Concluding an eventful 2017, members of the Educate Your Own (EYO) student initiative held a self-evaluating exercise on Friday, December 1, 2017. The exercise aimed to present a report to their partners who they worked together through the year, and also gear up for the year 2018.

Targeting to raise KES 2 Million, the initiative had organized car washing activities and a thrift market held consecutively on campus. Contributions received from members of the university community enabled the initiative to provide scholarships to two students to bring to a total of 14 – the number of students receiving financial support from the Fund.

EYO’s vision for the New Year was reenergized following the release of a report, containing alarming statistics with regard to the rate of school drop-outs nationwide. The report which was published in the Daily Nation, revealed that 600 students dropped out of universities in Kilifi County in 2017.

The initiative will soon launch the 2018 edition of “Project Finje”, as well as seek monthly subscriptions from members of the university to be channeled directly to the scholarship fund.

From January 9-12, the University hosted a workshop organized by the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Program sponsored by the USA Social Sciences Research Council, together with the African Leadership Center, and the African Peacebuilding Network. It brought together dozens of doctoral students from Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa, as well as faculty facilitators from these countries and the USA.

Since 1923, the Social Science Research Council has awarded more than fifteen thousand fellowships to researchers around the globe. These target specific problems, promote individual and institutional change and expansion of networks.

In his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza welcomed participants to the University, and thanked the SSRC for choosing USIU-Africa as the venue for this important workshop for the second year in a row. He shared with them a brief history of the University and what makes it distinctive. This includes the fact that it is the oldest private secular university in the region, its dual accreditation in Kenya and the USA, and its diversity as evident in its composition of students who come from more than 70 countries around the world.

He then outlined some of the key challenges facing African higher education. They include institutional supply as reflected in the continent’s enrolment ratios that are still much lower than the world average (12% compared to 33%) despite the rapid growth in the number of universities. There are also resource constraints both financial and physical. Another challenge concerns the quality of outputs in terms of the employability of graduates and skills mismatch with demands of the economy.

Moreover, there are severe shortages of faculty in general and those with terminal degrees. For example, according to CUE data, out of 16,318 faculty in Kenya’s universities only 34% have PhDs. The continent lags behind in research indicators and outputs. It accounts for only 1.3% of global R&D expenditures; allocates an average 0.5% of GDP to research, compared to a world average of 1.7% and for the developed countries of more than 60%; its share of world researchers is 2.3% compared to the global leader, Asia, with 42.8%; and it accounts for 2.6% of scholarly publications compared to 39.5% for Asia.

Other challenges center on the processes of appointing, preparing, and training university leaders, as well as those of governance in terms of regulatory regimes, role of governance bodies, and intra-institutional relations between different constituencies. However, he concluded, problems are the flipside of opportunities. In providing solutions to the prevailing challenges, innovative African universities and the next generation of scholars can establish institutions fit for the 21st century.

Later that afternoon, the Prof. Zeleza participated in a panel on “Africa and the World” together with Professor Alondro Nelson (President of SSRC), and Dr. Tade Aina (Executive Director, Partnership for African Social and Governance Research - Kenya) and a member of the USIU-Africa University Council. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Thomas Asher (Director of the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program - NGSSAP). It focused on such issues as the dynamics of partnerships between African scholars and their counterparts abroad, especially in the academies of the global North, the imperatives of academic rigor and ethics in research, the changing cultures of knowledge production, the connections between theory and practice in academic research, the interface of research and development, and the linkages between the academy, the economy, and society.

Professor Zeleza also shared with the participants, the work of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP) that sponsors African-born academics in the USA and Canada to the six countries where the NGSSAP operates as a model of mutually-beneficial, effective and innovative international scholarly exchange. The CADFP Secretariat is based here on campus, and Professor Zeleza, whose research sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York in 2011-2012 led to the formation of the program, chairs its Advisory Council.

Since 1923, the Social Science Research Council has awarded more than fifteen thousand fellowships to researchers around the globe. These target specific problems, promote individual and institutional change and expansion of networks.

Miss Rida Raheel (International Relations Senior) was sworn-in as the new Chairperson of the Student Affairs Council following the resignation of her predecessor Mr. Chad Naggi, in line with the Council’s Constitution.

Mr. Naggi, who is emigrating to continue his studies abroad, handed over to his erstwhile deputy, following the ceremony in the Freida Brown Student Center on Thursday, January 18, 2018. Among those present were DVC-Academic and Student Affairs Prof. Ruthie Rono, Ms. Helen Ombima (Director of Legal Services & Company Secretary), Associate DVC-Student Affairs Prof.  Wangari Mwai, Dean of Students Mr. Robert Onsarigo, among other senior university and student officials.

Reminiscing on his term in office, Mr. Naggi identified increased student activity as one of the signature successes of his administration, adding that the Council had established various committees to pursue matters of interest to various members of the student body.

He was particularly pleased by the partnerships he spearheaded on behalf of the Council,  with various private universities, which he hoped would help drive a common agenda, to the benefit of all parties.
Describing his successor as a “go getter who will stop at nothing to accomplish the task set ahead of her”, he predicted that Ms. Raheel will single-mindedly pursue and complete the Council’s agenda as envisioned eight months ago.

Speaking during the ceremony, the soft-spoken new Chair pledged to “…serve the welfare of students at the best of my abilities” aided by the remaining members of the SAC Senate, as well as other student leaders.

The Student Affairs Council Senate sits at the apex of student governance, as is elected for a one -year term by universal suffrage. The next elections due in March 2018, are expected to herald significant changes based on amendments made to the Universities Act (2014).
USIU-Africa alumnus Mr. George Omondi Obell (International Business Administration-Accounting '01) was the first Kenyan to be appointed to the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax matters (ECOSOC).

Mr Obell, a Chief Manager at Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA)’s International Tax Office, joined 24 other members who were selected from a pool of 60 nominees from across the world to be part of the committee for a period of four years. The new membership of ECOSOC, includes individuals from India, Japan, China, Brazil, Singapore, Russia, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Colombia, Poland, Vietnam, Thailand, Jamaica, Argentina, Switzerland, Ecuador, Sweden, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Djibouti and Zambia.

ECOSOC is one of the six main organs of the global organization established by the UN Charter in 1946. It is the principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues, as well as for implementation of the internationally agreed development goals. It is responsible for updating important UN international tax documents, which form the basis of many countries tax laws and tax treaty negotiations. The documents include the UN’s model double taxation convention between developed and developing countries, the practical manual on transfer pricing for developing countries and the manual for the negotiation of bilateral tax treaties between developed and developing countries.
Dr. Nancy Asiko Anyango, a member of the inaugural class of the Doctor of Business Administration, was appointed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in December 2017, to be the new Director of the monetary body's Office of Internal Audit and Inspection (OIA) effective February 2018. The unit is charged with conducting independent examinations of the Fund’s internal control and governance processes.

Dr. Anyango, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), holds several additional international certifications from global institutions including the Information Systems Audit and Control Association and the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Before her appointment, Dr. Anyango was the CEO of Reliance Risk Advisory Solutions, and has also been previously a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (Kenya) as well as Ernest & Young’s Governance, Risk and Compliance Leader for Africa. She currently sits on the boards of KCB Bank Group and Cytonn Investments.
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.
Training sessions are available on request, which can be communicated on email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
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.