Message of Director, Community Services and University –Industry linkage directorate
Arsi University was established in 2014/15 based on the community need. Since its establishment, the University has been delivering more than 120 different community service projects to the community in the university mandate areas i.e. Arsi, West Arsi and East Shoa Zone. In addition, the university has collaborated and created more than 90 linkages with different industries & institutions, has been providing relevant consultancy services, technology transfer activities , joint researches, and Internship/externship activities.
This year (2021), the university has conducted 6 year community services & UIL performance evaluation. This performance evaluation has been made at department, college and university level. Then, significant numbers of projects (from the projects implemented during the past 6 years) have been selected for field evaluation, standard check list has been prepared, performance evaluation team composed of senior academic staffs from each college has been established, required resources and facilities arranged and intensive field evaluation has been conducted. Following this, stakeholder discussion has been organized, 6 years performance evaluation results presented to stakeholders, detail discussion has been made on, comments collected from participated stakeholders and thematized and then incorporated in to the directorate subsequent years planning.
In the process of this performance evaluation, we learnt strengths as well as gaps related to the community services and UIL activities which we have been doing since the university establishment. Inadequate engagement/ collaboration with the large communities in the university mandate area is one major gap. The other is, there are limited impacts of the community services and UIL activities were seen. Results of the evaluation also showed the departments, Colleges/schools and university inadequately guided and supported staffs on how to build their capacity to plan and deliver quality, relevant, accessible and equitable community engagement activities.
From now onward we will be upgrading the principle of community service to community engagement in which our university will collaborate with its larger communities (local, regional, national and global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources so that we can successfully respond to the shortcomings mentioned above. This is possible by fully implementing Community Engagement Sub-Program listed below fully
Learning with the community: students and teachers apply their knowledge and skills in a chosen community to improve the lives of that community. It is principle of ‘learning’ with ‘service’
Researching with the community: the community’s own knowledge is integrated into the design and conduct of the research in the University.
Knowledge sharing with the community: transporting ‘knowledge’ out of the hallowed portals of academic institutions and disseminate it within communities.
Devising new curriculum and courses: consultations with local communities/students/community-based organizations, to design new curricula and courses that respond to specific needs of the community.
Including practitioners as teachers: Local community elders, women leaders, indigenous peoples, and civil society practitioners have enormous practical knowledge on a wide variety of issues and inviting such practitioners inside the university to co-teach courses
Social innovation by students: student-initiated learning projects which have a social impact can be supported(In consultation with student unions, associations and clubs
For this to be successful, staffs should be able to plan and deliver quality, relevant, accessible and equitable community engagement activities. Departments, Colleges/schools and university should guide and supporte staffs on how to build their capacity to plan and deliver quality, relevant, accessible and equitable community engagement activities. Hence I kindly ask the staffs and all stakeholders to shift to community engagement principle to collaborate and deal with community problems with our maximum potential so that we can significantly contribute in improving lives of our community.
Finally, I would like to thank community, staff, department, colleges/school, Industries , institutions and other stakeholders for their massive contribution in the community service and University-Industry linkage activities the university has been doing since its establishment.
Gebi Husein Jima (MPH), Asst. Prof. of Epidemiology
Director, community service and University-Industry linkage Directorate
Institutional email address: email@example.com
Office Phone: +251-22-331-78-15