BSU II Workshop

Call for Applications
Workshop on Theories of Science and Philosophy;
Part II, 2nd -9th November 2016,
Gulu Churchill Courts Hotel Ltd

Building Stronger Universities II Project at Gulu University is organizing an 8-day workshop on Theories of Science and Philosophy, a continuation of Part I held in January 2016. This graduate course aims to provide MA and Ph.D students at Gulu University with an overview of central theories of science and philosophy that have formed the basis for critical work in the social sciences. The workshop will introduce theories of Western and African knowledge traditions, pragmatism, post-structuralism, archaeology of knowledge, feminist theory, and environmental issues. It will include a section on methodology in analysis and writing.

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Gulu University Second Workshop on Gender, Culture and Development

Date: 15th - 19th August 2016 Venue: Churchill Courts Hotel Gulu Theme: Addressing Challenges of Gender, Culture and Development in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda

This is the second phase of workshop on Gender, Culture and Development. The workshop will have a more practical and empirical focus on "Addressing challenges of gender, culture and development in Northern Uganda", and will bring the theoretical lessons learnt during the first workshop (March 14-18, 2016) to bear on case studies and experiences from Northern Uganda in the fields of education, conflict resolution, rural development, poverty alleviation, and the empowerment of women. Readings for each day have been uploaded on Gulu University eLearning Portal to enable participants download and save to their own individual computers.

Workshop Objectives

To provide the course participants with the capacity to:

  • Understand key concepts related to the study of gender, culture and development
  • Gain insight into examples of recent state-of-the-art research on gender, culture and development
  • Analyze, discuss critically, and compare the implications of different theoretical understandings of gender, culture and development
  • Analyze and discuss key challenges and dilemmas associated with policy interventions in the field of gender, culture and development
  • Situate challenges of gender, culture and development in Northern Uganda in a theoretical and comparative perspective
  • Develop ideas and strategies and interventions around gender, culture and development in Northern Uganda in the fields of education, conflict resolution, rural development, poverty alleviation, and women's empowerment

Workshop Synopsis

The presentations and discussions during the first day of the workshop will pick up the threads from the first workshop held in March 2016 on concepts and theories of gender, culture and development, and will situate the lessons from the first workshop within the context of post-conflict northern Uganda. It will highlight the special challenges presented by gender issues within this context, the mobilization of different understandings of gender as weapons of conflict and instruments of peace-making and reconciliation, and will discuss the development implications of addressing gender within the northern Ugandan post-conflict environment.

Lectures and discussions during the second day will focus on how both masculinities and femininities are affected by violent conflict; on the ways in which political violence spills over into domestic sphere and 'routine' violence as well as on the uses of gender-based and sexual violence as means of conducting and escalating violent conflict, and of gender-based violence as an instrument of displacement.

Discussions will also address the effects of memories and consequences of violent gender interaction in the aftermath of political and different approaches to reconstruction and healing within both families, local communities, and between groupings involved in conflict in a regional perspective.

The third day (day 3) of the workshop will focus on land, and will discuss how women's access to resources of cultivation and landed property has been affected by violent conflict, displacement, and post-conflict resettlement in northern Uganda. In what ways have women's positions in society, as far as land holdings and land rights are concerned, been weakened by violence, conflict and resettlement; and in what ways have they been given new opportunities?

Discussions on the fourth day of the workshop will address the effects experienced during violent conflict in northern Uganda on empowerment relations between men and women in terms of social, economic, political and cultural empowerment. The disempowering impact of violent conflict will be brought to the fore, but also the ways in which the destabilization brought about by violence conflict may include empowerment opportunities for women and a weakening of patriarchal hegemonies.

Day five will have presentations and discussions on the ways in which formal economic structures and foundations for livelihood were destroyed by violent conflict, and how resilience and means of coping were sought during conflict in northern Uganda in informal economies and institutions. Discussions will highlight the possibilities provided by informality for development and reconstruction in the aftermath of violence, and the ways in which women have been able to utilize such opportunities in a context, where households because of war have become increasingly female-headed. The workshop will close with a roundtable discussion on gender mainstreaming in University teaching.

Topics to be covered

  • Topic 1: Introduction: The Changing Roles and Power Shifts in Post Conflict Northern Uganda
  • Topic 2: Shifts of Demography, Economy and Power in Northern Uganda
  • Topic 3: Masculinities and femininities: Gender and land management in northern Uganda
  • Topic 4: Gender and Empowerment in Post-Conflict Uganda
  • Topic 5: Gender and the Informal Sector in Post-Conflict Northern
  • Round table discussion: Mainstreaming of gender in University teaching

Workshop on re-design and test-run of the Master in Educational Management of Gulu University

Building Stronger Universities (BSU) II Project at Gulu University is a consortium of Danish Universities. University of Copenhagen, Department of Anthropology as the Lead University, Partners at Gulu University are drawn from the Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies, the Faculty of Business and Development Studies, and the Faculty of Education and Humanities. The Danish partners include; researchers from seven departments at five Danish Universities: Anthropology (University of Copenhagen); Culture and Society (Aarhus University); Law (University of Southern Denmark); Society and Globalization (Roskilde University); and Culture and Global Studies, Communication and Psychology,;Education, Learning and Philosophy (Aalborg University).

