Friday, 24 February 2017

Prof. Joy Chinwe Eyisi: Role model; excellent bridge builder

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

If you call her a collector you will not be wrong. If you call her an epitome of humility and charm, you will not be wrong either for Professor Joy Chinwe Eyisi possess all of these characteristics. While some are collectors of various art forms of life, Eyisi oddly collects English Languag dictionaries owning more than 150 and still counting. Despite her academic achievement, Eyisi does not have airs around her. She could easily be passed in the crowd.

Born into the family of late Sir and Lady G. N. Okpala-Nzekwe (Ozuomee) in 1969 at Eziora Village, Adazi-ani, Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, the fair complexioned woman whose face never lacked a smile sailed through academic world in an unbroken sequence: primary education (1975 – 1981); secondary education 1981 – 1986); Anambra State College of Education, Awka (1986 – 1989); University of Nigeria Nsukka (1990 – 1992 and 1996 - 2000) and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (1994 – 1996).

This air her earning the First School Leaving Certificate (1981); West African School Certificate (1986); Nigeria Certificate in Education, NCE, (1989); Bachelor of Arts (BA) Hons in Education/English (2nd Class Upper Division, 1992); NYSC service from 1993 – 1994. After her mandatory one year service to her father land, she went back to school for her post graduate degrees culminating in Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Administration and Supervision (1996), Master of Arts (MA) in Teaching English as a Second Language (1998); and PhD in English in 2000.

She journeyed into the labour market as a part-time lecturer at both Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe (2000 – 2001) and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (1996 – 2001), which later offered her permanent appointment in 2001. Her progression through the ranks in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, was meteoric, taking her only seven years to progress from Lecturer I position in 1999/2000 to professorship on October 1st, 2007, during which she was also adjudged the Youngest Professor in the history of the University.

Following her prowess in the academic firmament, the National Open University of Nigeria grabbed her and offered her an appointment as a full time Professor in 2014. The mentor extraordinaire, paragon, an icon of success, colossus, and excellence personified is equally serving as a Visiting Lecturer to Paul University, Awka (2002 – 2005), Adjunct/Visiting Senior Lecturer, Postgraduate Programme in Education/English at Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki (2001 – 2005), Visiting Professor, Federal University, Ebonyi State (2003-2004), Visiting Professor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (2014 - date).

She believes that her achievement of professional status was as a result of learnt, practised and diligent commitment to academic cultivation and leadership quality. Indeed, Eyisi whose diction resurrects dead brains as ricochet of her phonetics rejuvenate the deviant tongues, has to her credit 51 articles in learned journals and mainline books, a whopping nine sole authored books, 28 co-authored books  on the Nigerian Bookstand in addition to 36 learned conference presentations at national and international levels.

These include Oral English for Successful Performance, Common Errors in the Use of English, The Secret of Academic Success, A Grammar of English: The Student’s Companion, The Mechanics of Reading Comprehension and Summary Writing, Phonetics of English: A Hands-on Guide to Correct Pronunciation, Reinforcement as an Indispensable Weapon in our Battle against the Falling Standard of English in Nigeria, A Proficient Teacher of English: A Sine Qua Non for Students’ Accelerated Progress, Teachers’ Remuneration: An Imponderable Catalyst for Effectiveness, Language and Education: The Raison D’être for Political Socialization, Language for National Development: The Case of the English Language in Nigeria, etc.

The English Professor’s academic leadership includes service as an external examiner at the postgraduate level for the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (2008 - date), the University of Uyo (2009 - date), external supervisor for the master’s degree students of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki in English and Education (2003 to 2005), supervisor of master’s and doctoral students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, from 2003 to date, and an external assessor for professorship position for a number of universities.

Similarly, this role model, who always tell her students to Aspire to the zenith! Never go for very good where excellent is possible, has served Nnamdi Azikiwe University as Assistant University Orator; member, University Bookshop Committee; Chairperson, Publications’ Committee of School of General Studies; Member, Examination Misconduct Committee, Faculty of Arts; Secretary, Committee on Research and Development Fair, Chairperson, Faculty of Arts Accreditation Committee; and member, UNIZIK History Committee.

