By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Barely three years after assuming office as the 6th substantive Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Charles Esimone has already begun to recount numerous achievements he has so far recorded as the University’s VC.
Speaking at the State Congress of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anambra State Council, held yesterday in Awka, the Anambra State capital, Prof. Esimone recalled his vision to make UNIZIK the best University in Nigeria, among the ten (10) best universities in Africa and among the best two hundred (200) universities in the world.
He further explained that, to achieve this, he articulated a five-pronged strategy
predicated on the drive for Academic Excellence, Productive Public/Community service, Administrative Reforms, Discipline, and 2
Advancements, the ACADA strategy; together with its antecedent vision, called project 200.
He noted that, to navigate through financial insufficiency that bedevils public universities, his administration leverage on partnership with the private sector and other stakeholders to advance the project 200.
While noting that their efforts have been quite successful as indicated below, he said they have strengthened the institutional capacity of the university for research and effective teaching-learning process through adoption of a multidisciplinary approach to research and the
teaching-learning process, setting up of a Grants and Patents Office to train staff and students on research grant sourcing and patent processing, encouraging staff and students to publish in selected high impact journals in various disciplines, with the University completely or partially assuming responsibility for the publication charges.
These, Prof. Esimone revealed, have yielded many commendable results, which include
the University being among the twelve (12) universities, two from each
of the six (6) geopolitical zones of the country, selected and
classified as Centres of Excellence for TETFund research grants in
selected areas for each University —a grant that subsists for five (5) years during which the University is to receive a total sum of one billion Naira; approval of the University’s College of Health Sciences as one of the six (6) Simulation
Research and Training Centres set up by TETFund, with facilities for the testing and diagnosis of
COVID-19, Lassa fever and other viral diseases; as well as the University receiving the approval of a research grant of the sum of
N14,937,000.00 from TETFund under its COVID-19 special
intervention research grant scheme.
He further said the University, under his administration, secured TETFund approval for twenty (20) academic manuscripts and books; eighty-four (84) institution-based researches;
seven (7) faculty-based academic journals;
sponsorship of forty-two (42) staff on international conferences;
and approval of thirty-nine (39) staff for staff training/development locally and internationally; while
ten (10) staff of the University received grants from the National Research Fund Programme.
According to him, an increasing number of staff of the University have been publishing in high impact journals and receiving recognition; for instance; while Scopus, the largest source-neutral abstract and citation database for peer-reviewed literature in the world, listed eight (8) staff of the University among the top five hundred (500) authors in Nigeria.
“The national and international profile of the University has been
rising through Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) signed with
national and international institutions,” he added.
The UNIZIK VC listed other numerous achievements the University has so far recorded under his watch, ranging from infrastructural projects to academic facilities, publications, awarded grants, approval secured, projects attracted, and many more.
He congratulated the new leadership of NUJ in the state and hailed the state’s journalists for the cordial relationship existing between them and the institution.
“I look forward to a continuation of
this healthy relationship with your new State Council,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the newly elected Chairman of NUJ in Anambra State, Dr. Odogwu Emeka Odogwu appreciated the VC for his magnanimous support and partnership with the Union; even as he restated the Union’s resolve to continue partnering with the University, publicising her activities and playing xaqaZz roles as watchdogs in the society.