Gains/Achievements of Internationalization
1. In the area of internationalization, Covenant University has continued to emulate exemplary practices from reputable institutions, industry partners and world-class universities that it entered into collaborative relationship with. As at the last count, the University has built a network of more than 40 institutional partners it has different levels of engagement directly; and another 50 through the Global Understanding platform initiated by East Carolina University, UK.
2. These collaborative engagements have really expanded our frontiers and accelerated our noble efforts to secure the future of the University. The MOU with East Carolina University, North Carolina and the evolving one with Ithaca College, Texas, all in the United States of America, have exposed our students to study abroad platforms via our IT connectivity. Our students, staff members and faculty now study together on a virtual classroom with all traditional boundaries eliminated. With this relationship, Covenant University joined a pool of about 50 other reputable Universities in exploring the benefits of a global classroom and space that transcends the limitations of the traditional classroom as we know it. In this rich network of 50 universities, Covenant University is among the only 5 in Africa and two in Nigeria that had capacity to support such initiatives. Our students graduate here knowing different cultures, appreciating different people and able to weave around different global narratives, acquire global competencies and practically ready for the highly competitive global market. Today, the students and faculty members who participated in the “Classroom without Borders” initiative that Dr. Folarin coordinated on behalf of Covenant University and Ithaca College, US are better able to relate at the global circles beyond the extra certification the collaboration secured for them.
3. Closely related to this is the Summer Exchange/Taster programmes involving our students and selected faculty and Fayetteville State University, USA on one hand, and the University of Huddersfield, University of Portsmouth, Southampton Solent University, Lancaster University, Durham, Teesside, Roehampton, Birmingham City Universities, in the United Kingdom, on the other hand. The Summer Exchange/Taster programme is a rich educational and cultural programme meant to act as a bridge for students who may likely end up in the USA/UK based Universities for their postgraduate studies to have a taste of higher education in the US/UK in the form of a Summer or Taster Programme. The students are usually exposed to higher education needs in the US/UK, how to pursue postgraduate programs in the US/UK as well as have a taste of the rich cultural and geographical values of both the US and United Kingdom. They were taken through both Universities postgraduate curriculum and counseled on relevant programmes of interest and how to secure admission into such competitive PG programmes. The students visited some historical/cultural sites and places of significance in the United Kingdom, take seminars, lectures and participate in workshops that have been designed to elevate their world horizons. Their interactions with students from other cultures also added value to them in terms of enriching their world view and international experience. This met our key objective of giving our students international experience and exposure while studying at Covenant University.
4. We believe that growing a world-class centre is partly dependent on the type of brilliant minds we keep attracting to our base. To date, we have hosted a number of brilliant Senior Fulbright Scholars and in 2012, by His grace, we raised one Senior Fulbright Scholar who served in Southern University, Houston, Texas. He is Professor Charles Korede Ayo who returned to become the Vice-Chancellor.
5. We have also attracted many leading scholars and returning scholars from the Diaspora into our team. In August, we hosted Professor Isiorho from one our US partner universities, Indiana, Purdue, USA. Professor Isiorho spent one quality week here, leading academic staff and PhD students of the Civil Engineering Department in intensive practicals on waste management. The scholars in Diaspora found our base comfortable and suitable for serious academic experience to settle in. Recently, we received two visiting scholars from Teesside University, Drs. Nobert and Pascal Olisemeke for one week in September, 2013 to teach postgraduate students solely on Research Methodology which was highly impactful based on the feedbacks received from the students. Also, Dr. Emmanuel Adegbite from Durham University, UK has been teaching Postgraduate and Undergraduate students in the departments of Accounting, Business Administration and Banking & Finance on Corporate Governance and Entrepreneurship for three weeks between September 24, 2013 to October 13, 2013. He also had one on one session with the students on research related issues. The University is expecting the arrival of Dr. Okike Elewechi Ngozi from the School of Business, Faculty of Law, University of Sunderland, UK as a visiting scholar in the Department of Accounting and following Senate’s approval, she has also be appointed as supervisor of the postgraduate programme of Okougbo Peace in the Department of Accounting.
6. The IOL also gets involved in the process of seeking, applying and following up on Fulbright applications to ensure winning entries. To date we have won more than eight Junior Fulbright placements at various Universities in the United States. We have also produced three SUSI Scholars who also served in the United States of America. More than fifteen other faculty in the College of Science and Technology have won one or two different international fellowships and awards that have taken them on a study tour to China, India, Europe, and the United States of America. All of these fellowships and awards have given our faculty members international exposure, international experience and development of a collaborative research networks to booster research and teaching here in Covenant University.The 2013 Junior Fulbright application had two applicants from Covenant University shortlisted for interview for the final stage while the Senior Fulbright application category had only one applicant shortlisted for interview in Abuja.
