STANDING OVATION, ENCOMIUMS, AS VC ADDRESSES SPECIAL SENATE SESSION
It was a standing ovation and an outpouring of encomiums that ensued following the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar’s address presented to a special session of the Institution’s senate to mark the first year anniversary of her tenure in office.
Addressing the Senate, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Florence Banku Obi expressed her profound gratitude to God for the gift of life and the privilege to serve in the capacity of Vice Chancellor, adding that, her address will focus on what, as an administration, they have been able to put in place in the last one year.
Prof. Obi who said her investiture remains both a humbling and inspiring moment for her, said the overriding priority for her in pursuing infrastructural development is to engender an ambience suitable for academic excellence in terms of learning and research.
While acknowledging the variant of daunting challenges occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, Endsars protest, disconnection from the national grid and paucity of funds, the University helmsman said she resolved to square up to these challenges with a determination to succeed.
To this end, Prof. Obi set up 3 committees; Baseline Assessment, Needs Assessment and Strategic Planning Committees to help set the course of action, acknowledging that, these have aided the administration to stay the course.
Following the humongous destruction of University property in the wake of the endsars protest, the Vice Chancellor had to hit the ground running by engaging in a very robust development and rehabilitation of hostels to make them more habitable for the students.
In order to meet the National Universities Commission (NUC) benchmark of 30% accommodation for students, Prof. Obi said she had to open up special hostels on campus, adding that, these new hostels when completed will be fitted with all relevant appurtenances for the students’ convenience.
In the area of academic excellence and quality assurance, the first female Vice Chancellor of the Unical said her administration through the Directorate of Quality Assurance, Management has evolved an exams management stratagem that has effectively curtailed the unwholesome practices hitherto associated with exams thereby ensuring students get only the grades they deserve.
In the same vein, the University Administrator said under her watch, the Institution has finally enrolled its students in the T-SHIP scheme in order to cater for their health needs both on and off campus, adding that, the Students’ Health Insurance Scheme has also been activated, this is even as she informed that, students have also been empowered to speak out against all forms of injustices.
Prof. Florence Obi who reiterated her avowed determination to give staff welfare its proper place in the scheme of things enumerated some of the things her administration is doing in that regards to include; payment of current CES honorarium, submission of results allowances, non-accident bonus for drivers, protective gear allowance and security incentives, adding that, staff promotions for 2019 and 2020, as well as, regularization exercise for staff engaged since 2018 have been concluded.
The Award winning Vice Chancellor further highlighting the achievement of her administration within the last one year, said she had to engage in a robust image laundering for the University, especially, with relevant MDAs such as the Ministry of Education, NUC and TetFund culminating in the very visible Tetfund presence in the University.
According to her, the University Commercial Ventures and Consultancy Services are being reposition to be true to their names, even as Management is working towards introducing an all-encompassing Smart Campus where network access is available to all for enhance teaching, learning and research.
Also, the administration has been able to establish an E-Library to cater for the needs of those with disabilities, attract an increase in the admission quota for Medicine and Nursing Sciences from 80 and 75 to 150 and 130 respectively, resume work in the Faculty of Law amongst others.
Other areas that have witnessed noticeable improvement during the period under review are improved attendance at varsity ceremonies, increased frequency of inaugural lectures, workshops and Conferences, as well as, palpable advancement in the battle against corruption and unethical conducts.
Professor Florence Obi used the occasion to appreciate the Senate, Members of Expanded Management, staff and students for all their support while pledging to all within her powers to continue to do more.
The Provost, College of Medical Sciences, Prof. Victor Ansa, a former Vice Chancellor, University of Uyo, Prof. Akanaren Essien, Dep. Dean Graduate School, Prof. Shiyam and the Director of EDC, Prof. Christine Ikpeme all commended the Vice Chancellor for her commitment and determination to up the ante as far as growth and development in the University of Calabar is concerned
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