Keeping faith with the vision
“If you want to travel fast then travel alone. If you want to go far travel together.”----African Proverb
(preface to our 2015 Annual Report)
For the Federal University of Technology, Minna, the Year 2015 has been a very fulfilling one both in terms of the tempo of academic activities and in the welter of achievements recorded across units, departments and faculties. Quite in contradistinction to the laid back ambience of its two campuses, this foremost technology training institution had never really stopped growing – in numbers of students, numbers of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, numbers of buildings, numbers of courses as well as research programmes.
It is perhaps a tribute to the shared responsibility mantra of the Prof. Musbau Akanji-led administration that the 2015 annual report offers an introspective perspective of an institution committed to promoting academic excellence through autonomous intellectual rigour as well as sustained collaboration and partnerships. Across virtually all units, departments and faculties, the ringing refrain of partnerships was loud and clear. This ought not to be surprising as collaboration and innovation had been described as being at the heart of some of human kind’s greatest moments of progress.
Among the institutional stakeholders driving this process is the Academic Planning Unit that has been thoroughly effected to perform its responsibilities and ensuring that all programmes were in line with the regulations of the National Universities Commission (NUC). At the head of this critical unit is Prof. Y.A Yahaya who recently emerged the new Director and has fine-tuned the activities of the unit in line with international standards. Quite remarkably, the unit has been in the forefront of Management’s vision for a robust academic development. To ensure quality of its programmes, the unit, in the year took a prime role in programme accreditation, assessment of facilities and conducted assessment visits within the University and its affiliated institutions.
Another strategic department is the Registry which represents the hub of the university’s administrative system. Headed by Mrs V.N Kolo, MNIM, ACIPM, the department is readily the engine room of the institution’s non-academic operations. It is to the credit of the Registry that the automated academic transcript had now been put in place to fasten the issuance of the document. Incredibly, it now takes between 24 hours and 72 hours to collect a transcript as against the previous eight months or more. Today, the Registry now ensures the issuance of certificates on Convocation Day!
As the university invested in its human resources through capacity building and manpower development, so did it devote funds to changing the physical landscape of the institution. Driving the university’s physical development programme is the Physical Planning and Development Unit. While there are many ongoing projects in 2015, five of the projects were completed, commissioned and put into use.
The completed projects included the Electronic Testing Centre Phase II (ETC), the Lecture Theatre donated by CAVERTON Group of Company, the Security Office building, the relocation of the bus park on main campus which had been put into use and the West African Science and Services on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) initiative.
The Bursary Department is also treading the path of innovation with its introduction of online payment slips in line with the university’s ICT policy. It also deployed the use of a software for the computerisation of the university’s recurrent budget as well as for the preparation and upgrading of the budget and financial account software to ensure effective result.
A major achievement recorded by the university in the 2015 report was the commissioning of the seismic station it partnered on through its Centre for Disaster Risk Management and Development Studies (CDRMS&DS).The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) commissioned the FUT Minna Seismological Station at Lunko Village, Gidan Kwano, under the supervision of the centre. Interestingly, the centre also won a NEMA consultancy contract worth N6,480,000 in October 2014(later upgraded to N7,000,000). The centre headed by Prof. A.M Jinadu, also secured a partnership deal with the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy of Tulane University, USA. The initiative was to conduct training workshop on Disaster Resilience and worth $184,741 and sponsored by the Bill Gate Foundation and World Bank.
Another important unit is the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, a Step B founded Centre of Excellence headed by Dr Abdulkarim Ambali Saka. The centre was established to create an enabling environment comprising of modern functional equipment and adequately motivated manpower to achieve quality research and development in genetic engineering and biotechnology. It also ensured the development of suitable catalyst on different support for carbon nanotubes production—the first to produce carbon nanotubes in Nigeria.
In an internet age, the Information Technology Services (ITS) of the institution has been positioned to play a critical role in service delivery to the university community. With Dr Mohammed A. Adamu as helmsman, the unit in the previous year ensured the smooth running of the Post-UMTE of the institution. The unit also successfully effected the GLO fibre connection of the two campuses as well as the local area network and wireless coverage of the Bosso campus.
