VALLEY VIEW UNIVERSITY
3RD STATE OF UNIVERSITY ADDRESS
PROFESSOR DR. DR. DANIEL BUOR
FEBRUARY 28, 2012
SALUTATION AND INTRODUCTION
The Pro Vice Chancellor and Convocation Executives
Dean of Student Affairs
Deans of Schools and Institute
Director of Works and Physical Development
Director of Health Services
Senior Administrative Staff
Heads of Departments and Other Directors
Other Senior Members,
I deem it a great honour to stand before you this afternoon to present the 3rd State of the University Address since I assumed office as Vice Chancellor over a year and a half ago. It is mandatory in recognised universities for the Vice Chancellor to present a State of University Address to Convocation at least once a year. The Address should highlight the trajectory of major activities of the University, the strategic goals and objectives, new policy initiatives for the year, strategies to actualise its vision and mission and an outline of the major challenges. It gives opportunity to Senior Members, the think-tank, to assess the performance of the Administration and contribute to the realisation of its strategic goals and objectives.
I want to assure you that Convocation shall not be manipulated in any way by the Administration. It shall be made to operate as an independent body within the framework of the university’s constitution.
So far, the Lord is leading us to achieve the goals and objectives we set for this institution. He is leading us to achieve modest gains. Our collective efforts have brought us thus far. I appreciate the role each of us is playing. Whatever has been achieved is not the efforts of one person or a scanty group. It is through the collective efforts of us all. In areas of spiritual growth and soul winning, research and publications, academic collaboration, infrastructural development, programme development, information flow, student enrolment, capacity of faculty, presentations at local and international conferences, scholarship, finance, etc. we have cause to praise God for the modest gains. The future is bright, and, with Jesus in the leadership, this institution shall grow to be an academic and spiritual showpiece among tertiary institutions in Ghana and Africa.
This institution, unlike the secular institutions such as Harvard, Cambridge and Massachusetts Institute of Technology does not pursue unitary philosophy of just academic scholarship. Rather, it pursues a dual philosophy of a balance of spiritual and academic development. We believe, as an institution, that academic attainment is meaningless without the spiritual and moral underpinning. It is for this reason that, at Congregations, the Report commences not with academic activities but spiritual and moral growth of the institution. We integrate faith and learning; and, as chief executive, I better resign my position if I do not uphold this philosophy. This cardinal principle must be drummed into us all.
In course of the year there has been a significant improvement in evangelistic activities. Four hundred and fifty souls were baptised and three churches opened. The Vice Chancellor’s “Build for Christ” promotion in 27 churches resulted in 115 souls deciding for baptism. The Chaplaincy must double efforts at mass involvement in evangelistic thrusts, using the small-group model. More evangelistic materials must be prepared for evangelistic activities. “Wall evangelism” is to be introduced. The Chaplaincy Department has been charged to prepare short evangelistic messages to be embossed on the walls at vantage point in the university. Tithe returns were sustained at the GHC300,000.00+ level. We may not use tithe returns as an indicator of spirituality since they are deducted at source.
We must get involved in the ‘Great Controversy Project’ by contributing towards the purchase of the booklets and getting involved in the distribution. We must improve our prayer life by participating in the 777 prayer model of praying at 7am in the morning or evening seven days in the week.
The stewardship concept of time is still abused. A walk around the lecture halls reveals that some lectures attend lectures late, yet, put in claims for extra teaching as if they started lectures on time and ended on time. Punctuality at worship centres has still not improved. For instance, hardly shall we have 50% of attendees seated at the start of the Sabbath School. Attendance at Academic Board meetings is very encouraging. Attendance rate is over 90%. Patronage at Academic Board meetings is better than attendance at worship meetings.
Social relationships, a mark of Christlikeness, have improved. I received fewer cases of strained relations. I however had a few cases of students’ dissatisfaction with how some faculty members treat them. Let us interact more among ourselves in the spirit of Christian brotherliness and improve relations with the students. The behaviour of some students may not be that good but let us relate to them just as we relate to our children some of whom may be getting wayward.
Resources and Input/Output
There has been a significant improvement in the provision of resources to enhance academic work. In course of the period, 27 table top computers, 6 projectors, and a server were purchased. The library now has a server which has the capacity to attract information from world class libraries. Internet services have improved, with the expansion of the bandwidth. We could do better by expanding the bandwidth to 45. This will require increasing the IT fee by GHC18.00 per semester. Administration shall discuss this with the SRC Senate. When we expand to that level, several networks could be accessible.
