The 13th Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Folasade T. Ogunsola, FAS has called for a collaboration between the arts and sciences to infuse the African essence in research design and outputs. She made this call during her familiarisation tour of the faculties of Arts and Engineering on Thursday, January 26, 2023.
Professor Ogunsola posited that the more designs of different products carry the African element, the more unique the works of the University would be as a community. This would also translate into representing Nigeria in a pleasant light in the world beyond its shores.
Speaking further on her vision for the university and its organs, Professor Ogunsola disclosed her administration’s plans to have the Department of Creative Arts unbundled from the Faculty of Arts. This aligned perfectly with a request along the same lines made by the Faculty Dean, Professor Olufunke Adeboye, who expressed the faculty’s heartfelt desire to see the Creative Arts Department maximise its potentials by becoming a faculty.
In the same vein, the Vice-Chancellor urged members of the Faculty of Arts to play strategic, intentional and notable roles in championing the renaissance of the Nigerian culture. She expressed her wish to see a Nigeria where culture is revived, values regained and national identity ingrained in the hearts and minds of all generations.
Some of the ways to achieve this, in Professor Ogunsola’s view is for the arts and culture of our land to be deliberately re-introduced to the world beyond the university campus. She tasked the faculty to develop avenues to synergise displaying its works, grading students for performances and making money for the growth and development of the university at large.
Some other issues raised by the faculty included: acquisition of language laboratory, effective maintenance of facilities and employment of more skilled hands etc. To these, the Vice-Chancellor requested detailed plans to be shared with her.
Speaking on effective maintenance of facilities, Professor Ogunsola urged Heads of Department/Unit to endeavour to resume work early so that the overtime period of staff can be significantly reduced. This, she pointed out, would enable the university’s internally generated revenue (IGR) cater to more issues such as maintenance, to mention a few.
Just before leaving, Professor Folasade Ogunsola expressed her wish to have the Vice-Chancellor’s lodge adorned with paintings, sculptures and various art pieces made by students of the University of Lagos.
In her parting words to members of the Faculty of Arts, she encouraged them to “keep dreaming, keep pushing, not to feel limited and believe we will all do our best to excel.”
At the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Ogunsola acknowledged with great delight that the University boasts of brilliant minds in its Faculty of Engineering as highlighted in the welcome address of the Faculty Dean, Professor Obanisola M. Sadiq.
Pointing out the fact that no nation can develop without engineers, she expressed her hope to see the faculty play a crucial role in building the University of Lagos to be future ready. She encouraged the faculty to collaborate with the Faculty of Arts in infusing African/Nigerian essence into its discoveries and products.
Professor Ogunsola challenged members of the Faculty to produce prototypes for electricity generation in the university and develop different systems of solving problems faced by the university and the nation at large. This was in response to faculty members who prided themselves on being capable of generating electricity for the faculty and by extension, the university but complained of the lack of an enabling environment and dwindling staff strength.
The Vice-Chancellor asserted that with working prototypes, the faculty would be able to attract viable fundings to upscale its discoveries. In turn, this will motivate the university management to assist in providing the faculty with a better enabling environment to maximise its potentials, especially that of its students, beyond expectations.
Other issues raised were curriculum development, development of soft skills for students among others. A representative of the Faculty of Engineering Alumni who was present at the meeting lauded the Vice-Chancellor’s vision for the university and her drive to develop curriculum. He posited that the alumni would be glad to work with the university in curriculum development to bridge the gap between academia and industry.
While addressing the issue of shortage in staff strength, Professor Ogunsola charged staff intending to leave the university to be fair to their counterparts by not tying down their positions when they have no intention of returning. She expressed her hope of engaging more skilled hands in the near future and her continued dedication to the overall advancement of the university.
During her visit, Professor Ogunsola and her team received a warm welcome from staff and students of both faculties. At the Faculty of Arts, the UNILAG Management Team were regaled with musical performances by the students and the Vice-Chancellor was presented with a portrait painting of herself dressed in the university ceremonial regalia. At the Faculty of Engineering, 100Level student of Petroleum and Gas Engineering, Itunuoluwa Dahunsi made a spoken word rendition specially for the Vice-Chancellor before presenting her with a customised pillow courtesy of the Faculty of Engineering.