By: Frank Oyosa
Thumbnail Photo Courtesy of Frank Oyosa
Just like the then US Secretary of State George Marshall unveiled America’s unilateral aid to Europe in what is popularly known as The Marshal Plan, so did Daystar University Vice-Chancellor Prof Laban Ayiro, unveil The Marshal Plan to his Post Graduate students! Well, don’t get it twisted. While the contents and intentions of Marshall’s Marshal plan are pretty obvious, Prof Ayiro’s Marshal Plan is nothing close to that.
His recently launched plan is a genuine roadmap that will see all post-graduate students complete their studies on time regardless of the setbacks they may encounter. Coming in at a time when the University was not in its best shape, the VC was disturbed by the high number of post-graduate students pending graduation due to some unavoidable, and well…some avoidable circumstances, way after the 2 years for postgraduate programs elapsed. It is this reality that triggered him to initiate the plan, his dedication and drive to restore the glory of Daystar deer to his heart, and vocal in his voice, his diction, and his actions!
Kicking off with a post-graduate students’ re-registration exercise to keep, the VC has committed not only his time but resources to this course. He is adamant that all post-graduate students who are on hold or are done with their coursework MUST graduate by December 2021, and going forward, other post-graduate students must graduate within the 2 years.
“This is a course that is deep in my heart and I will go out of my way to see that we reach the promised land.” The conviction with which these words are articulated is enough to dispel any doubt while his track record proves him right, and his deep-rooted faith and trust in God back him up. He is keen to reiterate Daystar University’s Christian foundational values as his guiding principles, and acknowledge the weight of the task ahead often asking God to go before him and his team including the students.
Interestingly, even though he is surrounded by a team of dedicated Research and Post Graduate studies directorate led by Sr. Prof. Agnes Lando, the VC’s transformational leadership style forbids him from making demands while at the back seat!
He considers this mission a top-notch priority that his schedule has been made flexible enough to accommodate regular meetings with students, to respond to their concerns and thesis queries. He has in the past facilitated various forums aimed at assisting them to refine their thesis, referring to errors he picked by sampling several submissions. Furthermore, these sessions are about to become weekly activities and not even the impact of Covid-19 on physical meetings can derail them nor the ultimate vision. And as if this is not all, he is part of the supervisors currently supervising two Masters and 2 Ph.D. students.
Meanwhile, in other offices, Sr. Prof. Lando and her team are ever busy attending to students’ matters and ensuring communication is smooth, timely, and relevant. A clear indication that the journey to the promised land is indeed on the right track. Being the administrator of the Post Graduate students’ Telegram forum, she is ever communicating an important update or responding to students’ concerns.
One wonders if she does sleep. More surprisingly is the promptness, wisdom, and decorum with which she responds to even the most controversial or insulting concern and question. Now meetings have gone online and it’s in her docket to ensure that communication reaches the intended participants on time, the necessary materials are ready for the meetings, chair the meetings and share the materials. And with some students unable to attend the meetings, she is responsible for recording and sharing the video. Yet this is just a quarter of her workload!
Well, she has to do it right? But then she is only human and there is only so much she can take yeah! surprisingly, although we may want to pity her and her team, the only pity she is willing to take is students playing their part. All that is asked of them is to be available when called upon, to fulfill their financial obligations, and to support the plan by any means possible. If that is too much to ask, the VC is not hesitant “…to consider anyone who is not committed to the marshal plan an anti-Daystar.” However as is human nature, some of us have to be pushed even if it is for our benefit, and the post Graduate directorate has dedicated herself to doing just that.
Meanwhile, the students being the key stakeholders and beneficiaries of this initiative, are obliged to raise concerns they hope to be addressed in a timely and mutually benefiting manner. Thence, besides other concerns, the question of paying extra costs such as activity fee, printing fee and technology fee among others when such services are no longer available have been raised. Other concerns have been re-activation fees for students on hold some of whom have excess fees and removal of or not offering concentration courses in some semesters. Remarkably, the concerned departments have tried their best to respond, and commit to listening to special individual cases.
It would be impractical not to acknowledge the efforts the directorate is putting in this initiative regardless of the apparent challenges. Likewise, with the VC securing a 1-year amnesty period from the senate for students on hold to graduate, and the online thesis management system in its final stages of the trial, we are obliged to recognize that things are indeed taking shape and they will be better when concerns are addressed and we cooperate.
Meanwhile “…until the day dawns, and the daystar arises in your hearts,” the journey continues.