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Varsities Join Hands In A Bid To Dialogue Between Science And Religion..

MKU Co-Founder, Jane Gicharu making her point at the Training. Looking on is MKU VC (Finance) Prof. Evans Kerosi.
Several universities in the country have joined hands in a spirited effort to train Kenyans on foundational principles of the dialogue between science and religion. Towards this effort, 92 participants from local universities held a 3 day training programme in a cherished bid to seek foundational principles on the dialogue between science and religion.

The training organized by Christian and Scientific Association of Kenya (CSAK) was held at Sweet Lake Resort , Naivasha in Nakuru County.

In a speech read on his behalf by MKU Director, Research, Grants and Endowment Dr. Francis Muregi, MKU VC Professor Stanley Waudo said that University mission has three components.  The components are:
(i)    Teaching,
(ii)   Research, and
(iii)  Service Provision

He said besides the three components of the University mission, due to declining participation of communities in instilling value system in the youth, training institutions are now expected to take on character transformation as a fourth component of a University mission.

Sustainability of Growth of a University

The VC said pillars of sustaining the growth of a University are four in number.  The four pillars are:
(i)    Excellence in teaching
(ii)   Excellence in research
(iii)  Excellence in service provision
(iv)  Excellence in character transformation

“For a University to be excellent in teaching, research, service provision and character transformation it must have enablers,” said Professor Waudo.

Enablers of Developing Excellence in Priority Areas

The academician said Enablers of developing and sustaining excellence in teaching, research and service provision are:
(i) Adequate academic resources, and
(ii) Effective governance structure

“We at Mount Kenya University have adequate academic resources and an effective governance structure to support developing and sustaining excellence in teaching, research and service provision.  Therefore, any emerging short-comings may be as a result of deficiencies in our organizational culture,” the VC said.

While emphasizing the importance of organizational culture, Prof Waudo said:
(i) For excellence in teaching to be developed and sustained, a supportive organizational culture is necessary.
(ii) For excellence in research to be developed and sustained, supportive organizational culture is also necessary.
(iii) For excellence in service provision to be developed and sustained, supportive organizational culture is necessary too.
(iv) For excellence in character transformation to be developed, a supportive organizational culture driven by strong values and ethos is necessary.

He said, organizational culture has several components.  Among them are values and professional ethics.  Values demand high integrity guided by religious faith.  Professional ethics demand among other things support for high individual productivity and high performance.  

“At this juncture, allow me to appreciate the Mount Kenya University, Directorate of Research, Grants and Endowment for upholding high professional ethics.  For example, attracting external funding and channeling the donor money to the University for Administration is a positive professional undertaking.  Ensuring that the available research infrastructure in the University is effectively utilized is another positive undertaking,” said the VC in his speech.

Professor Waudo said competitiveness, the desire to be among the best is dependant on developing and sustaining resource-based competitive advantages, organizational culture-based competitive advantages and knowledge-based competitive advantages.  

“There are all indications that the Christian and Scientific Association of Kenya will develop the necessary competitive advantages.   Let us remember that determinants of developing competitiveness are”:

i)   attracting funding for research,
ii)  promoting a strong value system and,
iii) promoting generation and utilization of information.

He said guided by the Mount Kenya University research pillars of excellence, the implementation of the project will be effective such that all research objectives will be achieved.

He said he was highly indebted to the Faraday Training organizing committee for inviting him to the workshop.  

“I trust that the workshop will provide a forum for sharing and exchanging ideas that will support effective implementation of the Kenya Christian and Scientific project.  I believe that this Faraday training will equip you with knowledge on foundational principles of the dialogue between science and religion.  The University Management and staff are highly indebted to Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc for providing the research grant that will support the implementation of the Kenya Christian and Scientific project.  On behalf of the Mount Kenya University fraternity, I sincerely thank Templeton World Charity Foundation Inc for funding the project and Faraday Institute for facilitating this training.”

Among other issues, the session explored the relationship between science and religion from a variety of perspectives, scientific, historical, theological and philosophical.

The facilitators were, Dr. Hilary Marlow, Course Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion and an Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge and Prof. Keith Reginald Fox, a Professor of Biochemistry within the Centre for Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton

The training was officially opened by Prof. Evans Kerosi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration, Planning & Institutional Advancement, on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Mount Kenya University, Professor Stanley Waudo. Professor Kerosi was accompanied by MKU co-founder and board member Jane Gicharu. The two guest speakers trained participants on eight topics. Dr Marlow gave lectures on Introduction to science and religion; Historical perspectives on science and religion; Why care for creation?; Science and the Bible, and Biblical theology and the environment. Prof. Fox’s topics included; Creation or evolution: Do we have to choose?; Issues in bioethics; God, Cosmology and the anthropic principle, and Genetics and human identity.
Participants were drawn from universities, research institutions, government sector and churches. Besides 

Mount Kenya University, other institutions present were University of Nottingham, Presbyterian University of East Africa, University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenyatta University, Daystar University, Moi University, Pwani University, Rongo University, Maseno University, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, University of Eldoret, Egerton University, Kenya Institute of Management, Karatina University, St. Paul’s University, Africa Nazarene University, South Eastern University of Kenya, Kenya Medical Research Institute, USIU and Commission for University Education. 

Participants were awarded certificates of participation on the final day of the workshop. Prof. Joseph Galgalo, Vice-Chancellor, St. Paul’s University thanked Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc and Mount Kenya Kenya University for jointly funding the establishment of CSAK in Kenya. He noted that this association was timely and it will be at the forefront in spearheading harmonious deliberation on the contentious issues of science and Christianity in Kenya. Prof. Bernard Boyo, Chairman CSAK, appealed to members to form CSAK chapters at their institutions. Dr. Francis Muregi, CSAK project leader informed the gathering that the association has over 150 members and is organizing a national conference on Christianity & Science in August, 2016.

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