What you should know about UR’s administrative structure


University of Rwanda (UR) is public institution of higher learning in Rwanda. It has administrative structure that supports its operations, and here are what you should know about it.

UR, formally called National University of Rwanda (NUR), was established in 1963 by the Government of Rwanda together with Canadian missionaries, the Dominican Brothers of Quebec. In 2013, the government adopted a law which enabled the merger of seven public institutions to form a single public University of Rwanda. UR is the largest education institution in Rwanda.

Regarding to the awareness on administrative structure, some UR students complain not to know organs of University of Rwanda. This later reflects as a barrier when they need some services.
Chantal Mutesi, a student from School of Business and Economics has revealed that it is difficult to know the UR administrative structure.
“It is difficult to tell someone administrative structure of UR, maybe a little bit about those based at campus. This is among the information as we students would have.” Mutesi complains.

“I don’t know well about administrative structure of UR in general…And when it comes to the services from the campus, a student asks Class Representatives.” Kalisa from faculty of sociology commented. He asked “How should we be aware of it?”
According to Prime Minister’s order nº 218/03 of 02/12/2013 determining the supervising authority of the University of Rwanda and its category, the organization, functioning and responsibilities of its organs, UR has four senior organs and six administrative organs. Senior organs of UR are the Chancellor, the Board of Governors, the Senior Management, and the Academic Senate. Administrative organs are the Executive Council, the Principal, the College Council, the Academic Council, the School Council, and the Department Council.

Chancellor at the top
The Chancellor of UR who is appointed by Presidential Order has a ceremonial role of opening the UR academic year, presiding over graduation ceremonies, and granting other awards. The current Chancellor is Patricia L. Campbell.
Board of Governors
The UR Board of Governors is the supreme administrative and decision-making organ of UR. It has full powers and responsibilities in the management of the staff and assets of UR in order to fulfil its responsibilities.

The Board of Governors shall be composed of 19 member persons; there is Chairperson, the Deputy Chairperson, 10 external persons outside UR including 7 experts in education, science and technology, and 3 persons from the private sector.
In this board there is also, Vice-Chancellor of UR, who shall be the rapporteur of the Board, 1 Principal, elected by peers, 1 Dean, elected by peers, 1 member of academic staff or researcher, elected by peers, 1 member of non-academic staff, elected by peers, 2 students of opposite sex, elected by peers.
This order determines that, at least thirty per cent (30%) of the members of the Board of Governors shall be females.

These are followed by Senior Management also known as Directorate General
This organ is responsible for coordinating the activities, effective management of UR, academic affairs, research, education, among others at University of Rwanda level.
The Senior Management of the University of Rwanda is composed of the following members:
The first one in this organ is Vice-Chancellor. Since 2022, this chair is occupied by Dr. Didas Muganga Kayihura. The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for overseeing the overall management and strategic direction of the University.
Under Vice-Chancellor, there is three Deputy Vice-Chancellors; they assist in the day-to-day operations of the university. These Deputy Vice-Chancellors are responsible for various sets including academics and research administration, finance, and institutional advancement.

It intends to mean that there is Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs and Research, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance, and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of institutional advancement.
UR has also Academic Senate
The Academic Senate shall be the senior organ, responsible for academic affairs, research, and education in UR.
Some of its responsibilities are; to determine norms and standards for students’ admissions, evaluation, recruitment of teaching and research staff and their promotions, to make decisions relating to the results of students, their promotion, repetition, or dismissal, and others.

This Senate shall be composed of the Vice-Chancellor who shall be the Chair, the Deputy Vice-Chancellors of UR, the Principals of Colleges of UR, a Dean from each college elected by the Deans of that College, the Registrar of UR, an academic staff from each college elected by peers, and a student from each College elected by peers.
An addition to that, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of academic affairs and research shall be the Vice Chairperson and “raporteur” (Secretary) while the Registrar of UR shall be the Deputy “rapporteur” of Academic Senate.

Apart from senior organs, UR has also another section known as administrative organs
At the top of administrative organs, there is Executive Council. In general, the members of this organ are responsible for administrative, financial, human resources and institutional relation issues in UR like making recommendations for the board of governors to approve, among others

The Executive Council is composed of Vice-Chancellor and three Deputy Vice-Chancellors, the Principals of Colleges of UR, the Directors of Administration and Finance from Colleges of UR.
The following is Principal of the college who shall direct and coordinate the daily academic activities, research, education, administration and management of the college.
Beneath, there is College Council.
The College Council act as an organ which is responsible for administrative, financial and human resource matters in each College of UR like preparing strategies and plans for development of infrastructure and materials, other activities and sources of the property of the college, and others.
To execute daily responsibilities in this organ, it requires members such as Principal of the College of UR who is Chairperson, the Director of Administration and Finance who shall be the Vice Chairperson and “raporteur”, Director of Academic Affairs, the Deans of Schools, the Directors of Centres and Institutes.

