Roadmap to Problem-solving Research: The Task of the Federal University Wukari, North-East Nigeria

“Roadmap to Problem solving Research: The Task of the Federal University Wukari, North East Nigeria” Being the First Convocation Lecture of the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State, Nigeria delivered on Friday 3rd March , 2017 By Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro (FNIAS, FNSAP, FFPNO, FSPSP,FSESN) {Professor of Animal Science, Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agriculture & Agricultural Technology, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi ; Former Executive Secretary, TETFund, Abuja, Nigeria} What is a University? Definition and History:  A university (Latin: universitas, “a whole”, “a corporation”[1]) is an institution of higher (or tertiary) education and research which grants academic degrees in various subjects. Universities typically provide undergraduate education and postgraduate education. The word “university” is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, which roughly means “community of teachers and scholars.”[2] Universities were created in Italy and evolved from Cathedral schools for the clergy during the High Middle Ages.[3]

 What are the Core Responsibilities and  Mandates of Universities?

  • The traditional Core Responsibility Triangle of Teaching, Research and Community Service:
The time-tasted three key responsibilities of Universities have been Teaching, Research and Community Service. They may be distinct as stand alones, but are inescapably interdependent, or more appropriately, complementary to themselves. It is obvious that teaching which is the first reference about universities, encapsulates knowledge transfer and intellectual replication or reproduction from a repository to a receptor object or target, being literally one from the teacher to the student.  Research, which means further investigation for affirmation, validation, consolidation, disputation, modification, empirical new knowledge creation or discovery, is acknowledged as the strongest anchor for teaching since it shapes and redefines the latter to the dynamic needs of the student or target beneficiary. Community Service on the other hand is effective to the extent of the quality of teaching and research. In other words, community service is elicited by the findings of relevant and problem-solving research and pedagogic efficiency. In a way, it must be understood that community service completes the “iron triangle” without which universities will be mere  theatres of intellectual theories, unable to apply themselves to the needs of man and society. It is the application of ivory tower knowledge to solve problems that has over time represented the so called ‘town and gown’ marriage.  Put together, the triangle of teaching, research and community service represents the desirable and historically-acknowledged compact required to advance the frontiers of knowledge in problem solving in the modern world. This is because universities represent the apex of intellectual enterprise, extending its claws to guide, shape and strengthen society and economies in a knowledge-driven age.
  • The Mandate of Conventional Versus  Specialist Universities in context:
It is a fact that over time, most universities are conventional ones, as they offer variety of courses, disciplines and programs in as many diverse fields of endeavour as possible. Ironically the more the diversity of courses, the more there may be justification for collaboration. As more universities emerged and especially towards deeper research and understanding of narrower areas of concentration, specialist universities have been created to meet the needs of nations based on political expediency, professionalism and sectoral prioritization. This has informed the emergence of universities of Technology, Education, Agriculture, Maritime, etc. The federal University Wukari is a conventional university, and it gives it the latitude to navigate and develop new Faculties, programs and disciplines as the need arises.

What are the roles of the Researcher and the expectations of society from Universities?:

  • Local, national or global problem solving through deep inquisitive thinking, methodical inquiry or investigation, creativity, innovation or improvisation courtesy of research:
  • Propounding, defining or shaping the parameters, substance and quality of Leadership and norms of behaviour that contextualizes civilization and its direction of progression
  • In contemporary context, specifically to solve socio-economic problems of society, communities, nations, regions and the world at large like the economy, technology, food security, socio-cultural challenges, security/strategic issues, conflicts, ecology, environment, climate change, etc.

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