By CrossRiverWatch admin
The Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Calabar, UNICAL, Professor Florence Obi has said that she has changed the face and redeemed the image of her Faculty since her assumption of office as the Dean in 2012 despite many challenges she met.
She went on to say the faculty was faced with myriad of problems ranging from sorting for grades to sexual victimization before she came on board but she had been able to curtail them to the barest minimum.
Her words: “We were lacking in so many aspects. We didn’t have a lot of things going for us, in terms of infrastructure. We also had backlog of results that had not been cleared. A lot of vices where rife in the faculty including sorting, and staff morale was low as they had no comfortable working environment when compared to workers in other faculties. Students had no proper orientation and were left to do things without being guarded.”
Professor Obi said that upon her assumption into the office as the Dean, I started to reposition the faculty in such a manner that the University will come to reckon with, so we started with a lot of in-house seminars which ran monthly, we organized frequent faculty meetings from whence we brought out our mission statement and vision statement and our core values to let the system know we are very serious.
“We collaborated and built a faculty library; we came up with an affiliation program with Erasmus Mundus which is an international organization from the Czech Republic who we brought to the University of Calabar. We motivated and encouraged the exam officers so as to clear the backlog of results that were in the faculty so as to allow the graduated students go for service as at when due.”
Speaking further, she maintained that, “Our innovations made students to take ownership of the department and therefore imbibed a sense of belonging. We motivated them through counselling and re-echoed the reason why they are in school.”
On how she was able to tackle the issue of sexual harassment and the extortion of students by lectures she revealed: “Discipline; as a leader, you are bound to lead by example. You set the pace and the followers will just follow. When they see you as very determined, hard-working and principled, they will just fall in line. When I came here people came to work by 10 o’clock, I made it a priority to have a time book where you sign when you are coming to and leaving the office.
“In fact I have virtually queried all the staff in the Deans office for one reason or the other. I made them understand that we are all earning a salary and we have to justify that salary by doing our jobs at the right time.
“On academic staff, we usually have a one-on-one session. I usually counsel such lecturers as to why we shouldn’t engage in such (sexual harassment and extortion) activities. Sometimes I even go as far as preaching to them and since I cannot really penalize my colleagues in extreme cases I have resorted to reporting them to the central administration for disciplinary actions.”
On issues bedevilling students union of the faculty with missing funds as a constant challenge, she said after several counselling periods with the students, they were able to key in by partnering with the faculty in all its activities ranging from dues collection to spending.
For the purpose of not wanting to be blamed of union funds missing or been misappropriated, every union administration will identify a key project commensurate to certain percent of their money and execute leaving something in the purse while we on the other hand only play supervisory role which has made a lot of changes and as such creating and equipping our departmental library, built a car stand, first electronic information display signpost that displays vital information concerning the department in the university and we are planning to expand the library and the management has approved it by approving a portion of land for us.
Professor Florence, who is serving her second term as the Dean of the Faculty of Education said her mission and goal is to leave behind a faculty that everyone will be proud of.
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