Prof. Bolajoko Aina, dean, Pharmacy Faculty, University of Lagos (UNILAG) has identified finance as the major challenge of running the faculty.
Speaking in a recent interview with Pharmanews the dean explained that the dynamics of running a faculty and, by extension, a school is no longer what it used to be.
According to her, sometimes academic staff are compelled to use their personal money to facilitate some projects, adding that if they are lucky, they could get a refund.
“However if the project is not given due recognition, you risk losing the fund you invested. Usually, we are given some funds to operate. But in most cases, they are not always enough. Secondly, the funds don’t get released on time to the faculty.
“For instance, we have power challenge in the faculty. What this means is that we cannot continue to wait. We have to do something fast. That means you need to use your money and later ask for a refund,” she said.
She added that the pressure sometimes gets so much that one forgets to ask for a refund on time, noting that if it takes a longer period, it may result into loss of such fund.
In her summation, the faculty’s alumni hold some programmes at least once every year in the Faculty.
“But we recently discovered that we have not been doing enough.Subsequently we took a decision that either alumni chairman or secretary should get involved in our meeting from time to time.
“This should draw them closer to the faculty instead of just the usual one-day alumni programme where we get to see them frequently,” she opined.
For a new helmsman, the professor confessed that her job was made easier because she understands the power of teamwork.
“In UNILAG Faculty of pharmacy, we work together as a team. This makes the work easier for whoever is coming in as dean. For instance, if I have an issue, I can call on any of my previous deans for assistance,” he remarked.
As a member of PSN national executive council, Aina noted that she somehow craves for more presence of PSN and PCN in the faculty.
“Presently, I have made a bid for some programmes (I don’t want to disclose) that could be actualized in the faculty. It was a decision I took after consulting with my professors and former deans,” she said.
Commenting on her students-dean relationship, the professor remarked that it has been quite good.
She did not however hide her displeasure about that some of the students have gone from being coolheaded to being recalcitrant.
The dean recalled an incident that occurred during last year’s strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) where the faculty took a decision to stick to the academic calendar and run its programmes subtly.
Unfortunately, the plan went awry when they discovered that some Pharmacy students had secretly sent messages to ASUU (Akoka chapter) to disrupt the programme.
“We had no choice other than to move out of the premises rather than wait for them to invade the faculty. What we also discovered was that our students have started copying the lifestyle of their Akoka (campus) counterparts.
“Nevertheless, I still adore them. Long before I became the dean, my relationship with them is still like that of mother and children. They still confide in me when they have academic issue and in dire need of counsel,” she explained.
When asked about her relationship with immediate past dean, Prof. Boladale Silva, the dean described him as a gentleman.
“Up till now, we still communicate. If we have anything to discuss, I always approach him. He is always willing listen and help out,” she said.
Prof. Bolajoko Aina who was sworn in as dean on August 1, 2017 is expected to pilot affair of the pharmacy faculty till 2019 when a new candidate would be appointed.