Head Department of Geography Assoc. Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze hands over office to Assoc. Prof. Frank Mugagga after one term of service

Dr. Frank Mugagga receives instruments of power from Outgoing head Dr. Yazidhi Bamutaze

 

Assoc. Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze on 28th June 2019 handed over the instruments of power to Assoc. Prof. Frank Mugagga as Head Department of Department of Geography , Geo informatics and Climatic sciences (GGCS).

The handover ceremony was presided over by the Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Science (SFEGS) Assoc. Prof. Fred Babweteera and witnessed by Makerere University’s internal auditor Mr. Bernnet Magara and staff at the departments Board room at Mountain Resource Center.

Assoc. Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze officially took over the headship of the department on 20th July 2015 replacing Assoc. Professor Fredrick Ruguma Tumwine who had steered the department through the transformative phases as Makerere university changed from a faculty to a collegiate system.

Whereas his predecessor Dr. Fredrick Tumwine had registered some success, Dr. Bamutaze inherited some challenges including low finances with the department reflected in the college ledger as being in red, lowest profile in the school and college, low visibility and poor brand, low levels of staff rank in the college, poor infrastructure and limited field equipment, lack of strategic framework and direction, inadequate teaching aids and seats in lecture theatres among others.

A section of staff members witnessing the hand over

After one term of four years’ service, Dr. Yazidhi Bamutaze hands over office with joy and confidence for having improved the status of the department.

“I believe that am handing over a department which has not retrogressed in quality on most aspects”, He said.

He extended appreciation to staff, Principal CAES, School deans and members of university top management for giving him the opportunity to serve.

“It was a great honor and privilege you accorded me to serve you and the university fraternity in general. I fully and truly enjoyed serving as head for the four years I have been in Office. I take this opportunity to thank them and the staff in their offices who have ably supported me to execute the duties, responsibilities and functions of a head of department”, Outgoing Head Dr. Bamutaze said.

A section of staff members witnessing the hand over

In his 24 paged hand over report, Dr. Bamutaze outlined twenty-five (25) achievements recorded during his tenure. They include;Change of the HOD’s office and transforming it into a decent andreasonable office; Tiling six staff offices; Improving the working environment of graduate students; Creating various WIFI hotspots for students and staff; Providing modern teaching devices (Interactive board, smart TVs and projectors); Refurbishment of Geography Lab 1; Improving the board room;Procurement of computers for the GIS laboratory at FCIT; Revised curriculum of programs and new ones developed and Improving the financial status of GGCS.

Dr. Bamutaze (R standing) gives his report while handing over the unit items

He however said although the academic programs of the department have been growing, there was need for additional staffmembers in order to fully and efficiently run the programs; increasing the number of female academic staff that is dismally low (2/18: 11%), addressingthe imbalance in specializations in Human Geography, Geomorphology and Climatology require more staff; Replacement of cartographers and assistant cartographers and payment challenges for the part timers.

Dr. Bamutaze also reported that despite the fact that GGCS has registered commendable success academic staff capacity building with all 18 members holding PhDs, there is only one full Professor in the whole department. He implored his successor to plan addressing academic staff issue through retooling to enhance competencies in teaching, grant writing and publications skills.

Some Issues for your immediate attention include Collecting and collating results for Semester II, 2018/2019, Repair of Internet cables in the Meteorology Unit, Load allocation for 2019/2020 academic year, officially allocate academic staff to teach Geography Course unit under the Open and Distance Learning in CEES and Reconstitute committees and coordination”. Dr. Bamutaze said tasked the incoming head.

The incoming head Assoc. Prof. Frank Mugagga congratulated the outgoing head for successfully finishing his term. He also thanked colleagues for nominating and entrusting him to steer the Department unopposed.

“This presents both challenges and opportunities.  I will strive not to disappoint your confidence and trust”. Dr. Mugagga said.

He highlighted his envisioned plan of Action for the Department.in Teaching and Examination, Research and Graduate Matters, Outreach, Promotion and Appointments, Staff welfare, Communication strategy. Others were Security of Departmental property and infrastructure, Infrastructure development and Team building initiatives.

 “Under teaching and examination,Modular teaching on graduate programs is to be improved as it has proven to be flexible for both staff and students. I will ensure Quality Assurance through refresher trainings and retreats.

