The inclusion of four new courses in the Department of Computer Science, Federal University Otuoke has been described as a novel and encouraging development. This was disclosed by the Chairman of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Accreditation Panel, Professor Ajaegbu Chigozirim while presenting the exit report on November 21, 2023 at the Chancery, FUO.
“We looked at the academic content and it’s fair enough. We found some innovative courses, at least, more than 4, which is quite encouraging,” Professor Chigozirim said while reiterating the fact that the exercise was primarily a peer-review mechanism geared towards a more robust and conducive academic environment for learning.
In this light, Professor Chigozirim noted that the Department of Computer Science FUO has fared well and appreciated the Management for the support accorded the Department since inception.
According to Professor Ajaegbu Chigozirim, the few commendations from the Panel revolve around further inclusion of other benchmark related courses to augment existing ones. “We are suggesting that they are included so that our students will have that robust acquisition of knowledge in the direction of Computer Science and Informatics,” he said.
In the area of manpower, Professor Chigozirim emphasized that, “The staffing is quite encouraging. The staff mix is superb. You have very good hands and we found up to 60% and above PhD holders with some of them already on their current programme, which is a good thing.”
The NUC accreditation panel also recommended the updating of staff files in sync with the line of promotion. According to Professor Chigozirim, this should reflect the appointment letter and current status, which justifies whatever position staffs hold across all levels in the Department.
Office space constraints and the need to expand this frontier by fully equipping Professorial offices formed another cornerstone of the Panel’s recommendations.
“What we saw in this direction was quite encouraging. We saw a number of classrooms, at least 8 lecture classrooms, though shared, with a seating capacity of about 80 students on the average. We also looked at your theatre and realized the Faculty has 2 dedicated theatres of average capacity of 250 students, and there are also 8 more shared classrooms among Faculties. That is a good one,” quipped Professor Chigozirim.
While affirming that FUO’s Library holdings is good with books actually cutting across the discipline, the Panel recommended that more recent books should be acquired to ease navigation for panel visitations in the four sections visible at the University Library. Also, availability of journals from the Nigerian Computer Society is commendable according to the Panel, but cited the restriction of access to Internet facility only to the Library as robbing students of the beauty of research and communication. This aspect should be looked into by the Vice Chancellor and his team.
“There’s the need for the Department to look into collaboration with other Departments and organizations. The percentage level is a bit too low in that direction. Support for staff in conferences is also essential,” Professor Ajaegbu Chigozirim emphasized.
The Vice Chancellor Professor Teddy Charles Adias in response said Management did its internal quality control with superlative pass marks in readiness for external validation. The Panel’s verdict therefore was an affirmation of the obvious.
Professor Adias conveyed his unalloyed commitment to rendering improved services in the Department via recourse to addressing the Panel’s observations and recommendations, especially with regards to academic content, stating that the minimum requirements are succinctly captured in the benchmarks but areas of possible additions mentioned by the Panel will be given top priority and remedied as the university transits from the BMAS to the CCMAS.
In respect of office space, Professor Adias hinted that the Faculty of Science is almost out of the woods now with the new building and Professorial facilities in the making, which ultimately will cater to the office needs of all the Professors in the Faculty.
He informed that in the scheme of things in the long run, the Department of Computer Science will not be part of the Faculty of Sciences. A Faculty of Computing in which Computer Science, Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc., will all be distinct programmes is being proposed to the appropriate governing bodies. “In fact, we’ll bring in Library Information Science from the Faculty of Social Sciences to the Faculty of Computing as a necessity,” Professor Adias said.
Other members of the accreditation panel include Professor Peter A. Idenu and the National Universities Commission representative, Nkechinyere U. Nwaegbe.
From the Publications Unit