A PhD student, Mrs. Stella Amero Eduan, successfully defended her dissertation examining the decision making process at Makerere University, on 12th Nov. 2013. In her PhD dissertation, ‘Application of Systems Theory in Administrative Decision Making Processes at Makerere University,’ Amero asserts that there are loopholes in the decision making process of Makerere University, which are reflected by resistance from staff and students to some of the decisions that are later passed as policy
“I believe that the resistance to some of the University policies stems from the fact that little thought is given to all parties that will be affected by a given decision. As a researcher, I narrowed at applying the Systems Theory to amend the loopholes. This theory looks at the entire organization on the notion that what will affect one department will definitely affect another. It calls for a leader to sit down and think through the possible effect of a particular decision to all stakeholders and to the image of an Institution. It very much works like the body; if the eye is sick the entire body will feel sick” she explains.
In her work, Amero cites the example of the Internship policy which required students to pay internship money in advance, including students who were offering non practical courses like Arts in Arts with subjects like History and Philosophy among others. “One of the interview respondents, a student of Makerere University, wondered why there seemed to be vagueness in the way this policy was passed. The student asked, ‘What is the essence of making us pay for six semesters and then give the money back to us?’ Other students expressed similar misgivings about this policy,” explained Amero.
In a discussion with the University Secretary, Mr. Kahundha Muhwezi, over this topic, he explained that resistance to University decisions and policies is not necessarily because such decisions were not well thought through. “Our system is that students come and go. So the new ones will resist out of ignorance and others will resist because the policy does not favour them. You surely cannot expect students to support a policy on fees increment for instance,” he says.
Dr. Jessica Aguti of the College of Education and External Studies was the main opponent at Stella’s PhD defense. She commended Stella for the choice of topic. “I want to congratulate Stella Amero for this timely and relevant topic on the decision making process in Makerere University. I am positive that this will spur off several other researches in this area for the improvement of not only Makerere University but institutions of higher learning in general,” she asserted. Dr. Aguti then proceeded to recommend areas that needed to be improved for the dissertation to meet acceptable standards.
Amero has been a leader herself and still holds a leadership position, as the Warden of Africa Hall, Makerere University. “The everyday life of an Administrator involves decision making. My research is coming in to inform the process of decision making where I insist that this process needs not to be rushed because it has potential to backfire. But rather, decisions need to be well thought through to avoid a boomerang, especially decisions that will lead to policies on changing the way of doing things,” she explains.
Amero’s work has already been published in the Journal of Educational Review, with the second article set to come out in Feb. 2014. Her paper on this work won the second slot at the Conference of Higher Education Research and Policy Network held in the University of Ghana-Legon. “I was happy to carry Uganda’s and Makerere University’s flags high at the event and also walked home with some good money,” she says with a smile.
Amero’s PhD was sponsored by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) under the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, for which she is grateful. She advocates for more Administrators to enroll for doctoral studies. “It is very challenging for those of us not in active academics, but I assure you it is worth the effort once you cross the bar as noted by Professors at my defense,” she asserts. “I know that doctoral studies are in most cases a preserve of the Faculty, but I believe Administrators need to get on board too. It is about improving the human resource at Makerere University at all levels. I have a passion for teaching and I look forward to returning to the classroom, but this is not to say that whoever gets a PhD will want to teach,” she adds.
Stella Amero Eduan is a proud mother of five and is happily married to Wilson Eduan. She holds a Bachelors degree in Education of Makerere University and a Masters Degree in Education Management from the same institution.
Her PhD was supervised by Prof. J.C.S Musaazi and Dr. James Luyonga Nkata.
Congratulations Stella Amero Eduan.
Story by Marion Alina, pictures by Alex Isemaghendera