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VC’s vision for varsity’s growth

His is a mandate to position, re-engineer and re-strategise the ivory tower on the pathway of a world class university of science and technology that will leapfrog innovation and technological needs of Lagos State, and the country by extension in line with the dreams and aspiration of the founding fathers. That was the challenge and mandate given to Olumuyiwa Odusanya, a Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine, two years ago, when he was appointed in 2022 as the pioneer and substantive Vice-Chancellor of the Lagos State University of Science and Technology (LASUSTECH), Ikorodu, Lagos. Barely two years of its existence and conversion from Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH) to a full-fledged university by the state Governor and Visitor to the university, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, LASUSTECH has institutionalised a strong university culture that would strengthen academic excellence, research output, teaching and community services delivery, and fast track infrastructural development for the production of quality graduates. These, according to Odusanya, while taking stack of the progress of the institution in the past two years, will be vigorously pursued by enhancing the institution’s welfare package for workers, as the move by his administration is aimed at recalibrating strategy that will drive the university’s growth, financial stability, staff development, student discipline, research development, academic resourcefulness and collaborations, exchange programmes, and internationalisation of the university. With the vision “to be a centre of excellence in the provision of scientific and technological education for the sustainable development of the human capital for the transformation of the local and national economy,” the Vice-Chancellor said the university in the last two years has continued to make substantial progress in all spheres of its development. Basking in the euphoria of the institution’s growth so far, he said: “We have developed and are still growing a strong university culture of academic excellence, research, teaching and community services with a very functional University Senate and the Congregation.” Unveiling his vision for the twoyear-old ivory tower, Odusanya said his administration’s focus will distillate attention primarily on how to make the young university outstanding and pride of Lagosians in terms of high level manpower development, academic discipline, moral rectitude, quality tuition and cutting-edge research with a healthy town and gown connectivity.

Founder’s Day

Marking the maiden Founder’s Day of the university, last week, the Vice-Chancellor, however, pledged his commitment and that of the management team that LASUSTECH during his fiveyear tenure would not only wear a new look in the area of infrastructural development, but would also witness tremendous growth that will lift it to the next level of academic and physical development. Odusanya, who stated that every institution has a purpose and mandate, explained that the founder’s day celebration was to share with the larger society the university’s achievements, progress, challenges and impact in fulfilling its mandate. “We acknowledge the uncommon transmutation process involved in making the erstwhile Lagos State Polytechnic to become the Lagos State University of Science and Technology on February 2, 2022. It has been a thing of joy and challenge to lead the university. We have lived to fulfill the mandate,” the Vice-Chancellor noted. Based on its focus, the institution’s goal is to become a highly competitive, much-sought, globally acclaimed, and world class university. While welcoming guests to the event, which took place at the 500-seater College of Agriculture Auditorium, the Vice-Chancellor said: “Our celebrating founder’s day today is to institutionalise the day and make it a permanent feature in our calendar.” He described the day as indeed a time of reflection and also an avenue to take a critical look at the future in order to garner resources for the continued growth of the university. “Therefore, I call on all people of goodwill to partner with and support our university. We hope that by God’s grace in 2027 we can have a grand celebration and maiden convocation ceremony centered around February 2, the establishment of the university,” he added. As part of activities marking the maiden Founder’s Day of the university, the management offered scholarships to at least 67 students with Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.5 and above. Jubril Ogunbiyi, a sophomore at the Department of Accounting, College of Applied Social Sciences (CASS), emerged as the overall best student with a perfect score of CGPA 5.0 points and received full scholarship of 100 per cent rebate on his tuition fees; while other 66 students with CGPA of 4.5 points and above were offered half scholarship of 50 per cent rebate on their tuition fees. The students, tagged: “University Scholars,” were selected across the five Colleges in the two-year-old university and celebrated based on their CGPA. Similarly, the former ViceChancellor of Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) and presently a don at university’s College of Agriculture, Prof. Adebisi Balogun, also instituted a scholarship under which five best students in each of the five colleges received N75,000 each for their academic performance in the 2022/2023 session. Also, Prof Odusanya announced a scholarship of N1 million he instituted in honour of his late mother, Mrs Adetola Odusanya for the best male and female students of Epe origin from Epe Division of Lagos at N100,000 each for five academic sessions. Presenting the scholarship award to the beneficiaries, the Vice-Chancellor, urged the students to maintain the tempo of their academic performance in order to sustain the scholarships throughout the duration of their study. According to him, the scholarship and recognition is to encourage the students to do more, and again to challenge the other students to keep their studies seriously since they now realise that there is reward for excellence. The Vice-Chancellor, who stated that LASUSTECH has zero tolerance for indiscipline and other vices, including specifically examination malpractice, sexual abuse, sorting, drug abuse, bullying and all acts of hooliganism, however, warned that the management would not hesitate to show any student or group of students involved in those outlawed vices the way out of the institution.

