The College of Humanities and Social Sciences Centre of Excellence in Research, Teaching and Learning (CERTL) on 9th December 2020 held an orientation workshop for newly recruited academic staff of Makerere University.
The blended workshop (physical and virtual) took place at Senate Building, Makerere University. It was attended by new recruits from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), the College of Health Sciences (CHS); the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS); the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT); and the College of Education and External Studies (CEES). It was facilitated by senior academics and administrators of Makerere University namely; Dr Andrew Ellias State, Director CERTL; Dr Vincent Ssembatya, Director Quality Assurance; Dr Euzobia M. Baine, Director Gender Mainstreaming; Mr. Julius L. Lebo, representative of the Director Human Resources; and Prof. Grace Bantebya - Kyomuhendo from the School of Women and Gender Studies.
In his address, the Director of CERTL, Dr Andrew Ellias State congratulated the new staff upon their recruitment. He explained that the workshop was intended to introduce the new hires to the University policies, curriculum development and implementation, and effective learning and teaching techniques. “It is very important for new employees to understand the dynamics of the organization if they are to effectively perform their roles. We extend our sincere gratitude to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for funding this important project,” he noted.
Dr State oriented the new staff on the theory and practice of teaching at a University, with special emphasis on the principles of good teaching, learning and promotion of positive professional relationships. “In the course of your duties, never aim to embarrass students, avoid bias and try as much as possible to understand the challenges experienced by your students. As you endeavor to advance your career, be proactive in building and nurturing a strong and genuine support network,” he advised. Similarly, Dr James Taabu Busiima trained the new recruits on the evaluation and assessment process at a University. Key issues tackled included handling coursework and continuous assessment, setting and moderating examinations, administering examinations as well as marking and reporting.
In his presentation, Dr Vincent Ssembatya sensitized the new recruits on the Makerere University Quality Assurance Structure and Policy Framework. The policy framework aims to promote confidence in the quality and standards of the academic awards of Makerere University. He emphasized that quality checks at all levels are crucial in measuring success, promoting confidence in the system and addressing challenges. Dr Sembatya applauded CHUSS for the initiative, noting that it was the first of its kind at Makerere University. “Initially staff were recruited and immediately sent to class without any orientation – this posed a number of challenges on the quality of teaching and learning. With this initiative, I am hopeful that the quality of research, teaching and learning will greatly improve,” he noted.
Dr Euzobia M. Baine briefed participants on the Gender Mainstreaming Programme of the University, specifically focusing on the Makerere University Gender Equality Policy of 2009 (MUGEP), and the Makerere University Policy & Regulations against Sexual Harassment of 2006 (as amended in 2018) that seek to eliminate sexual harassment at the University. Expressing concern over the ignorance of the policies among staff and students, Dr Baine implored the new recruits to read, understand and internalize the policies and also support the implementation process. Relatedly, Prof. Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo briefed the new recruits on the Makerere University Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment, cautioning them against the practice. Prof. Bantebya and other researchers from the School of Women and Gender Studies and the College of Computing and Information Sciences are the brains behind the online platform launched in October 2020 as part of the measures to address sexual harassment in Higher Education Institutions in Uganda. The system code-named “Kicking Sexual Harassment out of Higher Education Institutions (KISH – kish.mak.ac.ug) seeks to support the processing of sexual harassment cases in a confidential and safe space.
The representative from the Directorate of Human Resources, Makerere University, Mr. Julius J Lebo, extensively sensitized the new recruits on the different policies in the Human Resources Manual including, the policy on Appointments and Promotion of Academic Staff, the policy on tracks for academic staff, the policy on awarding the title Professor Emeritus and the guidelines on awarding Honorary doctorates.
In her remarks, the Principal of CHUSS, Dr Josephine Ahikire underscored the importance of the exercise in creating a renewed sense of direction, more especially for new recruits. “The exercise is very important in guiding the new staff on how to deal with the increasing number of students without jeopardizing the standards,” she noted. She appreciated the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for supporting the exercise and other academic activities in the College.
Speaking about human resource management, the Acting Deputy Principal of CHUSS, Dr Julius Kikooma noted that such exercises are crucial in boosting the capacity of staff. "It is very important for institutions to continuously build the capacity of the new generation of scholars through such activities. It is also important to create an environment where everyone can thrive," he noted.
The event was coordinated by Dr Pamela Khanakwa, Deputy Director CERTL and Dr Edgar Fred Nabutanyi, Coordinator of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation projects at Makerere University.
See detailed presentations in the documents below.