Employee of the year-2015/2016

Can you tell us about yourself?

I am called Florence KANEZA, the University Registrar of the University of Rwanda. I was appointed to this position in February 2015. Prior to this appointment, I was serving as College Registrar in the College of Science and Technology. My experience in Higher Education Leadership is ten years.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievements in your career and what challenges have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

During the 10 years’ experience in the University Leadership, I have accomplished quite a lot, through team work and standing on shoulders of others. I will begin with the recent ones.

After the merger, the University of Rwanda had a challenge of creating a harmonized academic system bringing together systems from the merged seven Higher Learning Institutions. All the seven former Higher Learning Institutions had their own academic policies and regulations and there was a tendency for most academic staff to stick to policies and regulations of their former institutions. In 2014, I was honoured to be part of the team that drafted UR Academic Regulations, which were approved by Senate in October 2014. The common academic regulations were an important signal to the University community about creation of a single institution and I think it contributed to a lot the mindset change.

In the same year of 2014, I was appointed Coordinator of the taskforce for organizing inaugural graduation ceremony of the University of Rwanda, which was successfully held in July 2014.The inaugural graduation ceremony was another opportunity for the University community to come together as one institution. It was a five days’ event where one College graduated per day, except on the last day where two Colleges (CMHS and CASS) were combined. College Principals had to attend graduation ceremonies of other Colleges and this was a great opportunity to strengthen the team work and one University spirit. I continued with the same responsibility for the subsequent graduation ceremonies. In 2016, I led the organizing committee that was tasked with the responsibility of implementing a new idea of a single day graduation ceremony bringing together all Colleges to save time and money. However, this had an additional advantage of contributing to the One UR Spirit by having academic from the different Colleges in one procession and students from all the Colleges graduating together.

In the process of building a sustainable academic system, UR established the office of the University Registrar in February 2015, which I was appointed to lead. As custodian of academic records, I was faced with a big challenge to create a central database of students’ records. This would not be achieved without an operational MIS system. Therefore, I and my team focused on entering all students’ information in the MIS to facilitate an online application and registration system. From the year 2015-2016, all UR students registered online and all admission applications are done online since 2014.The University students’ database has also facilitated stakeholders like REB, BRD and MINEDUC. Currently efforts are being made to integrate other activities like students’ assessment.

In 2016, I was part of the team that did a study and made recommendations of the harmonization of programmes and restructuring of academic units. We are now in the process of implementing many of the recommendations made by the team and supported by various decision making organs of UR.

I have been appointed to coordinate benchmarking activities of ACU and World Bank, which involve self-assessment of UR and comparison with other Universities in the region and the world. The exercise exposes UR to the best practices elsewhere and helps us identify areas that we need to focus on for improvement.

Through the Fawe Rwanda Chapter and the Mastercard Foundation, I engage with young girls to inspire them towards achieving academic success and making informed career choices.

I have participated in organizing committees of different high level workshops hosted by the University of Rwanda. These include the ACU Summer School in August 2016 and AAU Conference in June 2015.

Talking of challenges, the whole journey of UR from the merger through the transition has been full of challenges but through team work, challenges were turned into opportunities and a lot has been achieved.

What has UR done for you?

UR has contributed a lot in my professional growth. My position as University Registrar has exposed me to greater challenges which have sharpened my leadership skills.


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