By Conan Businge
As Prof. Ddumba Ssentamu takes over office this coming week, he has vowed not to crash reforms which had been initiated by his predecessor Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba.
“I will make sure I proceed and implement reforms which had been initiated and planned under Prof. Baryamureeba.
“There are a number of good reforms which he had started and I will make sure they are implemented during my time,” Prof. Ddumba told New Vision in an exclusive interview.
He is expected to take over full charge of the university on Thursday this coming week from Prof. Barya, who has just resigned from the 90-year-old university.
Prof. Ddumba has been the vice chairman of the Change Management Committee under Prof. Barya’s reign, a factor which will certainly give him an impetus in his reforms implementation plans.
In his other plans for Makerere, Prof. Ddumba wants to improve the university’s governance, corporate image, financial control, and also turn the university’s laboratories into technology and innovations hubs.
Part of his plan is to improve the quality of teaching and learning at the university, review field attachment programmes, strengthen the office of the dean of students and promote a proactive and positive relationship with the media.
He had on several occasions acted as the deputy vice chancellor in charge of finance and administration.
Besides being once a member of the University Senate for over two decades, he has been the head of economics since 1998.
The Senate is the institution’s chief academic organ.
He also says that “there is need to create endowment funds, alumni foundations and Chairs.”
Most of the public universities’ problems originate from poor funding. As part of his ‘Statement of Interest’ he submitted to be given the university’s top administrative job, Prof. Ddumba plans to have the university’s directorate of investment strengthened in terms of human resource capacity.
In the same line, he looks to increasing the income from funded research, projects and consultancy work; by developing a business and investment arm of the university.
“There is also need to improve the internal control systems to curb excessive expenditure.”
He also wants to re-organize and revitalize the functionality of finance and accounts department.
According to him, for Makerere to be competitive, it needs to strengthen its local and international networks through collaborations, and also have staff exchange programmes.
Prof. Ddumba, who has supervised over 80 dissertations and also about 30 publications to his name, says there is need to improve the quality and output of research activities which “have remained minimal for years.”
He explains that less than 2% of the entire university budget goes to support research. “There is need to strengthen the resource base for reach programmes.”
Based on his experience, Prof. Ddumba is believed to be very instrumental and experienced to run Makerere University efficiently, picking on from the momentum it had picked from the previous vice chancellors.
He has been chairman of Centenary Bank for over 10 years.
Over the years has also served at the University of Waterloo (Canada), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of Legon (Ghana), University of Swaziland, Nkwame Nkurumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana) and University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) as external examiner, part-time lecturer or external Vetter for staff promotions.
He has consulted for various UN agencies including UNDP, FAO, WHO, WFP, and others like USAID and the Swedish Government, among others.