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2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS

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[FOR THE RECORD] Our Future Is Bright: The Sky is Our Limit – Text Of Inaugural Address Presented By Prof. Jacinta Opara As New Vice Chancellor, Dominican University
Prof. Jacinta Opara
Press Release

[FOR THE RECORD] Our Future Is Bright: The Sky is Our Limit – Text Of Inaugural Address Presented By Prof. Jacinta Opara As New Vice Chancellor, Dominican University

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The Chairman and Members of Board of Trustees

The Chairman and Members of Governing Council

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Serving and Former Vice Chancellors

Principal Officers

Invited Guests, Staff and Students

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Members of the Press

Ladies and Gentlemen

1.0 PREAMBLE

I am humbled by the presence of all of you who have gathered here today. It is a great privilege and honour for me to address you on my emergence as the 2nd Vice-Chancellor and first female Vice-Chancellor of this university. This is clearly by the special grace of God and to Him be all the glory.

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It is my pleasure to appreciate the Board of Trustees of the university of its powers conferred by Federal Government of Nigeria and the Universities Act considered the submission of the Joint Governing Council, Senate, Search/Selection Team and approved my appointment as Vice Chancellor of the institution. My administration will ever remain grateful and loyal.

Special thanks to the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the University, Chief Anthony Idigbe(SAN) and all the distinguished members of the Board. I profoundly appreciate the distinguished Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Chief Moji Ladipo, mni, and all the members of the Council for the appointment.

My predecessor, Professor Anthony Akinwale, the Acting Vice Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Prof. Dokun Oyeshola, OP and his management team are honourably appreciated for the synergy that has helped to move the Institution in empowering the future.

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A big thank you to the whole DUI community for welcoming me into your midst having come from outside. To my fellow academics from other universities, family and friends who are here with us today, and those who are joining us online from different places.

2.0 INTRODUCTION

Dominican University, Ibadan(DUI) is the first and only university of the Order of Preachers (Dominican Order) in Africa since its 800 years of existence. The university is accredited and recognized by National Universities Commission in 2016. It has been delivering on the promise made by its founders to foster and promote teaching and research in accordance with authentic intellectual tradition, and to serve the local and world community. The university has positively changed the lives of many through its educational provisions, research, and community participatory activities. There has been commitment to its growth and success, and the collective legacy has delivered to this point.

As we begin the next move of the DUI journey, it will be my privilege to help build upon that legacy. Though, it is natural to view change of leadership as diminishing progress. But, we must admit and view change of leadership as natural and inevitable. Let us see change of leadership, as an opportunity rather than a threat.

My Administration’s intention is to exceed the horizon of existing academic programmes, with ability to integrate knowledge, professional skills and intellectual competencies as well as resource management in a co-ordinated program or vision to providing a holistic strategic direction to the Institution by displaying resilience, championing intellectual skills, building critical thinking and constructive reasoning, resourcefulness, responsibility, accountability, transparency and above all integrity and excellence at the University with a view to alleviate dysfunctionalism in intellectual and development management.

To conduct my work according to the dictates of the rules (policies), timing and budget framework. My academic and professional skills as a VC would be to ensure that the nature, scope and contents of my administration, works, conduct and responsibilities should lay emphasis on innovation, communication, change, sustainability, culture, interdisciplinary skills and teamwork.

A successful path through the next five years will definitely require the dedicated and committed efforts of every one of us. Therefore, I will rely heavily on our collective wisdom and actions to make DUI a World-Class University. I shall draw inferences from my local and international academic and professional experiences to promote academic excellence. This event today actually reminds me my days as a foreign student and academics, how I felt out of place culturally, linguistically, and academically. Not only did I feel personally cast adrift, this feeling also pervaded my academic experience. But it was through forming connections with others, that I overcame this sense of otherness. The bonds of friendship which we developed during that time, are still strong, and are still so significant to us. By creating and ensuring a positive and inclusive organizational culture and good working environment, we shall all realize a shared vision. “Together we win’

3.0. VISION

The vision of the University is to provide high quality education in the humanities, management, science and technology, the Dominican University is unflinching in her commitment to form a new generation of leaders at the service of Nigeria and the global community, leaders who will use the multiple competence acquired in this University to work for their own good by serving the common good. Dominican University has a rich history and a strong foundation of academic excellence, community engagement, and holistic education.

