New Chancellor, Prof. Patrick Verkooijen begins his tenure with an extensive tour of the University
The University of Nairobi welcomed the newly appointed Chancellor, Prof. Patrick Verkooijen, on Monday, 29th January 2024 through an elaborate tour and engagement meetings.
The distinguished Chancellor, known for his exemplary leadership and commitment to academic excellence, engaged in a series of activities aimed at fostering a dynamic and globally competitive environment within the university.
The 4-day official visit commenced with a tour of all the ten faculties, where Professor Verkooijen had the opportunity to interact with faculty members, administrators, and students. This immersive experience allowed the Chancellor to gain valuable insights into the diverse academic offerings and research initiatives across the university's spectrum.
During the faculty and campus tours, Prof. Verkooijen visited various state-of-the-art facilities, laboratories, and research centers, highlighting the university's commitment to cutting-edge research and innovation. He emphasized, the importance of creating a critical balance in pursuit of knowledge with commercialization of innovations. Striking the right balance is to ensure that the benefits of innovation reach society without compromising academic integrity.
The Chancellor commended the institution's dedication to providing a conducive environment for both teaching and learning, but noted that it's crucial to address issues related to inclusivity and diversity. "Ensuring that the university environment is welcoming to individuals from diverse backgrounds is essential for fostering a truly dynamic and globally competitive atmosphere."
A crucial component of his visit involved a meeting with the strategic steering committee, where Prof Patrick Verkooijen articulated his vision for steering the University of Nairobi towards greater heights. His primary focus is on resource mobilization, aimed at enhancing and bolstering the university's financial strength and sustainability. However, as the university aims for financial strength, it should also prioritize ethical considerations in research and maintain integrity in its pursuits.
Prof. Patrick Verkooijen emphasized the importance of fostering global competitiveness through strategic partnerships and collaborations. While engaging in collaborations, the university should also actively engage in social responsibility initiatives. He identified the Alumni as a potential resource that should be harnessed to contribute to the University.He encouraged students to contribute to community development by addressing societal challenges through research. He was emphatic that students are the are most important stakeholders of the University.
Prof. Verkooijen’s visit climaxed into an inaugural town hall with students, where he engaged in a candid dialogue with the students. During the session, the Chancellor encouraged students to be prudent as they access quality education and to view their academic journey as a pathway to becoming job creators rather than mere job seekers. He observed that it is crucial to address the well-being of students, including mental health support, career counseling, and a conducive learning environment. Striking a balance between academic rigor and student well-being is vital for the overall success of the university.
As the University of Nairobi enters a new era under the guidance of Chancellor Prof. Patrick Verkooijen, the institution looks forward to achieving new milestones in academic excellence, global recognition, and transformative impact while actively considering and addressing the challenges mentioned.