Hockey in Abuja
USIU-Africa’s Women’s hockey team during the Africa Hockey Club Championships (ACCC), held in Abuja, Nigeria. Photo: Courtesy

By Antonio Longangi and Ernest Mwanzi

The USIU-Africa Hockey women’s team gave an exceptional performance at the Africa Hockey Club Championships (ACCC), held in Abuja, Nigeria, by finishing fourth and subsequently ranked as the top university hockey team in Africa, in the highly competitive tourney that took place on December 15 - 22, 2018. The team was competing against 12 clubs from four countries which constituted, top two ranked hockey teams from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt.

This annual championship brings together champions of various hockey leagues in respective countries as well as runners up for both men and women.

USIU-Africa participated as the runner up of the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) Premier League 2018 (Women’s league), where the team emerged second after Telkom hockey team that also took part in the ACCC games and won the title.

The USIU-Africa ladies team, who were debutants in this tournament, registered one win, one draw and four losses. “It was our first continental adventure, a great opportunity for all the players who have definitely benefited from the level of professionalism we experienced during the championship,” said the team captain Ms. Grace Akumu (Bsc. Finance, Junior) in an interview after the tournament.

In a separate interview by NTV upon their return to Kenya John Kabuu the team manager, said the their participation in the tournament has helped the team gained a lot of experience this will improve and strengthen the team come next season to make Spartans better continental contenders.

Dear USIU-Africa Students,

The Management Board hopes you have had a restful holiday and are ready to start classes on Monday, 7th January 2019. It has come to our attention that some claims are circulating about changes to Billing and Debtors Management Policy and policy on Add and Drop Charges. We would like to clarify that these claims are false. It is important that as a learning community we abide by the highest standards of factual accuracy to ensure the well being, reputation and success of our beloved and exceptional University.

Billing and Debtors Management Policy

Tuition and fees are set for each academic year in that year’s budget as approved by the University Council in July following a consultative process that lasts several months. No changes are made during the course of the academic year. Therefore, it is not correct to say tuition and fees were increased for the Spring Semester.

Also, it has always been University policy that tuition and fees are due for payment on or before the first day of every semester. Financial clearance to attend classes and access university facilities upon full payment of tuition and fees or payment of installments for students on the approved payment plan has always been University policy.

Students are reminded that it is their responsibility to sign a payment plan in the event they are unable to clear their tuition and fees in one installment. Whereas some students do sign up for deferred payment, some ignore it and continue to attend classes.

Add and Drop Charges

There has been no policy change for add and drop charges. This policy has always been enforced by the University and the charges are the same as those in previous years and this is clearly indicated in the University Catalogue, in the academic calendar printed and shared on our website…/…/Academic_Calendar_-_2018-2019.pdf and is also shared with all new students and parents during orientation.

The rationale behind add and drop charges is that students are given full control to choose their classes as per the guidelines set out in the University Catalogue for each academic year, and once courses are chosen by students each School begins to prepare the necessary learning materials including library books, program licences, lab materials, as well as allocating faculty and so on. It is also important to note that once students register, they fill up slots for other students who would like to take up the same classes.

Importance of Compliance:

In conclusion, there has been no policy change on tuition and fees. Current policy was established a long time ago. University policy on tuition and fees, and the approved charges for the academic year, are shared with each cohort of new students and their parents or guardians during orientation. Thus, while the policy on tuition and fees is not new, it is important that we periodically emphasize the need for compliance.

Clearly, non-payment of tuition and fees negatively affects University finances and does not support effective service delivery planning. USIU-Africa does not receive funding to manage its operations from either the Government or any other organization.

Let us continue working together in a fiscally responsible manner so that USIU-Africa is the best university in the region in offering high quality services and education to its students.

Please feel free to reach out to the Student Affairs Office or the Finance Office for any further clarification on this matter.

Wishing all of you a pleasant and productive New Year.

Best regards,

The Management Board

Blue Economy Conference VC Paul Zeleza 26112018 02
Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza addresses delegates at a side event of the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference held on November 26 at the University of Nairobi. The event was co-hosted by USIU-Africa together with University of Nairobi, International Organization for Migration, the Ford Foundation and the African Development Bank Group. PHOTO: CHAMS MEDIA

By  Taigu Muchiri

The Sustainable Blue Economy Conference was held on November 26-28 in Nairobi, and brought together the global community of governments, organizations, businesses and the private sector, as well as to individual experts from around the globe.

The two-day conference explored how to harnesses the potential of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to improve the lives of all, particularly people in developing countries, women, youth and indigenous peoples, leverages the latest innovations, scientific advances and best practices to build prosperity while conserving waters for future generations.

The Blue Economy is considered to encompass the sustainable use and conservation of the oceans, seas, lakes, rivers and other water resources. These resources present potential for sustainable and inclusive development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development gives prominence to the Blue Economy’s contribution towards the achievement of sustainable development.

