December 18, 2020: End of semester message by the Vice Chancellor

Dear USIU-Africa Community,

As we prepare to close the 2020 academic year, it gives me great joy to express my immense gratitude to each one of you - Students, Staff, and Faculty - for all your resilience and hard work. I attribute what we have achieved together this year to the innate strength of each of you, and for keeping the faith as we continue to navigate what is surely the most unusual year we have ever faced.

The past few months have been the test of our ability to adjust to the extraordinary circumstances that have been occasioned by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused untold suffering not only across the globe, but also in our community. I would like to salute all of you for your efforts towards ensuring that USIU-Africa continues to discharge its core mandate of providing quality teaching and learning, even in the face of adversity.

The greatest milestone that we achieved this year was the seamless transition into remote learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when the Government mandated closure of all learning institutions in March 2020. The Spring, Summer and Fall semesters have been successfully completed online. This has been as a result of our continued investment in our ICT infrastructure and the commitment of the faculty and student to adjust accordingly. Through your perseverance and dedication, the University was able to proudly award over 1,000 degrees at our inaugural virtual Commencement ceremony in September, which included the first ever class of Bachelor of Pharmacy, evidence that when we decide to do things, not only do we do them, but we do them well.

During the year, USIU-Africa became the first Kenyan university to join the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program that committed USD 63.2 million over the next 10 years towards the education of 1,000 talented, yet economically disadvantaged young people from across Africa. The first cohort was admitted in September 2020 with subsequent intakes to follow in May and September annually. This December, USIU-Africa launched the first ever Online MBA program in Kenya and the region to be accredited by the Commission for University Education (CUE), as well as by our US accreditor, WASC. This is indeed a game-changer targeting busy executives to enable them acquire a globally recognized degree in a convenient and flexible learning environment that will allow them to advance their careers.

As we come to the end of this semester, we celebrate our successes and experiences that have deepened our knowledge of the world, expanded our horizons, and allowed us to make connections with others who have challenged our assumptions and often provided support as we ask ourselves these deep questions.

While many of us hope that the upcoming Spring semester will offer a return to our usual academic routine, the ravages and impact of COVID-19 cannot be overlooked, due to the worldwide disruption it continues to cause. This means that more uncertainty lies ahead, requiring us to draw upon the same flexibility, resilience, and collective sense of responsibility that have served us well during this year.

The university will proceed with the planned dates of instruction as highlighted in the academic calendar with classes being offered online during the Spring 2021 semester. Select on-campus learning will be offered for students who require practical and laboratory sessions to meet their course requirements, to enable them complete their studies on time with the least interruption possible. In addition, the Library will be open under strict guidelines as earlier communicated, to allow students to access materials critical to their research and study. These initiatives will help us test the measures that we have put in place for when we eventually resume face to face learning fully. Please continue to monitor your USIU-Africa email, as this is the best way for us to reach you with important updates and reminders.

Lastly, I wish to thank each and every one of you for the dedication you have shown this year. I am inspired by the way the USIU-Africa community has come together through this challenging time, to demonstrate what can be achieved when each of us works diligently towards a single cause.

I would like to extend my warmest wishes to you and your family for a restful and safe Christmas holiday, and a Happy New Year. I look forward to seeing you reinvigorated in 2021!

Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza

Vice Chancellor

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