FUNAI AND WEBOMETRICS RANKING
The Webometrics Ranking is the ranking of world Universities and other higher education institutions based on the volume and quality of the contents of publications on the Web. It emphasizes online visibility and activities.
In the area of visibility, World Universities are ranked according to the visibility of the research output of its academic staff, especially the web presence of their intellectual works as epitomized in Research Gate and Google Scholar citations and other reputable online academic platforms. While in the area of activities, Universities are ranked in terms of presence, impact, openness and Excellence of their academic activities.
These factors are the core considerations for Webometrics ranking, which are usually released twice a year- January and July.
Though the Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (FUNAI), Ebonyi State has been making progress in the biannual Webometrics ranking since 5th November, 2012 when it commenced its academic activities; yet it could be argued that before now much attention was not paid to the online presence of the University and that of its staff, especially the online exposure of their intellectual works.
In the 2015 ranking, the University placed 74th among Nigerian Universities. However, as from February 2016, the University has continued to make sweeping progress in its Webometrics ranking. In fact, in July 2016, FUNAI was 62nd in the ranking of all Nigerian Universities, Federal, State and Private inclusive and jumped to 42nd in the Universities ranking of July 2017 and 46th in the category of all tertiary education institutions in Nigeria.
This dramatic rise in the Webometrics ranking of FUNAI is fuelled by the irrevocable commitment of the University Management towards ensuring that the factors as mentioned earlier in this treatise were vigorously pursued and implemented in every fabric of the University. More so, staff are being galvanized to imbibe the culture of excellence and integrity in all their academic activities to meet international best practice.
The setting up of the University Webometrics Ranking Committee and subsequently the establishment of the Centre for Internationalization, Linkages, Advancement and Global Ranking by the University Management this year was a clear signal that it means business. These two strategic offices, headed by a highly enlightened and ICT-driven academic, Dr. Afam Icha-Ituma are driving the process of ensuring that the University achieves global visibility and recognition by improving the institution’s online presence.
In achieving this noble task, the University academic staff are being mandated to update their profiles on the University website and acquire FUNAI official e-mail addresses from the institution’s ICT department. They are also being made to register with Google Scholar and Research Gate; upload, monitor and update their publications and other academic works with the two internationally-acclaimed online academic repositories. More importantly, the staff are urged to publish in Thomson Reuter and other impact factor journals to enable them compete favourably with their peers at the global arena and put the name of the University on the world map.
The University Management, more than before, is stressing openness in all its academic activities. Presently, the students’ admission, course registration and results as well as allocation of hostel accommodation are all done online, promoting transparency and easy accessibility. The FUNAI Research Archive (FURA), the institution’s online academic repository, is being strengthened to enable students to access lecture and other scholarly materials from the University website, thereby enhancing excellence in service delivery. This is in addition to the millions of e- books and e-journals domiciled in the University’s e-library.
Through its research activities and community service, the University is making great impact on its host community and Ebonyi State in general. The establishment of the Faculties of Agriculture and Education was done after taking cognizance of the agricultural potential of the area and the need to improve the volume and quality of education in the state. The University is also collaborating with Ebonyi State government through the Faculty of Agriculture to train local farmers, extension officers and staff of the State Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on modern farming methodologies in order to improve their production capacities.
The University Management under Prof. ChinedumNwajiuba also approved the hosting of a completely new and more user-friendly website to replace the problematic old one, even as efforts are being made to increase its bandwidth to make it more robust, up-to-date and 21st century compliant. The intractable internet challenge facing the University since inception is also being tackled head-on to solve the problem once and for all and make internet readily available and accessible on campus to both staff and students in order to improve online activities and e-administration in the University.
More importantly, the Public Relations Unit has been repositioned, making it more proactive and efficient in news gathering and dissemination, thus engaging the public strategically and enhancing the image of the University. News about the University, its activities and that of staff are now readily and timely celebrated on the website and in both the traditional and social media platforms. This was not the case before now. The University blog and social media platforms (facebook, twitter, instagram, snapchat) are all geared towards giving the institution a global visibility in an information-led age. You are invited to be part of these social networks.
The University may not be there yet, for there are still rooms for improvement. This calls for concerted efforts from all the University stakeholders to ensure that the tempo of change going on in the University is sustained. It is only then that the vision of the University in the area of global ranking and competitiveness would be realized and sustained.