36 C
City of Banjul
Tuesday, January 26, 2021

University Freshman Orientation Day 2014

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UTG class of 2018 there are 558 of you for this Fall 2014 entry for your class, inclusive of the 60 to be admitted in our Medical School in October 2014! Sixty (60) of your peers in your entry class will join our Medical School in October 2014. The class of 2018 will also have peers joining you in our spring 2015 intake.   Out of this fall’s undergraduate applicants pool, only 69% of applicants were admitted and 31% rejected!  

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Seventy-Eight (78) of you are admitted in our growing and evolving graduate school!  7 in MA- African History; 20 in Masters in Public Health; 35 in our MBA (in partnership with Amity University via e-learning); 7 Masters in Nursing; 8 in MA- French (in collaboration with University of Limoges in France) and 1 in our Mac. in Applied Mathematics (Modeling) in collaboration with University of Gaston Berger!

Regional Profile of Class 2018:- 6.2% Banjul; 23.7% Kanifing Municipality; 36.2% West Coast Region; 5.26% Lower River Region; 13.7% North Bank Region; 6.83% Central River Region; 2.41% Upper River Region; 3.21% Foreign Students.

Without a doubt, we continue to evolve as a university to respond to the challenges and need for access to quality higher education to those that meet our requirements from The Gambia and beyond! 

I must commend our Admissions Staff under the leadership of Ms Aminata Njie, for the great job they continue to do in ensuring high admissions standards are met and admitting the best class ever! You Class of 2018 are indeed amongst the best selected from a large pool of applicants. You can be sure that you are here today through your own merit! We congratulate you and your families!

We wish to welcome our teaching assistants, staffs and instructors and alumni returnees from postgraduate studies.  Please stand and be recognised! They are back and teaching or scheduled to teach at various schools and faculties of the UTG to strengthen our human resources for the sustainability of the human capacity for academic excellence. We have over 50 of our personnel pursuing their Masters and PhD degrees on study leave with salary at various universities across the world! Over 95% of them received their first degrees from the UTG! If you work hard you will have the same opportunities.

We wish to welcome all of our visiting scholars and faculty and new faculty hires! We wish to particularly welcome Ms. Lora Conlan from University of Bristol, UK joining the Faculty of Law and Dr Casey McHugh a faculty member from St Mary’s College of Maryland, USA joining the SAS. She is here with five exchange students from university of St Mary’s College of Maryland as for this fall. Please stand and be recognized! We are very appreciative and proud of our continuing collaboration and partnership with St Mary’s. This has been our richest and most important collaboration and partnership, which has been substantive and mutually beneficial for our students, faculty and staff. Kindly convey our appreciation to my colleague, your President, faculty, staff and students of your university. We particularly express our sincere appreciation and thanks to Prof. Bill Roberts and Ya Mai Jack for all they continue to do behind the scenes to ensure our collaboration and partnership continues to grow. We have 5 of you here and 2 of our students on your campus each spending a year! They return to us from St. Mary’s better and stronger.  I have no doubt, like others before you, you will all return to St. Mary’s equally better for it! 

On behalf of the university’s chancellor and  founder – HE Sheikh Professor, Dr Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh, Nasirul Deen, Babili Mansa, members of the Governing Council, faculty and staff, and your fellow continuing students, both undergraduate and graduate, I warmly welcome you.

To all freshmen and women, I say please accept my warmest congratulations for gaining admission into UTG. Your journey towards attaining higher academic qualifications is just beginning and your choice of UTG to launch this academic crusade is certainly a right one. This University will shape your academic future, mould your character appreciably, and imbibe in you a high level of empathy for our citizens and their development aspirations. 

 

This University is a source of national pride and we must collectively nurture and protect it from all forms of vices and negative tendencies. In this way, we can help the institution attain its predetermined goals and objectives. 

I welcome you all to a place called The University of The Gambia-UTG, where hope and history are forged into opportunities – opportunities for you and your families, and in 4 years Insha-Allah, opportunities for the communities where you will build your adult lives and for the many organisations (public, private and businesses you will start) and for our country and beyond.  Allow me on the onset to share the vision, mission & Values of the UTG as articulated by our founding fathers & mothers:

 

What is the UTG vision statement?  

The university shall be the powerhouse for transformation of The Gambia through the creation, application, and transfer of knowledge.

