Towards Professional Excellence at Kenyatta University
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This paper is written by two members of staff, each of whom has served no less than ten years in Kenyatta University and who have carefully watched the institution wax and wane. There is no doubt that Kenyatta University, one of Kenya's largest public universi ties, is going through an unprecedented crisis at the moment. We have written this article in good faith and candour, believing in the need for, and importance of self-examination, if the problems facing this university are to be solved. The concept of self examination, as we understand i t, requires that we ask and attempt to critically answer some very fundamental questions. What is the prevailing state of affairs at Kenyatta University? What does Kenyatta University, as an institution of higher learning, aspire to become? How best can Kenyatta University become what it ought to be? To address these questions, we see a real need for openness, honesty, tolerance, and an atmosphere for dialogue and free sharing of information. We assume, as we must, that all of us in this workshop are passionately seeking after truth about Kenyatta University and that we are ready to do the utmost in our effort toward that end. We have written this paper in the belief that the same candid spirit of self-examination will prevail and guide us in the deliberation of this workshop on 'Towards Professional Excellence: Improving Teaching and Research Ca pabilities at Kenyatta University' so that our institution will become once more the proud and respected institution it used to be with respect to academic excellence. Creating a lively, hard working and competent university campus that can be relied upon to produce the expertise, integrity and imaginative leadership needed to maintain, and hopefully, to accelerate the post-indepen dence record of development in Kenya is a never-ending task that calls for a critical review of our everyday work, whether we are teachers, administrators or equally essential supporting staff. As in all walks of life, there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially in attitudes and behaviour, not least if we wish collectively to respond quickly and thoughtfully to the changing needs of the nation. We hope the Mombasa meeting will not be the only occasion for Kenyatta University to engage in critical self-examination. The price of excellence is eternal vigilance. Ariel's words to Gonzalo in Shakespeare's Tempest should serve as a clarion for us to be vigilant and not complacent. The words run as shown on the following page.