As an institution committed to the highest ideals of intellectual introspection and scholarship, the university’s seminars, workshops and inaugural lectures remain a reference point. The University Seminar and Colloquium Committee (US&CC) with Prof. Z. D. Osunde as Chairperson distinguished itself in 2015. In line with the mandate given, the committee organized eight inaugural lectures, six public lectures and one convocation lecture in 2015.
All the inaugural lectures were given by distinguished professors within the university. Four of the public lectures presenters came from both the private and public sector outside the university.
One of the presenters was a resident US Fulbright Scholar from Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA and the last public lecture was jointly presented by staff of School of Information and Communication Technology (SICT) and members of SECAN, Abuja.
To ensure adherence to standards, the Quality Assurance and Productivity Unit led by Prof. Adai S. Ibrahim, on its part, rallied efforts to promote a positive change in the attitude of staff members to their jobs. The unit also succeeded in reducing lateness to offices and classes, checking inappropriate students’ outfit within the campus through a dress code, improving instructional staff-student relationship while enforcing the use of Assignment of Responsibility Form (AOR) as an acceptable tool for assessment of instructional and academic activities.
The year 2015 was also a fulfilling one for many scholars of the institution, with 10 out of the 20 successful research proposals picked from 800 research proposals across the country submitted to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for Institutional based Research Intervention (IBRI) won by staff members of the university. Remarkably too, the Training Guide International (TGI) and the university also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on students’ enrolment programme into international degrees abroad. This was also coming at a time that no fewer than 2,378 students from various departments concluded the SIWES Programme facilitated by the Industrial Liaison Unit and lasting between six and nine months.
The Students’ Affairs Division of the university was more than ever engrossed in the management of the affairs of the students. Among the Scholarship and Bursary Award matters treated during the 2015/2016 session in the Division were the Ajesola Solarin Majekodunmi Foundation (ASMAT’s) Scholarship Award and the 18 Total Scholarship Awards given out after confirming their registration status.
Again, three students represented the university at International Power and Automation Conference and Exhibitions held at Covenant University, Otta in September, 2015 through the effort of Students Affairs Division while educational opportunities for Nigeria scholarship award to befitting F.U.T. Minna students were facilitated. In the attainment of academic excellence, the university management was not oblivious of the place of adequate healthcare delivery on the campuses.
To promote seamless healthcare delivery, the University Health Services Department acquired two devices purposely to carry out the newly introduced Annual Medical Examination. They are the Semi-auto Chemistry Analyser and the Heamatology Analyser. This has yielded good results with ample opportunities of early detection of ailments.
Other achievements of the department included the procurement of a new ambulance in other improve the emergency service and the commencement of an eye clinic in Bosso campus.
The 2015 annual report in essence offers a kaleidoscopic reflection of the gains of the last one year under the Prof. Musbau Akanji –led administration. Invariably, it also points in the direction of the limitless opportunities presented before the leadership in the New Year, drawing strength from clarity of vision and a commonality of purpose.
We are moving on...
In the first quarter of the outgone year, the Academic Planning Unit put together a staff retreat that was intended to sharpen our focus vis-à-vis what Management perceived as gaps that had opened up especially between the academic staff and our corporate vision and goals. The retreat was in every material sense a wake-up call to staff to clarify our priorities and be amenable to change.
A major issue that came to the fore at the retreat was how to keep tabs of our growth in relation to the University's vision and mission. The Guest Speaker at the opening ceremony did justice to the issue as he opened up vistas of expansion into our untapped potentials. Speaking on the theme: Measuring Our Progress at FUTMINNA, the speaker challenged participants on the need for a paradigm shift, particularly in keeping with the global academic tradition of measuring with necessary Key Performance Indices, KPIs. His presentation, lucidly illustrated through the classic story of the five caged monkeys and the hanging bananas, touched the raw nerves of the many staff with 'this-is-how-things-are-done-here', mentality. I remember he gave a poser: why do we continue to do what we are doing if there is a different way out there? It was a challenge he threw to all participants.