 

UTG seeks to attain its Vision by:

(1) Promoting equitable and sustainable socio-economic development of communities through relevant, high-quality gender-sensitive teaching, research and outreach programmes,

(2) Providing higher education to all persons, suitably qualified and capable of benefiting from it, 

(3) Positioning itself as a national asset committed to the promotion of life-long learning, 

(4) Developing its information and communication technologies, infrastructure as a driving force for:

(a) The education of more people more rapidly and 

(b) The improvement of efficiency and academic quality to attain the goals of poverty alleviation and national development, 

(5) Development of high-quality, problem-solving, gender-sensitive, interactive teaching, research, learning and outreach programmes, and 

(6) Continuous demonstration of commitment to the inspiring values and objectives of “Operation back-to-the-land” and “Operation no Compromise” fervently advocated by His Excellency The President of the Republic, University education at UTG is not only concerned with intellectual growth and development.  It is also designed to instil ethical values and civic responsibilities, which equip students and graduates to demonstrate probity, integrity and patriotism in the delivery of services to the nation. 

 

What is the UTG mission statement? 

“The University of the Gambia will provide relevant, sustainable, and high quality tertiary education and research in respect of socio-economic, scientific and technological advancement and development.  It will be a centre of excellence, which will accommodate national, regional and international requirements. The University will utilise the concept of incremental improvement to maintain high standards thereby empowering students with the opportunity to fulfil national needs. It will also provide students with the facility to realize their full potential both generally and in employment”. 

 

In essence the mission statement contains the elements of relevance, sustainability, high quality and utilisation. The university seeks to be a centre of academic Excellence providing high-quality teaching, research and service relevant to poverty alleviation, gender equity and the sustainable development needs of The Gambia and the region.

 

What are the values of UTG?  

Throughout its operations, and in its course of transformation, the University shall ensure in pursuit of a reputable image, that the norms characteristic of a reputable university is observed.  Apart from pursuing the values of academic excellence, freedom and integrity, the University shall value internationalism of academic programmes and student enrolment, professional and ethical standards, social responsibility and social justice. Institutional autonomy, innovativeness and public accountability shall always guide the activities of the institution.  The specific details of the values of the university, which are deeply rooted in the philosophy and core values of Vision 2020 – the long-term development plan of Government.  In pursuit of the cherished values described below, UTG will take measures to achieve the following:

 

1. Academic freedom:  Shall uphold and maintain the spirit of free and critical thought and enquiry by tolerating a diversity of beliefs and understanding and fostering open exchange of ideas and knowledge among staff and students.

 

2. Academic integrity:  Shall ensure that all the academic outputs are produced in conformity with the international quality of academic integrity enhanced by introduction of quality control and assurance measures.

 

3. Academic excellence:  will ensure that the pursuit of academic excellence in teaching research and service to stakeholders is well recognized and forms an important part of the academic and organizational life of the institution.

 

4. Will promote internationalisation through participation in the regional and global world of scholarship, by being receptive and responsive to issues within the international environment as well as the enrolment of an increasing size of the international study body.

 

5. Shall maintain high professional and ethical standards and behaviour and through openness, honesty, tolerance and respect for the individual in all disciplines.

 

6. Shall inculcate social responsibility by promoting an awareness of, and providing leadership in responding to the issues and problems facing society with a view to ultimately solving and alleviating them.

 

7. Shall instil developmental responsibility by ensuring that most of the research conducted in the institution has an immediate or long-term impact on the development goals and objectives of the country.

 

8. Shall promote high-quality teaching and learning by creating a holistic teaching and learning environment, which is student-centred and by providing social, cultural and recreational opportunities that will facilitate the full realisation of their potential for academic and personal growth.

 

9. Shall seek to achieve institutional autonomy, characterised by self-governing structures, guided by council and greater independence in action while being responsive to societal and development needs.

 

10. Shall promote public accountability by ensuring transparent decision-making, patriotism as well as open and full participation of stakeholders in the development of the institution and in the formulation of major policy initiatives.

 

11. Shall seek to achieve equity and social justice by ensuring equal opportunity and non-discrimination on the basis of personal, ethnic, religious, gender or other social characteristics.

 

12. Shall strive to enhance productivity, innovation and entrepreneurship by ensuring that they are emphasised in all the activities of the Institution in addition to the attributes of dedication to quality, efficiency and effectiveness.

 

13. Shall seek to intensify the application of ICT for the enhancement of academic delivery and management.

 

14. Finally UTG shall seek to intensify the inculcation of a strategic planning culture at all levels in the University.

You, the class of 2018, will move on to serve with expected excellence, positive attitude, discipline, competence and high ethical standards and values, as others before you are currently doing. You will not only serve locally, but globally as well, to make the world a better place for humanity. This is what we expect from all our graduates- nothing less!

