First, as a new Vice Chancellor, I'm keen to gain a broad and deep understanding of the history, culture, and values of USIU-Africa that can only come from getting to know the people who make up the university’s key internal and external constituencies.
Second, the listening sessions will enable me to get the necessary understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and choices facing USIU-Africa so that I can make a meaningful contribution to the strategic plan currently under preparation.
Third, at the end of this extensive process of listening and consultations I'll produce a report that will be widely shared with the USIU-Africa internal and external constituencies and serve as a basis of my inauguration address and contribution to the strategic plan.
The internal constituencies I wish to meet and listen to include student groups, staff, faculty, administrators, and members of the Board of Trustees. The external constituencies include alumni, private and public university leaders, officials from the Ministry of Education and the Commission for University Education, national and regional university associations, major employers of USIU-Africa students, and assorted friends of USIU-Africa.
The listening sessions will comprise a variety of formats, such as one-on-one meetings, small group meetings, large group consultations, targeted receptions, online submissions, and on campus and external media interviews. I will be working closely with the Transition Team that is composed of all key internal constituencies and the Management, Staff and Student Councils to schedule the various listening opportunities. In addition, there will be informal occasions to meet and talk to as many people as possible as I walk around the campus.
Accordingly, I would like to invite you to the Baraza, a university-wide “town hall” meeting which will take place on Thursday 21st January, 2015 from 12:40 to 1:10 pm at the Auditorium.
I look forward to listening and learning from you about your experiences, hopes, concerns, and priorities for this wonderful university we have all chosen to call home as we journey into the future, building on the great legacies of our illustrious past forged by thousands of students, faculty, staff, and administrators who built USIU-Africa into the extraordinary university that we currently cherish.
I wish everyone a productive and prosperous New Year!
Paul Tiyambe Zeleza
United States International University-Africa
Education to take you places.