Sunday, October 5, 2008

Monica Mweseli - Literature Professor and University Vice Chancellor

As the current Vice Chancellor of Kiriri Women’s University of Science and Technology (KWUST), Prof Monica Wanambisi Mweseli joins the company of Leah Marangu, Olive Mugenda and Mabel Imbuga – Kenyan women professors who are serving at the helm of universities (respectively, Africa Nazarene University, Kenyatta University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology). 

KWUST is unique, however, in that it is Kenya’s only university that caters specifically for women and focuses on developing the capacity of female students in the fields of science and technology.

A literature don and former Fulbright scholar, Prof Monica Mweseli has over 20 years’ teaching and research experience in literature and linguistics both in Kenya and USA. Her career in academia began at the University of Nairobi where she earned her BA degree in English in 1979, majoring in literature in English with minors in History and Religious Studies. She then proceeded to Atlanta University in Georgia, USA where she obtained her MA (1981) and PhD (1987) in English.

Between 1984 and 1988, Prof Mweseli taught Composition and Literature at Daytona Beach Community College in Florida, USA. She then returned to Kenya and joined the University of Nairobi’s College of Education in July 1988 as a lecturer in the Department of Literature. Five years later, she rose to the position of senior lecturer and in September 2000 she was appointed associate professor of literature, a position she holds to date.

While teaching at the University of Nairobi, Prof Monica Mweseli also held various senior administrative roles. In 1990-91 as chair of the postgraduate students’ committee in the Department of Literature, she was responsible for reviewing both Masters and PhD thesis proposals in the department. 

Later, as acting chair of the Department of Literature and Linguistics (1994/95), she headed committees that were responsible for introducing new academic departments, such as the Department of Music, the Centre for Performing Arts and the Department of Arts and Design. She also chaired the planning and budgeting committee for the proposed 10-year literature and linguistics syllabus.

Prof Mweseli has supervised several Masters and PhD theses at the University of Nairobi and a number of her former students are now lecturing at various universities in Kenya. She is a prolific author with a host of publications to her name, ranging from literary analysis articles, poems, anthologies, short stories and books. She has also presented several papers on drama, prose, poetry, oral literature and African literature at various local and international forums.

Outside the university arena, Prof Monica Mweseli is an active member of the Kenya Oral Literature Association (KOLA) and the Kenya Chapter of AAWORD, the Association of African Women for Research and Development. She is also a reputable drama festival adjudicator and has adjudicated at various district and national drama festivals in Kenya over the years between 1992 and 2005. She is also a devoted member of the Church of God, Nairobi and co-director of a non-governmental organization Aged, Children and Women Organization.

1 comment:

Dan Basil said...

The Prof continues to fully mentor many of her gifted students from the University of Nairobi, and other universities into life changing programs such as the Fulbright. We celebrate you Prof. Without her, I couldn't have achieved one of the most crucial steps towards my dreams as a young man.