The Somali National University (SNU) is built on a foundation of academic excellence and social inclusivity. It is the oldest, premier, public university in the Country. Before the outbreak of the Civil War, SNU was one of the largest and academically renowned universities in Africa. As the serving rector, I am committed to restoring it to its former rank among its peers on the Continent and beyond.
In our quest to restore SNU to its rightful place among the higher learning institutions of the world, we have taken several goal-oriented steps. At the center of these actions is the interest and well-being of our students. In this regard, we have raised the effectiveness of the organs of the University that support the physical, mental and social wellbeing of our students—principally, the Office of Social Affairs and the Student Government. These structures are designed to make the University environment conducive to student learning and social growth.
On the academic front, we have embarked on an ambitious agenda of expansion. This is necessary if SNU has to fulfill its mandate to produce a skilled labor force with diverse academic training. For a starter, we have revived the Faculty of Languages, created a new Faculty of Health Sciences & Tropical Medicine, and expanded the Faculty of Sciences by adding a Computer Science Program with three concentrations—i.e., Software Engineering, Networks & Security, and Graphics and Multi-media. With twelve faculties, each including additional specializations, SNU is poised to fulfill its mandate.
Presently, SNU is an undergraduate teaching institution. We are working diligently to advance it to a doctoral/research level institution. To this end, we are significantly increasing the number of researchers and terminal degree holders across the disciplines. We are also in the process of establishing research centers with the necessary resources to produce and disseminate knowledge. With an additional research unit and a strong culture of teaching, SNU is primed to reclaim its proper rank among the universities of the world.
To ensure the sustainability of these achievements, we have instituted correlated improvements in infrastructure and personnel competence. In terms of infrastructure, we have rehabilitated two buildings with six classrooms and three offices each and added three laboratory buildings. We have also launched a digitization project designed to connect the University’s communication and IT systems. The Project is scheduled for completion before the close of the current academic year.
Likewise, we have taken steps to raise the capacity of our academic and non-academic staff. So far, we have secured the following capacity building training and scholarships for our employees:
- Thirty-nine scholarships from Italy for our assistant professors and junior administrators (14 already issued and 25 pending for the next scholastic year);
- Four one-year, hands-on, capacity-building training for our registrars to be trained at the University of Witwatersrand (2 already issued and 2 for next year); and
- One position to train the Director of Social Affairs from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.
In addition, we are about to roll out an internal training program to teach our non-academic staff how to write professional reports and official documents.
In closing, SNU is on an upward trajectory. Since the last year, all its main sectors—i.e., infrastructure, administration, and academic sector–have seen positive changes. To ensure the sustainability of these achievements, we have instituted correlated reforms in the human resources sector. In this regard, we have instituted a merit-based system in the hiring, ranking, and promotion of all our employees. In addition, we have established the Office of Internationalization and appointed a substantive Director to oversee it. This Office is our window to the outside world. All these are done in the interest of capacity building and institutional development.
Based on these accomplishments, SNU will soon recapture its previous stature. As the serving Rector, I am committed to the attainment of this worthy goal and do hereby encourage the university community (and the nation, for that matter) to look forward to the future with pride and confidence.
Dr. Hassan Omar Mahadallah
Somali National University