1.0 Brief History of the department
The Department of Psychology was established in 1988 in the Faculty of Social Sciences in the College of Education and External Studies. Although the primary objective was to service the Bachelor of Education program, it was also mandated to start degree programs in psychology. In 1999 it launched the Bachelor of Psychology (Counselling) program. The department was transferred to the Faculty of Arts in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2005 when the University restructured its programs. As a result the Department of Psychology was designated a service-department status meaning that, it could offer programs not only in the Faculty of Arts, but also in any other college where psychology is considered part of the curriculum. The department offers courses in counselling psychology, educational psychology and several other areas of psychology.
The Department of Psychology also offers relevant courses to programs in other schools and colleges namely,
- College of Education and External Studies
- School of Nursing in the College of Health Sciences
- School of Architecture in the College of Architecture and Engineering
- School of Journalism and Media Studies
- School of Agriculture in the College of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
So far the department has been able to discharge its duties to the clients’ satisfactions. However, the main challenge has been the small number of staff that is supposed to discharge these duties compared to the amount of work involved. This has lead to disproportionate Teacher-to-Student ratio in some of the programs. It is the hope of the department of psychology that the University will allow it to increase its number of teaching staff at various ranks to correct the teacher-to-student ratio and therefore improve the quality of learning.
2.0 Courses offered
The Department of Psychology currently offers the following programs:
- Diploma in Counselling Psychology
- B.A. in Counselling Psychology
- B.A. in Psychology
- M.Ed. Measurement and Evaluation
- Masters of Arts in Psychological Counselling (to be ready for implementation by the end of the year)
- Masters of Arts in Psychology (this program has been approved at the departmental level)
- Ph.D. in Psychology (still being developed)
These programs are offered on the basis of three modules as follows:
- Module I- this caters for publicly sponsored regular students
- Module II- this is for privately sponsored students
- Module III- this is for privately sponsored part-time students who only attend face-to-face sessions on campus for some weeks in a year, while the rest of the time they are off-campus.
3.0 Disability and gender sensitivity in the department
The department of psychology is both disability and gender sensitive. Currently, one of the senior lecturers in the department is hearing-impaired, but the university has employed a graduate-assistant to facilitate interpretation from sign-language to spoken language for students. The department therefore is friendly to people with disability and looks forward to employing more people with talent despite the various challenges they face in life.
Similarly, the department is also gender-sensitive in that 9 out of the 25 teaching staff are female. That is, in compliance with the Constitution of Kenya, about one third of the teaching personnel is from the other gender.
4.0 Enrolment of students
Although this is a relatively young department in the Faculty of Arts, student enrolment has increased greatly reflecting popularity of the courses offered by the department among the students. At this moment over 2000 students are enrolled at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Module I, Module II and Module III.
However, there are a number of challenges that have curtailed the department’s ability at maximising the enrolment of students in its programs. These include the lack of enough lecture halls to accommodate all the course units and the growing number of students in various programs among others.
5.0 International student component
The department of psychology gets a number of international students from several African, Asian, American and European countries from time to time as their programs allow. The interaction with our students has been found useful.
6.0 Research interests and international links and collaborations
The department of psychology has a strategic goal to publicise itself and tap on the expertise from other institutions. This goal has been achieved by way of engaging in community service and publication of research reports by the staff members. As a result, the department has attracted teaching staff from a number of institutions who work either as full-time and part-time faculty members.
However, there have been a number of challenges that have limited the ability of the department to fully exploit the available opportunities. For example, the department has 16 teaching staff member who are on full-time and contractual employment and 5 part-time, yet they only have three offices to share, with each office hosting at least 8 staff members. The department does not have a library, a factor that influences the academic productivity of the staff members. Further, the teacher-student ratio is disproportionate against the teacher, which forces the department to overload the teaching staff with the teaching load.
The department has a goal of ensuring that its students are introduced to new ideas in various fields of study of psychology. This is facilitated by way of continuous engagement by staff in research and consultation and the publication of the various research reports that are developed as a result. In the year 2010, a number of lecturers in the department took part in the writing of modules for distance learning that are now under review for publication. Lecturers have written over 15 units for this purpose. Some of these modules are:
- CPY 415 Community psychology
- CPY 211 Basic statistics
- CPY 209 Research methods
- CPY 413 Psychology of the family
Some of the staff are also engaged in consultancy projects with the Kenya Institute of Education, Kenya Institute of Special Education, Kenya National Examination Council among others.
The main challenge at achieving higher turn-over rates in terms of publications and consultancies has been the slow pace at which research proposals are vetted for approval by the Faculty Academic Board and difficulty faced by staff in securing funds to undertake studies of their proposed research.
This not withstanding, some members of staff have been able to write papers and attend conferences to present them e.g. Prof. Priscilla Kariuki presented a paper at the International Conference on the family: Reflections on family as a Value with Respect to Religion, Tradition and Modernity, held in Turkey in November, 2010. The title of the paper was: Changing Economic and Social Patterns of Family Life Among Kikuyu Families in Nairobi, Kenya
8.0 Number of staff and their designations
Professor - 1
Associate Prof. - 1
Senior Lecturer - 1
Lecturers - 15
Secretary - 1
Clerk - 1
Messenger - 1