Local and International Academic Collaborations on the Upswing
As the Division of Academic Affairs of the University, we are pleased to see well-equipped individuals being ushered into the world of work to better their lives and to serve humanity using the knowledge and skills attained during their stay in this world-class university.
I also take this opportunity to thank and appreciate contribution of parents, guardians and well-wishers who have in many ways supported the graduands this far. Their contribution cannot be taken for granted. In the same breath, I wish to recognise our academic staff for their endless support in ensuring that we deliver on quality programmes. This has made our graduates to make a positive difference and exert influence both locally and internationally. As a university, therefore, we have continued to leave an indelible mark in the academic arena.
The Division of Academic Affairs continues to make great strides in the pursuit of academic excellence as well as to provide more opportunities for university education to qualified students. In September 2021, we admitted more than 4,000 first-year students into various academic programmes of the University. We endeavour to provide the required academic leadership in the mobilisation of professional, technical, and infrastructural resources to ensure the realisation of the University's goals and objectives. We also strive at all times to ensure that our students complete their studies on time.
Further, the Division of Academic Affairs has initiated collaborations with local and international learning institutions in addition to the existing ones. I am happy to report that on 24 February 2021, the University, jointly with Boitekanelo College from Botswana, launched collaborative community outreach programmes in Nutrition and Health. This is in addition to the University's linkage with the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE), Luxembourg. In 2021, four students were nominated to participate in the Exchange programmes through the IAESTE. Further, the joint memorandum of understanding with Debre Markos University on 16 February 2021 is an initiative that will go a long way to benefit both our students and staff. Indeed, the contribution from our collaborating institutions cannot be underrated.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed people's life globally in many ways. In the Division of Academic Affairs, we have experienced both the negative and positive sides of it. On the positive side, academic staff have developed e- content for their programmes and migrated it to the e-learning platform. This has increased the number of students on the e- learning platform. In addition, there are more postgraduate students participating in virtual proposal and thesis defenses than during the face-to-face defense in the pre-Covid-19 time. This has greatly benefited the international postgraduate students, who are now able to submit and defend their research work online while in their home countries, thereby saving on travel and other related costs.
On the negative side, undergraduate students' engagement and participation in class has been noted to be lower as compared to face-to-face learning due to varied reasons, ranging from cost of bundles to poor internet connectivity.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also had a negative impact on student participation in extra-curricular activities. Our students have not been able to effectively participate in internal and inter-university extra-curricular activities. Such activities, apart from providing university students with platforms to nurture their talents, also help them to release negative energy. However, I am happy to report that our students were able to participate in the Kenya Universities Drama, Film and Music Festival national event that took place on 14-21 October, 2021 at Meru University, and in which 22 universities and 3 colleges participated. In this national event, our students won in 13 out of the 23 items presented at the festival and thus bagged most of the trophies. We continually support sports and all other extra-curricular activities that take students' mind off the routine class work. This ensures that a holistic university experience is achieved. Therefore, as a university, we are determined to strengthen our efforts to continue progressing and to ensure that Covid-19 pandemic will not adversely affect the critical spheres of our student’s campus life.