Wednesday July 06, 2022

Capacity building workshop for varsities’ department chairs held

May 17, 2022

Islamabad:The USAID-funded Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) has conducted a three-day training workshop for capacity building of department chairs from 15 partner universities across the country.

The interactive workshop saw an ideal mix of 48 male and female department chairs, and chairpersons. The objective of the training was to inculcate the skills that Department Chairs require to be able to distinctively achieve long-term sustainable improvement in faculty and student success, following a strong visionary approach.

The workshop was the first of a series of training sessions integrated with HESSA’s three focal areas for improving graduate employ-ability namely, Leadership, Governance and Management; Curriculum, Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, and Support Services across the Students’ Life cycle.

The training will empower the Chairs of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to collectively devise a transformational strategic plan that provides a vision for their respective departments, defines the roles of external stakeholders including advisory boards, and develops clarity on the need for continued self-assessment to gauge improvements.

The participants will eventually be fully capacitated to pass on their learning gains to fellow Department Chairs geared to bring about improvements in student successes through the development of informed, strategic, and integrated plans.

The training sessions were led by visiting instructors from the US, Dr. Michael Barber, the University of Utah-based Principal Investigator of HESSA, Dr. Delores Robinson from the University of Alabama, and Dr. Sajjad Ahmed, from the University of Nevada.

Divided into three phases; in-person meetings, virtual department chairs’ forums, and three regional in-person workshops, the training shall reach fruition in January 2023. During this eight-month spread, the participants will continue to engage in the development of strategic assessment plans.

The workshop’s concluding session comprised a question-answer session focusing on the role of Department Chairs in driving HEIs organizational development. The panel comprised Dr. Saima Hamid, vice-chancellor, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi; Dr. Sarwar Mansoor, vice-chancellor, UET, Lahore; Gen. Khalid Asghar, rector, National University of Technology, Islamabad; and Dr. Muhammad Fateh Mari, vice-chancellor, Sindh Agriculture University, Tando Jam.

After the conclusion of the first phase of the training, the participating chairs and chairpersons will work in synergy through a forum wherein they will share their respective experiences, simultaneously working on the development of plans.

HESSA will provide relevant material to facilitate learning activities for the successful implementation of these plans. They will also serve as the foundational network for future expansion of training. The training concluded with vice chancellors of four HEIs distributing certificates among the participants.