Others were Headship of the Department of English Language and Literature, 2006 - 2010; Coordinator, Sandwich Programme of Department of English, 2001 - 2005; Coordinator, Continuing Education Programme, Department of English, 2003- 2006, Coordinator, Use of English Programme; Member, Editorial Board; and Nigerian Book Foundation; Member, Accreditation Team for Colleges of Education.

An excellent bridge builder, the academic guru attracted a linkage between the Department of English Language and Literature of Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka and the British Council; in July, 2009, a linkage between her Department and the Department of English, University of Carolina, USA; and in November, 2010, she established a linkage programme between the National Open University of Nigeria and Albany State University, Albany Georgia, USA; and others.

In a similar vein, Eyisi has involved herself in community works. These include been the Chapel Prefect (1985 – 1986), First Female Judge of the Students’ Union High Court (1987 – 1989); Secretary, Association of Women in Colleges of Education (1999 – 2001); Vice-President/Secretary, Corps Members Welfare Association (1993 -1994); Chairman, Education Committee, St. Jude’s Unique School and Computer Centre, Adazi-ani (2003 to date); Chief Editor, Awka Diocesan Christian Magazine (2002 – 2008); State Trainer, Family Life and HIV/AIDS Education , Ministry of Education, Anambra State (2003 – 2008); Chairperson, Nigerian Academic Forum (2005 to date); Conference Ambassador, Diocesan Women’s Conference, Awka (2005); Secretary, Women’s General Meeting, Home and Abroad, St Jude’s Anglican Church, Adazi-ani (2003 – 2005); it’s Vice-President (2005 – 2009); Resource Person, British Council/National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) Workshop on Retraining of Teachers of English in /Nigeria (2006) and Member, Screening and Monitoring Committee of Tertiary Education Trust Fund of Nigeria (2010 to date), Independent Assessor, National Teachers’ Institute (NTI, 2010 to date); etc.

She belongs to several professional organisations like the National Association of Teachers of English, National Association for the Advancement of Knowledge, Modern Languages’ Association of Nigeria, International Reading Association, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), and English Language Teacher’s Association of Nigeria, etc.

In recognition of her selfless service, Eyisi has received 30 honours, awards and distinctions for sound academic, dedicated work life, leadership and service to humanity. These include; Best Postgraduate Student of the year, 1996, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; Best Postgraduate Student of the year, 1998, University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Best Teacher of English, Bishop Crowther Seminary, Awka (1994); Best Teacher in Punctuality and Devotion to Duty, Bishop Crowther Seminary, Awka (1995); Inestimable Appreciation for Wonderful Motivational Strategies, General Studies Unit, UNIZIK, Awka (2000).

Others were Silver Jubilee Merit Award Bishop Crowther Seminary, Awka (2004); Adadiebube: Recognition and Merit Award from St. Jude’s Anglican Church Adazi-ani Women’s General Meeting (Home and Abroad) (2005); Great Woman of Honour Recognition and Merit Award from BBC Club, UNIZIK, Awka (2005); a Menu of Integrity, Merit and Certificate from Rotary International, Rotary Club of Awka, District 9140 (2006); Doyenne of Excellence, Distinguished Scholarship Award, from English Language Teachers Association of Nigeria (2007).

She also bagged Educational Leadership Award from the Institute of Industrial Administration (2007); Leadership Merit Award from First Bank of Nigeria Plc (2008); Award of Excellence: An Appreciation of Wonderful Contributions to Academic Excellence in NAU, Hostel Union Government, Awka (2009); Merit Award in Recognition of her Contributions to the Growth of Engineering Profession and Youth Empowerment by the Nigerian Universities Engineering Student’ Association NAU Branch (2010); the Most Prestigious Academic Excellence Award in Recognition of her Contributions to the Growth of Education in Nigeria, Presented by the University of Nigeria Alumni Association, Awka (2010); Best Paper Presenter Award for 2010 Conference of the International Academy of Linguistics, Behavioural and Social Sciences, Held at Hilton, New Orleans Riverside,Louisiana, USA (2010); Award of Teacher Par Excellence by Professor Joy Eyisi’s Scholars of Book Foundation (2010); Professional Service Award by the Rotary Club of Awka, UNIZIK (2012); Award of Mentor Extraordinary by Professor Joy Eyisi’s Academic Children (2014).

She is married to Ifeanyichukwu Eyisi and the marriage is blessed with three children. 



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