Professor Vincent Kakembo, the Vice Chancellor of Muteesa I Royal University (MRU) is formerly a Professor in the Geosciences Department and Deputy Director, Centre for African Conservation Ecology (ACE), Nelson Mandela University, South Africa. He completed his MSc and PhD at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, specialising in the areas of Remote Sensing and Geomorphological studies. He was inducted as a fellow of the Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS) in the category of Physical Sciences. He was also appointed as a Research Associate at the Nelson Mandela University for the period 2021 to 2024.
He has won 10 research grants from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa and 2 grants from the South Africa Netherlands Partnership for Development (SANPAD); published over 50 articles in accredited journals and 6 book chapters; supervised 14 PhDs and 16 MScs; addressed 27 and 22 international and local conferences respectively.
He is rated at level C1 by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, as an established scientific researcher in a specialized field, during the Evaluation and Rating period 2019 – 2022. He has won a scholarship for academic training in Germany, tenable at the University of Oldenburg on behalf of the German Exchange Service (DAAD), 2010 – 2013.
Since joining MRU as Vice Chancellor in June 2019, Professor Kakembo has spearheaded the application for a Charter for the MRU from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE). At this stage, final documentation for Charter application has been submitted, in respect of the responses to a few outstanding issues raised by the NCHE.
He has also overseen the refurbishment of the engineering department at the Kirumba-Masaka main Campus, where an array of modern equipment has been purchased and installed. Consequently, the Degree programmes of the Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering have been accredited by the NCHE. The MRU is currently admitting students in these programmes for the subsequent academic years.
The establishment of the online teaching and learning system at the MRU and subsequent accreditation by the NCHE, of the MRU Open Distance and e-Learning (ODeL) system has been a remarkable milestone during Professor Kakembo’s tenure. The system has enabled the MRU to cope with the dictates of the pandemic induced new normal, by ensuring continuity of teaching and learning. As a result, examinations for the first semester of the 2020/2021 academic year have been conducted online.
Professor Kakembo has also provided leadership and support in the area of research and innovation. His proactive role in the establishment of the MRU Research and Graduate Centre, and participation in responding to calls for research grants has enhanced MRU’s research profile.
THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE AND OPTIONS AT MUTEESA I ROYAL UNIVERSITY
Muteesa I Royal University (MRU) has now come of age, with the unfailing and continued assistance provided by Ssaabasajja Kabaka, its founder. Consequently, MRU ranks 25 among 69 institutions, ahead of several government sponsored Universities. First and foremost, all academic programmes on offer at MRU are accredited by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE). The MRU has also submitted to the NCHE all the final documentation required for Charter acquisition. A Charter is evidence that the University meets the requirements and standards of academic excellence set by the NCHE.
Notwithstanding the disruptions induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, MRU has maintained continuity in teaching and learning using the Open Distance and ELearning (ODeL) facility at the MRU, which was accredited by the NCHE. This has enabled the Ssaabasajja’s institution to complete 1st and 2nd semester work. MRU is one of the few Universities that have successfully conducted examinations via the ODeL facility. Online teaching and learning is a paradigm shift that introduces students to technology enhanced education, responsive to the 4th industrial revolution. Indeed, many of our student outputs will find themselves having to get online based overseas employment.
The student numbers at MRU permit us to give individual attention to students. Subsequently, one-on-one attention is given to them in the form of supervision of internship programmes, practical sessions and school practice. The feedback we have obtained lately from organisations which have hosted our students for internships is that ‘we are highly satisfied with students from MRU with regard to their training’. Flagship programmes housed in our respective faculties outlined below, are highly sought after. This is borne out by the high marketability of student outputs from our academic programmes.