The overall purpose of the collaborative programme is to support Gulu University in its efforts to strengthen research capacity at PhD level and research-based education, with a special emphasis on research ‘for community transformation’. In addressing the broad overall purpose, three thematic areas are in focus;
i) Stability, democracy and rights
ii) Quality, equity and innovation in education;
iii) Culture, education and development.

Gulu University is located in a region recovering from more than 20 years of war and encampment, and has a commitment to outreach and community engagement. However, very few faculty members hold PhD degrees, the training of PhDs is in its infancy, and there is a general shortage of resources.

Workshop Methodology; lecture, discussion, group discussion, and practical demonstration 

The Gulu main library, in collaboration with the IT Department and Aalborg University, will begin the systematic process of implementing an e-learning strategy building on an incremental increase in e-learning through prototyping. Wider adoption of e-learning and concrete implementation of distance teaching for GU’s satellite campuses will be undertaken and assessed, and university-wide use of the e-learning platform Moodle, which students can access at home, will been abled, drawing on practical training sessions guided by experts from both Danish and East African partners, including Maseno University. By 2016, staff in Humanities and Social Sciences will have delivered at least one course on the electronic learning platform to serve as a prototype for analysis and roll out”. 

Information Literacy Course Feasibility at Gulu University; Mr. Ongaya Kizito compared the practice of Information literacy of Aalborg University and University of Pretoria libraries. Whereas in University Pretoria, the concept of research librarianship is embraced to define the broad role of a librarian in an academic library in supporting research processes, in Aalborg University, information literacy is not a fully fledged course. The librarian is involved in research support activities of information seeking and evaluation following Limberg information literacy model and Sconol 7 pillars of information literacy model. The part of “how to use information” is left for the supervisors and lecturers to guide the researchers.

During the workshop, the participants were inclined to accept the Aalborg model and the general consensus was that, there is no need for a fully fledged course of information literacy at a Master level, while a more comprehensive course of information literacy can be done for those offering Bachelor of education, so that those who offered information literacy course may be assigned to manage libraries at their respective schools.

The Master in Educational Management has been selected for the test-run. The test run is expected to run in the fall 2016-spring 2018.

The course on Open Education Resources falls under Work Package II: Building staff capacity for applying new pedagogical approaches (PBL) Outcome 2: Staff are able to carry out new pedagogic approaches in PhD education and postgraduate research training. This work package focuses on building staff research capacity by qualifying teachers, including PhD students, for using new pedagogical approaches in their research, teaching and supervision practices. At Gulu University a few courses at Masters level apply a problem-based approach that focuses on societal problems (without referring to the approach as PBL), but most courses are based on a traditional textbook-oriented approach. Gulu University wants more problem-based teaching as well as blended learning and action-based research approaches. Strengthened research supervision is also a priority. New learning approaches are of paramount importance for qualified supervision of PhD and Master students and for improving research proposals and projects at all levels from bachelors through Masters to PhD level. 

PBL is particularly important in view of the university’s commitment to community transformation. It is known to be an effective way of engaging stakeholders (students, supervisors, researchers) in solving societal problems. With community outreach as an important component, the PBL approach encourages collaboration between the university and the local community.

The training worshop on Open Education Resources (OERs) and Problem Based Learning (PBL) aims at supporting research, teaching and learning in Gulu University. For effective research, teaching and learning, the stakeholders need knowledge and skills of accessing e-resources. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Padlets, OER commons, Massashusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Open Course Ware (OCW) and African Virtual University. 

The north facilitators included; Prof. Par- Ola Zander Mikeal, Prof. Dirckinck-Holmfeld and Prof. Ann Bygholm from Aalborg University.The Gulu university presenters included; Dr. Benedict Oyo, Mr. Kizito Ongaya and Mr. David Pakono.

PhD Supervision

BSU II PhD Supervision training workshop aims at strengthening doctoral education at Gulu University by focusing on the formal framework for doctoral education as well as the principles and practice of supervision. This addresses possible supervisors at Gulu; that is staff holding PhD, the workshop was blended with group work.

In knowledge-based economies, governments see universities as engines for change and expansion of prosperity. The work of postgraduate students constitutes a vital component of a university's research effort and contributes significantly to the institution's research profile. Since the quality of supervisory practice has a demonstrable effect on postgraduate outcomes, it is in the interest of university's to reliably improve the efficacy of postgraduate supervision. High quality supervision facilitates students in fulfilling their potential which, in turn, enhances the institution's research reputation. In a beneficent cycle, high calibre students are attracted by a reputation for excellent supervision and a strong research profile.

Effective supervision of research degree candidates is a complex multi-factorial process that encompasses issues at all levels from that of individual students and supervisors, to available infrastructural support, to institutional and governmental policies, structures and procedures. Numerous factors can be identified in the literature as significant predictors of candidate completion. These include attendance status (part- or full-time), availability of research funding, age, prior completion of an honours degree, discipline (sciences or humanities), gender, research topic suitability, the intellectual environment of the department, and access to appropriate equipment and computers.