Satellite campuses at Nyaniba Estate in Accra and SSNIT Flats in Kumasi have been secured for some periods at a total cost of over GHC135,000.00. The MBA programme is currently ongoing at Nyaniba Estate Hall whilst the Kumasi Centre hosts the Distance programme. Professional courses being mounted by the Institute of Compute Science are to commence at the Nyaniba Hall shortly. The choked lecture halls shall reduce significantly when the first phase of the lecture theatre is completed by July 2012.
A microprocessor laboratory is urgent in the reaccreditation of the Computer Science programme. Space at the ongoing lecture theatre shall be used temporary for the laboratory, pending the construction of a permanent laboratory. In view of the need for this laboratory and library which has been the object of criticism by accreditation panels, development fees next year shall target the library and microprocessor laboratory.
Interaction with the student body reveals that academic input, as measured by lecture delivery, is improving. It should improve further. We require, as is the requirement in standard universities, that each lecturer prepare modules indicating course outline and core points for each topic and reference materials. Heads and Deans must ensure that this is done next academic year. Deans must report on this to the Pro Vice Chancellor.
Academic output as measured by examination results, is not desirable. Students must be made to be more serious. Rules on non-participation in examinations, when a student faults in attendance at lectures, must be rigorously enforced. Those who do not show seriousness in their studies must be shown the exit earlier in their programme rather than to allow monies to go waste and be sacked later. A paper on regulation on the number of trails to warrant outright withdrawal, and the number of trails that cannot be carried to the next level, which is the standard in premier universities around the world, shall soon be placed before the Academic Board for action.
The University has been granted accreditation to run the following programmes:
1. MBA Banking and Finance
2. Postgraduate Diploma in Education
3. Bachelor of Education, Basic Education
4. Diploma in Biomedical Equipment Technology
The Institute of Computer Science has commenced running the under listed certificate and professional courses:
1. Basic Computing
- Computer Software Applications
- Computer Hardware and Networking
- Information Technology
- Linux Essentials
- Fundamentals of Software Development
- Graphic and Web Design
8. Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)
- Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist (MCTS)
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Oracle Certified Database Administrator (OCA & OCM)
12. RedHat Certificate
The National Accreditation Board (NAB) is reviewing proposals for introducing the under listed programmes:
1. BEd English
- BEd Information Technology
- BEd Mathematics
- BEd Religious Studies
- BEd Social Studies
- BEd Accounting
- BEd Management
The University has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the following institutions:
1. State University of New York at Geneseo
2. Otterbein University
3. Cambridge International College (Affiliation)
4. Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania to run a Master of Science Degree in Software Engineering
Arrangements to sign an MoU with Management, Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) are far advanced.
Academic Board has set up an MoU Implementation Committee with Dr. Daniel Ganu, Director of Quality Assurance and Planning Unit, as chair.
RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS
Research has received a tremendous boost. That is indeed the spirit in academia which bears the dictum ‘publish or perish’. Academic ranking does not lie in the status of infrastructure as in the quantum of publications. The Administration shall continue to strengthen the research budget to ensure the fulfilment of this very important aspect of our mandate. To date, ten conference papers have been presented at international conferences outside the country. A Centre for Research and Academic Enhancement shall be established to coordinate research activities and explore opportunities for academic progression.
An international conference paper presented by Danso Ansong E. of the Institute of Computer Science is worth mentioning. Danso’s paper, “Cell load and capacity analysis of WCDMA in MIMO Rayleigh interference channel” presented at a 3-day international conference on cloud computing and services at Saveetha Engineering College, Chennai, India, held on 16th December 2011 was adjudged the best paper in that theme. Mr Danso, congratulations!
It is important we strengthen the Integrator to serve as an outlet for our publications whilst we also look for international journals in various areas of specialty. Convocation is to debate a recommendation by the Books and Publications Committee through the Academic Board for payment for copies of the Integrator by Senior Members.
Research activities are paying off with some faculty members presenting papers for promotion. The Academic Board promoted two faculty members to the rank of Senior Lecturer. The external examiners’ reports indicate that the quality of research was quite high.
VVU BASIC SCHOOLS
The establishment of Basic Schools, Nursery/Kindergarten, Primary and Junior High School which has been on the drawing board for sometime now must now move from the concept stage to reality. God willing, come September 2012, VVU shall start operating Basic Schools. The realisation of this objective shall be based on the condition that the male hostel is partially completed for occupation by students of JJ Nortey Hall. The Director of Works and Physical Development has, accordingly, been tasked to ensure that this task is accomplished by the contractor. Further, his outfit is to examine the rooms at the JJ Nortey Hall and adjust to suit classroom conditions. A 7-member Basic Schools Implementation Committee has been set up to plan modalities and processes for implementation.
