Welcome to UTAMU dear students!
On behalf of the Trustees, Board of Directors, Council and staff of UTAMU, it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to UTAMU. I’m delighted to see you here even though there are still Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. We are delighted that UTAMU has sustained learning even during the Covid-19 lockdown. This has been possible because of our incessant research and development of eLearning, and also because UTAMU met all the requirements of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by the Ministry of Health of Uganda. At this point I wish to remind you to observe SOPs: wear masks, keep distance between yourselves, and keep washing your hands. There are points for washing hand on campus, otherwise we have a reasonable number of toilets.
A special welcome to those of you who are joining UTAMU for the first time. I hope you will discover over the next few days, what I have discovered in my almost two years at UTAMU: that you have entered a lively, challenging, diverse, and warm community. I encourage you to take advantage of UTAMU’s position as one of the world’s premier international institutions that is in line with its Vision, Mission and Values. UTAMU’s Vision is to be a global educational institution in Management, Science, Technology and Innovation. To achieve this, UTAMU’s Mission is to provide global quality Education, Research and Innovation critical to economic and human development.
To you parents and students’ funders, I look forward to getting to know the exceptional young people you have raised. UTAMU shall help to provide opportunities for them to learn, to grow, to discover who they are, and explore how they want to make a difference in the world.
Welcome again to the class of May 2021! I’m here to say a few introductory words about the heart of your UTAMU experience—the intellectual adventure you are about to undertake.
The core functions of UTAMU are student-centred teaching and learning, development-oriented research, innovations and business incubation, and community engagement. UTAMU is Uganda’s leading private research universities, offering more than 45 programmes spanning the fields of technology and management, in three major Schools: School of Computing and Engineering; School of Humanities and Social Studies, and; the Business School. You have chosen a university that will create an education relevant to the now and the future.
At the centre of your UTAMU experience is our engaging eLearning platform that is uniquely ubiquitous - UTAMU scored over 90% from the inspection of eLearning by the National Council of Higher Education for Open Distance E-Learning (ODeL). Tools for you to use, including the BigBlueButton, Zoom, ‘Meet’ and YouTube are available for your learning.
While each of you will choose your own pathway, we expect you to acquire job market competences, which are linked to the UTAMU six values by which we conduct processes and activities at UTAMU:
(The relationships between these competencies and skills = A skill is what you can do - skill’ is the ability to actually do the task, but a competency is how well you do something and includes your knowledge, attitude and ability).:
- Professionalism: making sure that staff and students conduct themselves with the highest ethical standards and taking responsibility of all their actions
- Creativity: committing to stimulating the culture of scientific and technological advancement, innovation and practical enrichment to our stakeholders through a rich and flexible educational experience
- Integrity: adhering to ethical and moral principles in all the educational, research and innovation processes;
- Transparency: seeking to provide accountability and value for money to the University's stakeholders;
- Empowerment: offering unsurpassed practical opportunities to the University's stakeholders through industry-oriented collaborations, research engagements and incubation clusters in order to transform the educational environment;
- Community Engagement: working with the community to solve the real-world problems as a focal point towards economic development
For example, the UTAMU values of Integrity and Transparency seek your ‘Honesty and Trustworthiness’. We do not expect plagiarism and treat is as a punishable academic theft. The UTAMU values should, through all the UTAMU quality assurances, help you attain attributes (or qualities) every UTAMU product should graduate with. These Graduate Attributes (GA) permeate through every unit of study and course and comprise the following:
- Knowledge of a Discipline;
- Communication Skills (e.g., Communicating Effectively)
- Global Perspective (Global Citizenship);
- Information Literacy;
- Lifelong Learning (Achieving and Improving
- Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making (Encouraging Innovation and Managing Change);
- Planning and Organising
- Social Responsibility, and;
- Teamwork (Working Together; Leading and Managing Others)
The GA will equip you to thrive in this increasingly complex and interconnected world, not just in your professional life, but also in your personal and in your ways of thinking vital to your future. Thus, as you meet with your advisors to talk about your interests and aspirations, and to select the courses you will take this semester, I encourage you to go forth in a spirit of exploration and adventure. Try new things: choose provocative classes that expose you to new ideas and alternative ways of thinking. In fact, intellectually provoke your lecturer and fellow students. Experiment and take intellectual chances. Your UTAMU experiences could sometimes be scary, and thrilling: that’s what education is. Education: from the Latin educare—to lead out.
You got here in part by becoming excellent at answering questions but now you should learn to ASK questions, and to explore possible answers. Treat UTAMU’s incredibly talented faculty as your allies who will guide your exploration. The scholars here are leaders in their fields and are applying their expertise through scholarship, research and real-world practices to address both contemporary and the enduring pressing challenges. Get to know them and seek their guidance and discourse. They wait for your inquiries. So, ask them about their research, and tell them about your own ideas. Hold off the impulse to supply quick answers copied and pasted from unrecognised sources and learn to live in the suspense of not knowing. Learn to work with your advisors to plan how you are going to manage your work of original research, scholarship or creative activities from which you are expected to generate new ideas, new knowledge, which is the fundamental work of a research university. Get out into the surroundings and take your experiences to class. Sign up for community service. Your community experiences are part of your education—very important for the discovery and solving problems of your community.
UTAMU is a culture of inquiry and so is a research university whose faculty are hired to ask questions and to explore possible answers—in collaboration with local and international colleagues. New inventions; new knowledge of human behaviour, and of who we are and what our lives mean are some of UTAMU’s outcomes of research. UTAMU thus hosts the International Journal of Technology and Management (IJOTM) (https://utamu.ac.ug/ijotm/) and the International Conference on Technology and Management (ICTM) (https://conference.utamu.ac.ug/). We register patents, deliver papers, write articles and books, mount exhibitions, and teach courses, with the aim of improving human life and the environment.
To our international students: reach out, and ask questions about how things work here; to Ugandan students, step outside your national borders here, and welcome your fellow students from around the world. Ask how things are done in their countries. Find out about their lives, their ideas, and what matters to them. Be curiosity about what it feels like to be in an unfamiliar environment with people you don’t know.
I want you to know that the entire University community is here to support, sustain, and encourage you. It is you who make us who we are, and we look forward to the fresh ideas and energy you bring to UTAMU. I speak for the entire faculty, staff, and student community of UTAMU in saying we are so happy you have made the decision to join UTAMU. Please do not forget to advise others to join UTAMU.
Professor JWF Muwanga-Zake
10th May 2021