VICE CHANCELLOR’S MESSAGE ON THE DAY OF THE CELEBRATION OF UNIVERSITY OF THE SACRED HEART DAY.
Welcome to the University of the Sacred Heart Gulu. It is our privilege and honor to welcome you to our celebration of the Second University Day. Thank you for coming and honoring our invitation
The USHG was granted Provisional License in June 2016, thanks to the National Council for Higher Education and the Ministry of Education. Last year, on July 15th, 2017, the University was inaugurated and the Most Reverend Dr. John Baptist Odama was installed the first Chancellor by His Excellency the Apostolic Nuncio, Visitor to the University. The Governing Council has subsequently determined that the USHG celebrates it University Day annually in July. The day of the inauguration of the University and the installation of the Chancellor was the first University Day, and this is the second.
On the University Day, we gather as the University Community, neighbors, friends and stakeholders to:
- Celebrate the work and progress of the University: In a manner consistent with our identity we start with the celebration of the Eucharist – Mass of the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and thereafter celebrate in a social setting;
- Share with all guests and participants the progress being made and the direction we are taking, and,
- Call upon the support of all in working towards the realization of our mission.
The progress of the University continues to amaze us, and continues to convince us and demonstrate that it is the work of God: an apparently impossible mission that continues to grow despite the serious limitations of the instruments God uses and the challenges of its context.
Last year, at the inauguration of the University, I highlighted the eight strategic areas of the University’s focus for five years from its beginning: infrastructure, staffing, academics, library, Institutional Connections, Governance, Research, and Community Outreach. The University is glad to share with you the progress made in these areas:
Our goal is to develop infrastructure that can sustain USH as centre of excellence. We have been able to do some renovations of some of our building, giving it facelift and adding years to the buildings. We have undertaken the development of the University Physical Master Plan for the USHG as envisaged in 50 years to come and beyond, and we are making good progress. We have both a wired and wireless campus. The USHG uses Google Apps for Education, and we are still to fully exploit the potential of this platform for institutional Management Information Systems beyond the USHG emails we provide and limited file sharing. We are now looking forward to connecting the University to the National Backbone Infrastructure (fiber optic cable for data and internet connectivity). We are also looking forward to consolidating our power back up with installation of additional solar panels, inverters and batteries.
Our goal in regards to staffing is to build HR capacity of USH to achieve sustainability and growth. The dedication and commitment of our staff is to be greatly admired. It is only those who are fully committed to the success of the University that enjoy working here and truly know that the progress of the University also opens up avenues for their personal progress and growth. University of the Sacred Heart, has been and is committed to staff development from the very beginning.
- We have conducted staff development activities internally using both in house resource as well as external resources.
- In collaboration with our institutional networks, we have provided and continue to provide opportunities for further studies for our staff.
- The University is currently sponsoring a staff for the Masters of Business Administration (Walsh University). The USHG is also sending more staff for training in other institutions in the coming academic year:
The USHG will also provide opportunity for the IT team to visit, experience and work with the IT team at John Carroll University and benefit from experienced professionals in institutional management of IT for academic and university functions.
We look forward to expanding possibilities for growth and development. As the University grows, we also expand opportunities for the institution and its staff and students.
The University also encourages its staff who are able to academically upgrade themselves even on a personal level without too much disruption of the USHG processes and operations.
The University needs people; people who join us because they believe in our mission, and not just because of personal opportunities. It is only then that our joint commitments will create opportunities beyond what we can see now.
It is the USHG’s goal to develop and implement academic policies and programs consistent with the USH mission and vision. The USHG has in place the relevant academic policies and procedures. As we implement these policies, we take note of areas that may need further refinement and gaps that would need to be provided for.
Two academic programs have been accredited by the NCHE: Bachelor of Counseling Psychology and Bachelor of Information Systems. We had the first intake in January 2017 and the second in August 2017. We currently have 14 students in the first group and 26 students in the second lot. We congratulate our students for being pioneers and in contributing to building what shall become the tradition of the University of the Sacred Heart Gulu.
We greatly appreciate the interest that people have shown; many have given ideas and called for development of additional program. Rightly so. Our program development starts from the reflection on our mission which in turn defines the content, methods and manner of delivery. It is the USHG conviction that, having the human being as the central focus, any academic discipline can, and should indeed be positioned as a contribution to maintaining or promoting the holistic health of individual, relationships and society. We are guided by standards set by the National Council for Higher Education, and any program we develop shall first be approved by them before we advertise and admit students.