The problems of rampant power outages and water shortages are still affecting our welfare and operations. The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is in a discussion with the University to establish a sub- station at VVU. Pending the execution of this arrangement, the Works and Physical Plant Department is in a discussion with the ECG on the provision of an additional transformer. The water problem is reaching alarming proportions with an irregular flow from Oyibi water plant. The Works and Physical Plant Department is working on linking VVU to the main pipeline being laid. When this is done the problem would be ameliorated.
Of late there have been a few incursions on security in a few areas. The security has been tasked to be alert and more professional. It is feared that the numerous projects that are being executed concurrently may have drawn some irresponsible and ungodly elements into the system. A security measure to address the problem is to speed up the fencing project. The Works and Physical Development outfit is working around the clock to complete the fencing project. For easy identification of members of the community, we implore all to bear their ID cards. The Security and Safety Committee is working out some strategies to address the security problem.
It is the desire of the University, as much as possible, to provide accommodation for its staff on campus. The University spends over One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH¢180,000.00) a year on accommodation subsidy for staff. We must be more proactive in ensuring that such huge amount is invested in real estate development in the form of Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) which shall be of multiple benefits to the University in the long run. Accordingly, we are going by the BOT option. The Director of Works and Physical Development has been directed to open negotiations with an Italian Estate Development Company on the BOT option. Since construction period is normally 6 months, if we are fast in our negotiations, by the end of the year, over 75% of staff and faculty shall have been accommodated on campus.
Our ability to increase rent subsidy is informed by the quantum of tuition fees paid by students which, in reality, by the Amponsah Committee Report on Fee Adjustment, did not witness a realistic increase. The ability is also constrained by the increase in research and publications as well as conference presentation bills. It is now becoming customary that publications in reputable journals attract huge fees. Against the background of increasing cost of academic and other materials, increasing salaries and allowances, financial capacity is stretched to a point of stress. Notwithstanding, the rents subsidy for senior members was increased by 10% late last year. Arrangements are being made to adjust it upwards in the upcoming budget. Sustainable redress shall however be to embark on the BOT option to get all staff on campus.
SUPPORTING STAFF-FACULTY RATIO
The number of supporting staff is bloated, comparing with what obtains in the public universities that are subverted by government. Whereas, on the average, the supporting staff-faculty ratio is 2.5:1 at KNUST, at Valley View University it is over 3.5:1. The public universities are still reducing supporting staff to reduce the ratio. This situation has implications for remuneration and running of critical services. The university spends over 63% of its operating expenditure on salaries and wages, the highest in the West-Central Africa Division of SDA.
In ensuring empirical evidence for confirmation, a Human Resource Audit Committee chaired by Mrs Irene Akuamoah Boateng of the School of Business has been established. The Committee shall examine areas of overstaffing and understaffing and make recommendations for appropriate administrative action. The way to go is to engage casual workers who will work for certain days in a week and paid wages, the educational and health bills of whose children shall not be borne by the university. The other option is work-study.
Pending the report by the Akuamoah Boateng Committee, further appointments of Junior and Senior Staff are frozen.
Efforts have been made to improve remuneration, especially, of senior members. The relativity in remuneration of senior member to junior and senior staff is completely out of proportion when we compare with the situation in the public institutions and civil service. We have been making efforts to bridge the gap between the university’s salaries and those paid by the public universities. Last year, after the normal increases in January, there were further increases in professional and responsibility allowances to ensure the bridging. The real status of the level of remuneration is not appreciated, especially for Seventh-day Adventists who receive their salaries less the tithes. With child education and family health bills added, he is either at par with his counterpart in the public system or better. Notwithstanding, efforts shall be made to improve upon the remuneration of faculty and staff. The Owusu Danquah Committee on remuneration has submitted its report which shall be scrutinised by the Budgetary Committee and submitted to Academic Board for recommendation to Council by May 2012.
VVU BUSINESS ENTERPRISES
To beef up revenue for the university, business entities are to be established and organised under one umbrella as VVU Business Enterprises/Ventures. Arrangements to make cafeteria services self-financing have been made. A separate bank account has been opened for the cafeteria as for the Bakery and Hospital. The hospital is gearing up as a self-financing unit. The grocery shall follow. The sachet water project shall soon start. We have accreditation from Food and Drugs Board. We are waiting for final accreditation by the Ghana Standards Authority to begin operating as a business entity. Meanwhile, the Sachet Water Management Committee is to start production on experimental basis. An estimated 800 bags of 30 pieces each are to be produced a day. The bricks factory is to be relocated and made self-financing, whilst a car wash bay is to be established as soon as possible. The enterprises shall be established as legal entities.
