Meet the recently appointed executive dean of the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics at the Durban University of Technology, Professor Oludayo O. Olugbara, who is a dynamic academic whose illustrious record is a testament to his distinguished 25 years of service and his passion for teaching and learning.
For Professor Olugbara, his appointment as the executive dean is something he believes should not change people as he is still the same person who aims to lead his faculty and students with passion and commitment to research. “I am happy when people have confidence in you. For me, it’s a pointer to do more than before. It comes with greater responsibility but with peoples’ support and my team, I will strive to do even better,” he said proudly.
He also thanked God, his wife, Sarah Olugbara and his family for the unfaltering love and support they had given to him whilst embarking on his academic journey.
Professor Olugbara graduated from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria in 1991, achieving a first class Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Mathematics. In 1993, he registered for his Master’s degree in Mathematics with specialisation in Computer Science at the University of Ilorin and completed the degree in 1995. He also holds a PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of Zululand in South Africa.
In 2010, he was appointed as Associate Professor of Information Technology at the Durban University of Technology and became a full professor in 2011.
Professor Olugbara was also appointed visiting professor of Computer Science in 2015 by the Covenant University in Nigeria. Professor Olugbara recently became an NRF (National Research Foundation of South Africa) rated researcher of the “C” category this year (2017).
“I have developed a special inclination towards scientific computational methods in the specialised areas of machine intelligence, mobile computing, image processing and smart city technologies. I am deeply committed to the use of scientific methods to create relevant, insightful and effective solutions to critical problems facing the society,” he added.
At the tender age of three years, Professor Olugbara developed a hunger to learn and with the support of his father, he embarked on his educational journey. In secondary school, he was given the nickname of ‘Prof’ which aptly stuck. At the age of 13 years, he professed his desire to become a professor before the age of 45 years and travel all over the world and help people and that dream has now become a reality.
Professor Olugbara is actively involved in the teaching of many courses in computer science, information technology and mathematics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He has successfully graduated over 250 undergraduate degree students, 18 master’s degree students and eight doctorates in computer science and information technology. He also has published more than 120 research papers in national and international journals as well as conference proceeding articles.
His teaching philosophy is to provide a classroom environment where students are encouraged to share their personal experiences and to apply those experiences to the classroom situations.
“I teach my students by example and with passion, using a problem-based methodology. I believe that showing students how to do something rather than just telling them is a better way of developing them intellectually. I have a passionate commitment to an oath of preparing them for greater tasks ahead. This implies that to improve teaching, I must focus on the current and future learning needs and allow the students to be involved in shaping those needs,” he said.
Pictured: DUT’s new executive dean of the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics at the Durban University of Technology, Professor Oludayo, O. Olugbara.