The University of Lagos (UNILAG) Akoka has reaffirmed commitment to change research, academic and digital transformation narratives through initiatives such as IT strategy, and enterprise architecture, among others as part of its plans to reposition the institution.
Folasade Ogunsola, vice-chancellor at UNILAG disclosed this during her speech at the university’s 2023 media parley held recently.
“Since assuming office in November 2022, we have made steady progress despite the grim economic climate and many disruptions.
We were determined to push forward to ensure that the university could grow and deliver on its mandate of teaching, research and service through the future-ready agenda that is encapsulated by the four pillars of growth; growing the finance, infrastructure, reputation and manpower (FIRM),” she said.
In addition, she said; “The digital transformation initiative which comprises our IT strategy, Enterprise architecture, IT operation and Governance model is a three-year plan to reposition our technology landscape.
As part of the project, the new university website is being deployed and will be fully unveiled in the new year.”
Ogunsola revealed that the university established a data management centre on September 14, 2023 located on the seventh floor of the Senate building as part of its drive to fully automate the processes and properly curate the data.
According to the vice-chancellor, the project was funded through the African Centre of Excellence for Drug Research, Herbal Medicine Development, and Regulatory Science (ACEDHARS) in collaboration with Prime Touch Technologies.
She also cited staff development as part of her management’s major drive in repositioning the university as the institute of first choice in Nigeria.
“We recognise that at the university our main function is to develop minds and influence critical and qualitative thinking that will then drive the development we need.
We recognise the primal place of our students but we believe also that students can only get qualitative education if we have quality staff who are energised, comfortable, committed and can self-actualise. Without them there is no university. They are the university. A considerable part of our strategy is therefore on staff development which we have commenced and encourage,” she said.
In promoting research and academic excellence, the vice- chancellor explained that the university is undertaking major redesign of some of its academic programmes.
“Our aim is to ensure that we offer the best to our students and ensure we deliver on our mandate to produce future-ready graduates. Specifically, we are unbundling our programmes in Architecture, Creative Arts and Mass Communications and establishing them as stand-alone faculties to foster growth in these fields where we can boast of our distinctive strength,” she stressed.
She also revealed that the university, through the Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standard, Centre of Excellence is making strides in the areas of building national and regional capacity for enhanced public sector service delivery.
“Through the centre, the university now offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses in Procurement.
We have taken steps to bring the operations of the University of Lagos Business School (ULBS) in line with the global best practices,” she emphasised.
Furthermore, the vice-chancellor said that as a school, the ULBS status and stand parallel with the School of Postgraduate College.
According to her, “This allows the school to operate in line with best global practice as well as improve the revenue drive of the university.”
Besides, Ogunsola reiterated that the university will continue to plod on in its mission to drive innovation and promote entrepreneurship as strategic pillars for promoting individual self-actualisation as well as fostering national development.
To this end, she said; “The university senate approved the Doctor in Entrepreneurship Development (DED). The Project I2M (innovation to market) Incubator programme which is funded by the UKRI RISA Programme) onboarded several innovators from across the country and trained them on skills and techniques to develop their innovation.
Some of the selected innovators were supported with prototyped funding as well as intellectual Property filing, and company and tax registration.
It is important to note that the Project I2M serves not just our student and staff innovators, but it also supports street innovators.”
Moreover she revealed that UNILAG recently commissioned the “MAD HOUSE” where MAD is the acronym for Making A Difference.
“The MAD HOUSE is an incubator environment where many ‘crazy’ innovative endeavours can be birthed and executed; while also adapting it to a better future.
There are scholarship opportunities as well as fully equipped ambience for innovative and creative potentials. It is the first of its kind in any Nigerian university, and it will serve as an antidote to various unemployment and creative industry difficulties. It proffers opportunities for students and other participants.
And crowning this is the signing of an MOA with Student Paddy, a start-p established out of an innovation by one of our students.
The Student Paddy App was developed by Nnaemeka Praise Ifeakor, our former student while he was in fifth year Engineering here at UNILAG.” she noted.
The app which is a virtual camp will empower university students throughout Africa and beyond by allowing to convert their normal browsing to certifications for knowledge acquired.