1. Brief History of the Faculty
The Faculty was formally established in the 1960/1961 Academic Year, although two of the units that now make up the Faculty, namely the Department of Geography and Economics, were established in 1948 at the inception of the University. Initially known as Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, the Faculty was re-named Faculty of the Social Sciences in the 1965/1966 session. When the Faculty was established in 1960, it was made up of the Department of Economics and two sub-departments of Government and Sociology.
The two sub-departments became full-fledged departments in October 1963, with the former sub-department of Government named Department of Political Science. The Department of Geography was moved to the Faculty from the Faculty of Arts during the 1967/68 academic year. Major expansion of the Faculty started with the establishment of the Department of Psychology in 1976. In 1982 the Centre for Urban and Regional Planning was established as a unit of the Department of Geography to replace an earlier programme, Master of Planning Science, which was jointly housed by the Department of Geography and Economics. The Centre for Urban and Regional Planning later became an independent unit, and was re-designated Department of Urban and Regional Planning towards the end of the 2002/2003 session.
The present Faculty of Law also started as a Department of Law in the Faculty in the 1981/1982 session before it was upgraded to a full-fledged Faculty in the 1983/1984 academic year. Currently, five departments of the Faculty, the Departments of Economics, Geography, Political Science, Sociology and Psychology offer undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, while the Department of Urban and Regional Studies offers only post-graduate courses. Post-graduate training comprises a wide and growing list of academic and professional programmes, which attract students and researchers from all parts of Nigerian and internationally.
The academic programmes include, the Master of Science, Master of Philosophy and the Doctor of Philosophy programmes in Economics, Geography, Political Science, Sociology, Psychology and Urban and Regional Planning.
The professional post-graduate programmes include the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Science in Banking and Finance Programmes of the Department of Economics; the Master of Science in Geographical Information System programme of the Department of Geography; the Master of Science in Strategic Studies, professional Master degree programme in Legislative Management, and Professional Master degree programme in Election Administration in the Department of Political Science; the Master of Industrial and Personnel Relations and Master in Project Development and Implementation programmes of the Department of Sociology; the Masters in Managerial Psychology and Legal, Criminology and Security Psychology in the Department of Psychology; and the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning and Housing Development and Management in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.
More recently in 2003, the Department of Economics started the Collaborative PH.D Degree programme in Economics, with the objective of strengthening teaching and research capacity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries, increase the pool of potential researchers and policy analysts, and reduce the need for African countries to source for trainers abroad.
2. Teaching and Learning Environment
The Faculty is continually upgrading its learning environment to provide conducive atmosphere for sound teaching and learning. In the last few years, the University’s Administration has accorded priority to the beautification of the campus and, the transformation of the landscape of the University. Previous Deans of the Faculty have led the Faculty to complement the efforts of the University Administration. During the tenure of the immediate past Dean of the Faculty, Professor Uche Isiugo-Abanihe, a serene and comfortable lounging area for students and guests was provided at the Porter’s Lodge and another, solely for students, along the corridor behind the Large Lecture Theater (LLT).
The Faculty has also, been painted and the parking lot has also been paved. The students toilets were refurbished and four cleaners were recruited to ensure that water was always available in the toilets and that the toilets environment is always kept clean. Undoubtedly, the various beautification efforts have enhanced the quality of the learning environment and the facilities provided at the Porters Lodge and along the corridor behind the Large Lecture Theater (LLT) have made it possible for students to relax in between lectures. In addition, long-neglected facilities are being resuscitated. As the immediate past Dean puts it, for about four years now all the Departments in the Faculty have pooled resources to upgrade the Faculty Library. New computers were purchased and the Library is now linked to the Faculty and university networks; subscription was placed for electronic resources such as CD-ROMS and J-STOR, an electronic archive of leading journals. In 2004, the Faculty decided to upgrade and further integrate and protect its own ICT network.
The project was executed in 2005, thus expanding the capacity of the network and offering protection for it in the areas of hacking and virus attack beyond that offered by the university network. There is full internet connectivity (24 hours a day, seven days a week) for Faculty staff courtesy of the university’s ICT system. In the area of computer acquisition, the Faculty is officially recognized as the most networked in the university. Direct teaching facilities that have been renovated include (1) the replacement of all chalkboards in the lecture halls/rooms with white magnetic boards and (2) the installation of air-conditioners in all the lecture halls/rooms. Apart from the physical environment, steps have also been taken to improve the intellectual environment of the Faculty.
The Faculty publishes a Newsletter that provides needed information about Staff and students as well as the programmes and activities of departments and the Faculty. The newsletter is a useful source of information for staff, students and alumni of the Faculty. The publication of the newsletter brings together members of staff from the departments, a process that enhances esprit-de-corps within the Faculty. Also, in addition to the regular departmental seminars, the Faculty Seminar Series was resuscitated in the 2002/2003 session. In the same year, the Staff Life Experience Forum (SLEF) was introduced. The SLEF provides a regular informal platform for junior/younger academic staff to interact with and learn from their most senior and longest-serving colleagues with a view to enhancing the mentoring process among academic staff.
The Faculty continues to hold its Annual Faculty Lecture Series and the retiring academics Valedictory Lectures, regularly. Lectures from the Faculty and Valedictory presentations are published and widely circulated to the various publics. The first Faculty Distinguished Lecture was presented on November 30, 2006 by Professor Richard Joseph, Director of the Programme of African Studies, Northwestern University, Evanston, USA. The Faculty plans to have the second in the series of the Faculty Distinguished Lecture Series in the 2009/2010 academic session.
