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Mak launches centre to tackle poor research and writing skills

Vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe

Vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe

Makerere University has launched a centre of excellence to assist in tackling declining research, teaching and writing skills among faculty and students.

Located under the college of Humanities and Social Sciences, the CHUSS Centre of Excellence in Research, Teaching and Learning (CERTL) was launched on September 16, 2020. This was at the opening of a two-day college symposium under the theme, ‘The ivory tower meets jua kali: Reflections on theorizing the profound from the ordinary’. Close to 100 papers were presented, with debates and conversations.

Unveiling the centre, vice chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe said Africa used to rule the world in knowledge and that the centre can assist Africa reclaim that glory.

Nawangwe said the centre reflected a new beginning for Makerere University which used to be known for research in only the natural sciences.

“Of recent, Makerere now does research in the humanities and social sciences also. This centre will help accelerate the production of new knowledge and accelerate social change. From today, the humanities won’t be the same. We need to research our African history and culture and utilize them for our development. Let’s study our current affairs and uproot causes of new trends like human sacrifice and infanticide,” he said.

Andrew Ellias State, the director of the centre, told The Observer that the centre will improve the quality of delivery of knowledge to both faculty and students in areas like how to grade, how to handle difficult students, how to manage students with learning challenges, how to handle large classes of hundreds of students, writing skills and integration of teaching and learning in the curriculum, among others.

“The centre will not only equip faculty, graduate fellows and graduate students with skills in research, academic writing, teaching and learning but also address the growing challenge of poor research, poor academic writing and poor teaching skills that are clearly observable among young faculty and university students,” State said.

State said the centre will also run graduate programmes and offer small grants of between $3,000 and $5,000 to staff of the college or of other colleges with interest. For the start, three to five grants will be given out every year; $15,000 is already available for the academic year about to start.

The centre was established with a three-year funding grant totalling $800,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (USA).


Meanwhile, the university academic registrar, in a circular dated September 18, has called upon the 2019/2020 finalists of the college of Health Sciences to resume studies following the general closure of educational institutions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alfred Masikye Namoah said the finalists should report on Saturday, October 3 for their accommodation and on October 5 for their detailed academic and health-related information. He said the students will have to strictly adhere to the standard operating procedures relating to the fight against Covid-19.

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