By Blessing Famose, Abimbola Adelakun and Oluwatosin Oludele
Professor Adepoju Tejumaiye will complete his tenure as the Mass Communication Head of the Department on the 31st of July, 2024. In this interview with Blessing Famose, Abimbola Adelakun, and Oluwatosin Oludele, he speaks on the unbundling of Mass Comm into a faculty, the digitization of lecturing, and other achievements.
Can we meet you, sir?
My name is Professor Adepoju Tejumaiye. To the glory of God, I am the present head of the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos.
Based on the goals you set at the beginning of this tenure, what would you say is your greatest achievement?
I give glory to God. When I came in, I set out to achieve a lot of things and I want to say without equivocation that I have achieved about eighty percent of what I had planned to achieve. One of them, which happens to be my greatest achievement, is the PhD graduands. I have been able to graduate over 10 PhD students.
Under my tenure, even though we had strikes, there has been peace. Among my colleagues we have disagreements but we have been able to resolve them. Our disagreements do not go beyond our departmental board meetings. So that spirit of camaraderie, that spirit of oneness, has been greatly achieved in the department.
Also, I want to say with a big glory to God that our unbundling, that is our transformation into a faculty, has been almost completely achieved during my tenure. Everything has been decided about transforming mass communication into a faculty, every other thing being equal, from next year September or October. The department is going to be graduating five PhD students this January.
What would you say is the greatest contributing factor to this feat?
The spirit of oneness in the department. I’m not saying that the spirit of oneness was not there before my tenure, it has been there. What I will simply say is under my tenure, I have been able to drive it more, that is what was missing before me. I have been able to ensure my colleagues do what they need to. I have been able to ensure that they do the right things and get these students out of this school with a PhD degree.
What this means for academia can be deduced from the unbundling I talked about. If the university and older universities have been able to produce PhD holders, then the manpower needs of other universities will be met, including that of our department turn faculty. It is a great feat to graduate PhD holders so they would go out and meet up with the manpower needs as required by the unbundling.
In an interview with UnilagSun in 2021, you mentioned the introduction of digitalization and digital courses through NUC. What steps have you taken towards bringing that to reality?
I am sure Samuel Ejiwunmi taught you. Have you observed that Sam Ejiwunmi championed the digitalization process? I want to believe that other colleagues are making great efforts to ensure that they digitalize what they do. I’m not saying they are perfect but they are making efforts. For instance, in the course that I teach, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, we ensure that it is digitized.
We also bring in experts from the field so that they bring in their experiences in the outside world to the academia. More like saying we bring town and gown together so that when the students graduate, it becomes very easy for them to blend when they reach out to the world.
You’ve achieved 80 per cent of your goals. What else should we expect?
One of the things I set out to do is to have a students’ recreational center within the department but unfortunately, I am not able to achieve that. It is still achievable since I am still going to be in the office till July 31st. We have a donor who wants to do it for us. The donor came and, with the consent of the university, measured where they wanted to put the recreation center. I believe that by the grace of God, before the end of my tenure on July 31st, it shall be achieved.
Another thing is the unbundling, which, like I said, I give glory to God that it is a function of time now. By September or October, we are becoming a faculty with two departments and four programmes. That translates to mean that the Department of Public Relations and Advertising (PRAD), and the Department of Journalism and Media Studies will be awarding degrees— BSc in Public Relations, BSc in Advertising, BSc in Print Journalism and BSc in Broadcast Journalism.
We will be awarding four degrees in the next four or five years and that is the starting point as instructed by the National University Commission. Other departments in the unbundling will also be accomplished as we proceed. It is just a matter of starting with two departments and four programmes.
As we proceed, we will expand. We have limited spaces, limited facilities, and what have you, so we want to move gradually not jump into hell.