News Archives

Africa University appoints four new deans

 


Africa University appoints four new deans

April 15, 2005

By Andra Stevens*

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS)—The board of directors of United Methodist-related Africa University has made school history by appointing women as two of its four new academic deans.

All four appointees came from within the university, and naming female deans is a first for the 13-year-old institution. The directors, meeting April 5-7, appointed deans for the faculties of agriculture and natural resources; humanities and social sciences; management and administration; and theology.

"These appointments have come at an important juncture in the life of this institution," said Rukudzo Murapa, the university’s vice chancellor. "Africa University is an acknowledged leader in higher education on the continent. We want to stay in the forefront with relevant programs and a cutting-edge approach to service delivery.

"The board has expressed its confidence in these individuals as key actors in ensuring the success of strategic new initiatives to enhance Africa University’s effectiveness and the sustainability of its operations."

Thokozile Chitepo and the Rev. Beauty Maenzanise have been appointed deans of the faculty of humanities and social sciences and the faculty of theology, respectively. Both women are Zimbabweans. Also named as deans were Fanuel Tagwira, agriculture and natural resources, and Jean-Gilbert Ilunga, management and administration.

Chitepo is interested in using research to drive solutions and knowledge of social issues in Africa. She joined the staff in 2004 as acting dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences and was confirmed by the board of directors, effective April 7. She has more than 15 years of experience in the development sector, working with local, regional and international organizations. Before joining the university, she was program director responsible for the W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s southern Africa Program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education (science) from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, and earned both her master’s degree and a doctorate in educational psychology from McGill University in Montreal.

Maenzanise returned to Zimbabwe last July to join the faculty of theology at Africa University. She is the first African woman to hold a doctorate in liturgical studies, earned at the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at United Methodist-related Drew University in Madison, N.J. In 1998, she was identified as a promising scholar/leader and supported by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry with a United Methodist Women of Color Scholarship. She holds advanced degrees from Drew University.

"Speaking as a businesswoman and as an African, I think this is absolutely great," said Grace Muradzikwa, chief executive officer of Nicoz Diamond Insurance Zimbabwe and member of the university’s board of directors.

"Increasingly, we are seeing African women challenging for positions of leadership and performing extremely well in these positions. The appointment of two female deans puts Africa University in the vanguard of institutions of higher learning and confirms it as a very progressive institution."

Tagwira had served as acting dean of the faculty of agriculture and natural resources since 2004. A soil scientist, he joined Africa University as a senior lecturer in 1992. He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from the National University of Lesotho, a master’s degree in soil chemistry from the University of Reading in England, and a doctorate in soil chemistry and fertility from the University of Zimbabwe, in collaboration with Michigan State University.

In addition to his academic responsibilities, Tagwira has served Africa University in numerous capacities, including leading financial aid and computer services committees. His work on new crops, aimed at improving the incomes and nutrition of smallholder farmers, is groundbreaking. The university named him "Researcher of the Year" in 2002. He is widely published and sought after internationally as a speaker and facilitator. He succeeds founding dean Athanasius Mphuru, promoted to deputy vice chancellor.

Ilunga, a Congolese-American, served as acting dean of faculty of management and administration for eight months before being named to his post. An economist, he took over leadership of the business faculty in July. He joined the university’s faculty in 1996 and has been a contributor to program and outreach activities. He aims to position the business school better to help African nations struggling with issues of privatization, productivity and efficiency.

"My faculty is set for very big things," Ilunga said. "The priorities outlined in its strategic plan include more action research and the creation of an African center for productivity and efficiency management."

Ilunga, who holds both a master’s of arts degree and a doctorate degree in economics from Southern Illinois University, hopes to focus faculty research on the economic performance of African parastatals – state corporations.

United Methodist-related Africa University is in Mutare, Zimbabwe. The university opened in March 1992 and offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and diplomas in a range of disciplines, including agriculture and natural resources, education, health sciences, humanities and social sciences, management and administration, peace, leadership and governance and theology. It has more than 1,200 students from 20 African countries.

*Stevens is director of information and public affairs at Africa University.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

Ask Now

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email:*
ZIP/Postal Code:*
Question:*

*InfoServ ( about ) is a service of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add this address to your list of approved senders.

Would you like to ask any questions about this story?ASK US NOW


Contact Us

This will not reach a local church, district or conference office. InfoServ* staff will answer your question, or direct it to someone who can provide information and/or resources.

Phone
(optional)

*InfoServ ( about ) is a ministry of United Methodist Communications located in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. 1-800-251-8140

Not receiving a reply?
Your Spam Blocker might not recognize our email address. Add InfoServ@umcom.org to your list of approved senders.