‘‘Our College of Natural Sciences has the required manpower and facility in place to run the programs effectively. And we are confident that the fruits of the ambitious human resource development plan of our esteemed university will enable us to run these programs efficiently.

State-of-the-art and coordinated lab facilities with excellent geographical location can be used as a fertile ground to undertake these programs that are feasible and demand-driven,’’ informed the College of Natural Sciences Dean, Dr Alemayehu Hailemicael.

Dr Alemayehu said this while opening the day-long curriculum review workshop organized by College of Natural Sciences at Academic Development Resource Center (ADRC), Main Camus on February 27, 2014.

He further maintains, ‘‘Our College of Natural Sciences is proactively contributing its share by providing quality education both in undergraduate and graduate programs. As of now, it runs 10 undergraduate and nine graduate programs and with the introduction of two new graduate programs i.e. Wildlife Management and Medical Entomology and Disease Vector Control, the tally would go up to 11.’’

Academic Affairs Vice President, Dr Agena Anjulo, opened the workshop. The program began with Dr Alemayehu welcoming the gathering; Biology dept faculty members attended the workshop.

Assistant Professor in Biology and Coordinator of PG Studies, Dr Serekebirhan Takele, in his detailed presentation on Wildlife Management said, ‘‘MSc program in Wildlife Management aims to produce graduates with a broad understanding on wildlife management, conservation and health, who will fill the manpower gap in Ethiopia. It will also provide scientific background and tools for problem-solving and equip them with entrepreneurial skills to establish the link between academia with stakeholders for wildlife management.’’

He informed, the above MSc course encompasses electives like Mammalogy, Ornithology, Herpetology, Ichthyology and Environmental Impact Assessment. And the college has qualified staff, required infrastructure like research facilities, laboratory, library, etc in place.

One of the external reviewers, a senior wildlife Ecologist from Addis Ababa University, Prof. Afework Bekele gave very constructive comments, and said, he highly recommend the curriculum with minor modifications.

The other reviewer, Girma Mengesha, also forwarded his comments and wanted the issues of protective and manipulative management be taken care of. He advocated the inclusion of aspects like impact of humans on animals and vice versa, advance ecology and health.

Chief Technical Advisor for SDPASE, Dr Ludwig Siege, said, wildlife manager must have scientific background and students must be exposed to practical experience. The knowledge of wildlife trade i.e. wildlife product export component is of paramount importance, he said. Getahun Asfaw from Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority also gave his comments.

In his presentation Mr Fikadu Massebo, a PhD fellow, featuring 2nd graduate program, Medical Entomology and Disease Vector Control also attracted suggestions from three external reviewers i.e. Dr Meshesha Balkew from Akilu Lemma Institute of Patho-biology, Addis Ababa University, Mr Degu Mekan Temesgen and Dr Delenasaw Yewhalaw from Jimma University.

External reviewers pointed lacunae in the programs with regard to veterinary field and its sustainability. One hailed it as important, relevant and timely because it’s in line with national goals and priorities but not in line with AMU profile. One of the reviewers even suggested changing the degree nomenclature.

Later in the day, participants split into two groups to go into its nitty-gritty thus concentrating on each programs. Most of the suggestions were duly incorporated in the respective courses in consultation with the reviewers.

By Philips Joseph