A Brief History of the Faculty
The Faculty was formally established in the 1960/1961 academic year, although two of the units namely, departments of Geography and Economics were established in 1948, at the inception of the University. 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 units in October 1963, with the former sub-department of Government renamed 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 expansions 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 departments of Geography and Economics. The Centre for Urban and Regional Planning later became an independent unit, and was re-designated as the 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 session. Until very recently, five departments of the Faculty including Economics, Geography, Political Science, Sociology and Psychology offered undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, while the department of Urban and Regional Studies offered only post-graduate courses.
Post-graduate training comprised a wide and growing list of academic and professional programmes, which attracted students and researchers from all parts of Nigeria and internationally. The academic programmes included, the Master of Science, Master of Philosophy and the Doctor of Philosophy in Economics, Geography, Political Science, Sociology, Psychology and Urban and Regional Planning. The professional post-graduate programmes included 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, 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.
In 2003, the Department of Economics started a Collaborative Ph.D Degree programme in Economics, with the objective of strengthening teaching and research capacity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), increasing the pool of potential researchers and policy analysts, and reducing the need for African countries to source for trainers abroad.
Two new faculties recently emerged from our Faculty. The Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences evolved as a full-fledged unit in 2016. Apart from the Department of Economics that has existed for more than six decades, departments of Accounting, Banking and Finance, and Marketing and Consumer Studies were introduced into the new faculty. A year after, in 2017, the former Department of Urban and Regional Planning followed suit and metamorphosed into the Faculty of Environmental Design and Management that comprises four departments including Urban and Regional Planning, Architecture, Estate Management, and Quantity Surveying. Faculty of the Social Sciences has indeed come of age and we are happy that these worthy offsprings are making their marks nationally and globally.
Teaching and Learning Environment
The Faculty is continually upgrading its learning environment to provide a conducive atmosphere for sound teaching and learning. In the last few years, the University administration had accorded priority to the beautification of the campus and the transformation of its landscape. Previous Deans of the Faculty have complemented the efforts of the University in this direction. During the tenure of Professor Uche Isiugo-Abanihe, a serene and comfortable lounging area for students and guests was provided opposite the Porter’s Lodge and yet another along the corridor behind the Large Lecture Theater (LLT). Surely, these beautification efforts have enhanced the quality of the learning environment and our students can now relax in between lectures. In addition, as part of the resuscitation efforts the Faculty Library is now linked to the University Library.
The Faculty further upgraded its ICT network and improved on its security by largely protecting its systems against hacking and virus attacks to complement the facilities offered by the University. There is full internet connectivity for faculty members 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. We, however, recognise that there is need for maintenance and improvement of existing facilities in line with contemporary realities.
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 younger academics 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 regularly its Annual Faculty Lecture Series and among retiring academics, Valedictory Lectures which are published and widely circulated.
Students Welfare and Capacity Building Programmes
The welfare of students is of utmost importance to us as a Faculty. For this reason, the Dean, Heads of Departments and all academic and non-teaching staff work closely with student associations to promote the welfare of all categories of students. As much as possible, departmental student associations and the Faculty of the Social Sciences Students’ Association, are encouraged to participate in all faculty programmes and activities. In order to encourage our students, faculty staff are invited to participate in various programmes organised for and/or by the students. The cross fertilization of ideas in the course of such close interactions between staff and students have been of mutual benefits. The increasing commitment that the alumni have shown over the years speak eloquently to the close rapport forged over the 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 – former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) – was Dean, several special programmes were introduced, which have since grown to become flagship programmes not only in the University but also among other institutions in the country. One of such programmes is the Students Leadership Development Programme (SLDP). The core activities of the SLDP, as it is fondly called include those that prepare students for leadership positions in the larger society after graduation and effective influence on policies at the national and global levels. The programme also builds our students’ self-confidence and capacity to respond more effectively to changes in the society.
Another well developed Faculty initiative is the Student Help Center (SHC). The SHC was instituted for counseling students on all matters that may pose some challenge to their academic pursuit, health, finance, sexuality and spiritual among others. There are trained SHC counselors, most of whom are renowned psychologists, that are always available to assist students make the right choices to enable them realise their inherent potentials.
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 undergraduate and postgraduate students through the award of prizes. Such a public recognition, of uncommon academic feat, is meant to encourage all students to a higher level of performance. Indeed, the Dean’s Honours List introduced by Professor Uche Isiugo-Abanihe during his tenure as Dean has remained a major motivating factor for our students, as most of them have attested. On the flip side, struggling students are identified quite early for counseling support.
The Future of the Faculty
The Faculty of the Social Sciences is known globally as the best among other Social Sciences Faculty in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region. Even then, a lot still needs to be done to maintain its superior position and increase its capacity to respond to the increasing demand placed on it. There are initiatives to build the capacity of staff (academic and non-teaching) to improve their skills and competences to effectively respond to the needs of our students. The Faculty also organises programmes to upgrade the teaching and supervision capacity of academic staff, as well as help improve the effectiveness of administrators in the Faculty for improved service delivery. Efforts are also being made to upgrade existing lecture theaters/rooms and laboratories with latest audio and visual equipment to allow for cutting-edge learning experiences.
There are a few scholarship schemes and part-time work study plans (through the SHC) available to students. We will keep soliciting for more opportunities for empowerment and other forms of financial aid to lessen the burden of defraying the cost of being training as a university student. Moreover, the Faculty is committed to providing needed information to students on sources of grants, scholarships and fellowships. Indeed, for every staff or student, contributing to the growth of our Faculty is a call to service for God and humanity.