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Reflecting on my one decade as a university teacher

Reflecting on my one decade as a university teacher

As I reflect on my remarkable journey at Fountain University, Osogbo, celebrating a decade marks a significant milestone in my career as an academic, educator, and advocate for progressive university education. It’s a journey that traversed both moments of challenge and triumph, yet sculpted my growth and development in immeasurable ways.

Arriving as an Assistant Lecturer in 2013, I embarked on a path that would wind through diverse roles, each contributing to the tapestry of my professional life. The highs were illuminated by moments of achievement- seamless promotions across the cadre up to Senior Lecturer in 2023; winning the COMAS Researcher of the Year Award (2022) and appointments into different offices- stand as a testament to the progress made over the years. Each step in my career progression symbolizes the dedication and effort invested in advancing within the institution.

One of the defining chapters of my career was serving as the pioneer coordinator for the Department of Mass Communication in 2013. This singular move made me see, with my sittings at senate sittings and college boards, the lacuna we have to fill in offering an empowering education to our subscribers.  Steering a new academic frontier came with its share of challenges and triumphs. This role laid the foundation for what was to follow—a two-year tenure as the head of the department. Leading and managing the department was both a learning curve and an opportunity to influence the academic ecosystem. There are many students as evidence of impact. Messages and calls received from within and outside Nigeria have served as impetus to stay on this course.

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The interventions came in various forms- competitions, practical based teaching, industry collaboration and community outreaches- culminating in different programmes such as creativity challenge; guest lecture facilitation and advertising pitch. All aimed to let the students see the boundless potentials they have in them and utilize them.

My engagement as Sub Dean and Managing Editor of the Journal of Management and Social Sciences and subsequent rise to the Chairman of the Editorial Board were a chance to shape the academic discourse within the university. These roles allowed me to contribute meaningfully to the academic community, fostering a platform for scholarly exchange and dissemination of knowledge.

Passion for educational reform and bridging the gap between academia and industry has been a guiding force throughout my journey. I’ve championed a curriculum that emphasizes practical, skills-based learning, ensuring graduates are better equipped to navigate the demands of the professional world. This commitment to improving the educational system stems from a desire to see universities deliver more than traditional academic knowledge. This dictated my short stay at Opolo Global Innovation learning how to foster innovation across universities and underserved communities. I have advocated for a more empowering entrepreneurship and an education that makes the students innovators and problem solvers. This, in my very strong opinion, would lead to shared prosperity and position the universities in their rightful place as an ecosystem for talent management.

My research and publications have been an integral part of this journey, contributing to the academic landscape and advancing knowledge in my field. These scholarly contributions (17 journal articles, 1 textbook, 1 co-edited book and 180 popular articles) have been a channel to bridge theory and practice, aligning classroom teachings with real-world applications.

The projects I have executed as community service have demonstrated my capability to understand the pain points of our country and proffer data-driven solutions to them. In 2018, together with my partners, I followed the campaign atmosphere of the Osun Gubernatorial Election to determine the level to which political parties and their candidates were issue based in their campaigns. A similar study occurred in 2022 (Osun again) and 2023 Presidential Elections. These were properly documented in policy briefs, newspaper articles and published reports. Again, we have used both basic and applied research skills acquired over a decade to serve our country.

However, no milestone in this journey was accomplished alone. The unwavering support, encouragement, and guidance from colleagues, mentors, and students have been pivotal. Their belief in my vision and their collaborative efforts have been the bedrock upon which my achievements rest. From fellow academics who shared insights and inspired growth to administrators who facilitated opportunities, each played a significant role in my journey. On this note, I thank the past Vice Chancellors of Fountain University- Prof Bashiru Ademola Raji (who employed me as an Assistant Lecturer in 2013); Prof Usman Abdullateef Blackson; Prof Amidu Olalekan Sanni- and the current VC, Prof. Ramota Olayinka Karim, a virtuous woman and seasoned administrator for their helping a career to grow.

I also appreciate Dr. Olusegun Fariudeen Liadi, the Acting Dean, College of Management & Social Sciences and the Sub Dean, Mojeed Adekunle Animashaun for being the greatest influence and company on this exciting journey of a career. I won’t forget to thank Mutiu Iyanda Lasisi, my friend, brother, business partner and a sounding board for my ideas. Together, we have worked on projects both at sub regional and national and international levels.  I celebrate two academic mentors who have had impact on this 10-year journey- Prof. Ayo Ojebode and Dr. Yinka Egbokhare. Prof. Ojebode influenced my research leaning while Dr Egbokhare supervised my PhD. I thank you both for being pillars of support. I thank all my colleagues at the department with whom I have tread this path without looking back.

As I soberly reflect on a decade at Fountain University, Osogbo, I am humbled and grateful for the experiences, the challenges, the growth, and the unwavering support that have shaped this remarkable journey. The next phase promises new challenges, new opportunities, and continued dedication to advancing the course of education. I look forward with renewed vigour to continue this journey, contributing to an educational landscape that nurtures and empowers the leaders of tomorrow in the true sense of it.

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