To all members of the University Community,
Ladies and gentlemen,
During our 50th year celebrations on 10th December 2020 I stated as follows:
“Occasions like this are important for reflections of the past success and shortcomings. Like all organizations, we have experienced challenges but we have always triumphed.”
We have over the years witnessed declining capitation when the cost to maintain and grow the University has been increasing. Our expenditure has over the years been higher than the capitation and the locally generated funds for some years now. We have also experienced governance challenges. We have grown so large and to some extent become somehow less efficient. I believe that some of these shortcomings can be addressed through targeted governance reforms, financial reforms, people reforms, Curricular reforms and use of data in decision making.
There is no doubt that we need to critically review our toolbox. It’s likely that there are tools in the toolbox that were relevant in the 70’s that are no longer relevant. We must reflect and only retain those activities that will make UON more relevant, more vibrant, and sustainable. When I cast my eyes into the future and envision this University another 50 years from now, I see a university that is more relevant, a University that generates knowledge, that empowers the people, that has embraced fully the culture of innovation and thus expanding opportunities for our young people and making life easier and fun for all. I see a University that engages in activities that it can finance and no more. A University that is fully accountable for its actions and responsibilities. We have a responsibility to embody the hopes of the Kenyan people. The University of Nairobi will walk with the Kenyans in the trenches. We have a responsibility.
As Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, our First Chancellor once said about the University of Nairobi-- "My Government and I wish to emphasize in this way, that here is an Institution of the highest importance, integrating into the life of our republic”.
We commit to continue to be that Institution of highest importance and to fully integrate with the life of our republic” End of quote
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me start by thanking you all for your individual and collective responsibility in ensuring that the University continues to carry out its mandate of teaching and learning, as well as research, innovation, and community service. Because of our collective effort, this university is set for better times ahead. Buoyed by our achievements and resilience, I have faith that as we begin another journey of fifty years, our reform agenda will lead to a higher level of competitiveness, sustainability, and vibrancy.
Since last year we have continuously engaged both staff and students on the reforms process. We have achieved good progress so far on People reforms, Curricular reforms, Financial reforms, and Data reforms.
We have consistently engaged and sought your views on the best way to deal with the governance reforms. In my last address, I thanked you for the insightful feedback you gave on the appropriate governance reform interventions required to streamline our operations. Some of the issues that have been mentioned consistently to impede our performance include the top-heavy administrative structure, slow bureaucratic processes and redundancies among other issues. As provided in the statutes, the Senate deliberated on the matter and made recommendations to the council on a series of proposals that would address the top-heavy administrative system and eliminate duplication and redundancies in the way we carry out our business.
The council considered the proposals and approved a governance structure that will ensure effective, and efficient administrative processes at University of Nairobi. The new governance structure that was announced by Council on Friday 9th July 2021 will address the issue of duplication, improve on cost management of our operations and to align our functions to the core mandate of teaching, learning and research. The position of faculty has been elevated as the main focus for devolution of university activities. It will be supported at the Centre by the positions of the Associate Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, the Associate Vice Chancellor research, Innovation and enterprise, and a re-engineered central support system run by professionals to ensure efficiency and accountability in service delivery.
All teaching has been reorganized under 11 teaching faculties that will be run by Executive Deans assisted by Associate Deans. This will enhance accountability and efficiency in the management of academic programs. The process has carefully integrated those serving currently in leadership positions in the current colleges, Faculties and Schools. In the spirit of people reforms, we have already engaged all staff whose positions are affected and agreed on how they can continue serving the University. As your Vice Chancellor I would like to confirm that during these reforms, no member of staff, both academic and non academic has lost their job.
In that respect, I wish to announce the following appointments to the new positions:
- Associate Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs-Prof. Julius Ogeng’o
- Acting Associate Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Innovation and Enterprise-Prof.Margaret Hutchison
- Acting Executive Dean, Faculty of Agriculture-Prof.Rose Nyikal.
- Acting Executive Dean, Faculty of Built Environment-Prof. Robert Rukwaro.
- Acting Executive Dean, Faculty of Business and Management Science-Prof.Jackson Maalu
- Executive Dean, Faculty of Education-Prof.Isaac Jumba
- Acting Executive Dean, Faculty of Engineering-Prof Ayub Gitau
- Executive Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences-Prof.James Machuki
- Acting Executive Dean, Faculty of Law-Prof.Winfred Kamau
- Acting Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology- Prof. Francis Mulaa.
- Acting Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts-Prof. Ephraim Wahome
- Acting Executive Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences- Prof. Mohammed A. Jama.
- Acting Executive Dean, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Prof.John D. Mande.
- Acting Chief Operations Officer- Mr. Brian Ouma.
These appointments take effect immediately. The Deans will be in charge of all academic programs, human and financial resources in their respective faculties. The devolution in the Faculty level will enhance efficiency and effectiveness and improve delivery of services. I beseech you all to accord them your utmost support.
On 12th July 2021, the Council invited all trade Unions including UASU, KUSU, and KUDHEHIA for engagement and consultations on the ongoing reforms. We had a lengthy and fruitful engagement with KUSU and KUDHEHIA and agreed on the way forward. The council will continue to engage all stakeholders to ensure the University of Nairobi delivers its mandate as expected.
As I conclude, wish to assure all staff that the main goal of the reform process is to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, accountability in service delivery. Staff serving in various offices will progressively be assigned new functions and deployed accordingly. In the meantime, we expect everyone to continue discharging their duties normally until when new instructions are issued to them in writing.
I thank you and look forward to a better future for our University. A university that is globally competitive, relevant, and sustainable.
Thank you and God bless you all.
PROF.STEPHEN KIAMA GITAHI, PHD