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We've Returned UNICAL To Its Place As Citadel For Academic Excellence - VC

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Florence Obi has stated that repositioning the prestigious institution to its pride of place as a citadel for academic excellence has been the core of her leadership.

Prof Obi, who was speaking to journalists, recently, as a build-up to her third anniversary as Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, noted that daunting as the task has been, the giant strides recorded in three of her five-year tenure leaves her with a great sense of fulfillment.

"I feel fulfilled that, first of all, I made history as the first female Vice Chancellor of UNICAL. And just like I said during my inauguration that I was holding this office in trust for the womenfolk, I find it fulfilling that I have not failed my women (constituency). But it has been very challenging equally. Challenging in the sense that many never thought that I was going to be the Vice Chancellor. And three years down the line, some of them are still finding it difficult to accept that I am the Vice Chancellor; some are still finding it difficult to work with me as VC. And others are just out there to be seen to be opposing the Vice Chancellor.

The fact that I am the first female Vice-Chancellor meant that I was going to work very hard to prove to the world that a woman can also do what men have been doing at the highest level for the past 45 years before my emergence. I have been on my feet, worked extra hard, using all available resources to make sure that I get results," the VC told newsmen.

When asked about her efforts to returning sanity to the University, Prof Obi said her leadership has been able to rally right-thinking members of the University community towards getting back the institution to its culture as a centre for academic excellence, rather than a field where "hawks (lecturers) pry on chicks (students).

"Gradually, everyone is now realizing that my policies were not alien to the University. They now know that what I have done was merely invoking regulations that bind the varsity as a breeding ground for leaders. An example was a situation, then, where people teach for two or three years without getting results; but today, everyone has come to terms with the fact that they have to teach, examine and release results in just one month. Right now we finished exams about three weeks ago and so many lecturers have already uploading their results. Gradually, we are heading to the right direction," she added.

She also disclosed with pride that programmes in the institution that were hitherto clamped down on by the National Universities Commission (NUC) due to inadequacies have today received accreditation, adding that several engineering programmes, except one, have passed through accreditation and waiting for the NUC team's final result.

"We are hoping to get positive results from NUC. The lessons learned here are that we must go by the regulations. We should not start programmes with resource verification and approval," she quipped.

Priding in her modest achievements, the Boki-born scholar also relished on the return of due process to examinations in the University, noting that, students now work for the grades they get because answer booklets are now customized for all exams administered with the result system also digitalized.

While expressing optimism for greater heights in her remaining years on the saddle, Prof Obi expressed fulfillment that today students of the University of Calabar are blazing the trail in academics, sports, etc, and competing for honours internationally.

By Ebi Collins, The Beagle News