Prof. Toyin Falola of the University of Texas at Austin says research endeavours are vital to the sustenance of any civilisation, for through it, knowledge is discovered and created.
Falola made the submission while delivering the 2018/2019 annual lecture of the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos, on Tuesday in Lagos.
The topic of the lecture was: “Distinguishment: The Values and Magnets of Endowments to Universities”.
According to the professor of history, professorial chairs, by necessitating outstanding research, remained the next steps to educational revitalisation.
He noted that they embodied in totality and totally and in advanced forms, the academic strategies, implements and practices that would continue to bolster the essence and relevance of intellectual knowledge production centres such as the university to itself and to the public.
According to the don, endowed professorial chairs place a premium on research characterised by knowledge and requires a mobilisation of engagement and impact, as avenues of evidencing research value and utility.
“The expectation is for endowed chairs to take the excellent research and teaching activities of the best professors to a much higher level so as to justify the special recognition ascribed to them and accorded to the institutions they represent.
“Their contributions should make a far reaching impact as agents of tremendous transformation, even if some choose to be provocateurs and controversialists.
“The case by case treatment of a few distinguished icons shows the varieties of what it means to be distinguished and what they are distinguished for.
“Institutions make them but society also recognises their Distinguishment,” he said.
He further said that engagement among other things, necessitates the kinds of quality partnerships that to funders, board of trustees and assessors, revitalise knowledge production to optimal levels.
“To make an analogy, knowledge produced by way of such research heavily relies on data extracted from practical settings and to which it must add value.
“To bring the foregoing to a conclusive end therefore, as in the case of Nigeria, where universities and other tertiary institutions are in dire need of revitalisation, and critical reforms that can encourage upward mobility in the ranks of knowledge drivers, the need for the establishment of more endowed professorial chairs and the continuity of those extant is ensconced in their immense benefit to the academic community and the public,” he said.
In a remark, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said that the institution was set up to produce manpower for the country and its development.
According to Ogundipwho was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Development Services, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola, postgraduate programmes express the most important parts of the vision and mission of the institution and, over time, has carried forward this vision with well deserved and qualitative programnes.
According to him, the re-launching of the Postgraduate Trust Fund by the school of postgraduate studies was also aimed at providing additional funds toward academic and research programmes for high level manpower developmental needs of the country.
Ogundipe added that the School of Postgraduate Studies annual lecture had attracted prominent citizens such as Mr Felix Ohiwerei, well-respected minister of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos among. (NAN)