The Department of Microbiology, Federal University Otuoke has garnered acclaim for its exceptional receptiveness and organizational prowess, as underscored by an accreditation team from the National Universities Commission (NUC).

Professor Nkem Chinedu Awujo, the Chairman of the NUC accreditation team from the Federal University Wukari, Taraba State, conveyed this commendation during the presentation of their exit report. The event took place at the Chancery on Tuesday, the 6th of December 2023, where the Vice Chancellor, Professor Teddy Charles Adias, ably represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Chris Onyema, was the recipient of their findings.

In a preliminary engagement on Monday, 5th December 2023, the accreditation team had the privilege of extending a courtesy call to the Vice Chancellor. During this meeting, the team clarified the nature of their mission, emphasizing that it was more of a peer-review than a witch-hunt. They underscored the importance of commendations and recommendations as integral facets of this peer-review process, envisioning them as pivotal contributors to the department’s continuous improvement. Their focus remains on fostering an enhanced trajectory for the Department in the times ahead.

The NUC accreditation team’s comprehensive assessment revealed several commendable aspects within the Department of Microbiology. Notably, the curriculum was deemed sufficient, featuring innovative courses that align with contemporary academic standards. Admission requirements adhered to the Benchmark Minimum Academic Standards (BMAS), while the existence of academic regulations and course evaluation processes highlighted the Department’s commitment to robust academic governance.

 

In terms of student projects, the team lauded the Department for maintaining high standards. Projects were characterized by quality, innovative topics, and effective supervision, showcasing a commendable understanding among students regarding their project requirements. The students’ evaluation of teaching staff further contributed to the positive narrative, indicating satisfaction with course content, learning materials, and delivery methods.

Notably, the team recognised the prowess of the students, evident in their demonstrated skills. The presence of both external examinations and an internal quality assurance system meant the Department’s commitment to maintaining academic rigor. However, the staff-student ratio of 1:26.2 was identified as an area of non-conformity with NUC guidelines, necessitating attention to ensure optimal learning environments for students. Addressing this ratio will contribute to the continued enhancement of the department’s overall academic standing.

Engagements with both staff and students underscored the Department of Microbiology’s exceptional faculty, characterized by competence and qualification. A palpable esprit de corps permeates the teaching staff, fostering a cohesive and resilient bond that, while likened to a “cabal,” is rooted in admirable camaraderie—a testament to a positive work environment.

Despite the evident high standards of the teaching staff in the Department, the accreditation team advocated for continued academic development programmes in cognisance of the importance of fostering growth and staying abreast of emerging trends. In this light, it was recommended that the University enhance its career advancement initiatives with the aim to sustaining the excellence already prevalent among the teaching staff, ensuring a dynamic and evolving educational landscape.

On the infrastructure front, the findings celebrated the Department’s possession of adequate, well-equipped, and meticulously maintained laboratories. However, a noteworthy point of consideration emerged regarding office spaces for lecturers. The team suggested that these spaces be not only more spacious but also equipped with the necessary resources to further support the faculty in their academic pursuits. Such enhancements would contribute to an even more conducive environment for both teaching and research activities, solidifying the Department’s commitment to academic excellence.

Concluding their evaluation, the accreditation team turned their attention to the Department of Microbiology’s library resources. They found the physical library holdings to be ample, and the quality of the books deemed satisfactory. In a commendation that resonated with encouragement, Professor Nkem Chinedu Awujo, the Chairman of the NUC accreditation team, remarked, “On the whole, the Department of Microbiology is performing well. Despite room for improvement, we encourage you to sustain your current standards.” The acknowledgment of the department’s accomplishments was balanced with an optimistic call for continuous progress, reflecting a commitment to fostering excellence in both current practices and future endeavors.

Expressing gratitude on behalf of Vice Chancellor Professor Teddy Charles Adias, Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Chris Onyema extended sincere thanks to the NUC accreditation team for their impartial evaluation. He assured the team that upon his return from a national assignment, all findings and recommendations would be promptly conveyed to the Vice Chancellor for consideration.

In acknowledging the challenges faced by emerging Universities, particularly those funded by the Federal Government like FUO, Professor Onyema shed light on the hurdles that impede the growth process. Despite these challenges, he conveyed a sense of determination within the University’s management to overcome obstacles and propel the institution toward optimal productivity within its available means.

Highlighting the ongoing efforts in addressing crucial areas such as expanding library holdings, improving Internet accessibility, and implementing infrastructural and staff advancement programmes, Professor Onyema credited these initiatives to the visionary leadership of Vice Chancellor Professor Adias. He reiterated the University’s commitment to engendering comprehensive development and competitiveness within the academic landscape.

With optimism, Professor Onyema envisioned a near future where FUO would stand out favorably among its peers in the academic realm, driven by the steadfast commitment of the University’s leadership to propel growth across all facets. It was emphasized that the University was actively engaged in a transformative journey, poised to elevate its standing in the league of academic institutions.

Other notable members of the NUC accreditation team included Professor Nyamryee Amah and Uchenna Obidigbo, the NUC representative.

 

From the Publications Unit