As we move forward, my vision for our university is to build on these strengths, to innovate, and to expand our horizons. Specifically, I shall pursue my vision as Vice Chancellor through the following:

  • Commitment to establishing cutting edge programmes
  • Commitment to establishing a sustainable network and cooperation of research groups.
  • Conducting my academic activities and research according to the policies and directives of the Governing CouncilĀ  and Supervising agencies
  • Commitment to streamlining the quality assurance and curricula development Facilitating academic journals, conferences, seminars, workshop and lectures
  • Explore the existing potentials of our University and sister institutions for research on science and technology
  • Recognizing the pertinence of teamwork amongst Management, staff, students and other stakeholders
  • Building networks with international stakeholders and developing a research grant base for external funding and capacity building
  • Ensuring that the programmes of the University are accredited and Council committees serviced
  • Ensuring a positive and inclusive organizational culture and good working environment
  • Fostering judgment and building talents at the Institution amongst staff and students including fostering strong spiritual growth.
  • Projecting the University as visible and coherent in the public debate and explore potentials for partnership in research and development
  • Initiating debates and discussions as driving force that manages change and academic innovation processes, strategic development and sustainability in the University and beyond
  • Contributing towards the enhancement of promotional tools and publicity mechanisms to promote the programs and core values of scholarship
  • To contribute to Senate/Faculty Board meetings and forums and discuss matters as per the agenda.
  • To perform any other duties as may be assigned to me by the Governing Council, my Chancellor, and other relevant constituted authorities.

4.0. MISSION

The mission of the university is to assist Nigeria to achieve the greatness her potential warrants by bringing together peoples of ethnic, religious and cultural diversity, into an academic community conducive to research, teaching and learning, to become a driving force for solidarity and authentic development of a new humanity. Our mission remains steadfast: to provide a transformative educational experience that prepares our students to be leaders, thinkers, and problem-solvers in a rapidly changing world. Traditionally, Universities exist to serve three major functions- to teach, to conduct research and engage in community service. DUI has been adhering to global best practices in fulfilling this tripod mandate. However, our universities are being ranked in global league tables which, whatever one thinks of their validity, increasingly have an effect on enrolments.

5.0 OUR 5-POINT AGENDA

As a scholar and administrator with an in-depth knowledge, experience and understanding of the private higher education sector in Africa is aimed at making DUI, a World class university and Centre of Excellence. To equip it well in the modern competitive environment and spearhead its strategic growth towards the provision of quality education, research and community engagement based on a 5- point agenda:

  1. Excellence in Learning
  2. Excellence in Teaching
  3. Excellence in Research
  4. Excellence in Innovation
  5. Excellence in Industrialization and Commercialization

1. Excellence in Learning

In achieving this, the students at DUI will be:

The Centre of learning because they are one of the core stakeholders in the university.

DUI will be committed to high quality teaching that will enhance learning.

DUI students will have exceptional potential with the talent and determination to succeed.

The success and well-being of our students are at the heart of our mission. We shall be committed to providing a supportive and inclusive environment that fosters personal and academic growth.

Enhance the student services, including advising, counselling, and career support, to ensure that our students have the resources they need to succeed. Extracurricular activities, including sports, arts, and student organizations, will be promoted as essential components of a well-rounded education

2. Excellence in Teaching

In achieving this:

Academic staff will be encouraged to develop themselves through trainings, workshops, seminars and conferences in order to improve themselves in their professional skills. Attending and participating in trainings, workshops, seminars and conferences will help them to meet different people across the globe and share experiences which will make them have more knowledge and skills in their teaching methodologies.

As an experienced teacher, the academic staff will be encouraged to base their teachings on three domains: affective, cognitive and psychomotor domains. With these domains, their teaching objectives will be achieved, and learning will be enhanced.

All academic staff will be encouraged to register with the regulatory teaching and professional bodies in the country in order to be accepted as qualified teachers across the globe.

The core of any university is its academic programs and the quality of education it provides. At Dominican University, we shall strive to enhance our curriculum, ensuring that it remains relevant and rigorous. We will invest in our faculty, supporting their professional development and encouraging research that contributes to the advancement of knowledge. Interdisciplinary studies will be a cornerstone of our academic strategy, promoting collaboration across fields to address complex global challenges.

3. Excellence in Research

In achieving this, there will be:

Research Development: Establishment of three international peer-reviewed journals in our university. Every student and academic staff will be encouraged to do research and publish in impact factored journals. This will help to project DUI to have high visibility in the world, and this will further enable the University to be ranked high as a World class university. Publishing in impact factored journals will help to improve the creative output of the academic staff.

Exchange programmes/Linkages: Schools/Faculties in the university will be encouraged to establish complementary exchange programmes or linkages with other universities in Nigeria and other countries in order to broaden their knowledge and skills.

Scholarships/Research Grants: Ensure there are opportunities for students and staff to apply for scholarships and research grants in order to motivate and encourage them in their various disciplines. We shall seek partnerships with industries, government agencies, and international institutions to support and expand our research initiatives.

Expansion of programmes: Schools/Faculties at DUI shall have opportunities to expand their programmes to accommodate more courses that will attract students not only from Nigeria but Africa and other parts of the world. This will project the university in the global community.

4. Excellence in Innovation

In achieving excellence in innovation, we shall:

Work assiduously to make sure that we produce graduates who are not only employable but ready to be self-employed based on the entrepreneurial skills they acquire while in the University.

