November 1, 2021

Day

UCU New Associate Dean focused on ‘glory of God’

By Ivan Tsebeni

In 2017, when Charlotte Kabaseke embarked on a PhD program, she knew that the path to victory would be rough, but did not know how rough. Had she known the challenges that awaited her in the course, Kabaseke says she would have opted out.

“It was not a bed of roses,” Kabaseke said. “The higher I went in my academic career, the more challenging it was and, in many cases, Christ was my only solace.” 

Because of obstacles, however, she said she had become “stronger, more resilient, more mature, more analytical, more courageous, more confident, more organized and more intellectually alert.”

It is that maturity and confidence that she exhibited at the interview to hire a new Associate Dean for the Faculty of Law at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Kampala campus. And she emerged victorious.

The academic terrain she traversed during the time she pursued her Post-Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice in Uganda as well as for her doctoral degree was tough. The legal practice diploma is required to practice law in Uganda.

“The Post-Graduate Diploma and PhD journeys presented some of my life’s lowest moments,” she said. “My intellect was put to a true test during my pursuit of both journeys.”

Upon her graduation with a PhD in December 2020 at the University of Wuhan in China, Kabaseke posted on social media that she did not expect the kind of challenge she got during the program. 

In the role of Associate Dean, Dr. Kabaseke replaces Prof. George W. Kasozi, for whom a farewell ceremony was conducted during a community worship service, at UCU, on October 5, 2021. The position of Associate Dean is the highest in the faculty at the Kampala campus. 

She says Prof. Kasozi laid a firm foundation that she hopes to build on. Kabaseke says she intends to contribute to making the UCU Law Faculty and the entire UCU a better place “for the glory of God and for the satisfaction of all our clients.” 

Dissemination of knowledge through teaching, research and publication is the heartbeat of Kabaseke. 

“Seeing my students make it in life, as well as transforming communities through pro bono legal services gives me satisfaction,” she says.

Some of Kabaseke’s works are published in popular journals, such as Gender and Behavior, an interdisciplinary publication dedicated to articles that reflect psychological and behavior aspects of gender. 

One of her most popular publications is a chapter in a book titled Climate Change: Hazards and Adaptation Options, published by Springer International PublishingHer chapter in the 2020 publication is titled Legal Recognition of Women’s Role in Combating Desertification in Africa: The Case For Uganda

Kabaseke holds a Master’s of Law from Makerere University, which she acquired in 2012. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Law from UCU in 2009, and acquired a Post-Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, from the Law Development Center in Kampala the following year. 

For her secondary education, Kabaseke attended Maryhill High School, a prestigious institution in western Uganda. Budo Junior School in central Uganda is where she had her primary education.

Before her appointment as Associate Dean for the Faculty of Law, Kabaseke was the Acting Dean and, before that, the Head of Department at the Faculty of Law at Bishop Stuart University since 2016. 

Kabaseke grew up in Kabale district in southwestern Uganda. She says her compassion, and love for Christ and the truth are virtues instilled in her by her mother, Birungi Specioza. When she is not engaged in academic work, Kabaseke spends time evangelizing, listening to gospel music, travelling, reading and making friends.

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New School of Business Dean focuses on counseling, prayer, e-learning

In mid-2021, Uganda Christian University (UCU) underwent a change of guard in many faculties. Vincent Kisenyi was one of those changes. Effective in May, he is the university’s new dean of the UCU School of Business. 

“I thank God,” he said. “It is a sign of confidence that I can still contribute to the university.”

The position is familiar ground for Kisenyi. The 49-year-old administrator held a similar position from 2010 to 2014, but at the time, it was the Faculty of Business and Administration. Now, it is the School of Business. 

Before that, Kisenyi had been the faculty’s Associate Dean from 2006 to 2009.

Flexible and visionary. That is how one of the administrators in the School of Business described Kisenyi. Martin Kabanda, the head of management and entrepreneurship at the School of Business at UCU, said Kisenyi has incredible human-relations skills. 

“He knows how to lead the team, without bruises, towards the school’s goals and objectives,” Kabanda says.