VC’s vision

To move the university to its loftier heights, and to reach the pinnacle of its mandate, the Vice-Chancellor launched and anchored his administration’s vision on IMPACT Agenda. The “IMPACT” Agenda or Vision,” the Vice Chancellor said, is focused on six thematic areas of development of the university, which are Infrastructural Development; Manpower development; Prosperity and property of both staff and students; A strong University culture of academic excellence, discipline, transparency and best practice; Catalyst to the Lagos State agenda; and Town and gown partnership in the context of entrepreneurial university. “The university is young and we are growing our capacity to increase our Internally Generated Revenue to buffer the university’s resources in the face of funding challenges,” Odusanya said. Reflecting on the two-year journey of the university, the ViceChancellor said the institution is committed to become a Centre of Excellence in academic and research, as contained in our vision statement, while the teaching methodologies, research and community services would be geared towards producing highly-skilled fit-for-purpose graduates as encapsulated in the mission statement. He said: “Our goal is to become a top global brand and worldclass university. And indeed, as pioneer Vice Chancellor, our administration has identified six strategic initiatives with the acronym “IMPACT.” We will focus on infrastructural development, manpower training and development, productivity and prosperity of staff and students, a strong university centre of academic excellence, catalyst for the development of the Lagos State agenda, as well as town, gown and industry partnership. “Our core values include accountability, transparency, innovation, resourcefulness and research focused. We are here for you. We will be responsive. We have a good future ahead of us. I encourage all to identify, partner and support us in our quest for excellence.” Despite his administration’s agenda and focus, he said there are several challenges ahead of the institution, which according to him, include increased resources to augment staffing positions, expansion of facilities for both hardware and software, increase in carrying capacity of students and adequate funding.

Achievements/development

As a budding university with monumental tasks before it, Odusanya recalled that the University Senate has been meeting regularly without failing monthly in addition to special meetings targeted at accelerating the internal and external processes of the university. For instance, following the approval of the Senate, examination results of the students’ semester examination are being released within two weeks of the completion of the examinations. Presently, the university, which has secured approval of the National Universities Commission (NUC) to commence new academic programmes in Hotel and Tourism Management, Insurance and Chemical Engineering after successful resource verification by the Commission, offers 40 academic programmes across the seven Faculties or Colleges. The colleges are Computer Application Technology, Civil & Construction Engineering, Electrical & Electronics Engineering, Biotechnology & Food Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronics and Agricultural Engineering. Expressing delight over the progress made in the area of carrying capacity, Odusanya recalled that the university’s initial students’ admission quota has been increased by the NUC from 1,850 to 3,000 students. Underlining the agenda as the blueprint for moving the university forward, Odusanya, however, stated that the institution had successfully completed one academic session uninterrupted under a stable academic environment, while the second set of students for 2023/2024 academic session has been admitted and commenced activities fully across all departments. The Vice-Chancellor, who also noted that proper attention is being paid to improving resources for teaching and learning, said that in the area of collaboration, the university has developed and signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with two universities in Ghana, thus increasing the university’s international engagements, feasibility and visibility. He added: “We have given prompt attention to staff welfare, and students’ well-being. We have paid salaries promptly including the eight-month salary arrears. The health of staff and students has been supported through several initiatives and outreaches. “Several members of staff have been sponsored to attend conferences, while a series of capacity development training have been organised to sharpen the skills and competencies of staff members across the Faculties of the university. Still as part of our welfare programme, staff promotion has been carried out and adhered to. “On June 5, 2023, we celebrated the World Environment Day and we were the only university known to do this in the country, and as the nation and Lagos State experienced anthrax outbreak, our university rose to the occasion by holding a sensitisation workshop for the public and our cattle were vaccinated against the disease. “Surely, we are doing well and will continue to do more. Our university has become known nationally for engaging with regulatory agencies such as the NUC, the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund). We are now listed as a beneficiary institution by TETFund. We have engaged with several Ministries of Lagos State to explore collaboration in all spheres of national development under our town and gown relationship.” Besides, the university is developing collaboration with universities outside Nigeria. We have played very active roles in the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities. “As we commence the second year activities, our focus remains very sharp, with the vision to remain the University of Excellence is on course. We must become a highly-competitive, much-sought after, globally acclaimed, world-class university. “We must continue to aim higher and higher. We need to improve our work processes, show more commitment and bring in all our resources and linkages to help us achieve our lofty goals. I urge us all to be energised with the vision and seek each day how to give your best to the university,” the ViceChancellor added.

Founder’s Day lecture

To celebrate the Founder’s Day, a lecture with the theme: “Nation Building Through Innovation, Science and Technology,” was delivered by the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe. In the lecture, he tasked LASUSTECH, as a university of science and technology, to deploy research and innovation towards addressing the challenges facing the state, and the country by extension. According to the keynote speaker, the university has the advantage and stands to surpass other universities in the state as it is strategically placed and positioned to make more progress. He, however, called on the federal and state government to capture all research efforts in the country with a view to investing in them, saying no country will come to fix Nigeria for us. According to Ogundipe, it is commonly acknowledged these days that the convergence of innovation, science, and technology serves as an important driving force for the overall advancement of countries in the world. He, however, pointed out that for a variety of reasons, nations invest in science, innovation and technology because they understand the critical role these components play in fostering societal advancement, economic growth, and global competitiveness. These investments, the don noted, demonstrate an understanding of how science and technology can change the world and enhance the quality of life for its people, saying therefore countries that invest in science, innovation and technology are often ahead of those that do not invest or rather invest poorly. “When we talk about nationbuilding, we take into account several factors, all of which are now influenced by science, innovation, and technology,” Ogundipe stated, even as he cited South Korea, Singapore, Japan, United States of America, China, Germany, and Israel, among others that have invested heavily in science and technology and innovation (Research and Development (R&D) to highlight the role that innovation plays in propelling the country’s economic growth.”

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