Lecture: AAUA staff told to embrace changes

A warning has gone out to universities in the country, particularly administrative staff, that the whirlwind changes occurring in the global university system call for equally dynamic changes in administrative skills and acumen in order not to be left behind.

A former Registrar of Redeemer’s University, Osun State, Mr. Olukayode Akindele, gave the warning while speaking as the guest lecturer at the second edition of the Annual Registry Lecture of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, on Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at the University Multipurpose Hall. 

Examining the topic, "Change Management in University Administration: A Registrar’s Perspective," Akindele identified three types of changes in university administration to include incremental, transformational, and revolutionary, and warned that any administrator or institution that fails to adapt to these fast-paced changes stands the risk of being changed or forgotten.

Akindele advised that changes should be embraced rather than fought and resented, adding that changes are part of life. 

He warned that the exodus of students of Nigerian origin to Europe and some African countries poses a new challenge to the university system and administrators to come up with solutions to the trend. 

He added that digital technologies, security challenges, and some government agencies have all contributed to pushing the resourcefulness of varsity administrators to the limit.

Akindele also identified what he called the shifting funding landscape, technological advancements, curriculum reform, globalization of education, ever-increasing student enrolment, social and political issues, and focus on research and innovation as recent major changes in Nigerian universities that call for adaptation and resourcefulness.

According to him, “Leadership of our universities should promote transparency and communication. It should openly communicate changes to stakeholders (students, faculty, staff) and address concerns appropriately, and encourage collaboration between faculty, administration, students, and the private sector. There is a need for continuous improvement through regular assessment of progress and adapting strategies based on feedback and data. By proactively managing these changes, Nigerian universities can remain strong institutions that produce well-rounded graduates for the future.”

Speaking on the future of Nigerian universities, the guest lecturer identified five challenges that must be overcome in the decades ahead. 

These are: universities must find ways to maintain academic excellence and deliver quality teaching and research, attract new workers that can support new business models, deepen their commercial skills and capability both administratively and academically, market with new teaching and research programmes and innovations, and search for ways to move beyond the perennial struggle for government funding.

He called on university management to embrace emerging technologies, improve communication channels with necessary stakeholders, prioritize student support opportunities, invest in staff training, promote collaborative efforts, seek feedback, and implement needed changes, and to continuously measure their performance.

Speaking earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olugbenga Ige, underscored the importance of manpower development and training in the quest to establish a university administration that will be in tune with modern trends. 

While commending the Registry staff of the University for rising to the cry of building an institution that conforms to the 21st Century, the Vice-Chancellor urged them not to rest on their oars in sustaining the university’s rating as first among equals.

Also speaking, the University Registrar, Mr. Olugbenga Arajulu, not only thanked the lecturer for coming to share from his wealth of experience as an administrator but also urged the gathering to take the lessons of the lecture to heart in order to boost their productivity and output.

Participants at the lecture included members of staff of Adekunle Ajasin University as well as colleagues from sister institutions and those who joined online from across the country.