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Change Management is the Only Key to Survival of Universities, Participants at MMUST Induction Workshop for Chairpersons of Departments Warned

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo (in white shirt) and the three DVC’s – Prof. John Kuria Thuo, Prof. Hussein Golicha and Prof. Charles Mutai at the induction workshop.

Participants at the just concluded Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology induction workshop for Chairpersons of Departments (CoD’s) have been challenged to embrace change management in order to ensure survival of their University in the competitive higher education market. The two day workshop which took place at Kisumu Hotel, Kisumu County from Thursday 23rd to Friday 24th March, 2023 was graced by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo. The training was organized to upscale the management skills of the CoD’s, who are line managers to enable them keep abreast with the modern dynamics in higher education.

Speaking at the workshop which he officially opened, Prof. Shibairo challenged the CoD’s and other managers at the event to step up in research and embrace information technology in order to catapult performance at the University and in the education sector to the next level. “Let us intentionally brand ourselves and leverage on ICT and research”, he stated.

The Vice Chancellor Prof. Solomon Shibairo making his remarks1

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Solomon Shibairo making his remarks at the induction workshop

 Concurring with the Vice Chancellor regarding the importance of continuous learning for all University managers, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance Prof. John Kuria encouraged Chairpersons of Departments as well as Deans to interact with students, staff and key stakeholders to ensure this happens. “CoDs are the critical building blocks of the University. This is where we measure the efficiency and effectiveness of a University”, he said.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student affairs, Prof. Hussein Golicha expressed his delight that his Division was spearheading this capacity building exercise. “As leaders, CoD’s are expected to marshal their departments to assist the University to achieve its goals. Therefore, orientation, socialization and capacity building of CoD’s is important to this division”, he asserted.


Participants at the induction workshop for Chairpersons of Departments, Kisumu Hotel.

Noting that Chairpersons of Departments must be supported, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Planning, Research and Innovation, Prof. Charles Mutai, who later officially closed the workshop. said that CoDs do a lot of work, making them the engine of the University. “I appreciate the work done by all CoDs and encourage you to be visionary and transformative leaders, he said.

In her keynote address, Prof Asenath Sigot treated the participants of the workshop to a thought provoking presentation focusing on the need for change management for the survival of Universities.  “Universities need to make use of the available tools to manage change in their organizations. This includes preparing for change, managing change and reinforcing change. To do this effectively, there is need to cultivate effective communication skills in order to manage change while at the same time nurture a culture that excites individuals. Leadership is about creating the kind of change that you believe in. Let us move from average to excellent leaders in our departments.”


Prof. Asenath Sigot giving her keynote address during the induction workshop for Chairpersons of Departments, Kisumu Hotel.

A number of presentations were made at the workshop, including, ‘Academic Leadership and Customer Care in Higher Education: Role of CoD’s’ by Dr. Eglay Tsuma‘Rationalization in Academics Role of Chairpersons of Departments’ by Prof. Moses Poipoi‘Corporate Governance: Standards of Leadership and Governance in Higher Education’ by Prof. Edwin Wamukoya‘Values, Ethics, Integrity in Academic Processes’ by Prof. Thomas Sakwa‘Public Financial Management’ by CPA Jared Rading‘Organizational Communication’ by Dr. Teresa Okoth‘Role of Chairpersons of Department in Quality Assurance’ by Prof. Danstone L. Barasa‘Strategic Implementation and Curriculum Design’ by Prof. Judah Ndiku‘Resource Mobilization and Project Management’ by Prof. Inyani Simala, ‘Academic Integrity and Effective Administration of Examinations: Role of CoDs’ by Prof. Edwin Wamukoya, ‘Open and Distance e-, Roles of Learning (ODeL) an Enabler in Curriculum’ by Prof. Gordon Nguka, ‘Roles of CoDs in Strategic Planning/ Implementation’ by Prof. Inyani Simala, ‘Effective Procurement for Departments’ by Ms. Scarlet Kavaya, ‘Strategic Human Resource and Organization Culture Management in the Department’ by Prof. Robert Egessa and ‘Research Strategies and Management in Academic Departments’ by Prof. Peter Bukhala.

There was a light moment when veteran expert of education, Prof. Aggrey Simiyu from the department of Curriculum and Instructional Technology (CIT), took the participants through the critical Acts, Charter and Statutes that set up and govern Universities as well as the details entailed in the overseer role of the Commission for University Education (CUE) - all these in a well- versed characteristic professorial manner, without referring anywhere!

As part of the induction, Prof. Inyani Simala reminded CoDs to focus on their personal development and remember to take care of themselves and their families. “If you do not take care of yourself, you can run mad or even die. CoDs must ensure they create time for family and friends”, stated the renowned Professor of Kiswahili.

In the words of Prof. Inyani Simala “Leadership is the greatest problem facing Universities; not only resources.”  As the induction workshop for CoDs came to a close, it was clear that for MMUST to survive, everybody must change the way they do things, from the Chairpersons of Departments to the University’s top managers. While the CoDs are expected to carry out their roles diligently, they must be sufficiently resourced and supported to do the same. The fact that MMUST has taken cognizance of the need for frequent and continuous training of CoDs is a step towards effective change management. Let us take many more steps.

By Dr. Lydia Anyonje and Shiundu Masafu 

Photos by Shiundu Masafu

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