After few weeks of hiatus, the familiarization tour of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Folasade T. Ogunsola, FAScontinued with the visits to the Faculties of Science and Social Sciences respectively on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.
At the Faculty of Science, the Vice Chancellor accompanied by the Management team of the University was given a raucous welcome by the Dean, Prof. Elijah Oyeyemi, and other members of the faculty; as well as students.
The Dean expressed appreciation to the Vice-Chancellor and her team for the visit and also conveyed a deep sense of gratitude to the leadership of the institution for its efforts to improve the University of Lagos, particularly the Science Faculty, as a beacon of excellence.
He highlighted the important contributions of the University’s leadership such as the NEEDS Assessment exercise, which he posited formed part of government’s concerted efforts to leverage the knowledge, skills, and experience of Nigerian professionals including academics for national development. He added that the research output of the faculty was crucial to national development.
According to the astute scholar, the faculty has been able to help solve challenges that stem from complex economic, social, health, and environmental problems with cutting-edge research owing to the management support.
While emphasizing the need for the installation of CCTV cameras around the faculty to stem associated problems of security, Professor Oyeyemi also spoke on the strength of the alumni from the faculty, describing it as an enviable one.
The Professor of Ionospheric Physics, however, bemoaned the absence of adequate infrastructure which has crippled the effectiveness of teaching, learning, and research in the faculty.
In her response, the Vice-Chancellor expressed satisfaction at the level of achievements recorded by the faculty, which is home of great minds. She re-affirmed her readiness to pursue efforts aimed at meeting the needs of the faculty including internet facility upgrade, among others.
Prof. Ogunsola also spoke on a number of issues that could aid the status of the institution. She was emphatic about the need for faculty to commence the co-creation of curriculum. She was of the opinion that co-creation and collaborative knowledge generation by academics working alongside other stakeholders has become an increasingly popular approach to aligning research and service development, so we must.
In her words “Co-creation of curriculum has potential for moving beyond the ivory towers to deliver significant societal impact via dynamic, locally adaptive community‐academic partnerships”.
While enumerating her FUTURE-READY agenda for the university and its organs, Professor Ogunsola noted that some departments would be unbundled from their original faculties. According to her, additional departments of Life Science and Physical Health Science now seem a possibility for the Faculty of Science.
“.. plans are underway for us to see ways to establish new innovative approaches that would be good enough to develop work-ready and entrepreneurial-inclined students. Interestingly, one of you, Professor Mathew Ilori is the Chairman of the Unbundling Committee that was constituted recently.”
In the same vein, the Vice-Chancellor urged members of the Faculty of Science to seek possible ways to develop and enhance development for the growth of the university.
During the interactive session, other issues raised by the faculty members included the purchase of more laboratory equipment, effective maintenance of facilities, employment of skilled hands as well as beautification and resuscitation of the Zoological and Botanical Garden.
At the Faculty of Social Sciences, Professor Ogunsola was treated to the beautiful history of the Faculty with a documentary presented by the Dean, Professor Olufunlayo Bammeke.
The 17-minute video presentation chronicled the journey of the faculty from inception, its operations as a School of Business and Social Studies in 1962, and subsequent transformation to the School of Social Studies in 1967 and Faculty of Social Sciences from 1973 till date.
In an informative and well-articulated presentation, the Dean told the audience how the Faculty of Social Science lost an opportunity of a lifetime under the administration of Vice-Chancellor, Professor Akin-Adesola in the Eighties.
She revealed that under his leadership, he was at the time compelled by the opportunity to advance the infrastructural outlook of the university when the then Minister of Education Jubril Aminu made a pronouncement that it would assist the institution in its infrastructural development.
The Dean averred that the decision of the government formed the catalyst for the University helmsman thereafter, requesting the Faculty for its building plan.
However, the faculty could not provide a drawing or structural plan for the construction of an edifice which prompted the University hierarchy to look towards the construction of another project with the same fund for what we today now have as the Senate house.
She went further to note that the opportunity lost during that time has left the faculty struggling in many areas even with its growing population.
The Professor of Sociology expressed displeasure at the bureaucracy attached with the use of the faculty-owned lecture theatre, noting that it has left them a bitter taste even as owners of such edifices.
Her words “Many at times, for the halls to be made available letters for their use are expected to be routed to the Auditoria Management Board. We as a faculty want the Management of the university to help us in this regard“.
Other areas of concerns she highlighted included the unbundling of the Faculty to create new faculties/departments such as a Faculty of Mass Communication, as well as a review of the work-space of the faculty’s teaching staff,a major problem which has continued to affect staff and the host faculties where their offices are domiciled.
Pointing out the fact that no nation can develop without its best hands, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ogunsola expressed her willingness to ensure that the demands of the faculty are adequately met. She urged the faculty to play a crucial role in building the University of Lagos to be future-ready, by collaborating with the other faculties to improve multi-disciplinary research endeavours that will catapult the University into the consciousness of global audience.
Professor Ogunsola underscored the importance of cutting-edge researches to advance the society. She challenged members of the faculty to embrace collaborative knowledge with other stakeholders in the town to reflect a “Mode 2” relationship of knowledge production rather than knowledge translation between universities and society.
While identifying that there were gaps in research works, she asserted with conviction that co‐creation models have a high potential for societal impact.
The Vice-Chancellor noted thatthe development of soft skills for staff, particularly the non-teaching cadre formed an important aspect of her administration’s FUTURE-READY mantra. She explained that the university had already obtained licenses for online training of its staff, in a bid to equip them with up-to-date knowledge and skills to provide the best education and support services to students.
The interactive session which had in attendance notable stakeholders drawn from all departments of the faculty including Prof. Omololu Soyombo, Prof Solomon Akinboye, and the Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies, Prof Alabi Soneye amongst others, presented a platform for the discussion of other issues such as curriculum development, energy bills, and the replacement of official vehicles.