Public Lecture Human Rights Irungu Houghton 27112018 009
Mr. Irungu Houghton (Executive Director, Amnesty International - Kenya) during a Public Lecture organized by the Department of International Relations in the Humanities and Social Sciences on Tuesday, November 27 in the Lecture Theater II. PHOTO:ANTONIO LONGANGI

By Antonio Longangi

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences through the International Relations Program hosted Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director Mr. Irungu Houghton for a public lecture on Tuesday, November 27 at the Chandaria School of Business’ Lecture Theater II. The lecture revolved around the significance of human rights 70 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and locally and global youth engagement in human rights activism.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a historical document consisting of 30 articles underlining universal individual rights. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, as Resolution 217 following a vote by member states including two African countries - Ethiopia and South Africa.

Using South Africa’s embrace of apartheid, and the status of Kenya as a Colony and Protectorate at the time the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, Mr. Houghton elaborated on how individual rights were then second to colonial laws, while locals were subjects and not citizens. 70 years later, the situation has evolved, where all citizens have the equal opportunity to their basic human rights respected and the rule of law upheld.

By Mr. Frank Njenga and Christine Muriithi

The International Relations class IRL2100 visited the offices of the Kenya National Commission of Human Rights (KNCHR) during a study trip on November 29, 2018 as part of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrations across the globe.

The trip was designed to inform students of their human rights and teach them how to react to reported cases of human rights violations, as well as learn the functions of KNCHR and other national human rights institutions.

The trip also appreciated the work that had been put in place to protect human rights in the country since the establishment of the commission. Kenya has made significant strides in protecting human rights through its constitution and the commission appreciated the gains made so far. It was also noted that the Human Rights Day will be observed on December 10, 2018 across the world which honors the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The students were taken through the background of KNCHR, its core mandate and its duties and responsibilities.

The trip also familiarized the students with the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) which has the responsibility to broadly protect, monitor and promote human rights in a given country. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) engages NHRIs to provide advisory and support to the United Nations treaty bodies whose standards are set out in the Paris Principles. These principles relate to the status and functioning of national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights. All national human rights institutions are guided by these principles and submit periodic reports to the state and OHCHR.

By Stephen Ario and Bonface Odhiambo

Three USIU-Africa librarians took part in the just concluded Kenya Association of Library and Information Professionals Conference from November 21-23 in Kisumu. The conference which attracted participants from Kenya, Nigeria, Sweden and Tanzania,

was hinged on the theme: “Information Management Centres’ Tools for Provision, Access, Marketing and Communications”.

This theme was further broken down into four sub-themes:- Children’s Libraries; Library Marketing & Communication; Digital Curation, and Innovations on Traditional & E-media Centres (Case studies).

The three librarians Mr. Stephen Ario, Ms. Ednah Omare and Ms. Beatrice Yebei all presented research papers on the above themes. Mr. Ario’s paper focused on Children’s Libraries as Technology Access Centres (TACs), which explained that children in the 21st century are techno-literate and the adoption of TACs in their libraries is inevitable.

Ms.Omare’s paper focused on Students’ Pain Points in Accessing E-resources in Academic Libraries at USIU-Africa. She argued that challenges faced by students in accessing these resources have not been adequately addressed by most practicing librarians.

By Samuel Irungu

Google finds answers for your queries, Amazon know your preferences, Facebook not only knows your friends but also can help you find the perfect partner. These platforms seems to know what we are thinking almost before we do. Our world has taken on a digital smartness through AI, data, natural language processing, automation, and robots that, although nearly invisible, impact much of what we do.

This digital smartness is projected to have a massive influence on the world economy, adding $15.7 trillion to global GDP by 2030. It will increase productivity and wages, allowing individuals to purchase more and/ or better products.  Automation driven by AI and robotics, is estimated to require the reskilling of the work force.

If smart machines are having such impact on the economy and our profession, what will they mean to higher education? For example, could a chat box be your next Teaching Assistant?

At Beckett University in the United Kingdom, chatbots help prospective students find available courses for study. Georgia State Universiry (GSU) uses an AI chatbots to respond to questions on enrollment and financial aid, handling peak volumes of as many as 2000 calls per day, with 200,000 questions answered. In a situation where the system is less than 95% confident of an answer, the query is passed on to a staff member. The impact goes beyond handling call volumes - GSU estimates that the timely responses to questions helped reduce “summer melt” (i.e., the loss of students who are admitted but not yet registered) by 20%.

Deakin University in Australia has created a platform - Genie - that combine chatbots, AI, voice recognition, and a productive analytics engine to create an intelligent virtual assistant that provides students with advice. They are being tested as English tutors.

As the world around us is getting smarter, what does it mean to be a professional?

