President Dawn Dekle on September 19 led the AUN learning community in a joyful reception for the founding Dean of SITC and former Board of Trustees Member, Prof Muhammadou M.O. Kah, who assumes the office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost and Professor of IT & Computing.
Prof. Kah's wife, Dr. Jainaba M.L. Kah, an Associate Professor of Management and Public Policy at AUN, attended the event, which took place in the Provost’s office on the ground floor of the library. Dr. Jainaba M.L. Kah is also returning to AUN as a fulltime faculty member and the event welcomed her back to our community too.
President Dekle echoed the excitement of more than a hundred people in the Provost's office who joined in welcoming Prof Kah with an ancient Indian proverb: “Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart.” She said, “There is something here in Nigeria that has captured your heart, and ours, and feels like home.”
“As a learning community, we have a common reason to be excited. We are celebrating the return of one of the first academic leaders to step foot on the AUN soil,” said Abba Tahir, who emceed at the reception. On behalf of AUN learning community, Mr. Tahir applauded the founding Dean’s countless contributions to the growth of scholarship, leadership, and community service at AUN.
Other long-serving faculty and staff members, who commented to the MC’s long list of achievements of Prof. Kah, also expressed admiration for the new Provost. One of them, Dr. Ago Quaye of SITC, commented that with the return of Prof Kah as Provost, “We are in for a good ride.”
It was an emotional moment for Prof Kah, who is one of Africa’s eminent scholars on Information, Technology, and Development. He paused for a while to enjoy all the generous praises from the AUN learning community attending. He reflected, “I never left, this place is greater than all of us, and it’s more important than we can ever imagine. We have not scratched the surface of where this University [AUN] can take this society, this country, continent, and the world at large. But it takes all of us working as a team to make this a reality.”
Although the ride will be challenging, Prof Kah warned, “We are here not to build just anything. We are not a university if we don’t have quality and committed faculty and (if we) are not student-centered, focused on the learning and success of our diverse students.”
Scanning the room filled with mostly faculty members listening with rapt attention, the VPAA/Provost commended the faculty members for their steadfastness in ensuring AUN students get a quality education.
“Let us all continue to keep going, and be each other's keeper, for one thing: the greatness, the commitment of our founder, the board of trustees, our faculty, staff and generations of our diverse students, the academic rigor, innovations and excellence of this University is gradual with continuous improvements and never ends. Students come and go, administrations also come and go, faculty, hopefully, stay the longest, but the University never leaves.”
Inspired by the successes of our many alums he had mentored at AUN, including Ms. Fatima Chiroma who teaches at Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, and was present at the fete, the VPAA/Provost reiterated, “This is why we are here, so the small things--inconvenience and periodic little frustrations--don’t matter. We have to care about our students beyond the courses we deliver.”
By Nelly Ating