Hensard University founded by the Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation, and Bayelsa State’s first private university, is berthed with a package of innovations that will make it a university of practical relevance in the global space of ideas. Led by Dileep Kumar, a former Deputy Vice Chancellor of Nile University, and a seasoned professor of strategy with a proven track record, the university explains why its cutting edge or unique selling points make it an institution of first choice, and why deserve the attention of the academia and the incoming students. NDUKA NWOSU reports:
something new is happening in Bayelsa State. Its first private university has been berthed in Toru-Orua, Sagbama LGA of the state. On the driver’s seat is a renowned Professor of Strategy, Dileep Kumar as its pioneer Vice Chancellor.
Kumar is coming to Hensard with an intimidating record of accomplishment. He is described as a Professor of Strategy and Organisational Behaviour, “a highly sought-after scholar, having traversed many countries and continents as a teacher of unusual brilliance including Nile University where he was a Deputy Vice Chancellor.” Kumar’s forays and accomplishments are said to align with those of Senator Henry Seriake Dickson former Governor of Bayelsa State and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation, that owns the university.
It is not surprising therefore that Dickson is very much involved in the launching of Hensard University in his capacity as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation, the anchor point of the institution. As a two-term governor of Bayelsa State, Dickson’s hallmark achievements got the highest thumbs up in education where he was recorded to have spent over N200 billion in education infrastructure alone with among other things the establishment of two universities which are set to compete with Hensard in terms of value and standards.
Dickson made education free and compulsory to all Bayelsans. Books, boarding, and tuition were free as well as feeding while university students were granted loans and scholarships and teachers had a robust reward system particularly those posted to the rural areas. The Dickson Administration was recorded to have spent over N200 billion on education, a budget that could have fetched the N67 billion Bayelsa International Airport three times.
There are five universities in Bayelsa State, one a federal university in Otuoke, home of former President Goodluck Jonathan, there is the pioneer university-the Niger Delta University in Yenagoa, the state capital, University of Africa, Toru-Orua, and the Bayelsa Medical University in Yenagoa. Hensard University in Toru-Orua Sagbama happens to be the most recent and only private university in the state
Its lofty aspirations and high calibre academic team the founding fathers have set up for it, may well set it apart as a global institution to watch. Its motto, vision and mission, and course contents capture the story of an institution in a hurry to be identified as a university of the future. The authors of the university pose a probing question to the curious parents and sponsors who would want to take advantage of its lofty ideals and course contents.
What makes Hensard unique, what are the advantages of coming into the university to study? According to them: Hensard students will enjoy a rare combination of academics, practical skills, industrial exposure, and mentorship designed to equip them with real-world experiences and entrepreneurial skills poised to transform graduates to entrepreneurs and wealth creators with industry-oriented skills.
There will be dual certifications, international collaborations, and partnerships to ensure standards, and exposure of the students to renowned mentors and leaders in various fields, globally. Others are:
Collaborations and partnership with universities, institutions, and industries
A worldwide scholars’ programme with rigorous academic experience intertwined with unique opportunities that tap into global academic resources and expertise
Global academic network of lecturers using cutting-edge technology to deliver lectures in Hensard’s smart lecture halls
Exposure of students to national and international seminars and conferences through Hensard’s Institutes and Centres of Excellence. Mentorship of students by global leaders from international, and corporate advisory boards
The International Board of Governors comprising global leaders in government, academia, business, and research will provide students with a unique combination of diverse mentoring experiences.
These are to be coordinated by the carefully selected Hensard team of international faculty and staff with vast experiences that will create a truly robust academic community of students, staff, researchers, visiting academics, and global leaders who are committed to extending the frontiers of knowledge for society’s sustenance.
Hensard has proposed 12 Core Values for the guidance of its students to help them become “ethical, honourable citizens, leaders and servants to God and humanity, as encapsulated in Hensard’s motto, “Qui Servit Homo, Servit Deo (He who serves man, serves God).
Hensard University in its words of vision and mission, “aspires to be a top-tier academic, research, and entrepreneurial university, producing ethical and responsible students and professionals who are committed to sustainable development.”
Hensard’s robust mission is also about today, the future, and its ability to be a key player whose contributions would be meaningful and obvious. Development, exploration of knowledge and its responsible deployment to enhance humanity’s existence, we are reminded, are some of the issues Hensard’s mission by way of emphasis is to impact society in a transformational way – locally, nationally, and worldwide, to transform students through innovative teaching and entrepreneurial exposure.
According to Kumar, “Hensard seeks to transform students through innovative teaching and entrepreneurial involvements that promote life-long learning, research, and development for the progress of society; it will seek to promote inclusive sustainable development through · collaboration with prestigious national and international institutions, sharing ground-breaking research, teaching and learning experiences.” So, from the get-go, the university’s emphasis is research that will benefit mankind and make living easy and enjoyable.
The university insists it will make available state-of-the-art facilities for blended project and problem-solving learning, accomplish leadership in each discipline while reinforcing inter-disciplinary and industry driven education, that will transform theory into practice.
