The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mucai Muchiri, addressing the new students at the Graduation Square
The Registration and Orientation of the fresh students admitted into the 2022/2023 Academic Year came to a successful end on Friday, 26th August 2022, with the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mucai Muchiri, addressing the students. This is after a one-week-long process which entailed student registration, Schools orientation, student welfare activities and Library orientation scheduled to start on 5th September 2022. The event was attended by the Deputy Vice Chancellors, Registrars, Deans of Schools, Directors, Dean of Students, student leaders as well as other staff and students.
In his remarks, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Planning, Finance and Administration), Prof. Linus M. Gitonga, congratulated the students upon passing their examinations and earning admission into the Karatina University family. He advised them to familiarize themselves with the Strategic Plan which guides the operations of the University. Further, he encouraged them to take charge of their lives while at the University and come back to the right path-the godly path- if they deviate or lose their way.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic, Research and Student Affairs), Prof. Peninah Aloo-Obudho, welcomed the students and stated that the Academic Affairs division is charged with the admission of students, coordination of teaching, research, examinations, graduation, student disciplinary, student welfare matters, issuance of academic certificates, community outreach among others.
The DVC (ARSA) articulated six tips that, if the students followed, would enable them to stay well at the University. These include trusting in God and living by the standards of the scripture in Proverbs 3: 5-6, following University rules and regulations and prioritizing their activities with academics being at the top of the list.
She also advised them to recognize and follow the right communication channels which start with the class representative, course lecturer, head of the department and then the Dean of the School. Further, she made them aware of the two timetables found in the University; the teaching timetable which indicates when and how they will be taught and the examinations timetable which indicates the time and venues for exams. She asked them to be keen on these two timetables in order not to face challenges in the future. Lastly, the DVC (ARSA) advised the students to avoid A.O.B-any other business- which may not be academic related.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mucai Muchiri, congratulated the students on their exemplary performance which saw them join the unique and great Karatina University.
‘This is probably my 16th time addressing first year students who have joined this institution. The University has grown bigger and richer with your presence. Today, I am addressing one thousand eight hundred students compared to the twenty three admitted in 2007 when we were a Campus,’ he stated.
The Vice Chancellor assured the students that they had joined an institution committed to quality teaching and learning, research, innovation and community outreach.
‘Karatina University may be far from the big cities and may experience low temperatures. However, these are good for your studies. If you keep on track with your studies, you will come out of this University a refined and high-quality graduate ready to serve this country and beyond.’
Prof. Muchiri reminded the students that their first priority should be their academic work and that the University was ready to walk with them in that segment of their journey. He emphasized the fact that they were now in a free environment where, to a greater extent, they had the sole responsibility of determining the trajectory of their lives.
‘You will need to take greater responsibility for the decisions you make. Please note that you are expected to clock 100% class attendance or, if unable, at least 80%. The 20% rule is such that if you clock less than 80%, you will be barred from sitting exams,’ he warned.
He encouraged the students to read and know the tenets, anchored in the Vision, Mission and Core Values, that regulate and guide the culture of the University. While outlining the governance and management structure of the University, the Vice Chancellor informed the students that the University Council guides policies while the Senate is the apex body that looks after academic matters. The Senate develops curricula which are, then, sent to the Commission for University Education (CUE) for approval before implementation. The Senate further develops policies which are taken to Council for approval. These policies, then, regulate actions and functions within the University.
He also elaborated on the function of the University Management Board which conducts the day-to-day running of the University but whose operation also governs and regulates the functioning of academic activities.
‘The University Management Board looks after financial matters of the University. It is also in charge of the human resource who will be teaching and guiding you in your academic journey. It looks after these financial resources so that it can pay the human resource, buy equipment and other teaching and learning materials, and manage the utilization of funds that take you for field practicals and trips. It generally handles the University budget,’ he emphasized.
The University Management Board, according to the Vice Chancellor, is not, however, able to manage the budget if there is no income. He, therefore, emphasized the need to pay fees noting that failure to pay fees will lead to a shortage of finances required to meet the needs of giving the students quality education. He also stated that failure to pay fees in time may lead to the students missing examinations since University rules and regulations only allow students who have zero balance to sit for examinations.
In matters of student welfare, the Vice Chancellor said that the Dean of Students Office is key. It is the liaison Office between the administration and the entire student body and helps in taking care of their accommodation needs, guidance and counselling, games, sports, career services, mentorship and their general welfare. He urged the students to liaise with the Dean of Students, and the Security Office, on issues of non-academic nature. Apart from the Dean of Students, the Students Governing Council, the legal organ elected to represent student matters was also available to listen to their grievances, he said.
‘Avoid getting into trouble by taking the law into your hands without talking to the individuals that have been put in place either by the University or by yourselves. I believe that when we work together, we can solve any problems related to students for better University life’.
Noting that Karatina University is a student-centred institution where everything is done to ensure their success, the Vice Chancellor asked the students to acquire devices-smartphones, laptops, and computers- which would enable them to attend classes via the e-learning platform and access reading materials via the e-Library. This service is, however, only accessible to bona fide students who have fully paid fees.
‘Since the COVID-19 pandemic presented a big challenge in the physical delivery of lectures, we, very quickly, took action and put in place an effective e-learning programme. We have employed the blended approach to teaching and learning which may require you to be physically present in class or learn from any place and at any time.’
He urged them to engage in extra-curricular activities which may help mould them into being whole persons. He, however, cautioned them to avoid experiences and distractions that may derail their focus and make them drop out of University or fail examinations.
The Vice Chancellor also noted the importance of being in good mental health. He advised the students to avoid things and activities that would affect their mental health some of which include drug and substance abuse and alcohol.
‘Having mental health issues is nothing to be embarrassed about. I urge you to seek help from the Dean of Students and the Senior Students Counsellor if you face any psychosocial challenges.’
The Vice Chancellor concluded his remarks by wishing the new students a happy and fulfilling stay at University and asked them to be proud of their institution despite the challenges that may arise from time to time.