Research, Pathway to Attaining Vision 10: 2022 –VC
Covenant University would have to focus more on research to realize its vision of being one of the top 10 universities in the world by the year 2022, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor AAA Atayero has said.
Professor Atayero, who recently assumed office as Vice-Chancellor of the institution, made the declaration during his presentation on the opening day of the 2016 Executive Advance of Covenant University.
Speaking to the topic, ‘Recite: A Research-Intensive Approach for the Attainment of Vision 10:2022’, the Vice-Chancellor said the current administration at CU has a mission to fulfill Vision 1 of 10 in 10 by evolving a world-class Research university.
And as a measure of seriousness attached to the quest, Professor Atayero unveiled ‘Project ReCiTe’, which means Research, Citation and Teaching. “Research,” he said, “is our responsibility; citation and innovation leading to Income is the reward, Teaching is our Goal.”
In driving this leg of the vision, he explained, the current administration makes an assumption that Vision 1 of 10 in 10 is a mission accomplished when Covenant University attains top 10 of any of the reputable global rankings of world universities.
Revealing the strategy for Recite, Professor Atayero said: “Aim for the sun and land on the moon. This we shall accomplish through the instrumentality of ‘Glocalisation’, which means benchmarking with established (indisputable) world-class universities, while introducing innovations to address our local contextual needs.”
He emphasized that if Covenant University can get its act together on research, the institution can meet any of the criteria easily. “If we continue with the rate of publication, we’ll be there, especially in the Times Higher Education ranking.”
Citing the example of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), an American private doctorate-granting university, which focuses more on Research and has consistently risen on Times Higher Education ranking of world-class universities, the Vice-Chancellor said Covenant University must be dynamic, focused and autonomous to emulate Caltech and the like.
“A faster and more effective approach to achieving world-class status is by starting new institutions on the following conditions: availability of academic talent; availability of financial resources; responsible governance, especially autonomy and academic freedom,” said Professor Atayero.
What CU must do urgently, he added, is to determine its areas of strength; take three and run with them.
Dissecting the presentation made by the Vice-Chancellor, a panel of discussants anchored by the Director, Academic Planning Unit, Dr. Olawande Daramola, viewed it from various perspectives and agreed that the university must redouble its commitment to research to achieve its vision.
Professor Emmanuel Maduagwu of the Department of Biological Sciences, who has been engaged in university research for the past 43 years, said research activities must be the cutting edge of scholarship and the impact ought to be profound both intellectually and developmentally. He suggested that research clusters should be pursued in the departments and the setting up of a research and ethics committee.
While advocating for the promotion of high impact research and product development in Covenant University, the Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Professor Samuel Wara, described high impact research as problem-solving, “a research that will meet needs of end users and put the researcher and the university into national or international limelight”.
To promote high impact research, Professor Wara said the university must ensure the availability of resources, specialist equipment, specialist workshops, autonomy, incentives, industry partnership, security and conducive environment.
The Director, Covenant University Centre for Research, Innovation and Discovery (CUCRID), Professor Olawole Obembe, who argued for increased industry partnership for research and product development, said its basic purposes are to foster skill development, innovation and technological transfer, including entrepreneurship.
“We want to foster research partnership, research services by way of consultancy; shared infrastructure in a situation whereby university laboratories are used by firms; academic entrepreneurship, human resources training and transfer; commercialization of intellectual properties, such as patents, firms and informal interaction,” said Professor Obembe.
Professor Isaiah Olurinola, who spoke on enhancing already created environment for research, said the university would arrive at its desired destination faster, if it can learn from what top rated universities have done. He averred that quality research; leadership in research and innovation will transform CU to an Ivy League university.
Noting that excellent people is the foundation for successful research, Professor Olurinola said Covenant University must put strategy in place to have more international faculty, staff and students. “Covenant University must be moving to a global status through mandatory student exchange.”