Institutional and disciplinary perspectives of community transformation in Gulu University
Ofoyuru, Denis Thaddeus
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Gulu University declares community transformation stance unequivocally but little seems to be known about the phenomenon. I explored institutional and disciplinary perspectives of community transformation in Gulu University. Specifically, I sought to understand (a) how policies inform community transformation activities (b) how structures support community transformation activities and (c) how community transformation activities manifest in disciplinary fields in Gulu University. I used the qualitative case study design guided by relativist ontology and constructivist epistemology. Twelve senior faculty and three top managers constituted the sample. I collected data using the semi-structured interviews and documents checks; and analysed thematically. Findings reveal that the university motto, mission and vision elicits inspiration for ccommunity transformation activities in the absence of mainstream policy for community transformation; national policies do inform activities for community transformation by disciplinary fields; support for community transformation activities are technical, managerial and logistical in nature, but are rather routine and non-distinctive without designated structures; activities for community transformation by disciplinary fields manifest in teaching, research and service typified by inter- and intra-disciplinary asymmetry and variation; and functional asymmetry. I conclude that, the university motto, vision and mission are similar to policy inspiring activities for community transformation; there is weak and co-incidental support and an overall fragile state of activities for community transformation. Thus, national policies should be consciously cascaded down to the institutional level and institutional policies to mainstream community transformation activities into disciplinary fabrics need to be formulated by the university council. Deliberate support with designated structures for community transformation activities should be instituted by the top management, and disciplinary fields should adopt inter- and multi-disciplinary approach to community transformation activities in order to contribute to community transformation in a more robust and synergistic manner.