Building Smarter and Better Conferences: From Local to International Standards

Over the last ten years, the University has hosted Annual International Research Conferences in line with its mission of providing holistic quality education based on research and practical skills. This year (2022) the University hosted the 12th Annual International Research Conference between the 28th of March – the 19th of October 2022, which participants attended both physically and virtually. In light of this, the Directorate of Research, and Innovation organized a two-day workshop for the University Conference Committee, which took place at KABU Guesthouse. The workshop was graced by the University Registrar of Academic & Research, Dr. Anthony Somba, who emphasize the need for the committee to plan and align it to academic events. The Registrar called on the review of the conference fee, and the need to increase the number of conference participants. He challenged the committee to upgrade the conference to meet international standards, look for more increased funding, and seek collaborations from different institutions and partners.

During the sessions, the Chair of the Committee Dr. Nyawere, emphasized the need to benchmark for the good practices and improvement of conferences to get to the international standards. He also thanked the University Management and the Directorate for the support offered throughout the conference season. Even as the committee planned for the 2023 events, the Chair reminded the members of the work ahead and appreciated the work put in the 2022 events. The Director of the Institute of Postgraduate Studies, Dr. Wilson Shitandi who also attended the workshop called on the committee members to tap into the institute's calendar of events and training. As supervisors and trainers, ‘the postgraduate students are looking up for coaching and mentorship. It is important that you mentor the young scholars by attending the IPGS trainings and helping them prepare abstracts for presentation and papers for publication, said Dr. Shitandi.

Conferences bring together a complex network of academic and nonacademic professionals to discuss and disseminate new knowledge. It is therefore important that our conferences constitute social spaces where researchers encounter other researchers, establish new contacts, hold exploratory talks, and initiate collaborations, said Dr. Owino, who is the University Coordinator of Conferences and Publication. She insisted that the conferences should yield a plenitude of scientific and societal impact. During the workshops, members also discussed issues of conference fees, standardization of the conference procedures for all the events, collaboration and partnership among the schools and departments for inter-disciplinary conferences, the need for a user-friendly conference platform, and increased budget allocation for the events.

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The workshop brought together the Conference chairs and convenors from the various Schools and Department, including Dr. Rose Obat (Chair of the School of Pharmacy), Dr. Sarah Kiptala (Chair of the School of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences), Ms. Jeane Okumu (Chair of the School of Law), Dr. Josephat Tanui (Chair of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences), Dr. Philip Nyawere (Chair of the School of Sciences, Engineering and Technology), Dr. Peter Tonui (Convenor -Education Management), Dr. Ruth Owino (Convenor -Media and Communication), Dr. Diana Munyao (Convenor -Languages and Literature), Mr. Danice Awidha (Convenor -Energy and Environmental Sciences), Prof. Samson Omwoyo (Convenor -Social Sciences and Humanities), Dr. James Kay (Convenor -Psychology and Counselling), Rev. Dr. Lawrence Oseje (Convenor -Theology).

CONF7Members of the University Research Committee: Dr. Kay, Dr. Oseje, Dr. Owino, Dr. Tonui, Dr. Obat, Mr. Awidha, Ms. Okumu, Dr. Nyawere, Mr. Inziano, Dr. Kiptala, Prof. Omwoyo, and Dr. Munyao.

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