Prof. Michael Ginzberg the former Dean of WPI Business School, during a meeting with the Diaspora University Trustees and Founders asked that a plan to fast-track the Diaspora University be established. Dan Kamau the Executive Trustee reviewed the current stage of the project and how the opening of the university can be achieved either on September 2024 of January 2025. Prof. Ginzberg has since set up 20 zoom meetings to start on 13th November 2023 that will progress the founding.
Prof. Ginzberg took over the WPI professor Diaspora University founding role in 2015 from Prof. Arthur Gerstenfeld. The late Prof. Gertensfeld and the late Prof. Raphael Njoroge met at WPI and started a working relationship in 1999. They wrote two books on Africa and started the WPI U.S-Africa Business Conference. During the 3rd WPI Conference held in 2006, over 40 Kenyans attended the conference. What is today the Diaspora University would be started later that year.
Dan Kamau during the zoom meeting updated Prof. Ginzberg on the $500 million Diaspora Kenyans Remittance Plan started by Diaspora Kenyans. He said that the plan that will see Diaspora Kenyans inject $500 million in 5 years is based on the 1865 WPI founding. He said that over 230 individuals and groups in Worcester city, in 1865, contributed to the founding of WPI.
He said, “The resources from Diaspora Kenyans, Ndara B Community, other partners and government resources will achieve the endowment of Ksh 20 billion as the Diaspora University Town is developed. Ksh 6 billion will fund the university property and Ksh 14 billion the students' finance fund.”
On his part Prof. Ginzberg said he has been involved in founding three other institutions. He said that he wants the Diaspora University to start. He committed to put in one hour a week to meet and advance the project. He will also find time to visit Kenya and visit the Diaspora University Town site where Diaspora University will be started. He said he will also progressively establish the consultancy and training plans that will lead to the Diaspora University achieving the WPI plan.
In the Book SHAPING OUR WORLD Engineering Education for the 21st Century the former WPI Provost Prof. John Orr wrote, “Is the WPI Plan transferable to other universities? If the intent is to simply install the major components at another university without going through the planning and visioning process, the answer is almost certainly, ‘no’.”
The WPI Plan was stated as having major components with individual aspects that interrelate to each other synergistically as follows: (a) Student flexibility in program planning within broad guidelines; (b) A grading system that encourages academic risk taking and cooperation among students; (c) An outcomes orientation with respect to all academic activities; (d) Emphasis on both theory and the practical application of that theory for a useful purpose via substantial projects (e) Seven-week terms with relatively few academic activities per term; and, (f) Emphasis on student responsibility for learning.
Dan thanked the late professors for the planning and visioning already inside the Diaspora University master development plan. Through progressive consultancy of WPI professors and professionals the Diaspora plan will achieve the components.
Prof. Mutisya talked about the founders of the university. About 50 Diaspora and Kenyan Scholars are listed. He said he will update the scholars based on the persons who shall found about 20 academic departments, the library, the sports department and other departments. So far Dr. Jackson Waweru has started the process of founding the Diaspora University department of finance that will be in the Business School.
Dr. Wilson Endege, the Chairman of Diaspora University Trust and the Founder of Daktari Biotechnology Ltd an MSME for medicine and vaccines will also be working on the Diaspora University department of Biology and Biotechnology. His goal is to both achieve the medicine and vaccine plant as well as the university department of biology and biotechnology.
Prof. Ginzberg was happy to hear that Kenyans are already starting to establish 45 MSMEs in the Diaspora University Town and the Ndara B Community is working on starting 28 companies (MSMEs). The MSMEs will be affiliated with the schools of the Diaspora University and will support the project based learning approach that is a component of the WPI plan.