Deadlines for assessments shall be adhered to and I implore all members to embrace AIMS. We shall keep on involving PhD students in the teaching and assessment of undergraduate Courses and also continue to pursue the appointment of Graduate Fellows to bridge the gaps”, Incoming head pledged.

L-Dr. Frank Mugagga receiving unit items from Dr. Yazidhi Bamutaze

On Research and Graduate Matters, Dr.  Mugagga promised to hold periodic meetings;Almanac for Masters’ and PhD meetings to be shared well in time; work out on how to motivate and reward staff with graduating students;Awards for outstanding research publications and encourage placement of students on projects for enhanced completion rates.

To promote research and innovation in the department, Dr. Mugagga said, efforts will be geared towards engagement with other academic and nonacademic stakeholders, including Donor, Government Agencies, Multilateral Agencies, development partners, research organizations and other academic institutions for purposes of undertaking research, innovation and other initiatives.

He also pledged to host guest lectures from Professionals in Industry, conduct Outreach programs in secondary schools for the programs through the Uganda Geographical Association (UGA), Lobby for admission of BGS students on Government Scholarships and enhance Branding through contributions in media on topical issues.

On Promotion and Appointments, the incoming head pledged to enhance multidisciplinary Research groups, joint projects and publications, Career guidance sessions for Junior staff and to pursue appointment of all pipeline applications, including Graduate Fellows.

L-Dr. Frank Mugagga receiving office keys from Dr. Yazidhi Bamutaze

In his Communication strategy Mugagga called on staff to support the Systems Administrator to regularly update of website

“Almanac for all semester activities will be shared before/at the beginning of the semester, e.g Fieldwork (including in semester activities).Whatsapp and Email listservs for staff and students to continue being utilized and Periodical meetings with student leaders will be held.

 To ensure Security of Departmental property and infrastructure, the incoming head envisaged the installation of CCTV cameras and Controlled access to facilities – Biometric Installations in the mid and long term plan.

On Infrastructure development, Dr. Mugaaga pledged to pursue the Departmental /school strategic plan, mobilize resources to improve on transportation for students for programs that have compulsory field components.

On Team building initiatives the new head also assured members of his commitment

to hold Consultation with colleagues, previous Heads and other leaders within the School and College on pertinent issues; Use of Coordinators for the various units in the Department; Periodic Excursions; Joint fieldwork and, tapping into UGA and other entities.

The Dean School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Assoc. Prof. Fred Babweteera described the handover ceremony asa rare opportunity, seeing a peaceful hand over in a joyous moment.

Dean Assoc. Prof. Fred Babweteera hands over plaque to Dr. Bamutaze in appreciation of his service

The Dean hailed the outgoing head for being exemplary and an organized leader.

“I am a strong admirer of the department of Geography because of its good practices, This, we should emulate it for a better university.

Dr. Bamutaze  has been a consultative   leader and whenever we have been going out, there has not been any contradictions. I am envious to see the way things are done in the department especially time management during meetings. Thank you for showing the way you have been organized”, Dr. Babweerea commended.

Dr. Babweteera welcome the incoming head saying, he had no doubt that the department made that choice and only pledged the school’s support to his leadership.

Referring to the biblical story of how God promised to be with Joshua the way he was with Moses, the Dean told the incoming head that his predecessor, Dr. Yazidhi Bamutaze will guide him.

“Don’t turn away from the left or right, stick to the objective issue because it is the right thing to do. Welcome on the leadership stage. You have the trust and support from the college and school.”Babweteera advised.

Staff pose for a group photo with the incoming and outgoing Head (holding a plague)

Dr. Babweteera said it is the school’s desire to have an identity where the three departments are staying within one home.

He said theschool wants to work on increasing the enrolment of graduate students, and improve on the students’ completion rates and encourage others to join Makerere.

He encouraged the incoming head and staff to set the department and school as exemplary by starting teaching on the first day of the semester.

“Also our integrity of the examinations should not be questioned. Time keeping is simple and a culture that we should promote and I hope the new leader will build on. I thank members for being exemplary and supportive.” The Dean stated.

Article compiled by
Jane Anyango,
Principal Communication Officer, CAES



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