The University of Namibia (Unam) yesterday announced the appointment of Professor Frednard Gideon as its pro-vice chancellor for academic affairs with effect from January 1, 2017.
The 40-year-old Prof Gideon, currently the Dean of Unam’s Faculty of Science, thus becomes the first Namibian to occupy the position.
Gideon replaces Professor Osmund Mwandemele, whose term of office ends on December 31.
Unam Vice Chancellor Professor Lazarus Hangula made the announcement in a memo circulated internally yesterday.
The pro-vice chancellor for academic affairs’ office serves as the vice-chancellor’s chief advisor on academic matters. The post requires strong academic leadership, with a view to fostering excellence in teaching, research and publication in all faculties, academic centres and the university library.
It also involves developing academic programmes and curricula, which are responsive to the socio-economic needs of Namibia, the SADC region and Africa at large.
Gideon’s appointment is based on a five-year contract.
“Please join me in congratulating Prof Gideon as he assumes his new challenging task and wish him all the best in his new role,” Hangula wrote in the memo yesterday.
In a statement issued susbequently, Unam director of communications and marketing Edwin Tjiramba said the university applauds Gideon’s contributions to Unam and wish him well in his future role.
Gideon, who is a Unam graduate and associate professor in the Department of Mathematics obtained his PhD in applied mathematics (Banking and Finance – Risk Management and Basel II) from North-West University, as well as a Master’s degree in science in mathematics from Rhodes University.
Prof Gideon, who hails from Oshikuku in the Omusati Region, is among a crop of Unam graduates who in recent years embarked on an exciting journey to the top.
Tjiramba said Gideon has commendable leadership qualities and has served the university in various capacities over many years.
He first enrolled at Unam in 1996 for a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in mathematics and science, which he completed in 1999.
In 2000 he started working at the university as a tutor in the science department.
Between 2002 and 2005 he enrolled for postgraduate studies at Rhodes University in South Africa before rejoining Unam as a lecturer in the mathematics department.
In 2006 he returned to South Africa to join the Potchefstroom campus of the North-West University for his PhD studies.
He then returned to Unam to take over as head of the mathematics department, a position he held until 2012 when he was appointed Dean of the Science Faculty. Having become an associate professor in 2013, his tenure as Dean of the Science Faculty was again renewed in 2015.
Speaking to New Era yesterday after the confirmation of his new appointment, Gideon thanked the university for the trust vested in him.
“I can’t thank Unam enough for putting so much trust in its own products,” he said. “Unam is an exciting environment to work in. I did financial mathematics and I could’ve chosen to join the industry, but the university has a clear path of growth, so that was an attraction for me to stay put. We just need to work hard and the university will recognise that,” he concluded.