A total of 1,517 students have graduated during USIU-Africa’s 43rd Commencement Ceremony, marking the first physical graduation held at the University since the beginning of the pandemic.
The graduands included 1,135 Undergraduate, 351 Masters and 14 Doctoral students, with the first cohorts of students from the Film Production and Directing, and Marriage and Family Therapy programs also graduating.
In his remarks read on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary of Health Mutahi Kagwe, Dr Mercy Mwangangi, the CAS at the Ministry of Health, noted that the Commencement ceremony was a notable milestone, on account of the fact that it was held during the ongoing pandemic.
“We are able to come together because various vaccine developers and regulatory experts have worked round the clock to ensure that we continue with our lives as they sacrifice to find a lasting solution to this pandemic. When the first COVID-19 case was reported here in Kenya, the Government took drastic containment measures in order to manage its spread,” she said.
“The education sector has adjusted its approach during these difficult times by providing solutions and designing protocols that have ensured that our children continue with their learning safely. I commend USIU-Africa for its foresight and investment in online learning infrastructure, which resulted in flexibility and instant continuity; an admirable achievement that other institutions should emulate for the future. The commitment and efforts that the university has put in place to implement phased re-opening demonstrates that the safety of its students, faculty and staff is a key priority,” she added.
In her comments, the Interim Vice-Chancellor Prof Freida Brown noted that the University was consistently working to ensure that its students received a cutting-edge, international education.
“The higher education landscape is changing rapidly, and the University has remained adaptable, while remaining committed to its core mandate of academic teaching and learning to produce the next generation of leaders, and knowledge that will be impactful to society. Over the years, we have made several investments that have ensured that USIU-Africa has stayed ahead of the curve, including continued investment in our ICT infrastructure, which enabled us to make a seamless transition into remote learning, which has now transitioned into hybrid learning from the current Fall semester,” she said.
Prof Brown ended her remarks by urging the students to abide by the values that they had learned while at USIU-Africa.
“Over its fifty-two-year history, USIU-Africa has consistently aspired to be the best, and to give its students the best. As you graduate today, I urge you to similarly aspire for excellence not only through the pursuit of knowledge that will illuminate your future, but also by looking at your past and drawing lessons and inspiration from the challenges that you may have faced,” she noted.
Over the past year, the University has made several improvements to its academic offering, including the introduction of five new programs, namely: Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Analytics, Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, and a PhD. in Information Systems and Technology, Bachelor of Technology in Analytical Chemistry and Bachelor of Science in Applied Biochemistry.
The University has also obtained membership in Quality Matters (QM), an organization that helps academic institutions to deliver quality online learning through a collaborative and collegial process centered on continuous improvement, which helps institutions achieve their quality assurance goals for online teaching and learning.
In another ground-breaking move in support of online learning at the University, the Mastercard Foundation and Arizona State University recently signed an agreement with the University to bolster its e-learning capacity-building alongside 21 other participating international universities.
The initiative prioritizes eleven African institutions, Earth University in Costa Rica and American University of Beirut to address areas of instructional design and pedagogy as well as content development for online teaching and learning.