Opara appointed Dominican University Vice-Chancellor

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Professor Jacinta Opara has been appointed as the second substantive Vice Chancellor of Dominican University, Ibadan, Nigeria.

This announcement was made by Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), Chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees. It is based on the Board’s meeting on March 7, 2024, following the submission from the Joint Governing Council, Senate, and Search/Selection Team.

Opara’s appointment followed a rigorous recruitment process by a professional firm and top academics, ensuring global best practices in headhunting for strategic academic positions.

The statement from the Board highlighted that Opara’s appointment is expected to usher in a period of innovation and academic excellence. It emphasised her distinguished track record in higher education and her strong commitment to fostering learning and research.

Her leadership is anticipated to have a sustainable impact on both the university and the wider academic community.

Dominican University

The Dominican University, formerly known as Dominican Institute, is the first university of the Order of Preachers in Africa. The Order, founded by Spanish priest Dominic de Guzman in 1216, has been involved in global university education for over 800 years.

The Order established its presence in Nigeria in 1951 with the arrival of Fathers Edward Lawton, Michael Dempsey, and Arthur Kinsella from the USA. In 1993, the Dominican Institute became affiliated with the University of Ibadan, and in 2016, it was officially licensed as a university by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

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Inauguration into office

As the first female Vice Chancellor of the institution, Opara will serve a five-year term. She is billed to be inaugurated into office on July 1, 2024.

She will be the academic and administrative head, chief executive, and central figure in university activities, reporting directly to the Governing Council.

Her vision includes fostering a dynamic learning environment and promoting community engagement. She is dedicated to student success and aims to enhance opportunities for partnerships, research funding, international collaborations, and community outreach.

Personal Profile

Born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in 1976, Prof. Jacinta Opara is a renowned environmental scholar, educator, health researcher, and development activist. She holds degrees from the University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and various other international institutions. Beginning her career as a science teacher in 1997, she has since held numerous teaching, research, and consulting positions across Africa, America, Europe, and Asia.

Opara became a full professor in 2016 at Kampala International University and has held various academic roles at institutions such as the University of Maiduguri, Federal University, Kashere, and Ahmadu Bello University, among others.

She has extensive experience in higher education administration, having served as Head of Department, Dean, Director, and Deputy Vice Chancellor. She is known for her strong interpersonal and team-building skills, making her well-suited to bridge gaps between diverse stakeholders in higher education.

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Opara co-directs the Center for Environment and Community Development and serves on the boards of multiple international institutions. Her extensive network of contacts is expected to benefit the university significantly. She has received numerous awards, fellowships, and grants, including the Erasmus Mundus of the European Commission and the IATEL Award for Academic Excellence.

She has supervised many PhD and Master’s students and maintains consulting roles with various agencies in fields such as environment, health, gender, human rights, and community development. She is involved with numerous professional organizations and has a strong presence in international academic circles.

Opara, a devout Catholic, is multilingual and has visited over 30 countries. She has over 200 publications, including more than 130 academic journal articles and 15 books, and is married with children.

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