Prof Mwenda Ntarangwi becomes first Kenyan to head USIU as VC

Prof Mwenda Ntarangwi during an interview in February 2020

Prof Mwenda Ntarangwi during an interview in February 2020. 

Photo credit: File

Prof Mwenda Ntarangwi is the new vice chancellor of the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A).

He will be the first Kenyan to head the institution.

The university announced on Thursday to fill the position following the unexpected resignation of Prof Margee Ensign in August last year due to medical reasons.

Prof Ntarangwi will assume office on July 1, 2024, to lead one of Kenya’s largest private universities.

Dr Lola Odubekun has been serving as interim VC since September as the recruitment of a substantive VC went on. The university leadership has changed hands a number of times in the recent past.

Prof Ensign had taken over from its long-serving VC Prof Freida Brown who came out of retirement in August 2021 to head the university after the exit of Prof Paul Tiyambe Zeleza.

Prof Brown held the position on an interim basis as the search for a new VC went on.

Prof Ntarangwi is the immediate former Chief Executive Officer of the Commission for University Education.

Transformed CUE

Since 2022, he served as the Deputy Principal-Academics, Research and Student Affairs at NIRUC, a constituent college of the National Defence University – Kenya.

“Prof Ntarangwi is particularly drawn to USIU-Africa’s mission to prepare the next generation of effective, engaged, and ethical leaders for the fast-changing African and global contexts. He brings a wealth of experience in international scholarly writing, demonstrated by publications, teaching and research. He has published 9 books, 24 journal articles, 18 book chapters, 6 encyclopedia entries, among others as well as organised and facilitated 20 conferences and workshops around the world,” said Kris Senanu, the chair of the university council.

“Prof Ntarangwi successfully transformed CUE from a policing body into an institution focusing on progressive partnership with universities, with clearly understood quality assurance standards. His experience in carrying out accreditation of universities and programs will be critical in supporting USIU-Africa’s dual accreditation thereby raising the quality of education at USIU-Africa,” reads the circular.

The new VC is a scholar in cultural anthropology and has worked in the higher education sector in Africa and the US, through teaching, research, fundraising and senior leadership.

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