Currently, there are ongoing nine infrastructural projects: eight on the main campus and one at the Techiman Campus. The Bediako Project is about 95% complete. The bane to the progress of the projects has been material supply especially wood and quarry materials, which is being addressed. With the wood problem addressed, the church building and lecture theatre projects are expected to move faster henceforth. The first phase of the lecture theatre project is expected to be completed by the end of July 2012. This phase, when completed, shall provide 14 staff offices, two auditoriums of 200 seating capacity each and four lecture halls of 80 seating capacity each. An expansion to the hospital and the kitchen has been directed and the outfit of the Director of Works and Physical Development is to submit estimates to that effect. It is hoped that, by August ending, most of the projects shall be ready for the purpose for which they are being executed.
There have been significant improvements in health delivery. There is much room for improvement, though. There is the need for infrastructural expansion, with the introduction of minor surgical, paediatric and other services in the pipeline. Staff capacity is to be beefed up. To make the services more sustainable requires that services rendered are paid for. To ensure sustainability, faculty and staff who do not possess NHIS card will have to pay for the services.
The recent mortality trends are of great concern to the Administration. They call for aggressive measures to ensure adequate medical screening. In addressing the problem, the following measures are being contemplated:
1. Comprehensive laboratory tests to establish health status at least once a year;
2. Establishment of a Keep Fit Club;
3. Student medical examination to be meticulously monitored and reviewed;
4. The environment to be cleared of disease causing vectors.
The Sports Committee must make recommendations to the Administration whilst the Environmental and Sanitation Unit should arrange for vector elimination. The Chaplaincy Department must work out a programme for spiritual healing.
STUDENT’S REPRESENTATIVE COUNCIL (SRC) WEEK CELEBRATION
The SRC is a recognised statutory body in the University. Indeed the President of the SRC is a member of the governing Council. This body is to ensure the welfare of students and that the study body conforms to rules and regulations of the university and carry out their academic activities to achieve set goals. The university. This body has contributed meaningfully towards infrastructural development of the University. In this regard, the celebration of the SRC Week must be accorded recognition without compromising essential services. It is fair enough that we all participate in the launch of the Week. In keeping with the objective of according the student organisation the due recognition, the SRC Week launch which should be done during the break period plus about an hour lecture time, shall be inserted on the university calendar from 2012/13 Academic Year. The other programmes must be organised after normal lecture hours. The programme for the Week must be submitted to the Welfare Services Board through the Dean of students for approval.
CREATION OF CENTRES
As an academic institution, structures other than schools and departments must be created. Accordingly, the following Centres shall be created in course of the year:
1. Bureau for Economic and Social Policy Analysis to analyse the impact of economic and social policies on the population;
2. Leadership and Entrepreneurial Development Centre to train leaders at various levels. Certificates of participation shall be awarded after training. In course of time, the courses shall grow into programmes for which diplomas and degrees shall be awarded.
3. Industrial and Professional Relations Office to liaise with industrial organisations and professional bodies for research opportunities, job opportunities, industrial attachments and professional development. The university is soon to sign MoUs with Ghana Employers’ Association and Ghana Trades Union Congress to facilitate the realisation of these objectives.
4. Centre for Research and Academic Enhancement to coordinate research activities and seek opportunities for academic progression.
Each of these centres shall be manned by a coordinator who shall report to a Director. There shall therefore be a Director for Research and Professional Development with the rank of an Academic Dean.
TECHIMAN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
The vision of making the Techiman Campus a University College by 2015 is on course. Coordinators shall be appointed for the various programmes. In course of time, the coordinators shall assume the role of heads of Departments to operate under the Deans at the main Campus. The current student population of 746 is expected to increase to 1200 by 2014, a critical mass which is adequate enough for the creation of a University College. Two Junior Assistant Registrars and 8 permanent lecturers have been employed for the Campus.
‘All work and no play’, the ancients say, ‘makes Jack a dull boy’. We must see sports as an important component of health delivery. The Sports Committee must be more proactive to come with innovations to revitalise sports and games. The gymnasium is completed. A few other facilities must be provided to pave way for commissioning this semester. The university Relations Office must make high-sounding arrangements for the commissioning which should receive bravura exposure in the media.
As part of the training of students for service to God and humanity, they must be exposed to the dynamics and rudiments of discipline and self control. In keeping with this objective, the Citizenship Grade is to be re-introduced. I have been informed about the good patronage by faculty and student at the re-launch. We hope faculty members shall be at the forefront in ensuring its success.
We are in an election year so the atmosphere of the country is politically charged. We pursue the philosophy of political neutrality as a Church. Whilst respecting each person’s political rights, Valley View campus shall; not be allowed to be used as a political arena.
Let us build VVU together. Whatever progress we see is not through the efforts of one person or a small group of persons. It is through our collective efforts directed by Lord Jesus. If you work diligently with all integrity, when the Lord Jesus shall come, He shall shake hands with you and tell you, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world”. Matthew 25: 34.