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
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
“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
“The case by case treatment of a few distinguished icons shows the
varieties of what it means to be distinguished and what they are
“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)