Image is the mother of perceptions. Image determines reputation, and for the Faculty of Arts, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, image has been seen as an important factor in social and academic re-engineering. Some persons, institutions and organizations have over the years perceived the university system negatively due to a number of issues that border on the negative: sexual harassment, sale of handout, illegal fees, endless wrangling over simple issues, etc. Even our products are not spared the barrage of negativity. Some are said to be half-baked; others not baked at all since they hardly study. Many have gone to the extent of saying that university graduates are no longer employable. The above perceptions may not be wholly true, but that is how some people feel and therefore must not be wished away.
It is believed that perception revolves around character and that if one changes one’s character, people’s perception about one also changes. Although the Faculty has relatively maintained a clean sheet in many of the above vices, we must be on our guard to ensure that neither lawlessness nor bad attitude is given foothold in the Faculty. For the Faculty to be relevant, credible and respectable, it has to reassert itself in the comity of faculties of the University of Nigeria, do things right at all times and make positive impact in the world.
It is in the above direction that I decided to organize a unique Faculty forum, christened FACULTY AWAY DAY, and reminiscent of a town hall meeting, not just to introduce my mission to the Faculty, but vitally to set the stage for rebuilding the image of the Faculty of Arts, albeit the image of the university system. This publication is a product of that summit and/or panel discussion piloted by the professors and younger academics of the Faculty, a document of a very important event in our university and a springboard, a manifesto for a vibrant and progressive Faculty of Arts.
I strongly feel that the support, friendship, goodwill, understanding and the blessings of the wider university community and beyond need to be cultivated through a renewed and strengthened Faculty image. The Faculty might not have major issues currently. That notwithstanding, there are still issues that need to be discussed in order to move forward from the strides of past Deans. The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.
A leading, academically sound, well respected, student-friendly and nationally relevant Faculty of Arts, University of Nigeria is a possibility. All that is needed is focus, determination and collective action by all and sundry. We cannot get there by wishful thinking or by reading this resolution and stowing it away in our shelves. It is meant to be in our heads where it will constantly remind us of our individual responsibility towards the achievements of our collective dream.
We will get there. Indeed, we will. The clarion call is for all hands to be on deck. Rome was not built in a day. Therefore, if we put our effort every day towards an all-round development of the Faculty, the world-class Faculty of Arts that we will all be proud of will definitely emerge.
Professor Pat Uche Okpoko
Dean of Arts,
University of Nigeria, Nsukka.