Hello Prospective UoM students! One of the best thing with UoM is that the Vice Chancellor is very open with students and does not hesitate to listen to their queries as well as in taking bold actions to get things done for the welfare and progress of the prestigious academic institution.
I have contacted Professor Konrad Morgan BSc (Hons), PhD (Edin), MBCS CITP, MBPsS via email and here are some answers to my questions:
Ashesh: After 1 year as You being the CEO/ Vice Chancellor of UoM, what are the achievements of which you are really proud of?
Prof Konrad: After 18 months as VC I am proud of a number of things –
reducing some student fees,
- establishing the first regular meetings between a UoM VC with the Students Union,
- removing the two permanent guards that were assigned to the VC so students and staff get easier access to the VC,
- implementing the first fire drills in 40 years,
- training of security staff not only in how to better serve the campus community but also in first aid,
- provision of night lighting to minimise dark areas on campus,
- introducing traffic calming road ripples,
- safety barriers on the public road through the campus,
- doubling the internet speed for UoM,
- providing science direct and other digital literature resources for students and staff,
- creation of a new 100 space car park,
- fitting air conditioning into lecture rooms,
- additional washroom facilities,
- clean drinking water dispensers around campus,
- CCTV installation at high risk areas,
- introducing a paperless Senate meeting (to reduce on waste paper),
- introducing a medical insurance scheme for staff where UoM pays 50% of the fees,
- delegating financial budgets to each faculty and providing budget information to Deans for the first time,
- delegating holiday and leave authority to the faculty,
- introducing staff development budgets and schemes to encourage staff to improve their skills by attending conferences and courses,
- introducing “knowledge sharing week” where staff exchange their skills with each other and staff get training in areas of their personal interest,
- providing each faculty with 1M Rs in research funds,
- making sure that all staff publications are presented on the UoM web site,
- redesigning the UoM Web Site, increasing staff levels at the Finance section to improve speed and efficiency of financial processing,
- purchase of new lab and office equipment and conducting the first ever health and safety audit of UoM in 40 years.
There are many other administrative and organisational changes but I will stop here, for a more complete list one can consult the annual report. http://www.uom.ac.mu/ABOUTUS/AnnualReport/index.html
Ashesh: What are the new changes , improvements to the tertiary education sector in Mauritius which you would like to highlight?
Prof Konrad: As for improvements to the Tertiary Sector the New Ministry and TEC have been instrumental in providing UoM with the financing needed for all the improvements that I have mentioned above and these changes would not have been possible without their generous support. In addition the Ministry has created a National Research Fund of 100M Rs and has appointed 3 National Research Chairs. The Government has announced a plan to make Tertiary Education a pillar of the Mauritian Economy and has announced the target of having a graduate in each family. Areas of land have been earmarked for new campuses around the island and considerable investment is being made in the future of the Tertiary Sector.
Ashesh: Finally, how do you find Mauritius? Have you been used to the Mauritian Culture – do you like the M’tian Cuisine, the people, the diversity present here?
Prof Konrad: With respect to my experiences with Mauritius I think you are blessed to have one of the most beautiful locations in the world, with a wonderfully dynamic and hard working people (and great food from a variety of cultures). Having visited some of the neighbouring regions I can say that Mauritius is clearly one of the most advanced countries in the region and looks set for a great future in terms of its economic growth. I am honoured to have had the chance to work here and I hope that I have made things a little bit better for staff and students by my presence.
Well, you feel a bit awkward wearing the gown due to its size. It was very nice to listen to the VC concerning the ceremony: practical tips – walk slowly the stairs to be on stage, avoid falling as its a bit uncomfortable with the gown, SMILE as you shake my hand as this photo taken will follow you throughout your life. The commencement speech given by the Chief Guest also included lots of practical tips as we will be joining the labour market – for eg. don’t change jobs unless you have done a minimum of 2-3 years.. and philosophical thoughts.
The milestone eventually occurred:
The class group photo and throwing of Caps in the air!! Plus Lots of photo taking going on before returning the gown which one takes on loan for around Rs. 550.
Then you receive by post, the letter from the Registrar:
I am pleased to inform you that, upon recommendation of the Board of the Faculty of Law & Management, the Chairman of the University Senate has approved on <date> that you be conferred the <degree> of University of Mauritius with <class:division>. Congratulations!
Accompanied with the letter is the Final Transcript of your Final Performance in all the modules and also the Marks obtained for each module (continuous assessment + final exams), in addition to the Grade earned. The third letter page will list you the calculated GPA on a yearly basis where you can deduce on which class:division you rank.
Then finally, you organise a class farewell party – nice dinner
and buy gifts for your Lectures or send Thank You emails to all those who have contributed towards your academic journey.
After about 3 weeks you will have to be present at the Digital Studio (like the one near Marye Justin Stadium) to collect your photos. You will have to choose from lots of set for the ones you wish to buy and take the pictures with your parents and friends in it. The lady will propose you the tariff for ‘photo aggrandisement and framing’ or doing 2:1 photos for about Rs. 1500 and add some nice words at the end of the photos like: <your course name> <year><university of mauritius> or Thank you mum and dad for your blessings etc.
That was it, Nice University Time! Bon courage to all the future graduates :)
The most awaited moment in University student life arrives finally: The UoM Graduation Ceremony 2011!
1 May 2011: Update – the photos are available on my Flickr Set: http://www.flickr.com/photos/curiousengine/sets/72157626324541744/