HKMU Vice Chancellor’s Annual Address to All Students
This speech was delivered by Prof. Keto Mshigeni, when addressing HKMU students on 13th February 2008. First and foremost, I take this opportunity to thank God, The Almighty, for His grace, and for His blessings, that enabled the visionary Founder of this institution, the late Professor Hubert Kairuki, and Mrs. Kokushubila Kairuki, to bring this University into being, and to enable you to be enrolled in the institution, for your respective degree programmes, diploma courses, and certificates.
As you are aware the vision of the Founder of this University was to build an institution characterised by standards of excellence in the various course offerings. And he started with programmes in nursing and medicine, because he himself was a Medical Doctor, who was aware of the critical shortage of professionals in the medical field. As I had stated in my speech during the Graduation ceremonies last year, the University had started small, but has now grown to its current level where we now have over 500 students.
From its inception, the motto of the University has been to maximise competitiveness, responsiveness and professionalism. Indeed, every year, during our meetings with students, we have been emphasizing that you should understand and uphold this motto.
During my meeting with students last year, I outlined a number of key virtues and attributes that our University wants you to assimilate, to be a part of you, because we want you to leave the gates of this University with your degrees, as SPECIAL GRADUATES, highly marketable in society: in Tanzania, in Africa, and in the global community.
The following are some of the virtues I outlined and elaborated upon during my meeting with you, our HKMU students, last year. Today I am mentioning them again, for the sake of emphasis: (i). Competitiveness.
(iii). Professionalism, as earlier stated. Other virtues we want you to master, and to assimilate, are:
(iv). Accountability: Here you are being reminded to realise your in-born talents, to develop them to full potential, to put them to use, and also to realise that you have to be accountable to those who paid for you, your University fees, by studying hard.
(v). Time-management: Here you are being reminded to spend the gift called time, thoughtfully, wisely, and carefully. When going to the lectures, be punctual, and never miss any lecture. Plan what you want to accomplish each day, with care, and with discipline.
(vi). Socialisation: “Man” (Homo sapiens) is a social animal. Treat everyone you meet with love, with respect, with dignity. Treat everyone as you treat your best friend.
(vii). Honesty: Cultivate the culture of telling the truth, always, and the culture of obeying the dictates of your conscience. (vii). Humility: Humble individuals will always say, “Sorry,” when they are wrong. They will always be ready to admit their mistakes, and to apologize, asking for forgiveness. A humble person listens to others, respects opinions of others, and never brags. Humility, indeed, leads to greatness.
(ix). Creativity: Last year I reminded you that we were created in God’s own image. Indeed, we were given a gift of creative minds. It was through our Founder’s creative mind that HKMU came into being; and that you and I are here today. Creativity begins with training your mind to think.
(x). Being Responsible: In Society we are often put in charge of specific duties. Some are appointed leaders, to be in charge of supervising, and guiding others. If you are a leader, you are expected to lead others with honesty, with humility, with respect, and with dignity. You are expected to lead others by example.
I would like to request you to read, once again, my address to you, delivered on 14th February, 2007, which, I will have filed in our University Library. Today, my speech will be brief, because I want to have more time spent on discussing various issues which you have brought to the attention of the University Management. But before we come to that, let me state some problems that we have noted, amongst some of you, which must be accorded due attention:
(i). Tendency of some students to ignore procedures laid down by the University. All Universities operate through procedures laid by Council, Senate, Faculty Boards, Departments, and the University Management. During the Orientation Week, when new students join the University, these procedures are clearly outlined and emphasized. You must remember the laid down procedures, and observe them.
(ii). Tendency of some students to use impolite, arrogant, and disrespectful language. This was observed during my meeting with the student leaders last week. As your academic parents, we advised the leaders of the students Government to watch their language. We want you to graduate, well polished in every way!
(iii). Tendency of some students to show elements of lack of discipline, and elements that disrupt peace and bring disharmony in the institution. Please let us work together as a team, to address this, and to ensure that we maintain an atmosphere of peace in the University, without which you cannot attain the goals that brought you to the University, and without which we cannot attain the vision of our Founder. Let us, at this juncture, remember the NAVAJO, wisdom that goes as follows: BEFORE ME, PEACEFUL; BEHIND ME, PEACEFUL; UNDER ME, PEACEFUL; OVER ME, PEACEFUL; AROUND ME, PEACEFUL. Let that be our daily song at HKMU!
Having said that, let me now inform our new students that every year, we have a day when the Vice Chancellor and all our staff meet students, to share words of wisdom, like what I have just done, to inform the students about new visions and new developments, and also to allow our students to ask various questions, and, together, outline what new developments could be incorporated in the overall vision of our developing University. Last week, during a meeting with leaders of your Government, various questions were asked. Some related to the Governance of the Institution. Specifically, there was a request that student leadership should be represented in the University Council. Some of the issues related to our Academic programmes. Some of the questions asked were on the University Library, and the Book Bank. Some were on the University students Hostel, a very good and convenient new facility, which was completed only last year.
