The Mentoring Recognition Award of the year (for male mentors), a award that recognizes staff members who have contributed to the pillar of transformative student experience, was taken home by Mr. Felix Mogesa Motari. The award was tailored to a team member who has been diligent in meeting their mentees and has been consistently recording these meet-ups from January this year to August in the Mentoring System. He has interesting initiatives around mentoring too, and according to some of his colleagues, he targets to meet a few mentees every week.
Let’s see how his 20 years at Strathmore have unfolded.
Can you briefly describe your journey at Strathmore University, from when you first joined to your current role?
20 years ago, I joined the School of Accountancy as a part-time lecturer. My first contract was short-term, while the second one was extended a bit before I became a permanent employee. This arrangement allowed the University to evaluate individual staff over time.
What inspired you to join Strathmore University, and how has your motivation evolved over the years?
I had a friend who was working at Strathmore, and he frequently praised the University as an excellent workplace. When a teaching vacancy came up, I did not hesitate to apply. I was invited for an interview, and I passed all three rounds. My motivation stemmed from the family that I got when I joined Strathmore, a family that held my hand in a time of need, two years after I joined the institution. When I joined, I was single but two years later, I decided to start a family. Despite my initial uncertainties, the Strathmore family played a crucial role in ensuring that everything went on smoothly, even during our wedding. Another motivating factor is the exceptional care they extend to our families. While some organizations limit medical coverage to a specific number of family members, SU’s medical coverage is comprehensive and it doesn’t have such limitations.
How has Strathmore University changed and evolved during your time here? Are there any significant milestones or transformations that stand out for you?
A lot has really changed: In the past, we used to get lunch vouchers that covered the entire month. With the voucher, one would select whatever they wanted for lunch as there were no restrictions. Additionally, breakfast was provided free of charge. Both meals were served at specific times that all the staff members were supposed to be present for.
Back then, we were very few staff members. Phase two was a field used for sports. After a period of time, the library and the auditorium were built. It was during this period that the College received its University charter, and the need to have a modern library was recognized. At the time, we didn’t have a lot of computer labs.
Can you share some memorable moments or experiences that have had a lasting impact on your career at Strathmore University?
Some years ago, when the Student Center was being constructed, the contractor and the SU quality team agreed on a ratio in which the cement, sand, and ballast would be mixed for the foundation of the building. Upon the conclusion of the Foundation, the SU planning and development team employed a machine to test the agreed-upon ratio. Unfortunately, the results did not align with their agreement,, and for that reason, the whole foundation was rebuilt. This incident impacted me on both a personal and professional level. It was emphasised the value of excellence in everything we do.
What role have you played in contributing to the growth and development of Strathmore University during your tenure?
While at Strathmore, I have had the privilege of teaching students, and interestingly, some of them now share the same office with me as fellow lecturers. We were the pioneers of the course, Bachelor of Business and Information Technology (BBIT), a degree program that was first introduced in Strathmore and later adopted in other universities in the country. Our pioneer students are now in their fourth year, and they will be graduating next year.
How has Strathmore University’s educational approach or curriculum evolved to adapt to changing times and needs?
Let’s start by acknowledging that BBIT was first begun in Strathmore and spread throughout the whole country. While other universities were offering BA Information Technology and BA Commerce, we introduced this degree to the Kenyan academic landscape. Over the years, we’ve witnessed the introduction of numerous degrees that have been tailored to meet changing needs. The School of Law was established, offering programs like Bachelor of Laws, and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences introduced courses such as; BA Communications, Philosophy and Development, and BA International Studies.
With the changing times, we have also embraced online learning, incorporating both physical and online classes to adapt to the evolving academic landscape. The number of intakes across various faculties has also been adjusted and expanded to better cater for the requirements of our stakeholders.
Additionally, we have introduced Executive Education, which is offered under the Strathmore Business School. This addresses a previously existing gap in educational offerings.
Can you highlight any unique traditions, events, or initiatives at Strathmore University that have been consistent throughout your time here?
We have always celebrated Founders’ Day on June 26th. Here, we would celebrate the founders in different ways, including a mass at Holy Family Basilica.
Back in the day, we used to have classes running from 8 a.m. to noon then break for lunch. Classes would then resume from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. On Fridays, which were sports days, classes would end at 3 p.m. to allow the staff members and students to go for sports.
Every 24th of December, we would all assemble for a Christmas party that we all looked forward to owing to the different delicacies served, which were very different from our normal lunch. We didn’t have classes during the party hours.
In the past, we would meet the pioneers of the University along the corridors and even during tea breaks. It was quite fascinating engaging with them and gaining insights into the plans they had when they started the University. They would also guide and mentor one throughout their journey in SU, much like how junior lecturers are now guided by their senior counterparts.
Due to the relatively small population back then, we had many informal meeting points. This dynamic has, however, changed over time.
What makes Strathmore University a special place to work and study at, and how has it maintained its reputation over the years?
Strathmore is a place of excellence. Where excellence lives. Think of a good environment for both learning and working. We have the best professors for our students and a very supportive administration team that ensures the proper running of the University. The teamwork we experience at SU is at a high level. The staff members are always working hand in hand to live the spirit of collegiality as we all work towards achieving a common goal. There is a lot of prestige at SU. A student from Strathmore is expected to be much more responsible and carry themselves with a lot of decorum. This is Strathmore, a source of our pride.
This article was written by Teresa Nekesa.
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