Also, I want to recognise our new faculty and staff. We have several new faculty from various countries.

We also want to recognise our teaching/graduate assistants who are also UTG Alums.  They have returned after successfully completing their Masters Degrees with commendable results from top universities in Italy, Taiwan, UK, Ghana, Malaysia, etc. and are now full time regular members of our faculty as Instructors.  Some have completed their masters degrees and have been admitted to continue their studies to pursue PhD degrees in various disciplines. This is continuing evidence of the quality education at the UTG. We welcome you all back to our growing UTG community!

In this orientation, I will share with you more of the same thoughts I shared with your peers who were oriented before you and are currently progressing brilliantly here at UTG. 

It is indeed a great pleasure to welcome you to the UTG and it is a beautiful sight and I must say, gives me great joy seeing your bright faces ready to optimise your potentials and become more than you can ever imagine! 

For most of you, and this is the case for most of our students, you are the first (1st) in your families to ever finish high school and get admitted to a university! An accomplishment, which makes me proud of you! Please know, we have high hopes in you, do not let us down. 

Let no one discourage or derail you, let no obstacle, frustration or distraction get in your path to achieving your academic and professional goals. Enter UTG and work hard and always enjoy the joy of learning. 

This country has provided affordable quality university education for all of you. Enter UTG to become better and come out better and more productive citizens in the services of our country, your respective communities, Africa and humanity!

This is a day of great joy for all of us at the UTG – faculty, staff and our returning students. We anticipate with pleasure the excitement we will experience in your academic and intellectual growth as you pursue your various interests and degree programs here at the UTG.  We look forward to becoming your teachers, colleagues and your mentors – nurturing and encouraging your unique ideas. This is indeed a day of renewal for all of us at UTG and for you and your families, which ignites our spirits and fuels our hope. 

I want to underscore to all of you as I continue to do for Freshmen and women/entry classes before you, UTG is the Greatest Hope, Pride and Asset of our Country. UTG is more than all our imaginations, more than my humble self as your VC, more than our faculty and staff and all of UTG’s actors and agents. In other words, UTG is greater than all of us. Make no mistake, UTG will outlive all of us and will continue to grow on the path of greatness and evolve into an excellent academic community, a hub of quality learning, research and service to our nation and humanity. 

The UTG is the best thing that has happened to our country and continues to be the source for much needed quality human capital and leadership in all sectors, required to fuel the knowledge economy and put this country’s economy on the path of accelerated growth and development, broadly improving our quality of lives!  We therefore, owe a huge debt of gratitude to our Chancellor & Founder – HE Sheikh Professor, Dr Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh, Nasirul Deen, Babili Mansa, for his foresight and continued support to this UTG. He is our greatest advocate, champion and supporter. Once again, Let us all show our appreciation and thank him. 

Also, we applaud you – parents, guardians and family, as you leave your children with us so they can write the next chapter in their lives and in the story of your family. We want to assure you, we are cognisant of the trust you and your children have bestowed on us and we will continue to guard this trust as we have always done since the dawn of the UTG. 

We have no doubt that you and your children made the right and most prudent and pragmatic decision to choose the UTG for University education and will benefit hugely as we, as a University community, will equally benefit with their presence during and after their studies at the UTG. As your children enter our doors, we expect they will work hard but smartly, they will be introduced and exposed to academic rigor and excellence and the joy of learning and the acquisition of knowledge. 

Further, we expect they will be motivated and will take their academic work seriously, benefit from the many capable lecturers they will encounter at the UTG, make lasting friendships and mature socially and intellectually. Throughout their studies at the UTG, they will be continuously challenged to optimise their potentials and come out prepared with requisite skills, tools, 21st century competencies and confidence to be competitive anywhere in their chosen fields of study and professions and be amongst leaders that will serve our country, region and humanity in general.  

The best amongst our students will be provided with year-long opportunities as exchange students at world-class partner universities across the world at no cost to them and to participate in various world-class academic competitions with their peers from various world-class universities.  

We at the UTG provide opportunities and hope to our students and we produce competent graduates equipped as potential leaders in various disciplines in the services of our nation. Our graduates continue to go out to serve society and country with unparalleled excellence and commitment that is hard to see from graduates from elsewhere. 

