He joined the then Institute of Computer Science in 2002 with one mission: to contribute to the development of the human capacity in computer science in Makerere University and the country. This was achieved through the implementation of a Masters programme entrenched with a strong foundation of delivering a rich curriculum and maintaining a high level of standards where there was no compromise on quality and plagiarism was intolerable. In 2005/06 the PhD programme was rolled out, and also here, he provided his expertise.
During his ten-year tenure with Makerere, Dr. Joseph K. Ssewanyana has seen the Institute of Computer Science grow from having two offices, one computer, one staff room with a few chairs to the current world class facility with over 1,000 computers and housing several modern facilities on several square meters. Over the years, the Institute has been transformed to the Faculty of Computing and Information Technology and more recently the School of Computing and Informatics Technology (CIT) after Makerere became a collegiate university.
Ã¢‚¬Å“I joined the Institute of Computer Science with a mission and I think I have overstayed. It is time to pass on the mantle to other generations I have trained. I will always be available to give direction and counsel,Ã¢‚¬ said Dr. Sewanyana upon his recent retirement from the School.
CIT was built on values of commitment, ethics and hard work. Ã¢‚¬Å“We maintained zero tolerance to plagiarism and to-date CIT is one of the few units within Makerere University that have the least incidents of students cheating during examinations and we have spearheaded the publication and dissemination of our research in journals and conferences. In addition, CIT has raised a young generation of Senior Lecturers upon attainment of their PhDs
Together with other colleagues led by Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, Dr. Ssewanyana kickstarted the Masters programme in the second semester of the 2001/02 academic year with only 60 students. This was a Master of Science in Computer Science and by the end of the first semester; several people had realized that the programme was rich in content, coupled with unique delivery mechanisms so during the following intake, the number of students shot to over 130 and by the third intake the enrolment was over 185. Since then, there has been an exponential rise in the number of postgraduate students at CIT following the introduction of other Masters and PhD courses. Ã¢‚¬Å“We developed a culture of excellence and maintained a high standard leading to an automatic increase in student enrollment,Ã¢‚¬ he said adding that, Ã¢‚¬Å“credit goes to Prof. Baryamureeba who was the Director of the Institute of Computer Science for his willingness to take on my ideas and execute them.Ã¢‚¬
Some of the pioneer students to enroll for the Masters programme include Dr. Agnes Ssemwanga, Richard Mayanja, Agnes Namulindwa, Dr. Benjamin Kanagwa, Dr. Julianne Sansa Otim, Dr. Oyo Benedict, Bagalukayo Emily, Nakiyimba Irene and many others. From this first lot, more than 10 have attained their PhDs. He has supervised hundreds of students and who praise him for being a meticulous and strict lecturer.
After a decade, the human resource capacity has now grown and Dr. Ssewanyana advises CIT to undertake a review of its courses and probably start cutting down on its intakes on postgraduate courses and focus on undergraduate. Ã¢‚¬Å“There is need to undertake a review of the market demand of our students. Find out what jobs they are engaged in, if they do not match their courses, then its time to review the course intakes. If a programme has overshot demand then its time to either scale it down or phase it out,Ã¢‚¬ he added.
CIT ought to focus on delivering demand-driven programmes and ensuring that they are run efficiently and adequately. Also focus on research, teaching, improving facilities, increasing the staff numbers to balance the student: staff ratio.
Asked to describe his time in CIT, he said it was, Ã¢‚¬Å“excellent, interesting and a learning experienceÃ¢‚¬ adding that Ã¢‚¬Å“CIT was an institution within Makerere University that operated on the tenets of a private sector institution. That is why we had initiatives like formation of partnerships with corporate organizations, maintained a high level of discipline and work ethics among our staff and provided them with lunch.Ã¢‚¬
CIT is a School with a lot of goodwill from the public, government and international community. It can utilize these opportunities to lead Makerere University. Ã¢‚¬Å“Have a vision, mission, ambition, and courage to lead and to excel.Ã¢‚¬
His final word to the CIT community is: Ã¢‚¬Å“Maintain a private sector outlook within a public institution.Ã¢‚¬
For now, the father of 3 boys and 3 girls is lecturing in Makerere University Business School (MUBS), and also providing training and consultancy in management, leadership, human resource management and ICT for Development in their firm IFE Consultants at Serena International Conference Centre. In his additional free time, he also supervises a number of his different businesses like a primary school and farm in Mubende Town, a nursery school in Kirinya and he plans to set up a Leadership Centre in Nsambya with his colleagues.
Dr. Ssewanyana has PhD in Business Administration specializing in ICT, an MBA in Information Management, PGD in Computer Electronic Technology, a Bachelor of Statistics and many other qualifications. He has authored several ICT articles and publications that can be accessed online.