Kisenyi considers his appointment a gesture of confidence in him as the “messiah” to save the School of Business from impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. He is cognizant of the fact that many staff, students and sponsors have been affected by Covid physically, economically and academically.

“Because of the pandemic, many staff are anxious, have been either sick or fear to contract the virus; others are afraid of losing their jobs,” he said. Kisenyi has, therefore, been working, together, with his team of heads of departments to help staff who have been affected and infected by Covid. 

Some of the programs he recently instituted at the School of Business include counseling for staff, as well as lunch-hour prayer meetings. 

“We have seen God working wonders here at the faculty because of the intense prayer meetings we hold,” Kisenyi testifies. 

To ensure the faculty effectively manages Online Distance Learning (ODeL), Kisenyi, through the eLearning department, organized a refresher training for his staff as a way of re-tooling them to prepare for digital lectures. The students, too, were not left out. The school organized a virtual orientation for new students, to equip them with knowledge on how to study online.

Kisenyi says the School of Business will soon embark on community outreaches, especially within Mukono. These will be in the form of workshops, to share business skills with people operating businesses within the town. 

“As a School of Business, we want to have more impact on our community, more than ever before, he says. 

He also intends to work with business owners in Mukono, so that his students get placements in supermarkets and grocery shops as they learn business skills. 

When Kisenyi joined UCU in 2000, he was already a refined product, having cut his professional teeth at Kyambogo University, (1997-1999) and Uganda Martyrs University (1997-1999). From 2004 to 2005, he also lectured at Bugema Adventist University.

Under his academic belt is a Master’s in Accountancy and Finance from the University of Dundee, Scotland (1997), a certificate of doing business in Europe from Hanze University of Applied Science, Groningen Netherlands (2016), a Bachelor of Business Administration and Management, acquired in 1996, at the Uganda Martyrs University. 

During his free time, Kisenyi engages in sports. In fact, he is a former sports tutor at UCU. He is also the current vice president of both the Africa Woodball Association and the National University Sports Federation of Uganda.

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Business-turned-security alum narrates how UCU prepared him for endurance

When Najib Kabaala graduated from Uganda Christian University (UCU), he hoped to immediately delve into ‘stuff’ he had studied. Having enrolled in 2016, he had finally acquired a Bachelor’s of international Business Management and hoped to instantly morph into an international businessman.

The last thing he had imagined as a graduate of International business was to end up clad in thick-soled footwear, a private security agency uniform and having to deal with bullets instead of balance sheets. First, security officers are known to earn terribly low wages, especially in developing economies. Secondly, the nature of security-related jobs simply lack the pomp that a university graduate (cum laude) would naturally want for the ‘good’ of their ego.

Therefore, typically, Najib had dreamed of dealing in exports and imports nationally, regionally and later continentally. He could see his near-future-self- sitting at tables with Ugandan expatriates, talking big business, “helping them understand the local environment in which they want to invest,” he says

Matter of fact, while at UCU Najib had garnered a good reputation as an entrepreneur, while at UCU. He was known to turn virtually all his coursework projects into sustained businesses, which outlived the fixed timeframes that marked the end for his classmates who were only interested in project marks. Instead, Najib would continue to earn a profit.

Together with a friend named Barasha (a former UCU Guild President), he sold salads at a profit to students at the University refectory, during meal hours. They would reach fruit farmers and those growing greens like cabbage, around and far from Mukono, place orders and have the merchandise delivered to UCU. These they would process-themselves-into salads. Then sell to students.

UCU business alum Najib Kabaala.

At the same time, Najib traded in confectionery, including: chocolate, chewing gum, digestives, et cetera. And as Corporate Social Responsibility, he and Barasha would donate a portion of their revenue, at the end of the semester, to the UCU Guild Fund, to support financially underprivileged students.

Upon graduating in 2019, the duo started a company called KK International Business and Trade Advisory that offered tax-filing, business consultancy, among other services. In short, Najib did just enough to make his entrepreneurial prospects palatable, not only to him, but also to many of his clients.

