Obiaya: SMC was Established to Deepen Creativity and Values in the Media Industry

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Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, was established in 2008 to redefine media and marketing communication education in Nigeria. In this encounter, the Dean of the School, Dr. Ikechukwu Obiaya, speaks with Raheem Akingbolu on the commitment of the management of SMC to use research-based education to develop intellectual capacity of media professionals

An offshoot of the well-liked Centre for Media and Communication (CMC), the School of Media and Communication was established in 2008 by the Governing Council of the Pan-Atlantic University, to take the game a notch higher. Before then, the CMC, which was instituted in 2006, had successfully used its executive education courses and postgraduate programmes to set standard for media professionals and corporate players in Nigeria.

No wonder, it instantly filled a gap in the industry, as many organisations that had started giving up on overseas training sponsorship, quickly embraced the programme. With its international standard, the university tackled the problem of capital flight that had become a burden on the economy as well as providing pragmatic education for media professionals. The rest thus becomes history.

The Dean of the School, Dr. Ikechukwu Obiaya, said the acceptability of the programmes opened the eyes of the council to conceive the idea of broadened programme that would take care of the interest of both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

“From the beginning, the vision was clear; the university council was impressed with the acceptability of its short courses and went back to the drawing board to design a curriculum that could match the ones provided by other top universities in the world. There is no gainsaying the fact that research based studies were lacking in the country and SMC was designed to provide quality education that would make our graduates be able to think constructively and apply creativity to their businesses and professional callings.”

He stated that the school was out to provide well-rounded education to broaden students’ culture and improve their ability to engage in critical thinking.

For practical purposes, Obiaya pointed out that students of the school were exposed to internships in organisations, where they will work alongside professionals in their various field of studies. He also indicated that entrepreneurial classes are put in place to enable graduates of SMC to understand how to create wealth and use the knowledge acquired to manage enterprises in the industry.

According to him, “The idea behind our entrepreneurial courses is to provide pragmatic education and to nurture our products to become employers of labour. The feedbacks we daily received from those who have undergone our studies over the years have further propelled us to raise the game in this direction. We shouldn’t forget the fact that the media is a field of human endeavour where creativity and innovation helps to nurture products and services,”

The dean is not only confident that graduates from the school will excel in all areas of media and marketing communications like Public Relations and Advertising, he is also convinced that they will be leaders anywhere they found themselves.

“We are exposing our students to all areas of mass communication and we parade experienced lecturers that can help them succeed wherever they find themselves in future.

Let me quickly add that the capability of Pan-Atlantic University to undertake the running of a School of Media and Communication is strengthened not only by available infrastructure and facilities but more by well-trained and experienced faculty members,” he added.

While emphasising the role the media industry could play in shaping societal values and cultural life, Obiaya reinstated the fact that the school was conceived because of the aspiration to train professionals in this area of culture who will uphold the highest intellectual, ethical and professional values that promote creativity and the spirit of enterprise.

“Our school programmes are preparing students for careers in the creative industries and in the public and private domains. The primary goal of the school is the formation of media and communication professionals, to enable them pursue their calling to the service of human cultures with a sense of creativity, skill, knowledge and values. We wish to contribute through our expertise to the professional excellence of the creative industries in our country and the continent of Africa.”

The dean, who expressed his delights in the way Nigerians within and outside this shore are embracing the opportunity to have first and postgraduate degrees, however stated that quality education is expensive globally.

“We target all students willing to pursue degree or postgraduate courses in Media and Communication but I must add that the fees are commensurate with the quality of our offering. Therefore, what SMC charges may be a bit higher than what some universities in the country charge but one can be sure of what to get in return in terms of quality education. Having said this, I must conclude by saying that the council is also keen about not making the programmes to be out of the reach of deserving young men and women who are concerned about good education,”

Speaking on the future projection of promoters of the school, Obiaya simply said they wanted to make it one of the best media and communication school and a reference point for research in Africa as well as a leading centre of learning globally.