Our goal remains to develop and provide efficient library services. We continue to improve on our print and electronic collections. The USHG is part of the Consortium of Uganda University Libraries through which we have access to many e-resources. USHG also has access to open source electronic resources. With each subsequent semester and each new course / programs, the USHG will need to attend to the demand for additional library books and resources
It is the USHG’s goal to develop and strengthen professional networks and partnerships with other institutions and organizations. As stated last year, University of the Sacred Heart Gulu enters the educational landscape as a partner and collaborator to all academic and non-academic institutions, organizations and communities. Our mission can only be fully lived in collaboration with other institutions, organizations and individuals. Mention has already been made of USHG membership of Consortium of Uganda Universities Libraries. USHG has also collaborated organizations providing counseling services in the region. Likewise, we worked with a number Primary and Secondary Schools. We have collaborated with the Great Lakes Consortium, the Association of Catholic Universities and Higher Institutes in Africa and Madagascar (ACUHIAM). Institutional collaborators include Walsh University, John Carroll University, the Kroc School, University of San Diego; the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, GuluHelp Foundation, Institute for International Education (IIE).
We are also happy to note that USHG was one of the few Universities in Africa that was approved by the Institute for International Education to host a Scholar under the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program. We shall host, a Research Scientist from Ohio State University for a period of one month in November 2018. He will be collaborating with us on developing curriculum / content on Research Methods and Data Analysis, conducting Data Analysis training and evaluating the trainings.
In May, 2018, in partnership with the University of Cape Town and Community Chest, an NGO in Cape Town, the USHG organized a Public Dialogue on Child Soldiers of the Western Cape. We have also been part of the event to mark World Refugee Day 2018 on June 20, 2018 at a function organized by Alliance for African Assistance and held in the city of San Diego, California
The USHG goal is to develop an effective and efficient governance, and sound financial and administrative practices. The USHG has an effective Governing Council whose members are, on the whole, dedicated and committed to the success of the University despite being very busy people. The Governing Council has provided the policy framework and the oversight to ensure the effectiveness in University governance. It has mandated and approved annual financial audits by competent external auditors. Our annual financial statements have consistently received a clean opinion from the Competent, Independent and Licensed External Auditors.
There is also in place the University Senate that has taken seriously its role and responsibility over the academic affairs of the University. The University administration is lean and committed to getting tasks accomplished in an effective and efficient manner.
Our goal is to develop research capacity that addresses pertinent issues in society. An academic institution cannot be a University unless it promotes research. Developing the USHG research capacity is a work in progress. We are in final stages of developing the University Research Policy. This will provide the framework to guide individual and institutional research efforts.
Under this agenda, the USHG goal is to leverage innovative opportunities for the benefit of the community. We have had a number of engagements in the community and we are looking forward to expanding our outreach and service to the community.
All these that we have been able to do, and which we intend to do require money and other resources, and this has been a limiting factor in realizing all that we planned to do. The funds for running the University comes from:
- The primary / principal anchor is the Archdiocese of Gulu, and the collaborative network through the Archdiocese. The USHG is therefore grateful for the diocesan commitments made and fulfilled, and to the contributions received from the parishes, diocesan institutions and well-wishers
- Student fees: We are grateful to the students and their parents / guardians for fulfilling their financial obligations to the University. We are aware that there have been challenges. At the same time it would not be possible to continue our operations without the contributions from the students. The USHG is also working at setting up different scholarship / bursary schemes to support the qualifying and deserving students.
- Local donors: in particular, members of PUSH – Pillars of University of the Sacred Heart Gulu. Your commitment and fulfilment of your commitment over a three year period at the bronze level (500,000 annually for three years), silver (500,000), gold (750,000) diamond (1,000,000), and platinum (2,000,000) has contributed to laying the foundation. Likewise we appreciate all people who have contributed any whatever amounts to the USHG
- University Fundraising: Thank you for supporting the University in events and functions organized in support of the University
- Donor Organizations and international bodies: we have not yet engaged with a many donor organizations and international bodies. However, we are proving ourselves trustworthy to gain the confidence and trust of humanitarian and philanthropic minded individuals and organizations
Today the USHG invites you all to join in contributing to the realization of its mission. Your support affirms your acknowledgement of the importance of this institution for rebuilding the human family.
We remain grateful to our staff for all their dedication and commitment. As I thank them, may I again emphasize an important point I have made before. We must resist the temptation to be distracted by the importance of the work we do or the institution we serve. We are doing an important work, yes, we are important people. But so is the person who comes needing our service. They are important too – all of them. We must strive to continue serving in the simplicity that will make it possible for each member of the USHG community to contribute to personal and social healing, growth and holistic development.
In the Heart of Jesus, yours in Service
Fr. Jino O. Mwaka PhD