3. Student Welfare and Capacity Building
The welfare of students is of utmost importance to the Faculty. For this reason, the Dean, Heads of Departments and all academic and non-teaching staff of the Faculty work closely with Students Associations to promote the welfare of all categories of students. As much as possible, the various Departmental Students Associations and the Faculty of the Social Sciences Students’ Association (FSSSA), are encouraged to participate in all Faculty programmes and activities. Also, the Faculty Staff, the Dean in particular, also participate in the students programmes. The cross fertilization of ideas that emanate from such close interactions between staff and students have been of mutual benefit to all concerned. The close interactions may be responsible for the increasing commitment that the Faculty Alumni has shown to the growth and development of the Faculty in the past few years.
The Faculty has taken deliberate steps to develop the capacity of students to deal with issues affecting their lives as well as their capacity to influence decisions affecting them. When Professor A.A. B. Agbaje - current Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic was Dean, several special programmes were introduced, which have since grown to become flagship programmes. One of such programmes is the Students Leadership Development Programme (SLDP). The core activities of the SLDP, as it is fondly called, are programmes and activities that prepare students (1) for leadership positions in the larger society after graduation and (2) to effectively influence policies at the national and global levels.
The programme also builds students self-confidence and their capacity to respond more effectively and quickly to changes in their environment. Another well developed Faculty initiative is the Students Help Center (SHC). The SHC was instituted for counseling students on all matters that are problematic to them. The problems may be academic, health-related, financial, sexual and spiritual in nature. Whatever it may be, the trained SHC counselors, most of whom are trained Psychologists are accessible to assist students make the right choices and take the most rational decisions.
The SLDP and the SHC, which use staff and students volunteers to actualize most of their activities, have become flagship programmes in the Faculty and each is a line item in the Faculty budget. Successive Deans after Professor Agbaje have continued to give maximum financial and related support to the programmes. The two programmes have been acknowledged to have positive effects on the marked improvement on the academic performance of students in the Faculty. The evidence shows superior academic performance of those students who are active in the two programmes.
The Faculty has also initiated the Parents Consultative Forum, which provides a platform for parents and guardians to interact with Faculty staff on the progress of their Wards. The Forum also affords the Faculty the opportunity to acknowledge outstanding postgraduate and undergraduate students in the presence of their parents and guardians through the award of prizes. The prizes are meant to encourage all students to higher levels of performance.
4. The Future for the Faculty
The Faculty of the Social Sciences is known globally to be the best among other Social Sciences Faculty in Nigeria. Even then, a lot still needs to be done to maintain its superior position and to increase its capacity to respond to the increasing demand placed on it on a continuous basis.
There are active plans to build the capacity of staff (academic and non-teaching) so that they can increase their competence and their ability to respond to the needs of our students. For instance in the 2009/2010 session, the Faculty intends to build the skills of non-teaching staff through workshops, seminars and focused training so that they can respond more quickly, more effectively and more positively to the needs of students and other stakeholders. The Faculty plans to organize programmes to (1) upgrade teaching and supervision capacity of academic staff, and there would also be increase in the capacity of leaders in the faculty and (2) upgrade the effectiveness of the administrators in the Faculty to enhance quality of services. Proposals are also being considered to source for funds beginning in the 2009/2010 academic year to (1) upgrade existing lecture theaters/room and laboratories with latest audio and visual equipment’s to allow for cutting edge learning experiences and (2) provide much needed physical assets such as a more modern and spacious library and global learning rooms. Currently, there are a few scholarship schemes and part-time work study plans (through the SHC) available to students.
There is plan to solicit for more endowments for students scholarship and other forms of financial aid. One of such Faculty efforts shall include providing needed information to students on sources of different forms of grants and scholarships. There is also plan to increase the counseling services to students, to make it easier for them to make the right career and personal choices. The Faculty will continue to improve the physical environment to complement the ongoing transformations in the university. Finally, I welcome all staff and students of our great Faculty to the 2009/2010 academic year. It is the best place to be; a place to discover the future you seek.
There are enough opportunities for you, our students, to build your capacity to make the right choices. Please take advantage of them. Apart from the Faculty, several programmes and activities take place within the university. There are university lectures/seminars/workshops series, inaugural lectures, and the public lectures, which I encourage you to attend when you have time to do so. There are enough positive activities on the campus that you can be engaged in. You really would have no reason to become part of the negatives that may present themselves to you. You do have the capacity to excel in your academics and in your life generally, otherwise you would not be here in the first place. Decide to be an excellent student and you would become an excellent man or women, who would impart positively in your own home, in your community, in Nigeria and in the world.
For those of you that are fresh, your parents trust you to manage your new found independence well; otherwise they would not let you come here. Manage it with dignity, self confidence, self respect and respect for others. More important, God trusts you to honor Him by giving your very best to this opportunity that He has given you here in the university. He is anxiously waiting to say, Well done My child. Do not let Him or your parents or your teachers and the non-teaching staff down by giving less than your best. The Dean, Sub-Deans, Heads of Department and the entire staff of the Faculty of the Social Sciences would do what we can to make it possible for you to make the right choices while you are here. May God protect you and grant you the grace to excel.