The smart machines around us

These increasingly capable systems not only retrieve and present information more quickly and accurately but also solve problems and offer advice. Machine learning allow computers to consume information such as medical records, financial data, purchases and social media and then develop predictions or recommendations. Today’s AI uses brute force computing, enabled by massive amount of data, memory and processing power. Beyond processing instructions at incredible speed, these machines can create their own guidelines and discover patterns invisible to humans.

72hours Film Competition Winners 05122018 01
Three freshmen and their instructor: the team that won the Best Student Short Film Award at the 72Hrs Film Series 2018 competition on Thursday, November 29 pose with their trophy. From left: Collins Akunga (Director), Andrew Ogonji (Actor, Film Editor), Rachael Muthoni (Actress, Production Manager), Assistant Professor of Film and Animation Dr. Rachael Diang’a (Producer) and Achleus Barrys (Scriptwriter). PHOTO:DAN MUCHAI

By Rachael Diang’a

USIU-Africa floored thirteen other film schools in Kenya to win the Best Student Short Film Award at the recently-concluded 72Hrs Film Series 2018 competition held on Thursday, November 29 at the Anga Diamond Cinema, Diamond Plaza in Nairobi. USIU-Africa’s film, Mad Love, impressed a panel of jurists comprising renowned film makers from the France, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Spain, Uruguay and the United States.

72Hrs Film Series is an online Pan African film competition aimed at unveiling the untold African stories, by giving both industry professionals and student filmmakers a platform to tell African stories by Africans, to the world.

The Kenyan edition premiered the series in Africa, and for USIU-Africa, it was timely as its start favorably coincided with the start of the Cinematic Arts training.

Deans Convocation SST SCCCA 28112018 009
Professor Valerie Adema (Dean - School of Science & Technology, and the School of Communication, Cinematic & Creative Arts), delivers her address at the Dean’s Convocation on Wednesday, November 28, at the Chandaria School of Business Lecture Theater I. PHOTO: ANTONIO LONGANGI

By Taigu Muchiri

During the Dean’s Convocation on Wednesday, November 28, Prof. Valerie Adema (Dean,  School of Science and Technology - SST; School of Communication, Cinematic and Creative Arts - SCCCA) announced that the School of Communication plans to initiate the development of the Bachelor of Arts in Documentary Film Production, the Bachelor of Arts in Creative Arts with specializations in Theatre, Music and Dance and Fashion Design,  and the Bachelor of Arts in Health Communication.

The review of the Bachelor of Science in Applied Computer Technology and the Bachelor of Arts in Journalism will commence this academic year, while the Departments of Computing and Cinematic Arts are currently working together to develop a gaming concentration within the Bachelor of Arts in Animation program, in response to market demands for formal training and certification for developers of software games.

During the same period, the Dean announced plans to recruit faculty to teach public relations, software engineering and statistics. Four new faculty will be also be recruited to teach corporate communication, digital communication, film and animation.

Mr Miss USIU Africa 23112018 2802
The top six contestants of the 2018 edition of Mr and Miss USIU-Africa. Front Row : Mr. USIU-Africa Tonny Bach (IBA Junior) and Miss USIU-Africa Janade Githunguri (Hotel and Restaurant Management Junior). Standing from left: O’Brien Bloom, IST, Sophomore (Mr. Community Service); King’ara Ngeene, IBA Sophomore (Mr. Congeniality); Clinton Ochieng Odhiambo, Finance Junior (Mr. Talent); Abdullahi Ahmed Omar, Applied Computer Technology Sophomore (2nd Runner-up); Wesley Casmir Ouma, Journalism Junior (1st Runner-up); Peres Odumo, International Relations Sophomore (1st Runners up); Nazra Joyce Nyangwara, IBA Freshman (2nd Runner-up); Ann Mutio Kiilu, IBA Junior (Miss Community Service); Ashley Wambura Kamau, IR Junior (Miss Talent) and Joy Njeri Kariuki, IR Junior (Miss Congeniality). PHOTO: ANTONIO LONGANGI

By Ernest Anguru

Mr. Tonny Bach an International Business Administration (Marketing) Junior and Ms. Janade Noni a Hotel and Restaurant Management Junior beat 12 other contestants from diverse backgrounds to be crowned Mr. and Miss. USIU-Africa 2019 respectively, on Thursday, November 22 at Garden City Mall.

Based on the theme, “Philanthropy through beauty”, this year’s proceeds will be channeled towards Altawoon Primary School in the informal Nairobi settlement of  Korogocho, to facilitate building of additional classrooms.

Speaking following his win, Mr. Bach noted that the pageant had encouraged him to become more sociable and less introverted. “I believe every person to be unique in their own way, and to me that is beautiful. I would like to believe that my approach towards tasks and challenges, even if not superior to others, was of a desired Attitude,” he said.