Students will learn in a conducive and friendly environment that will embrace ICT and digitization. This is because we are in the digital age, and we need to move with the age in order to progress

Utilize expertise, resources, technology and infrastructure that will enable quality learning, teaching and research. More avenues will be sought for to generate more revenue for DUI to engage in innovative projects

Dominican University will foster a vibrant innovation culture, encouraging faculty and students to pursue innovative projects that have the potential to make a significant impact.

5. Excellence in Industrialization and Commercialization

To improve the image and ranking of the University by:

Partnering with international and local investors: As experienced scholar/consultant who had worked with other international agencies and organizations, we shall ensure DUI collaborate with these organizations in order to remodel the University to be a centre of excellence.

Community Engagement: Dominican University is an integral part of the Ibadan community, and our relationship with the local community is a vital aspect of our identity. We will strengthen our community engagement efforts, working closely with local organizations, schools, and businesses to create mutually beneficial partnerships.

Students’ participation: Our students will be encouraged to participate in service- learning opportunities, gaining valuable experience while making a positive difference in the community.

 

Infrastructure and Resources: To achieve our goals, we will invest in our infrastructure and resources. This includes modernizing our facilities, expanding our library and digital resources, and improving our technological capabilities. We will pursue funding opportunities, both locally and internationally, to support these initiatives. Sustainable practices will be integrated into our campus operations, reflecting our commitment to environmental stewardship.

 

Inclusiveness: Equity, diversity, and inclusion are fundamental values that will guide our actions and decisions. We will work to create a campus culture that respects and celebrates diversity in all its forms. Our policies and practices will be evaluated and improved to ensure that all members of our community feel valued and supported. We will actively recruit and retain a diverse faculty, staff, and student body, recognizing that diversity enriches the educational experience for everyone.

 

Global Engagement: In today’s interconnected world, global engagement is more important than ever. Dominican University will seek to expand its international partnerships, facilitating student and faculty exchanges, joint research projects, and global learning opportunities. By embracing a global perspective, our students will be prepared to thrive in diverse cultural and professional environments.

6.0 PROSPECTS FOR ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT

The Dominican philosophy of education which the University espouses is rooted in the conviction that authentic development is centred on the human person and is the outcome of artistic, technical and ethical competence, research and teaching that bring together valid achievements of the past and the best accomplishments of the present, and recourse to traditional African values that point to ways of overcoming contemporary challenges. This guiding philosophy under my administration is why I am excited about the future of this University.

We need to play to our strengths, to our natural advantages. The Dominican university is located at the famous city of Ibadan. Ibadan is the ‘melting pot’ of the cultural wealth of the state which accounts for tourist pull, an adventurous experience that is worthwhile. Situated in a mild climate, that is neither too hot nor too cold with conducive social environment for teaching and learning. Accommodation is on the fair side when compared to other big cities in the Southwest. At the heart of the University you have the privilege of seeing the renowned Dominican Chapel, one the 1000 buildings in the world every eye should see (Aljazeera rating).

The University has positive reputation with the 800-year track record of Dominican involvement in University education in different countries and on different continents. They have founded and staffed various institutions in different countries across the globe, significantly influencing education and promoting social justice and human dignity. Their legacy includes some of the world’s oldest and most respected educational institutions, reflecting their enduring commitment to teaching and scholarly excellence.

The track record of the Dominican Institute and its facilities out of which the Dominican University has grown is recognized for its commitment to social justice, community service, and fostering a diverse and inclusive campus environment. It engages in numerous community outreach programs and partnerships that benefit both students and the local community. This track record reflects the institution’s commitment to academic excellence, community service, and continuous improvement, contributing to the robust growth of Dominican University from its origins as the Dominican Institute.

However, the tension and complexities of our contemporary society cannot be ruled out especially in keeping up with rapid technological advancements and integrating them into the curriculum; dealing with reduced funding and finding alternative revenue sources; combating systemic biases within and outside the institution; incorporating sustainability into the curriculum and research initiatives; building strong connections with communities and industries to enhance students’ enrolment; employability and practical learning opportunities and many more we cannot imagine now. I am obliged to be committed in making the University, be strategic key player and resourceful as a relevant driving force of moving the Nigerian higher education system and research agenda forward in its commitment of creating a State of the Art-a world class centre of excellence. I remain resolute in promoting academic excellence, enhance professional knowledge, research competencies, technical skills, and intellectual capacity required for current and future-challenges in national development, policy analysis, teaching, research and community service for building a sustainable, virile and solid development.

CONCLUSION

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to once again express my gratitude to the Board of Trustees, the Governing Council, faculty, staff and the students for entrusting me with the leadership of Dominican University. Together, we will build on the strong foundation that has been laid, and we will strive for excellence in all that we do. The challenges ahead are significant, but so are the opportunities. With dedication, collaboration, and a shared vision, I am confident that Dominican University will continue to grow and flourish, making a lasting impact on our community and the world. Our future is bright and the sky is our limit.

Thank you, and I look forward to embarking on this exciting journey with all of you.

Prof. Jacinta A. Opara

Ibadan-Nigeria


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