A Professor’s Passion for STEM

Professor Celestine Ntuen was disappointed to find the equivalent of an OND holder as Chief Engineering Supervisor for a major drainage work in Ibeno Beach, Akwa Ibom State. His inquiry revealed that the supervisor’s qualification for that job was being an American trained for two years in Civil Engineering Technology at a USA technical college. Could he have been that lucky if he were a Nigerian and holder of a polytechnic ordinary diploma? The professor said he was ashamed of his country at that moment because undiscerning reliance on foreign hands does not happen in advanced countries that believe in developing their intellectual capital. The scenario rekindled his passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Ntuen is Vice Chancellor of Ritman University in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State and Fellow of USA Institute of Industrial Engineers. He believes in STEM as bedrock for development, and an adaptive education that meets technological and economic needs of the nation. At every opportunity, he harps on an urgent need to re-engineer Nigeria’s educational system and organize it for productivity with STEM as indispensable ingredient. He frowns at a situation in which Science books written many years ago are still being used as school texts, while lecturers would rather force students to buy photocopied pages of expired books than break grounds with researches of their own. The scholar advocates that curricula, pedagogy methods and texts should change periodically to suit changes in our social and economic environment: this he calls Adaptive Education.

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SPORTS: Nse Ntuen, Anietie Ukpe, Unyime Etim get Houses in Ritman University

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Celestine Ntuen, has inaugurated Ritman University Sports Committee with a charge to make sports in RU attractive and lucrative.

Acting Director of Sports, Mr Oliver Akpan, said the objectives of sporting activities on campus are to engender spirit of leadership and followership, teach students to live together in harmony, inculcate habit of fair play in victory or defeat, and encourage team work in all situations.

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Ritman University Serves Caveat on Drug Abuse

Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene is stepping up campaigns against drug and substance abuse to dissuade would-be addicts. An information session, facilitated by Transformations, a drug & alcohol abuse advocacy group, warned undergraduates to shun substance abuse because negative effects always outweigh perceived benefits of illicit drug-taking.

Wilfred Obaalologhi, a member of the National Youth Service Corps who serves at Ritman University, while speaking on “Understanding Drug & Substance Abuse: The Virus Within”, defined drug/substance abuse as “the deliberate use of medically useful drugs which have the capacity to alter mood and behaviour without the benefit of a prescription”. Cocaine, tramadol, Indian hemp and alcohol were cited as some of the commonly abused drugs which have profound impact on neurochemical balance in the brain and directly affect how one feels and acts.

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RU Entrepreneurship Club on Field Trip at Aqwacoco

To discover possibilities of wealth creation through agriculture, students of Ritman University (RU), Ikot Ekpene have taken a field trip to a farm where thousands of cocoa plants are nursed to feed a burgeoning food and beverage industry.

Undergraduates from different disciplines under auspices of the university’s Entrepreneurship Club had this learning experience on Thursday 21st June, 2018 at Aqwacoco Enterprise’s cocoa nursery in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State and returned brimming with ideas about realizing RU vision of making its graduates entrepreneurs and employers of labour.

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Laughter Resonates at Ritman University Lecture

Call it a festival of laughter and you won’t be wrong, for hilarity pervaded the air at Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State where laughter was presented as medicine and Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio waxed comical after a discourse on the healing effects of laughter stimulated by theatre.

It was humour all the way, as Guest Lecturer, Effiong Johnson, a Professor of Theatre, Communication and Aesthetics, encouraged the audience to “laugh, laugh big and stay healthy”. He was joined by award-winning comic actor, Ime (Bishop) Umoh who introduced a hilarious dimension to a popular expression. Rather than being “proud” of the former Military Administrator, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, the comedian tickled his audience when he turned to Nkanga and declared, “I am arrogant of you”.

Akpabio who was installed on the same day as Ritman University’s first Chancellor had breezed in when the lecture on Theatrical Comic Genre and the Therapeutic: A Discourse was underway, amidst thunderous cheers. During question time, he asked the Professor why babies’ first reaction after birth is to cry rather than laugh since the lecturer had taught that laughter is God-ordained and therapeutic. Answer was that crying was a newborn’s way of expressing surprise at a sudden change of environment – from the cozy dark warmth of its mother’s womb to hands of midwives. The State Chief Judge and a medical doctor added that crying was a way for the baby to exercise itself and make air to enter its lungs. But Akpabio acted unsatisfied and even proposed it as a research topic. “If crying is for the child to exercise itself and bring air into the lungs, won’t it be great for the newborn to come with mouth wide open, laughing its way into the world?” He would go on to dream of a new and developed Nigeria where children would be laughing all their days.

