In a thought-provoking roundtable discussion held on Thursday, November 2, 2023, at the Vice Chancellor's Office, distinguished speakers from the world of academia gathered to shed light on their remarkable journeys and offer invaluable guidance to the next generation of educators. The Future Faculty Program Roundtable sought to inspire and mentor young faculty members by exploring the experiences, challenges, and strategies of these veteran educators.

Organized by the Carnegie African Diaspora Program through her Fellow and Director of DNA Learning Center Nigeria, Prof. George Ude, the event brought together top academia in the area of STEM to help mentor and inspire future lecturers in the academic world.

Experience as a Novice Educator
The conversation kicked off with a reflection on the early days of their careers. Each speaker lead by the Vice Chancellor of Godfrey Okoye University, Rev. Fr. Prof. Christian Anieke and Prof. George Ude shared the most significant challenges they encountered when they first stepped into the world of education. These challenges ranged from self-doubt to managing classroom dynamics. Overcoming these initial obstacles was a common theme, with the speakers highlighting the importance of perseverance, continuous learning, and seeking support from colleagues.

Adapting to Teaching Methods
Adapting teaching methods to engage students effectively and promote meaningful learning experiences was the next topic. The speakers emphasized the need for flexibility in teaching approaches, citing examples of how they had evolved their methods over time. They shared key strategies, such as incorporating technology, active learning, and personalized approaches, which had yielded remarkable success in their classrooms.

Navigating Academic Hurdles
Moving up the academic ladder is never without its obstacles. The veteran educators discussed the challenges they faced in their journey to the top, from research demands to administrative responsibilities. They shared their secrets to success, including time management, setting clear priorities, and maintaining a passion for both teaching and research. Their stories of determination and resilience served as a beacon of hope for young faculty members facing similar challenges.

Mentorship and Professional Growth
Mentorship and personal growth played a significant role in the speakers' paths to success. They discussed the influential mentors and experiences that had a profound impact on their development as educators. Their advice to young faculty members seeking growth and success in academia emphasized the importance of seeking mentors, building strong networks, and never ceasing to learn and adapt.
In a session rich with wisdom and encouragement, Prof. Chidi Uhuegbu, the Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Godfrey Okoye University, shared his wealth of experience, urging young faculty members to embrace hard work, maintain focus, and persevere through the challenges that inevitably arise on their journey to the pinnacle of academia.
Of particular note was the engaging mentorship atmosphere, notably by female faculty members who generously shared their experiences on navigating the demanding balance between family life and scholarly pursuits. This dynamic dialogue highlighted the challenging yet rewarding nature of simultaneously managing family and career commitments, emphasizing the beauty and fulfillment found in pursuing both and staying true to one's dreams.
Carnegie African Fellow and Director of DNALC, Prof. George Ude, has been instrumental in fostering this mentorship culture, aligning with his passion for shaping the ideal scholar in response to the evolving demands in education. Prof. Ude's mentorship extends to postgraduate students, potential scholars, lecturers, and professors, actively guiding them in the conscious effort to develop higher education in Africa.
This collaborative effort is a testament to the commitment through inspirational words and the shared experiences among faculty members underscore the importance of mentorship and camaraderie in fostering growth and success within the academic community. As such guidance resonates, the impact is poised to reverberate positively throughout the university and beyond.

As the roundtable discussion concluded, the room was filled with inspiration and renewed motivation. The collective wisdom of these veteran educators serves as a testament to the boundless possibilities in the world of academia and offers a roadmap for the next generation of educators.
The Future Faculty Program Roundtable was a remarkable opportunity for all those present to learn from the very best, shaping the future of education.

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