By Innocent Anguyo
Renowned media scholar and former New Vision journo Dr. William Tayebwa is the new head of the Makerere University department of Journalism and Communication (JCO dept.).
Tayebwa takes over from Dr. Aaron Mushengyezi, who ascended a step higher to fill the opening of Dean of the School of Languages, Literature and Communication, created after Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang was appointed the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs.
New Vision learnt of the change of leadership at the department on Thursday in a workshop at Protea Hotel in Kampala, organised to discuss the influence of China in Uganda.
Regularly, though at times obliviously criticised for emphasising on theory and churning out graduates who lack practical skills, media practitioners see the ascendance of Tayebwa to the wheel of the department as an opportunity to give a practical perspective to all programs.
Francis Kagolo, an award-winning Public Affairs Journalist with New Vision, Tayebwa’s student of Media Ethics in the 2005/06 academic year says his former tutor’s appointment gives the department a new lease of life.
“Being the oldest mass communication department in Uganda which has trained most journalists and transformed journalism in the country, it is good that JCO dept. is now headed by a person who is both an accomplished media scholar and practitioner,” reiterated Kagolo.
Makerere University started its mass communication degree programme in 1988. The programme was run under the Department of Literature for 10 years.
It was in 1998 that mass communication (now JCO dept.)Became a fully-fledged department in the then Faculty of Arts, now the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Tayebwa profile, as obtained from Makerere University
Dr. Tayeebwa holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Communication [Peace Journalism and Communication] from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada (2012).
He obtained a Master of Philosophy in Media Studies [Environmental Journalism and Communication] from University of Oslo, Norway (2003); and a Bachelor of Mass Communication from Makerere University, Uganda (1999).
In addition, he holds advanced Diplomas in Philosophy, Spirituality and French from Tanzania, Switzerland and France respectively.
Tayeebwa has taught at Makerere University since September 2000. His areas of teaching at graduate and undergraduate levels include: development communication; media theory;
Others are research methods; environmental journalism; peace journalism; media ethics; investigative and public affairs reporting; information management; as well as computer aided research and reporting (CARR).
Prior to full-time academia, Dr. Tayeebwa practiced journalism at The Crusader which folded in 1998, The New Vision (1999), and The Monitor (2000-2004).
He has also edited several professional/institutional magazines and newsletters in Uganda as well as student publications in Norway and Canada.
He has provided commentary and analysis mainly in Swahili and French on key media issues within the African Great Lakes region for the British Broadcasting Service (BBC); the German Broadcasting Service (DeutcheWelle); Voice of America (VOA) French Service; as well as to several Radio and Television stations in Montreal, Canada.
Dr. Tayeebwa’s areas of research and consultancy include the nexus between media with: environment, peace and conflict, health and agriculture.