Kenya's oldest university appoints Prof Stephen Kiama as its new Vice Chancellor; Here's all you need to know about the professor with 29 years of research under his belt

University of Nairobi (UoN)
  • Prof Stephen Kiama has been appointed the new Vice Chancellor of Nairobi University for a term of five years.
  • In a letter dated January 5, 2020, UoN Council Chairperson Prof. Julia Ojiambo said Prof Kiama’s term will start Monday, January 6, 2020.
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially endorse and announce his appointment on Monday.

The search for a new Vice Chancellor to steer Kenya’s oldest institution of higher to new academic heights is over.

Prof Stephen Kiama has been appointed the new Vice Chancellor of Nairobi University for a term of five years.

In a letter dated January 5, 2020, UoN Council Chairperson Prof. Julia Ojiambo said Prof Kiama’s term will start Monday, January 6, 2020.

Prof Kiama outsmarted Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Madara Ogot and Prof Patricia G Kameri Mbote who had emerged as the other two favorites for the plum job.

He takes over from Prof Peter Mbithi whose tenure was dogged with numerous complaints of mismanagement that saw him sent on compulsory leave six months before his tenure ended and Prof Isaac Mbeche appointed in his place as acting VC.. Prof Mbithi was gunning for a second term which proved unsuccessful.

Prof Kiama is equal to the task of steering the best institution for Higher Learning in East Africa according to the 2019 Webometrics ranking of world universities. He has 15 years’ uninterrupted hands-on administrative experience at senior level in the basic and higher education management under his belt.

Prior to his appointment, he was the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Human Resource and Administration at the university since February 2019. He has been a member of University of Nairobi Senate and University Executive Board since 2003 and 2016 respectively. In 2003, he was appointed as the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

In 2005, Prof. Kiama was appointed Chairman of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology thus doubling up as both Chair and Associate Dean, a position he served until 2010 when he was appointed the Director of Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially endorse and announce his appointment on Monday.

Academic background

Prof. is a holder of Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (1990) and Master of Veterinary Anatomy (1995) degrees from University of Nairobi, Kenya and Doctor of Philosophy in Structural Biology (2001) from University of Bern, Switzerland. He was employed by the University of Nairobi upon graduation in 1990 as an assistant Lecturer and later promoted to Lecturer (1995), Senior Lecturer (2002), Associate Professor (2012) and Professor (2016).

He has a cumulative 29 years of research and teaching experience at various institutions of higher learning including University of Nairobi, St. Andrews University in Scotland, Free University of Berlin, Germany, University of Bern, Switzerland, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and University of Ghana, Ghana.

At the University of Ghana, he helped to set up the Anatomy laboratory and to give the first lectures to the inaugural class of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students.

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