In accordance with the requirement of the National Universities Commission (NUC) stipulated for all degree programmes, FUNAAB offers courses in General Studies which are generally unrelated to the courses characterising each degree programme. In 1988, the Department of General Studies was established. In 1999, the University Senate vide Senate Meeting of February 18, 1999, approved the establishment of a Centre for General Studies (CGS). The CGS was expected to have taken off since the 2001/2002 session. However, the lack of implementation was believed to have been a result of limitations to the scope of academic and research activities, and staff carrying capacities of a centre.
At the meeting of April 2006, the Senate approved (in principle) that the Department be converted to an Institute as the present staff of the General Studies Department are gradually moving up on the academic ladder and are, therefore, restricted by the present arrangement specifically with limitations on research and postgraduate work. However, at the November 2006 meeting, Senate again reconsidered the proposal to convert the Department to an Institute and approved that the Department be changed to the Department of Communication and General Studies and be allowed to run its Postgraduate Diploma and Masters’ programmes in Communication. And at its 186th meeting of 16th February 2012, the Senate approved the Institute of Communication and General Studies to be established, now awaiting commencement.
Like a mustard seed, the Department has grown to have fifteen academic members of staff ranging from Professor to Assistant Lecturer. The Department offered general studies courses with the main aim of broadening the knowledge of students beyond their immediate professional horizon. The FUNAAB Theatre Troupe, a group of actors and other performers, made up of students from various disciplines in the University is anchored in the Department.
Mission: The Department is established to produce well-rounded, morally and intellectually capable personnel and graduates with entrepreneurial skills in an environment of peace and social cohesiveness.
Vision: To be a Department that provides a variety of courses, knowledge, services and support in the promotion of learning in an environmentally-friendly society.
The principal mandate of the Department has been to ensure that the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) continues to offer and maintain the highest level of academic excellence in a competitive national and international higher education environment. Above all, the Department has a major role of contributing towards the realization of the vision and mission of FUNAAB. Accordingly, the Department promotes excellence in education and facilitates the overall development of staff and students in the University in order to advance the intellectual and human resource capacity of the country and the international world.
The Department focuses on the following activities amongst others:
- language and communication among ethnic groups with emphasis on dissemination of information as a tool for changing public opinion, as well as the enhancement of writing, research and development of analytical skills in individuals.
- Peaceful coexistence and conflict resolution in inter-relationships, interactions and social implications resulting from economic, political, cultural, religious, health, technology, policies and activities of life in a given community
- development of programmes relevant to the community, and the supervision of students’ projects and other research activities
- training students in their acquisition evaluation as well as application of information resources and outside of libraries and also cross-culturally
Specifically, the Department offers the current courses in General Studies which are generally unrelated to the courses characterising each degree programme with the aim of broadening the knowledge of the students beyond their immediate professional horizon in the 21st century and educating them on the socio-cultural peculiarities and problems of the Nigerian Society, especially the prevalent customs, values and superstitions. The courses assembled for General Studies include Communication Skills, Writing and Literary Appreciation, Nigerian History and Culture, Sociology, Politics, Philosophy, Logic and Psychology. The Department teaches these multi-disciplinary general studies courses to all first and second-year students. In addition, the Department offers courses in a post-graduate programme in Communication Studies.
In addition to the above, the Department works towards:
- running and coordinating short-term certificate associate and proficiency courses, seminars, conferences and workshops for staff and others in the immediate environment in Language and Communication skills courses;
- providing expert advice and analysis on Language and social issues for staff, students and the catchment areas;
- encouraging staff and students to write, especially in the area of creative writing;
- operating a language laboratory with writing and oral communication clinics. The writing clinic will focus on helping undergraduate and postgraduate students with their writing skills in their courses, projects and dissertations. The oral communication clinics shall be responsible for organizing speech therapy for staff, students and others in the catchment areas;
- organising quantitative reasoning and critical thinking lectures;
- providing and promoting awareness and training on citizenship and leadership issues, peace and conflict resolutions, and problems facing our communities and the nation at large;
- widening the academic experiences of students through drama presentation – the University Theatre Troupe shall be placed directly under the Department; establishing a small scale museum of Natural History, and I. organising campus-wide quiz and writing competition.