Former USIU-Africa VC Freida Brown reappointed

Former the United States International University of Africa (USIU) Vice-Chancellor Freida Brown has been reappointed to the office in acting capacity following the retirement of her successor.

Prof Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, a Malawian don, was appointed vice-chancellor in 2016, taking over from Prof Brown who had served the university for 21 years.

Communication from USIU Council chairperson Kris Senanu said Prof Brown has been appointed acting VC as search for substantive office holder kicks off.

Senanu said Prof Brown, who will start work from August 16, will hold the position for the next nine months.

“She is excited to return to the university and Kenya to see first-hand the enhancements made but, crucially, to provide a steady hand of support and expertise as we undertake this important transition in leadership,” said Senanu.

The Standard has learnt that there is unease over the return of the former VC, with some members of the university community saying officials presently holding management positions should have been considered for the top job.

In his statement dated August 2, Senanu acknowledged the growing anxiety among members of the university community on the fate of the institution’s future.

“The university council understands that there may be many questions around the future of the university and that since we are still addressing the post-Covid difficulties that have caused many universities to shut down, this challenging time may create some anxiety within the community,” said Senanu.

He said the university council will host virtual meetings where questions can be asked and anxieties alleviated.

“It will also give the council the opportunity to hear your ideas on the criteria you think we should have in mind as we begin the new VC search,” said Senanu.

Senanu, however, said the council was confident that Prof Brown would provide the university with the much-needed continuity to ensure it remains an institution of academic excellence.

Prof Brown is credited for resolving the university’s debt crisis through prudential financial management and spearheaded the purchase of additional 60 acres, thereby meeting the minimum land requirement for accreditation.

He said transition preparations are underway and a recruitment firm had been contracted to assist in the search of a new VC.

Senanu said recruitment of a substantive VC will be rigorous.

“The search will be an extremely intense process and is anticipated to last approximately 6 to 9 months. We will do our best to have new leadership on board as early as possible in 2022,” said Senanu.

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