School of Forestry conducts a three day seminar on pedagogical skills.Dons want University wide guidelines on assessment and supervision as well as staff retooling
One of the facilitators, Dr. Julius C Enon receiving a certificate of facilitation from the Principal CAES, Prof. Benard Bashaasha during the closing ceremony. Besides the Principal, is the Dean SFEGS, Prof. Mnason Tweheyo.
Academic staff at the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences (SFEGS) on 4th – 6th May, 2016 underwent a three day retooling in aspects of examination administration, student assessment and supervision. The participants were awarded certificates of participation while the facilitators got the certificates of facilitation.
The seminar was organized and funded by the Department of Forestry, Bio diversity and Tourism (FBT). The training was closed by the Principal College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Prof. Bernard Bashaasha.
A section of the partcipants attending the training at the conference room SFEGS
The head FBT Prof. Philip Nyeko said the seminar was conceived by partners in the department on observation that performance of staff in pedagogy was not at the expected standard.
“So the department decided that there is need to retool staff in the various aspects of pedagogy. And the department also decided that because this would require resources it would be delivered in a phased manner focusing on different aspects of pedagogy. The first priority was given to issues around assessment and supervision of research”, Prof. Nyeko said.
Prof. Nyeko adrdressing participants during the closing ceremony in the school's conference room
Prof. Nyeko described the training as fruitful. He said, the department decided to source expertise within the school itself and the University. Dr. Julius C Enon, a renowned scholar in the aspects of assessment and supervision and Prof. Joseph Obua with vast experience and most senior staff in the school facilitated the training.
Prof. Nyeko observed that although the training was for everybody teaching in the school, a few responses were from other university units for some reasons not known.
“This is not something that is not only useful for us, the school could take it, the college could take it up.. Two it became apparent that there are gaps in terms of guidelines on the part of the university. For example, when it comes to assessments, what are the guidelines in evaluation and assessment? What guidelines are there in terms for example what structure should be adhered to when asking questions? And similarly when it comes to supervision, there seems no clear guidelines to supervisors. You are just assigned a student but what you should and not do and what you should do in case you encounter challenges seem not to be there”. The professor told the Principal saying that there are going to be some suggestions coming to his office.
A section of the participants
He thanked the Principal for accepting to release the funds for the seminar with no objection promising to give full accountability. He also implored the Principal to send the same gesture when requisitions are made for similar activities.
The Dean School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Prof. Mnason Tweheyo thanked the participants for attending the seminar and the facilitators for the job well done.
Prof. Tweheyo expressed concern that as academic staff they have overstretched their mandate as Deans and Heads of departments to do everything and do not know where to limit themselves.
“The responsibility of doing this (retooling staff) is with the Human Resource, Quality Assurance or DVC (AA) after recruiting to improve on their performance. So I request that the matter be taken seriously as necessary”, the Dean appealed.
Prof. Mnason Tweheyo giving his remarks at the closing ceremony
Prof. Tweheyo thanked the Head FBT for his foresightness and spending money on such an important aspect.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Assoc. Prof. John Bosco Okullo said it had been a very good program for them and even those who underwent the pedagogical skilling in 2000’s during the I@mak program.
“I believe we have settled all the differences and got a uniform ground on all those issues. It also gives me a challenge because as a senator, these issues have been presented and I see gaps that need to be addressed at the university level” .Dr. JB Okullo added that:
“We need guidelines like now we don’t have clear guidelines on the undergraduate projects and yet in all departments where special projects are carried out we are doing things on our own. Probably we need to document some of these things so that we can present it to senate so as they can buy”, he said.
Dr. JB Okullo (R) was one of the Participants who received the certificate of participation.
Dr. Okullo thanked the facilitators for the expertise and training and informed the Principal that colleagues in other departments missed out the opportunity and yet they would love to see the same treatment extended to forestry students who go to other units and those who come to forestry.
The facilitator Dr. Julius C. Enon appreciated the school for initiating and spending resources on this ignored aspects. “The university core mandate is teaching but in most cases they donot prepare staff to acquire the pedagogical skills. I commended the participants for the three days of sitting and being active. I also thank the Principal for turning up to grace the occasion as a way of supporting and boosting the moral of staff”. Dr.Enon remarked.
Dr. Julius C. Enon (L) giving his remarks as the Dean, Prof. Mnasn Tweheyo looks on
He observed that there many other pedagogical skills required by staff in the course of their duty and hoped that the university and the college will do the needful to retool the staff for the benefit of the students and standard of teaching at the University.
Closing the training, the Principal CAES, Prof. Bashaasha hailed the school and the department for championing the course of retooling staff describing it as a great innovation.
“Congratulations for the school and department for thinking about this. Personally, I feel I missed because I claim to be a teacher but have never attended any pedagogy class and I am not sure whether what I am doing is correct. Next time it is arranged, I want to be part of it”, the Principal said.
Principal CAES Prof. Bernard Bashaasha (standing) giving the closing remarks.On his left, are Prof. Joseph Obua and Prof. Philip Nyeko
Prof. Bashaasha also commended the department for mobilizing resources persons within and using funds on to build the department.
“When we think of resource persons, we normally think of outside. I am happy that you recognized that we have resources among ourselves. I also commend Prof. Nyeko for allocating resources that really help the department and school. Once you build the department, you build the school and then the college and eventually the university”.the Principal said.
He thanked facilitators Prof. Joseph Obua and Dr. Julius C Enon for sparing their valuable to be with participant all through.
The Dean Prof. Mnason Tweheyo and Principal CAES Prof. Bernard Bashaasha handing over the certificate of participation to one of the participants
He pledged to share issues raised with college management and explore possible avenues to bring them to the attention of Senate and Council. He said he recognizes the issue of diversity in the college and will endeavor to bring everybody on board to benefit from such initiatives.
He implored the department to come up with a report on the issue of guidelines that will be shared with other units. He was hopeful that the training will benefit staff and make them better examiners and supervisors and also influence other units. He also encouraged the department not to shy away from taking lead in CAES.
One of the facilitators and senior staff member in the department, Prof. Joseph Obua (In African Kitengi) displays his certificate of facilitation.
Story compiled by:
Communication Officer, CAES