We are proud of all of them and have no doubt your class will only add to these successes we continue to register. Our graduates are excelling at top graduate schools across the world, as employees at almost all organizations in the country and increasingly in International organizations such as the Islamic Development Bank.

Let me say a word about your class – The Class of 2018, a word about UTG and what it means, a word about the great things we can do together, and finally, final thoughts for your families. 

This class of 2018 is truly a unique class.  You are coming into The University of The Gambia at a time of huge optimism and excitement.  You are coming to a stronger University with more opportunities and services to optimise your potentials and prepare you, with much success, for a brighter future.  You are also starting your University education when the world continues to be challenged with all kinds of evils, economic, social and political challenges and more importantly, right in our backyard in the West Africa region, health challenges continue to take many lives with very little hope of resolving the overwhelming challenges these countries and humanity are increasingly facing. I am talking about Ebola!  What a terrible disease! Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected and countries working very hard to help their citizens. 

I urge you all to be safe! Be aware! Spread the Awareness! Wash your hands and be committed to optimal hygienic practices and help and be active in your communities. It is our collective responsibility to fight EBOLA and make sure it never comes to our shores! This requires all our efforts!  

BTW, given the lack of adequate health and medical practitioners, the more reasons for the youths of today and beyond to take science and STEM education very seriously so that we can have the capacity and competences at all levels to address challenges such as Ebola whether at the care level or at the research level! 

You are the class that is entering University when the need for your focus and engagement in agriculture and climate change is on top of our national agenda and priorities and by extension the global agenda! Food security is of utmost priority of our chancellor and this country and you guys are the hope to do the required to ensure food insecurity is never a challenge in this country. This will require attitudinal change and commitment early on as you build your futures here! Let your futures include taking Agriculture, the environment, climate change, food security, good values, discipline and hard and smart work! 

These challenges are for you as future leaders, politicians and scientists to resolve! Coming to UTG as freshmen is certainly the right step towards addressing these challenges for country and beyond!

Every one of you stands out, and every one of you has great potential. You have been selected from many qualified applicants, so we expect you to consider yourselves lucky just as we consider ourselves lucky to have you amongst our midst and as part of our UTG family.  Most of your colleagues and peers from high school graduated with very good results, yet failed to make the minimum requirements to be admitted. You are the class of 558 students, yet another big entry class and more importantly all of you credited Mathematics and English! 

Your class includes matured/adult students this semester. Most of these matured/adult students never had the opportunity for a university education and now UTG will brighten their futures.  You are the class that has a father, mother, uncle, aunt, or sister amongst the matured student population of the UTG!  We welcome our matured students to UTG!  

You are the class with peers in the first cohort pursuing an undergraduate program in Journalism and Digital Media. We’ve just launched our newest school- The School of Journalism and Digital Media! This is indeed most welcome and will contribute to the development of much needed and longed for human capacity and competencies in diverse areas in journalism and digital media. Currently we have 18 amongst you as the pioneering class of journalism. Many more are expected to transfer and be admitted to this very important school. We are grateful with the support received thus far from UNESCO and EU amongst others.

You are the class with part of your cohort at our first Campus in a region outside the greater Banjul and West Coast area. We recently modestly refurbished and renovated our Farafenni Campus, now called The UTG North Bank Campus. 

The UTG’s bright lights have begun shining to modestly serve the North Bank Region. Our objective is to gradually have a modest campus in each region of the country.  We were fortunate to win a very competitive grant from WASCAL put together by Dr Sowe and myself, which resulted in an award designating the UTG as one of the WASCAL Centers of Excellence.  This enabled us to immediately position our MRC donated premise at Farafenni as the home for this Center of Excellence in Climate Change and our North Bank Campus. We expect to gradually develop some additional undergraduate and graduate programs at this campus. 

Our most recent campus – the UTG North Bank Campus is currently under the leadership of Dr Musa Sowe. He has moved to Farafenni in earnest and instruction at the graduate level commenced last Spring 2014 and the graduate students are part of your entry class also being oriented today. Please rise and be recognized.

I am proud to share with your class that, the UTG is marching boldly forward to achieve the objective of bringing access to university education to each of the designated regions of our country starting with the North Bank Campus at Farafenni. Thus, we will be admitting our second cohort pursuing a Masters Degree in Climate Change in Education at the UTG North Bank Campus at Farafenni. They are a cohort of 12 graduate students who were competitively admitted and fully funded to be the first students at our Center of Excellence and are from 10 countries (Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Togo, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire).  They have all settled well and are currently residing at the Campus, thus making it also UTG’s first residential campus.

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