Inferior to college council, there is Academic Council.
The Academic Council members are responsible for academic affairs, research, and education in the College of UR. Thoroughly, this organ deals with scheduling timetable of courses, mode of studies, examination, diplomas, among others.
This organ is composed of Principal of the College of UR as Chairperson, the Director of academic affairs who is Vice-Chairperson and “raporteur” of the Council, the Deans of Schools, the officers in charge of academic quality assurance and research, 1 academic staff elected by his/ her colleagues per School, the Heads of Departments, 1 student in charge of academic affairs in the students’ association of the College of UR; 1 student per School elected by his/ her peers.

The following organ is School Council.
The UR School Council is responsible for academic affairs, research, and education at the school level. For instance, ensuring the general smooth running of administrative, academic, educational and research activities within the School, receiving and approving Departmental Council reports, research projects, deliberating students marks, among others.
It is composed of Dean of the School, who is Chairperson, Deputy Dean of the School as a Deputy Chairperson, the Heads of Departments, the permanent academic and research staff of the School, and 1 student from each department of the School elected by his/her fellow students.
The last organ in UR is The Department Council which is responsible for academic affairs, research, and education at the Department level. It focuses on developing strategies, program and timetable of courses, and research activities in the department, submit them to the school administration and implement them after approval from School’s administration, among other responsibilities.

This is managed by the members like Head of the Department as Chairperson, the academic and research permanent staff of the Department, 1 student elected by his/her colleague students at the department level.
University of Rwanda Students Union (URSU) at each campus
URSU is university of Rwanda students association, whose mission is to work for, advocates for quality education, strive and fight for students’ general interests.

As the constitution of URSU explains in its article 10, Council of Students Union is formed from the students’ associations from campuses and colleges that make up the University of Rwanda.
The article 11, shows that University of Rwanda Students Union shall comprise of all campuses students’ associations and its colleges. Generally, student’s union shall comprise of the following four major organs: Guild representative council, Board of speakers, URSU executive committee, and Arbitration committee.

At the campus level, URSU has also four organs namely; General assembly, Students board of representatives, Arbitration committee, and Executive committee.
As article 19 says, the General assembly is the supreme level at the campus/college students level ; it convenes its meeting once in a semester chaired by the Guild President of the Campus Students’ association. The first responsibility of this organ is to approve the plan of action presented by the executive committee in agreement with the students’ board of representatives.

The students’ board of representatives as another URSU organ at the campus level comprises of the following members elected by their respective students: Class Representatives, Department representatives, School representatives, and Trustworthy. The students’ board of representatives should elect its committee made up of Speaker of board of representatives, vice Speaker of board of representatives, and Secretary of the board of representatives.
Responsibilities of this organ include advising the executive and arbitration committees, promoting and protecting all students’ interests, inspecting the executive committee activities, suspending the executive and arbitral members in case of the failure of their respective duties, among others.

Another organ at the campus level is The executive committee. In reference to article 30, The executive committee is elected for a period of one year and is composed of the following 14 members:
Guild President
Vice Guild President
General Secretary
Minister of Finance
Minister of planning and production
Minister information
Minister of social affairs, health and environment
Minister in charge of gender and protocol
Minister in charge of sports, culture and associations
Minister in charge of security and discipline
Minister in charge of part time and evening students
Minister in charge of people with disabilities.
Minister of post graduate
Speaker of board

After the executive committee, URSU at each campus has an Arbitration Committee. In this concern, the article 47 reveals the members of Arbitration Committee. The arbitration Committee is made up of five people: President, Vice president, Secretary and two advisers.
According to article 48 of URSU Constitution, arbitration committee has different responsibilities regarding URSU elections, rules and regulations, conflicts management, and conduct.

Above-mentioned UR organs and URSU organs help University of Rwanda to implement its activities and fulfil its missions.
By the time of its Initiation in 1963, National University of Rwanda, had three divisions including Faculties of Medicine, Social Sciences, and Teacher Training College. It started with 51 students and 16 lecturers. The university suffered badly during the genocide against Tutsi in 1994, it got closed and re-opened in April 1995. At that time English was introduced as a medium of instruction alongside French.

In 2013, all public higher learning institutions in Rwanda was merged into University of Rwanda to be among the 100 young university in the world.
Now, University of Rwanda has 6 independent and sell-governing colleges which include College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), College of Agriculture, Animal science, and Veterinary Medicine (CAVM), College of Business and Economics (CBE), College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS), College of Education (CE), and College of Science and Technology (CST).

By Aimable Ishimwe