By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
The former Vice Dean of Postgraduate School, University of Uyo (UNIUYO) Akwa Ibom State, Prof. Joseph Akawu Ushie has been elected Dean, Faculty of Arts in the institution.
Ushie, a Professor of General Stylistics and Literary Criticism in the Department of English emerged unopposed in the contest held at the Department of Theatre Arts of the University on Thursday.
Representing the eight departments within the faculty of Arts, he succeeds Prof Anthonia Essien of the Department of Religious Studies.
In his post-election speech, the new Dean, Prof Joseph Ushie called for cultivation of the interrelatedness of disciplines within the faculty of Arts.
Himself, a former Head, Department of English Language of the University, pledged to ensure a consultative leadership and timely promotions of colleagues in the faculty, particularly in the professiorial cadre.
He acknowledged his unanimous adoption by members of the faculty, including those who had the intention to contest, and therefore declared the overwhelming love and support a motivation to push the faculty to greater heights.
Ushie who paid glowing tributes to his predecessor whose shoes he admitted were quite large, considering her achievements in the area of professiorial promotion, said he will leverage on the support so far, to either surpass or sustain existing record.
“I realized that to be Dean is just to be first among equal and not to be anything superior to anybody. So, with your advice and support, I will serve you diligently”
“This love and support you have demonstrated would make it difficult for me to give a half measure back to the faculty, if I must be lazy, it would account to a hundred percent, but if I am not to be lazy, I should return a little more than hundred percent.
Testimonies from colleagues including Professors Effiong Johnson of the Department of Theatre Arts and Ashiong Ashiong of Communication Arts all declared Ushie a “perfect clearing house” for the faculty due to his long record of integrity and humble, yet firm disposition on matters.
His abridged profile made available to our Correspondent indicates that Ushie is a Fellow of the 2002 Fulbright Program and recipient of many honours and awards including his state government’s for his outstanding contributions to the growth of African Literature and Culture.
The profile also revealed that Ushie has been a judge in national literary competitions and was Africa’s representative at the 2010 Philippine PEN 50th anniversary celebrations. His poetry has appeared in world-class literary anthologies and has earned global attention.
He hails from Akorshi, Bendi, the hilly Obanliku Local Government Area (which houses Nigeria’s foremost tourist attraction, the Obudu Cattle Ranch) of Cross River State, and he attended St. Peter’s Primary School, Bendi, Government Secondary School, Obudu, and the University of Calabar, Calabar, where he studied English and Literary studies, and was the Secretary-General, Student Union Government in 1980-81 session.
He subsequently obtained the M. A. (1988) and PhD (2001) in English from Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan. Professor Ushie had served as Head, Department of English, and on several boards and committees in the University of Uyo. He had also been Chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Judge, ANA national literary competitions (2009 – 2010), Juror of the Canada-based International Poetry Competition (2017) and a Co-Editor, Montreal 2017 Global Poetry Anthology.