Professor Dr. Eli Katunguka-Rwakishaya, the Vice Chancellor of Kyambogo University has met former graduate fellows who are now Assistant Lecturers for a mentorship session.
In his introduction to the session, the Vice Chancellor defined a mentor as someone who acts as an advisor to a less experienced individual, known as their mentee. The mentor helps this individual grow and develop as a professional, often offering advice based on their more advanced knowledge or experience. Mentorship relationships can be built through networking, personal connections or formal mentorship programs.
He went to say that mentorship is a protected relationship in which a more knowledgeable or experienced person guides and nurtures the professional development or growth of another, outside the normal manager/subordinate line management.
The Vice Chancellor went on to unveil his Vision for Kyambogo University as: To transform Kyambogo University into a truly international, research-active institution with better-qualified staff, adequate facilities and ICT infrastructure, producing high quality, relevant and skilled graduates.
He said teaching and non-teaching staff at all levels; senior staff in particular (Senior Lecturers, Associate Professors and Professors) will make this happen. He revealed the profile of senior staff as follows:
Position Est. Filled Vacant Percentage filled
L 253 175 78 69.2
SL 135 57 78 42.2
AP 67 14 53 20.9
P 37 5 32 13.5
He noted the need for professors if the vision is to be realized. He reminisced how he, together with other members, after failing to get professors from within the country went to Cuba to look for professors but returned without them given the differences in qualifications for the two countries. From that experience, the Vice Chancellor embarked on a plan to grow our own professors hence the concept of Graduate Fellow. This was the first step in growing my own professors (not local but with international repute). The Vice Chancellor reiterated that Professors are very important because they provide academic leadership, they are a resource in grant writing, they supervise graduate students, they provide mentorship of young academics and they enhance the visibility of the university. He advised that in life’s journey, one should ask the following questions: Where have you been, Why are you here, Where are you going?
Why are you here? He said to correctly answer this question, it’s important to serve according to the terms of employment; to make a difference towards excellence; to fill the gap identified in your field; to work hard and grow; to improve your skill sets and become better and to prepare for the future.
Where are you going? To determine where you are going, one needs to: set a vision for your life (The big picture); set goals (either short term or long term) with timelines and have a plan for your life. “If you do not have a plan for your life, the world will plan it for you” the Professor added. He further stressed the need to clearly define where you want to be in 5 or ten years and see yourself there adding the need to act as if you have arrived and live your dream daily. (Obstacles will come, family, gender, friends). He further stressed the need to work out a plan of the steps you need to take to be there. If you want to be a professor in 15 years, what do you need to do in an incremental manner (Masters, Ph.D, Postdoc, Research and Publishing, Attending conferences and Presenting at the conferences and networking.
The Professor went on to advise that past challenges from time of recruitment to now are meant to sharpen you, make you stronger and determined to succeed at all costs. He added that challenges will come, doubts, health, negative people, fear of failure and family among others.
The Professor went on to mentor the lecturers on goal setting; advising that life is hard and challenging but everyone needs to work on themselves, change bad habits, talk to themselves and encourage themselves, learn how to empower themselves and learn to say No to negative people and negative thoughts. He urged them to be hungry for new things, new knowledge, growth and for prosperity. He urged them to identify where they want to go and start working on it now, not tomorrow (Procrastination is a dangerous disease), and focus on it every day until they achieve their goal. Believe in yourself, focus on yourself, be courageous and have the confidence that you will achieve certain objectives. Stop wasting valuable time and behaving as if we are going to be living for one thousand years. Decide to maintain a sense of integrity and honour commitments
He added that we do not achieve our goals because we have no plan of action, we fear to fail, we fear to start, we are not passionate about our goals, and we do not put in all our energy. Fear is the worst killer of dreams and goals. So be bold and take risks and you will succeed.
On achieving success, the Professor advised them to move away from people who have nothing to add to their life. Lazy, negative, toxic, always complaining, working to pull others down. Surround yourself with successful people and shy mediocrity. Identify individuals who can help you and ask them for help. You can not succeed on your own. Seek help from experts in your field of endeavour. You must be prepared to fail many times before you succeed. Success is moving from failure to failure without diminishing enthusiasm. When you decide on what to do, commit yourself to doing your best and do it much better than anybody else. Commit yourself to excellence and nothing less.