Prof Johnson ensured that his listeners maintained a humorous disposition all through Ritman University’s 3rd Public Lecture. His presentation featured a dramatic interlude, with students from the University of Uyo enacting an adaptation of Zulu Sofola’s The Wizard of Law. One of the rib-cracking scenes of this comedy was of a man who bleated like a goat in court rather than give any intelligible responses to questions because his lawyer had advised him so to do. The idea was to escape a conviction for stealing goats he had been paid a pittance to keep. His lawyer argued that having spent time living with goats, he had become in essence a goat and so had to be freed from the weight of the law.

The Guest Lecturer who was the first Professor produced by University of Calabar’s Theatre Arts department, emphasized the healing effects of laughter on humans. He used farce as a theatrical comic genre to show the therapeutic capacities of laughter. Banking on his belief that the Bible is God’s word and immutably true, Prof Johnson quoted that “A merry heart doeth good like medicine…” from Proverbs 17:22, and also showed how an evil spirit stopped tormenting King Saul whenever David played his harp. Having established that God is all-knowing and his word true, he stressed that the scriptural principle of a merry heart doing good like medicine was apt and that laughter is capable of reviving a person.

Taking a background from dramatic origins of ancient Greece, he recalled that heightened performances at their peaks of excitement during the celebration of Dionysius and Bacchus resulted in possession of humans by spirits. Hence, he argued that art from the outset has been purpose-driven and no art is devoid of essence, hence, the idea of “art for art’s sake” was not tenable. He therefore offered drama as a morale-boosting, morality-building, good and positively engendering phenomenon. He prescribed farce, a super comic drama, as a workable therapy for all because it instigates laughter wherever it goes and engenders healing.

Describing how this happens, the lecturer said laughing eliminates toxins from the body, and like Aubrey Hepburn avers, cures a multitude of ills. He cited authorities who concur on theatre therapies that promote a happy and healthy lifestyle, such as Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) which is “a legitimate psychological arts based remedy for tackling the psychological dimensions of mental illness”. Play therapy, he said, is an active methodology in improving the well-being of children.

Against this background, Prof Johnson recommended laughter for healing because it gives our bodies a chance to exercise the diaphragm, as well as facial, leg, back and abdominal muscles. He cited research evidence proving that laughter makes one live longer, and those who always expect good things to happen (optimists) are less likely to die from all causes than pessimists. He said laughter boosts the immune system by increasing the number of anti-body producing Tcells, and reducing the likelihood of getting coughs and colds in addition to lowering levels of some hormones associated with stress.

The Guest Lecturer also noted stated that laughter relieves pain and reduces depression, and that a study found that laughter therapy reduces depression in elderly patients by inducing a feeling of well-being and improving their social interactions. He said that laughter protects the heart, prevents cancer, improves memory, promotes creativity, helps in weight loss and improves breathing.

Prof Johnson therefore urged the audience to withdraw from all depressing, angry, anxious moods or actions, watch or read hilarious media and form a habit of laughing all the time.

 

Edidiong Esara 13/04/18

Akpabio Becomes First Ritman University Chancellor

Senate Minority Leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio has been installed as the first Chancellor of Ritman University, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.

Chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees, Senator Effiong Bob, performed the installation, assisted by the National Universities Commission (NUC) Executive Secretary, Prof. Adamu Abubakar Rasheed, on Thursday 12th April, 2018.

Prof Rasheed, who was represented by the commission’s Director of Inspection and Monitoring, Mrs Essien Otu Usendia, said that Ritman University has since its inception in 2015 adhered to all extant policies of the NUC in line with best practices, and has not been involved in any governance or administrative mess. He disclosed that Ritman is the 137th university to be approved, 57th private university, and one of Nigeria’s 162 universities – 41 federal, 47 state, and 74 private.

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Ritman University Hosts Commonwealth Scholars

Commonwealth Scholars has held an awareness seminar for the Ritman University community in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State on how to benefit from scholarships and fellowships of the Commonwealth.

The event, which marked the 2018 Commonwealth Day, was anchored by the Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows Alumni Association of Nigeria (COSFAN) on Monday 12th March, 2018 at the university college auditorium. The Commonwealth of Nations, commonly known as the Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organization of 53 member states, including Nigeria, that are mostly former territories of the British Empire.

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