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The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza addresses the first Vice Chancellor’s Convocation on Friday, September 29.  Photo:Dan Muchai

The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza hosted university employees for the first ever Vice Chancellor’s Convocation, focusing on the theme “Reflecting on our journey to Academic Excellence”, in a tented area next to the library on Friday, September 29.The convocation provided a platform for the Vice Chancellor to officially open the academic year, highlight achievements of faculty in the past year and expound on academic plans to be implemented in this academic year.

The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza hosted university employees for the first ever Vice Chancellor’s Convocation in a tented area next to the library on Friday September 29. Bearing the theme “Reflecting on our journey to Academic Excellence”, the convocation provided a platform for the Vice Chancellor to officially open the academic year, highlight achievements of faculty in the past year and expound on academic plans to be implemented in this academic year.

Last year’s priority areas included strengthening academic programs, enhancing research culture and profile, promoting fundraising and advancement, improving institutional governance, morale, and performance, raising institutional visibility and strengthening business operations.

He mentioned that the university managed to hire senior academic leaders and faculty, establish a University Senate and introduce new programs (which are awaiting Commission of University Education-CUE approval) to realize the first key priority area which is to strengthen academic programs.

Prof. Zeleza pointed out that USIU-Africa digital repository jumped nine places to emerge third in Kenya and 25th in Africa in the latest rankings of the Webometrics Institutional Repository rankings. This he said, builds towards the second key priority area which aims at enhancing research culture and profile. In addition, the VC said that the university has been able to implement new policies, structures and reward systems, introduce flagship public lectures, promote a robust student research culture and strengthen research collaborations among others.

The VC also mentioned that the university received a number of grants and funds from donors that promoted the third key priority area which aims at promoting fundraising and advancement. He said that the number of individual donors increased from 500 in 2015/2016 to 906 in 2016/2017 as scholarships increased from KES 1.8 million in 2015/2016 to KES 4,020,147 in 2016/2017.

The VC further said that the implementation of the Job Evaluation, Salary and Organization Review Structure Skills aided in improving institutional governance, morale and performance and added that such reviews need to be carried out at periodic intervals for continuous improvement of the institutional operations.

This year’s academic priorities fall under the theme “Enhancing our Institutional Capital: Research, Recruitment, Resources, Reputation, and Responsibility" and they include; expanding academic programs and becoming a reputable research university, promoting student and employee recruitment, retention, support and success, strengthening sense of community, inclusion, and responsibility, enhancing and diversifying resources and preparing for a capital campaign and improving electronic and physical infrastructure: Building the new School of Humanities, Student Hostels, and Hospital.

The VC in conclusion pointed out that the success of the university depends on individual and team effort and encouraged staff and faculty to work together in order to thrive in the university’s remarkable journey.

The Vice Chancellor’s Convocation presents the first of a series of convocations, which will be hosted by the Deputy Vice Chancellor – Academic and Student Affairs Amb. Prof. Ruthie Rono, and the Deans of each School, to articulate each unit’s plans in a way that will build a shared sense of mission among constituents.

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Members of staff and faculty follow the Vice Chancellor’s address during the first Vice Chancellor’s convocation held on campus on Friday, September 29.

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Staff members follow the Vice Chancellor’s address keenly during the first Vice Chancellor’s Convocation held on campus on Friday, September 29.

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Dr. Scott Bellows (Director of the New Economy Venture Accelerator) responds to an acknowledgement from the Vice Chancellor during the Vice Chancellor’s convocation on Friday, September 29.

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Dr. George Achoki (left), Dr. Margaret Munyae (second left), Prof. Angelina Kioko (second right) and Dr. Damary Sikalieh (right) share a moment, at the close of the first Vice Chancellor’s Convocation on Friday, September 29.

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Director of ICT Dr. Paul Okanda (center) shares a light moment with Associate Professor of Information Systems Dr. Sylvester Namuye (left), during the Vice Chancellor’s Convocation on Friday, September 29. Joining in is Director of Administration Mr. Jared Raburu (right).

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The Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza (right) shakes hands with immediate former Principal Placement and Career Services Officer Ms. Lillian Bogonko (left) at the close of the first Vice Chancellor’s Convocation on Friday, September 29. Looking on is DVC- Academic & Student Affairs Amb. Prof. Ruthie Rono (center).