BACKGROUND OF SCHOOL OF GENERAL STUDIES
The university has always been a place where students learn and grow through intellectual partnership with professors, staff, and peers. The university provides an intellectual foundation for any chosen profession, a great place to learn, make lifelong friends, develop professional networks and discover mentors. In an attempt to establish a university where intellectual convergence can occur, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, (Nigeria’s first president, who pioneered the establishment of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, as the Premier of Eastern Nigeria) envisioned a university in Nigeria with strong emphasis on balanced learning to creates an informed total man. According to Dr. Azikiwe, the university students must be exposed to a broad-based educational programme to enable them develop the resources of the country through appropriately acquired character. Thus, the first General Studies Programme (GSP) started at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka with the mandate of producing the total man.
The successes recorded with the introduction of GSP in UNN cut across the liberal art and sciences. Thus, the Federal Military Government, on October 22nd, 1977 directed all Nigerian Universities to expand General Studies programmes to include courses for national awareness. The directive further made GS programmes compulsory for all students in Nigerian Universities which was accompanied by an enabling decree. In accordance with the decree and with the National Universities Commission (NUC) working paper, most Nigeria universities established Units of General Studies.
In compliance to NUC directives, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, established the School of General Studies along with the six pioneer Colleges of the institution in 1993. The first Director of the School was Professor S.N. Ibe who saw the school through infancy between 1993 – 2000 during which the School developed her tap root in teaching and learning. He was ably succeeded in 2000 by Dr Mrs N.O Oke. In 2008, Dr. G. C. Nzeagwu took over the affairs of the School as the Director. His tenure witnessed tremendous infrastructural face-lift and enhanced manpower for the school.
In 2013, the University Management re-appointed Dr. Mrs Oke (now Professor) as the Director of SGS and Rev. Fr. Prof. Michael E. Ukah as the Deputy Director. This second coming of hers brought tremendous changes too. It was at this time that the School of General Studies became a College (College of General and Communication Studies CGCS) with 3 departments (Philosophy, Peace and Conflict and Mass Communication), and she became the Dean of the College. But, the departments were short lived and SGS went back to its status and mandate. In June, 2018, Professor Oke handed over the mantle of SGS to Dr. Ifeoma Obuasi. Dr. Obuasi’s emergence and administration, although only three months old, has given birth to the formation of ten Committees in SGS for optimal performance. Further steps are in place by the incumbent Director to give the School a poised atmosphere for necessary human capital and academic development.
At the senior administrative cadre, the School has had the following astute Administrators who assist the Directors in the day-to-day running of the School: C. Iheaka, F. Agomuo, Mrs D.N Mbanasor, Mr. Ken Njoku, Mr. C.O. Onuoha, Mrs V. Willie (late), Dr (Mrs) F.I. Okwujiako, Mr. C.J. Nwanagba, Mr. Ken Njoku (second coming), Mrs Obiageri Iroegbu, and presently Mrs B. N. Nwichi.
Basically, the teachings in the school of General Studies try to encompass the three major divisions in tertiary education – the Social Sciences, the Humanities and the Natural Sciences. Studies in the Social Sciences inspire the student’s interest in the study of man, his environment, and his relationships in the environment. The humanities equip the students with the knowledge of their society, other societies and how to co-exist; while the natural sciences explore natural resources for the improvement of the conditions of existence. For a University of Agriculture like ours, SGS programmes do not stress the natural sciences as most of the needful is done in the mother departments. Read-on for details of what is offered in the School of General Studies.