The five Colleges of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology are all set to be new research and innovation hubs, as well as alternative sources of revenue generation that will be critical in propelling the engine that will run the university’s activities and programmes under the new dispensation championed by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Ngumi.
Revisiting the issue of adopting the collegiate system which she had revealed would be the transformational feature of her administration when she outlined her Vision for JKUAT in August — anchored on research, innovation and entrepreneurship — Prof. Ngumi highlighted a number of issues including JKUAT’s strength which underpinned the choice of the collegiate system as the new way to go in order to confront the fiscal challenges that continue to hamper efforts by institutions of higher learning in the country to effectively deliver on their mandate.
The Vice Chancellor was speaking, Tuesday, October 9, 2018 during an interactive forum with staff drawn from College of Pure and Applied Sciences (COPAS) and College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (COANRE).
The two meetings marked the conclusion of the Vice Chancellor’s tour of Colleges which began with College of Human Resource and Development (COHRED), College of Health Sciences (COHES) and College of Engineering and Technology(COETEC) where the University Management has had the occasion to interact with academic and non-teaching staff to gain firsthand information, views and understanding that is critical in building institutional consensus on the challenges and strengths, as the university prepares to embrace the Collegiate system of administration. Prof. Ngumi reported that “The Principals and Deans have already been sensitized on the collegiate system.”
Prof. Ngumi told the staff in the colleges to redouble their efforts in what they do best” towards transforming their respective colleges to become alternative sources of funding university activities. She thanked the two colleges and schools under them for doing a good job, and appreciated the Deans in COPAS for having internalized the collegiate system, and lauded COANRE for being in the forefront in supporting food and nutrition security pillar of the Big Four Agenda.
The Vice Chancellor, who had an opportunity to hear contributions from staff, also used the occasion to respond and clarify a number of issues raised regarding promotions, institution’s financial position and the need to explore new revenue streams such as attracting diploma students, staff motivation, as well as commitment to the best service standards and work ethic among staff.
She told the researchers that it was everyone’s responsibility to seek innovative ways of supporting the university address some challenges while at the same time empowering the colleges as important academic and administrative decision making units.
“If there is anything that is not working well, we will not ask the DVC Academic Affairs but we will hold the Principals accountable.” Under the collegiate system, every college should be able to generate funds, implement programmes, attract funds, prepare budgets and issues like promotions will be pegged on the performance of individual colleges to raise resources to cater for them, said Prof. Ngumi.
To address challenges raised by researchers when accessing research funds under their projects, the Vice Chancellor gave an assurance that the setting up a Research Grants Office was work in progress and when it is operationalized, researchers will easily access their funds. “We are setting up a Research Grants Office to encourage our colleges to think entrepreneurial and bring in alternative funding with the universities undergoing tough financial times,” said Prof. Ngumi.
The Vice Chancellor called upon staff undertaking research projects to front themselves as Principle Investigators (PI) so that JKUAT could reap the dividends that come with PI status as well as contributing to the visibility of the university’s research output especially in collaborative research initiatives.
Prof. Ngumi further assured the University of her commitment to ensure the Income Generating Unit Policy is streamlined to define the procedures for generating money and its division to the concerned parties.
During the visit to the two colleges, the Vice Chancellor was accompanied by her Deputies: Prof. Robert Kinyua (Academic Affairs), Prof. Mary Abukutsa (Research, Production and Extension), Prof. Bernard Ikua (Administration); Registrars: Dr. Joseph Obwogi and Dr. Kaibui Mwikamba; Dean of Students, Emma Omulokoli, Principals, Deans and Chairpersons.
“JKUAT has the requisite human resource capable of offering solutions to problems facing Kenyans in manufacturing, healthcare, food security and housing,” said Prof. Ngumi, who concluded by appreciating all the university staff for their commitment to duty and asked them to embrace quality in training, research, innovation and service delivery, noting it would be critical in helping JKUAT attract more students and research funding.