7. Covenant University’s pioneering experience in exposing our faculty, staff, and students to best practices in world-class centres is unprecedented as already highlighted. Last May, we sent a Visiting Scholar from Covenant University to University of Portsmouth for a 6-month period. Two groups of students and faculty members traveled to the US and UK in July for faculty/student exchange/taster programmes respectively.
8. The International Office and Linkages has continued to facilitate high profile international visits to the University as a brand building and marketing strategy to establish the University as the number one as well as give her a global and positive feasibility. Recently and precisely September 24, 2013, a high-powered Management delegation from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa visited the University on a collaborative and partnership visit to Covenant University where far-reaching areas of collaborations and partnerships were identified and discussed and for possible implementation.University of West of England led by two (2) Pro Vice-Chancellors visited on June 12, 2013, meeting Management and key academic and research Unit Head to propose deeper collaborations in areas of research, virtual classes, joint PhD, etc.Birmingham City University’s Osita Chukwulobelu of the Business School visited on June 19-20, to teach Postgraduate students of Business and Management in visiting capacity, which is part of our agreement during a visit to BCU in May, 2013. He also met the Taster programme teams and had conversations with key academic/research heads in Business as well as Management.Delegation of the University of Greenwich visited the IOL on Friday, June 21 to discuss possible collaboration and explore areas of mutual interest.Also, University of Nottingham, with which we recently signed an MOU with will be visiting Nigeria this October and has invited the International Office & Linkages for a discussion with the Assistant Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Africa and the Middle East, Professor Farouk Shakib on how we can further drive the signed MOU for a fruitful collaborations and fruitful partnership. Since the new University administration took office, it has also welcomed high profile visits from the University of Wisconsin, the University of Florida, the University of Huddersfield, Estate Master amongst others.
9. Our collaborative relationship with the industry continues to inspire our performance. The corporate world has continued to validate our base and support our unique activities. The Unilever-Covenant University relationship is one of such. We hosted many others during our Career Fair day where reputable industries came to grow the existing relationship with the University.
10. Through the activities of the IOL, we have continued to record increased enrolment of International students. In the current academic session (2013/2014), we have 21 International students among whom are two (2) Sierra Leoneans, two(2) Zambians, two (2) Ugandans, one (1) Tanzanian, one(1) Kenyan and others are Nigerians in Diaspora from USA, UK, Congo, Cameroon etc. We have increased presence on the web, attract reputable visitors to the University and take every opportunity of a corporate visit of University officials outside Covenant University to advertise the University.
11. The international head-hunt has also been yielding positive results, as about seven Visiting Professors/scholars have since resumed duties at the University from the US, Europe and South Africa. These are experts in their various areas and their contribution so far has been validating of the investment.
12. We have Linkage facilitator for North America for ease of access and processing of any collaborative engagement in those regions. The North American Linkage Facilitator, Professor Ogi Okwumabua of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA have been involved in Appointment interviews of faculty from the US regions in terms of giving preliminary/background information as well as giving a pre-screening report to guide Management during the interviews proper. This has been most useful in taking decision on foreign applications.
13. The Consulting Unit within the IOL has been able contribute to the IGR base of the University through air ticketing and reservations, visa application and processing, and processing of foreign postgraduate admission.
14. We have also successfully helped our faculty members, staff and students seeking travel visas get same without the usual hassles associated with such.
15. The IOL also offers career and counseling services for students seeking postgraduate admission outside Covenant University and Nigeria. We also help them through the process. Furthermore, we also process visa application for faculty and students for a small fee. The University passage functions are also carried out by the IOL at competitive rates.
16. We initiated, in collaboration with the Students’ Affairs Department, a Career Education Fair Day and has consistently held two editions so far and planning for another one later this at the beginning of Omega Semester in 2014.
17. The IOL initiated and processed an impactful visit of the Management team to the UK and US. The effect of these visits on the University’s overall internationalization goal cannot be overemphasized.
18. The University through the coordination of the IOL was represented at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Internship programme in London from June- August 2013. Chijioke Nnamani, 400 level, Computer Science (MIS option) represented the University and was among three Nigerians selected for the internship after series of interviews. The other two students were from University of Ilorin, and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife-Ife. He has been offered job placement after graduation at the investment bank. The bank has several opportunities on offer for Covenant University students with exceptional qualities, which the IOL is helping to coordinate. The Bank currently has five brand ambassadors on campus in promoting the bank activities.