But there is no doubt that everybody actually rose to the challenge. We had at that meeting set clear expectations of performance for individual members of staff and indicated our desire to monitor performance, in line with my personal vision of leading this University to the elite class by thrusting her into global reckoning, as I promised at inception of this administration.
The record of performance across academic and non academic units at the end of 2014 clearly gives credence to the fact that staff are not only sharing a unified vision but are actually on the same page with Management in moving the University forward to greater heights. The latest results of Global University Ranking have seen the University moving more than five notches up in Nigeria and double of the rung in Africa. In fact, 4icu ranked us sixth in Nigeria. This is a significant improvement in our academic profile.
The University also continued to establish linkages, collaborations and affiliations with institutions and establishments across the world, thereby putting us on the world map. I have never fallen short of being proud of the commitment and diligence of our staff- men and women, who form the formidable team that work tirelessly to project us distinctively and to whom the university must be indebted. I am grateful to the entire university community without whom I could move no inch and especially to the Academic Planning Unit for painstakingly putting together a summary of the feats, hardwork and achievements of the staff of this university in a compendium that forms our 2014 Annual Report.
Dreaming New Dreams
The month of February holds a special memory for us here. It is the month of our birth. But this year's has added aspects and consideration for us as an institution. It was this time 32 years ago, that the little acorn that would sprout forth to become this great oak was sown.
There is no doubt that the small brownish nut, watered and nourished by five distinguished scholars, has grown tall, strong and proud like the Gamji tree of the savannah with which we share destiny on account of our environments. It is said that the more the wind blows against the Gamji, the more its root deepens in the soil and the firmer it stands. From Professor Jonathan Ndagi, who nursed the University as pioneer Vice Chancellor to Professors Suleiman Adeyemi, Muhammad Daniyan, Hamman Tukur Sa'ad and my predecessor, Professor Mohammed Audu, who nurtured it, we have remained steadfast to our vision of building a university with a real capital 'U'; a university with all the universality and tradition of a university; producing quality science and technology graduates and quality and more relevant research works that are expected to impact at different levels and scale up the life of our people, in tandem with our mission of fostering world-class workforce that will adequately harness the forces of nature.
This year's Founder's Day was an apt occasion to count our blessings and express our joy to the Almighty for the height we have climbed. We are both thrilled and humbled by this milestone. The latest results of Global University Rankings, which placed us on the first digit in Nigeria and two digits in Africa, have vindicated our steady rise to the elite class. More importantly, the results have energised us in several ways.
I have on several occasions indicated my desire to thrust our University into national and international reckoning. It is no more news that this University was one of the two Universities that scored A+ in the maiden Institutional Accreditation Exercise conducted by National University Commission (NUC) late last year. That exercise involved very thorough assessment of all aspects of University operations to determine the overall efficiency of the University. It is therefore logical that if we have been adjudged excellent by the NUC we must do everything within our meagre means to be in the international reckoning. This is our new dream.
In spite of the glitches in the nation's education sectors and its attendant effects on the universities' academic calendars, we have hit the ground running to build on the achievements of the past administrations, staff, students and even our alumni and to strategize on a forward direction.
The emphasis of our work in the past one year has been on making rapid progress, especially in areas such as research, academic programmes, local and international collaborations and earned income. We are aware that the requirement for funds is particularly intensive here, being a university of technology. While reducing waste, we have been able to look at various sources where we can grow our IGR and more importantly, make pragmatic use of the available funds.
Being a university of technology has also imposed on us the challenge of matching the pace of our development with the world's fast-paced technological development and, just as I told the University Senate at my inaugural meeting, a university that is not at least twenty years ahead in its thinking and programmes is already behind the times.
It was in consideration of this that we have set a course that would allow us make our own weather and not be constantly battered to change direction. This is the crux of the manifesto I presented to the Senate on my assumption of office in December 2012. I had at that meeting defined my position and priority as one that would focus on planning for the future, building our networks across business, education and other sectors and collaborating with leading universities and research institutes across the world. This in turn, means that we must work hard towards having excellent facilities, high quality teaching, research and development programmes that would support industries and our immediate community.
I am convinced that the future is here for us as an institution, given our strong and capable workforce.