Mr. Bode Augusto is the Lagos State University’s pro chancellor and chairman of council.
He spoke on efforts to reposition the institution.
What has your experience been like since your assumption of office as the Lagos State University’s (LASU’s) Pro Chancellor?
Our experience at LASU has been characterized by opportunities to: improve the quality of graduates produced by the university; ensure no disruptions in the university academic calendar; generate revenues internally, that will be used to subsidize the undergraduate program; cooperate with the top businesses in Nigeria to enrich the faculty of the university; and cooperate with philanthropists and business to improve the quality of infrastructure in the university.
Unfortunately, the current operating model we employ in LASU to deliver service is impairing our ability to fully exploit these opportunities.
How would you describe the Vice Chancellor, Prof John Obafunwa’s performance so far?
We cannot do a performance appraisal of our Vice Chancellor in public. However, we can discuss the attributes that a LASU VC should possess. He or she must be a humane, but firm manager of people and other resources; govern in accordance with the rules and regulations of the university; focus on delivering high quality uninterrupted education to our students; be able to obtain the support of philanthropists and businesses to develop infrastructure in the university and subsidize the undergraduate program. He or she must also improve the image of LASU.
Two diverse comments about LASU have been repeatedly espoused by two distinct groups. One of these groups dismisses LASU as a “crisis-ridden” institution, incapable of attaining the ideals of an ivory tower. But the other group sharply disagrees, insisting that in spite of daunting challenges, LASU has achieved many milestones over the years. In your opinion, sir, do you think the University has so far justified the purpose for which it was established?
We believe we should judge LASU by the quality of its products and how these products have been able to impact society. There is no doubt that during the first decade of LASU, we produced a sizeable number of high quality graduates that are having a significant impact on our society. However, we must confess that, in the recent past, quality has slipped significantly.
We have the opportunity to address this, by reviewing the way we do things. We are in a dynamic world. We must change our operating model to one that rewards those who help us to exploit the opportunities set out in the first question!
When you took over, you probably had your blueprint on what you intend to achieve as Pro Chancellor. What does the blueprint contain, if there is one, and how far have you gone with the implementation?
The blueprint we have for LASU focuses on exploiting the opportunities set out in question one. We have not gone very far and we are in the second half of our term.
What needs to be done to turn LASU into a world class university?
Exploiting the opportunities set out in my response to the first question.
Finally sir, what is your dream for LASU? What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
To make LASU one of the top five universities in Africa. The legacy we want to leave behind is that of a group who really tried to make fundamental changes to LASU … but maybe failed!