However, in a drastic turn of events early this year, Najib enrolled in a private security firm called Saracen Uganda Limited. One would say, the unthinkable had happened. However, this is how Najib interpreted the move: “I did not choose security. I believe Security chose me.” He further confessed that “I never thought that I would take that direction. I expected to be doing international business.” So, “what happened? One may ask.  

Throughout 2020 he had volunteered at the UCU-Africa Policy Center, aiding with program coordination among other tasks, albeit the service was not financially rewarding enough for a graduate who has daily-living bills actively weighing on his shoulders. His side gigs- including the ‘infant’ company- were neither bringing an income stable enough merit treatment as a full-time.

As though in conspiracy, circumstances made Najib only too happy to accept the recommendation of a UCU lecturer, who also fixed for him the job at a security agency. All he had to do was submit his credentials and turn up for an interview. However, Najib narrates his first appointment for the job with horror.

On his first day at the perceived work station, at the shore of Lake Victoria, at Garuga, a camping site in Entebbe district, Central Uganda, Najib turned up turned up in typical young corporate fashion; sharply dressed, academic credentials in one hand and heavy expectation in the other- eager to sign a contract, shake hands, and then be showed to his office space. “The supervisor took my documents, put them aside and told me to join my colleagues,” he says.

Meanwhile, the said “colleagues” were a few meters away, at the lake shore. Shirtless and submerged. Confused, alarmed, yet helpless, Najib complied. This was to be, for him, what “Hell week” is to US Marines. He took off his shirt, stayed in shorts and got into the water. Later, they sang chants, rolled on their backs, frog-jumped, ran and did even deadly drills. They camped, doing that, for well-over three months.

“The training was so intense that at some point I wanted to drop everything and go back home,” says Najib.

When he successfully completed the paramilitary training and a management course, too, Najib assumed office of Assistant Area Manager, courtesy of his graduate status. This places him above an ordinary cadet; implying, he does not have to guard all night at a client’s premises, as it is for the former.

He is posted to Hoima district, Western Uganda, where he executes a supervisory role over hundreds of private security guards. In his day-to-day operations, Najib meets corporate company executives such as bank managers, among others who wish to hire their security services. Ironically, the International Business management graduate, who hoped to deal in cross border trade of civilian commodities, handles transfer of weaponry across borders, on behalf of his company, which has international branches.

Now Najib looks at his current job not as an end in itself, but a means. He is still actively involved in business and hopes to eventually enroll for a Master’s degree at UCU when he has the resources.

He strongly believes UCU’s “holistic approach to academics and individual’s development,” prepared him for such a time when he would get to exercise his expertise in an unconventional environment for a graduate.

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Hamu Mukasa Library marks 10 years

By David Bukenya- Deputy University Librarian

This is a special week for the UCU Libraries. Precisely ten years ago, we officially dedicated a newly constructed Hamu Mukasa Library. The multi-million ($3.3 million) projected whose construction took approximately 15 years, sprung an imposing sense of grandeur in the heart of the UCU Main Campus in Mukono.

The significant physical and highly functional structure with large windows allowing natural light, laced with bamboo design ceilings in the reading spaces, welcoming patrons via a light-filled atrium and other inviting, user-focused spaces, ten years later, is still the heartbeat of the campus, meeting the needs of the UCU community

Following the construction, the new Hamu Mukasa Library quickly assumed its place at the heart of the campus – both physically and symbolically – now boasting thousands of users since its new doors opened on 28th October, 2021.

Est.2011

Importantly, the construction afforded a model for what a modern library should look like; featuring new technology and large study spaces. Not just physically, but also in its mission and reach; indeed fulfilling the fundraising theme, “a Great University Deserves a Great Library”.

It has been an integral part of the UCU Main Campus, providing innovative spaces for research and learning, large collections, and a range of services to our community.

The University Library plays a vital role in enabling the university to live its values and meet the challenges core to it: Research, teaching and community engagement.

We deeply appreciate all those whose gifts- both big and small-made the construction of Hamu Mukasa possible and helped position us to become a national model for academic research libraries.

Celebrate with us as we reflect on the history and progress of the Library, as well as its continued growth and innovation at Uganda Christian University.

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