Part of its mission statement robustly emphasises it would act as a global, open marketplace of ideas where students are free to challenge any notions, presumptions, customs, cultures, traditions, or biases to advance the pursuit of new knowledge and the advancement of society. It will also increase cultural knowledge by providing opportunity to study languages, cultures, the arts, and the ramifications of social, political, economic, and technological development.
It will also produce ethical students and leaders with a sound personality, character, enduring emotions, and intellect for better service to society. “With our unique international, industry, advisory boards, and linkages, we facilitate effective mentorship to avail students with current knowledge for them to become global citizens. Hensard University is committed to its vision and mission,” the mission statement stresses.
On his appointment Kumar said: “I am glad to be in Hensard University as we start the unique transformation of people so that they can improve society. Hensard would be at the forefront of seeking out new frontiers of knowledge in the search for answers to challenges humanity faces. Our research centres, institutes, international linkages, dual certifications, and the dedication of my colleagues are available as we commit to serving our students and communities the Hensard advantage.”
Kumar is being assisted by Professor Prekeyi Tawari-Fufeyin, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, “a results-oriented Environmental Management professional with a background in pollution studies and environmental toxicology, community development and partnerships. She was a Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Director of External Linkages and Director of several University Centres at different universities where she has supervised over 10 PhD students, over 25 M.Sc. students and over 60 B.Sc. students and over 60 published articles in academic journals.”
Again, we are told that Hensard University strongly promotes the philosophy and principle of internationalisation to enhance our students’ experiences and talents through global knowledge, evolving technology, resources, culture, values, and interconnectedness.
The university has signed academic and research memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with various institutions and research organizations to incorporate foreign perspectives into the curriculum, teaching methods, research, and extracurricular activities. The university provides opportunities for students to learn foreign languages and intercultural skills, enabling them to interact with researchers, resources, and locations worldwide. Students also have the chance to travel abroad to gain a better understanding of global institutions, academic and research programmes, and industrial organisations. This experience allows them to engage with diverse cultures. Hensard University says it warmly welcomes international students to enroll in academic and research programs.
The University, it says, has established excellent IT infrastructure in all teaching departments, hostels, libraries, administrative blocks, health centres, multipurpose halls, conference halls, and other offices to meet the information and communication technology (ICT) needs of students, staff, and faculty members.
“The entire campus is well-connected with a combination of wired and wireless networks. The university has a 1 GBPS connection, providing a 150 Mbps internet connection free of charge to instructors, researchers, staff, and students for 24 hours. Hensard University also provides email accounts through the university’s internal mail system. A comprehensive surveillance system with high-end cameras and a central monitoring system ensures 24/7 CCTV coverage of the entire campus. “It provides spacious, clean accommodations and offers students a variety of food options, recreational facilities, and a calm and conducive learning environment. Separate and secure hostel facilities are available for both boys and girls, with special attention given to round-the-clock safety and security, particularly for girls.”
Like every modern institution of higher learning, the university recognises the importance of providing up-to-date knowledge, support of research and innovation activities for students and faculty members and has established a central library and an e-learning centre. The library continuously procures, and updates benchmarked collections with the latest publications.
It is also committed to providing a diverse range of excellent dining options that cater to the interests and dietary needs of its students. The university’s food courts offer ethnic, local, and international cuisine. It boasts of having provided world-class infrastructure, including spacious seminar halls with a seating capacity of 200 for large events, well-equipped classrooms with chairs, tables, LCD projectors, and computer-aided systems, air-conditioned classrooms, departmental and central libraries, exceptional residential facilities for students, and faculty accommodations.
The university promotes a green campus and has implemented numerous measures to encourage environmentally friendly practices that support sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle
Hensard University’s Entrepreneurship Development Cell, it educates in-coming students, aims to uncover students’ inherent and creative potential, taking a significant step toward boosting entrepreneurship.
On research and development, the university provides a strong environment for growth and staying abreast with modern methods and findings. Every semester, students are encouraged to participate in research-based projects. Every student will have hands-on experience with research software tools to better prepare them for industry-driven and related socio-scientific investigations.
Under training and development, the idea is to trace and develop the competencies, knowledge, and attitudes of students, by supporting them in enhancing their KSA’s throughout the year, helping them meet the expectations of industries and allied stakeholders with foundation courses in English, French, German, Spanish, and Mandarin, skill development programs, talent tests, verbal reasoning training, group discussion training, leadership training, attitude-building workshops, and regular meetings and interactions with alumni are perfectly organised and followed.
Under psychological guidance and counselling, it provides constructive guidance as well as addressing the psychological issues of students with an adequate number of medical practitioners and nurses.
For its cultural activities, it gives the highest importance to the holistic development of students and recognizes the role of social and cultural activities in preparing and strengthening their extracurricular skills. Students with varied interests and skills join the campus and are well-groomed in the university ecosystem.
In trying to give adequate healthcare to students, Hensard provides 24-hour and seven days a week healthcare for all its students and staff through its super-specialist hospital situated inside the campus.