During the meeting, referred to, we informed the student leaders that we value many of your suggestions and recommendations. But we also stated that the University management had already addressed some of the stated problems, and that we shall have the remaining discussed in various Faculty Boards and committees, so that our various stakeholders are kept in the picture, and contribute ideas towards finding solutions. Indeed I am delighted that there is provision for student representation in the various University committees. If you are a member of some of those committees, please make sure you attend punctually, and productively. You should however know that our University is in good standing, and we have been receiving gratifying compliments on the competence of former graduates of the University in their places of work, or where they have been enrolled for higher degree studies. Let me emphasize that when you ask a question, or state a problem, you will not always get a ready answer right there. Please allow me to tell a true story.
During the 1960’s, when I was an 12 HKMU Newsletter Volume 4, June 2008 Students’ listening to the Vice Chancellor’s Speech. HKMU NEWSLETTER 6 9/17/08 11:53 AM Page 12 undergraduate student in the Faculty of Science, in what is now the University of Dar es Salaam, very few students opted for Physics as one of their subjects of study (This may be a situation similar to what we observe today in the subject of Anatomy in our Faculties of Medicine). In an effort to address the problem, the then Chairman of the Physics Department, Professor Dennis Osborne, who was an eminent geophysicist at the University, and also the Dean of the Science Faculty, undertook to promote interest towards studying Physics by visiting various Secondary Schools in Tanzania, and delivering intriguing lectures on various applications of Physics in society.
One day, at the end of one of Professor Osborne’s inspiring lectures, when the school boys were invited to ask questions, one bold student, Erasto Mpemba, raised his hand and asked: “Sir, if you take two identical containers with equal volumes of water, one at 35oC (room temperature), and the other at 100oC (boiling water) and put them in a refrigerator at the same time, the one that started at 100oC, freezes first! Why?” The Professor did not have a ready answer. He thought that perhaps the student was mistaken. And, in his reply he said: “The facts, as they are given, surprise me, because they appear to contradict the Physics I know. But I will try this experiment, when I am back in Dar es Salaam, before attempting to answer your question.”
Back in the University laboratories, Professor Dennis Osborne did the experiment, repeatedly, and confirmed the observations reported by Erasto Mpemba. Actually he published the results in a science journal. The experiments were, subsequently, repeated by many others, and everywhere, the results were re-confirmed!! The phenomenon was named, The Mpemba Effect, after the inquisitive student. (Please find more about The Mpemba Effect in the Internet, and also from the following two references: E. B. Mpemba and D. G. Osborne. Cool? Physics Education, May 1969, 4 (3): 172-175; D.G. Osborne. Mind on Ice. Physics Education, November 1979, 14 (6), 414-417).
From the Mpemba Effect story, you will appreciate the fact that some types of questions asked by students, are very good, but may require a careful study, and a detailed analysis, before realistic answers or lasting solutions, are found. Indeed we encourage you to be inquisitive, and to ask questions.
Here, I want our students to realise that Universities are dynamic institutions, always changing for the better in response the changing needs of society. HKMU is, indeed changing dynamically, and upholding high standards, judging from the feedback we receive from our External Examiners, and from various institutions where HKMU graduates are now working, or have been enrolled for postgraduate studies. Indeed, we are proud of those of you who, at the recent Celtel Africa Competition, among students from 10 Universities in our country, occupied the top position amongst the four winners, and who also competed effectively at regional level, last month, in Kampala, Uganda. [As we came to learn later, HKMU students actually beat Makerere University students!].
We have granted you an opportunity to ask many questions. We have provided to you many answers based on fact. Other matters will be discussed in various committees before solutions are found. We have given provision for your leaders to be co-opted into various committees, as elaborated during this meeting. Many of you are on the right track towards upholding the motto of HKMU as I outlined at the start of our meeting. Keep on moving along the right path. We are proud of you! But we have noted that some of you still have a lot of work to do, in terms of discipline; in terms of the respect you show when addressing your leaders at various levels; in terms of failure to admit your mistakes when you are wrong, and to apologize when expected to do so. We are your academic parents, and our conscience will blame us if we fail to fulfill our responsibility of guiding you when you are wrong, and also of mentoring you.
My final appeal is that:
i). Let us cultivate a culture of PEACE: Peace before us, behind us, under us, over us, and around us!
ii). Let us cultivate a culture of RESPECT: respect to our leaders, to one another, and to ourselves.
iii). Let us train our TONGUES: to speak words of truth, of kindness, of hope, and of dignity!
iv). Let us be CREATIVE: in the classes we attend, in the conduct of all our business in the institution, in our efforts to create good harmony with all, and in solving the problems we encounter everyday.
v). Remember that: your lecturers, your Chairpersons of Departments, your Deans of Faculties, and the entire HKMU Management system, are here to help you attain success in your studies at HKMU, and in society when you graduate. Therefore, FOLLOW THE UNIVERSITY’S RULES AND PROCEDURES! Thank you for your attention!