The outgoing Principal College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Prof. J.Y.T. Mugisha has today, 8th February 2022 handed over to the new Principal, Dr Tumps Winston Ireeta. The handover ceremony held in the Seminar Room at JICA was witnessed by, among others, the Representative of the Director Human Resources, Mr. Mujuni Tayari Deus; the Representative of the University Secretary, Ms. Consolata Komugisha; the Director Internal Audit, Mr. Walter Yorac Nono; the Deputy Principal CoNAS, Prof. Fredrick Jones Muyodi; and the Deans and Heads of Department at CoNAS. Prof. Mugisha has held the position since April 2013.
Dr Ireeta was appointed by the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma on recommendation of the University Senate and Council following a rigorous search process. He will serve a four-year term effective 1st February 2022.
As per the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions (Management of Constituent Colleges of Makerere University) Statute, 2012, the Principal is the chief administrative, academic and financial officer of the College. He/she is responsible to the Senate and University Council for promoting and maintaining academic excellence, efficiency and order of the College. The College of Natural Sciences is composed of 2 Schools, 7 departments and several administrative Units. These include; the School of Physical Sciences and the School of Biosciences. The departments under the School of Physical Sciences are; Chemistry, Physics, Geology and Petroleum Studies, and Mathematics. The School of Biosciences is composed of 3 departments namely; Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences; Plant Sciences, Microbiology & Biotechnology; and Biochemistry and Sports Sciences. During his tenure as Principal, CoNAS, Dr Ireeta will provide leadership to over 2,000 students and 153 members of staff in the aforementioned Units, including the College Registrar’s Office, Human Resource Office, Office of the Bursar, Procurement, Library and Communications.
At the handover ceremony, the outgoing Principal, Prof. J.Y.T. Mugisha congratulated Dr Ireeta upon his appointment and briefed him on the general composition and assets of the College. In his presentation, he noted that the College is well established with physical infrastructural facilities including lecture space, teaching laboratories, ICT laboratories, and a fully furnished library. He also briefed the incoming principal on the specialised facilities for students’ practical teaching and research. These include; the Herbarium, Botanical Gardens and the Mushroom Training Facility; the Central Diagnostics Laboratories under the African Development Bank HEST Project, the Hi-tech Bioinformatics Laboratory in the Department of Mathematics; the Natural History Museum and Aquarium in the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences; the Forensic ICT Laboratory; Solar Energy and Seismic Network in the Department of Physics; a Science Workshop; Seismic Laboratory; and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Laboratory in the Department of Geology and Petroleum Studies.
He also shared details on the undergraduate and graduate programmes in the College, highlighting the newly approved ones namely; 1) Bachelor of Science, 2) Bachelor of Sports Science, 3) Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology, 4) Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology, 5) Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Aquaculture, 6) Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Geosciences and Production, 7) Master of Science in Petroleum Geosciences and Production, 8) Master of Science in Geology, 9) Master of Science in Physics, 10) Master of Science in Biochemistry, 11) Master of Science in Zoology, and 13) Master of Science in Botany.
Highlighting the achievements over the years, the outgoing Principal noted that research output at the College had tremendously increased. “The College has produced over 549 publications since 2010. This is attributed to an increase in research funding and the fact that many members of staff have upgraded with the number of PhDs at 154 in 2020. In addition, staff in the College have continued to attract research funding and this has contributed to growth in scientific publications,” he noted, urging the incoming principal to maintain and further strengthen the academic and research partnerships.
He also pointed out that the College was debt free and did not accumulate arrears, an issue that many colleges are grappling with. Other achievements included a steady increase in the number of students graduating from the College, establishment of a grants office and improvement in staff qualifications over the years.
He however expressed dismay at the declining number of technicians at the College with serious repercussions on practical training. “The number of technicians at the College has drastically reduced from 93 in 2010 to 43 in 2020. There is need to reverse this trend if science is to have good impact,” he noted, calling on the University Management and the Directorate of Human Resources to urgently intervene to resolve the challenge. Other challenges highlighted included the decreasing student numbers and slow adaptability to Open, Distance and e-Learning (ODeL).
Prof. Mugisha appreciated the Deans, Heads of Department and all members staff and students of CoNAS for the support and cordial working relationship during his tenure.
In his remarks, the incoming Principal, Dr Tumps Winston Ireeta appreciated the outgoing Principal for his mentorship and visionary leadership that has enabled CoNAS to advance to greater heights. He pledged to carry forward the good works, calling on the Deans and Heads of Department to support him to further advance the mandate of the College. “Our clients - the students, parents, and development partners expect a lot from us. We need to work as a team to deliver on our mandate. Under my leadership, I will maintain an open door policy and teamwork for us to serve our clients better,” he noted.
Addressing the meeting, the Representative of the Director Human Resources, Mr Mujuni Tayari Deus commended the outgoing Principal for his dedication and outstanding service. He congratulated the incoming Principal upon his appointment and urged him to continue to actively engage the Directorate on all human resource affairs at the College.
Similarly, the Director Internal Audit, Mr. Walter Yorac Nono appreciated the outgoing Principal and congratulated the new Principal upon the appointment. He commended the outgoing Principal for maintaining a debt-free college during his tenure.
The Representative of the University Secretary, Ms Consolata Komugisha commended the outgoing Principal for the great service, noting that he had effectively delivered on his mandate. She congratulated the new principal and urged him to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps, actively engaging staff, explaining to them the issues at hand and managing their expectations, especially in times of crisis.
On behalf of staff and students of CoNAS, the Dean School of Biosciences, Dr Joseph Kyambadde paid tribute to the outgoing Principal, appreciating the time he has invested to ensure the College gets to greater heights, and acknowledging his support and wise guidance. He also congratulated the incoming Principal and pledged to support him.
About Dr Tumps Winston Ireeta
Dr Tumps Winston Ireeta is an Associate Professor and former Head of the Department of Physics at Makerere University, with 19 years of Teaching and Research experience. He holds PhD in Physics from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, MSc in Physics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and a Bachelor of Science of Makerere University.
He has supervised a number of undergraduate projects and postgraduate students, internally and externally, and has over 20 peer-reviewed publications.
He has served on various committees of the University and he is currently a member of the University Council. He Board Member, African Materials Research Society from August 2019, a member of Optical Society of America (OSA) and, a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Photonics Society.
He is a reviewer for; the South African Journal of Science, the National Research Foundation, South Africa, Optics Letters, an Optical Society of America Journal, the South African Institute of Physics (SAIP), the British Journal of Mathematics and Computer Science.
Dr Ireeta is also an External Examiner for; Department of Physics, Busitema University, Uganda; Department of Physics, University of Eldoret, Kenya; Department of Physics, Kyambogo University, Uganda; Department of Physics, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda; Department of Physics, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Department of Physics, Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe; and the Department of Physics, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
More about Dr Ireeta at: https://observer.ug/education/53097-ireeta-makerere-s-new-fast-rising-star.html