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The 10 Influential Leaders in Education

1. What inspired you to apply to Charisma University, and what are your expectations from this institution?

I was inspired to establish Charisma University because I was raised in a family where education is believed to be transformative, meaning it can transform the lives of not only of students but also educators. Therefore, for us, education is more precious than gold. I grew up knowing in my heart that I would be part of a school one day, but not in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would establish one. You see, I am a huge fan of technology. Charisma University results from a blend of love for technology and education, commitment, passion, and fulfilling dreams. I have high expectations from Charisma University, and it has always been a personal goal to find the most competent talents in the field of education so we can invite them to join us. It has been a most fulfilling and rewarding journey.

2. How do you see yourself contributing to the legacy of Charisma University, and what unique qualities do you bring to the table?

I contribute to the legacy of Charisma University by being its founder, an accomplishment that brings my family and me great honor every day. In terms of qualities, I have a solid Christian orientation that guides me professionally and personally. Through years of practice and devotion, I can bring to the table an emphasis on compassion, ethical practice, and respect. In turn, compassion, ethical practice, and respect allow me to encourage internal stakeholders toward a life of faith and service in the world; this includes students. These personal qualities help cultivate trust within our institution, paving the way for inclusive learning and growth. 

3. What are your long-term career goals, and how do you think Charisma University can help you achieve them?

Right now, I am looking at a long-term, continual expansion of the programs that Charisma University is offering. My career goals, both short-term and long-term, are focused on Charisma University.

4. What academic or personal challenges have you faced in the past, and how have you overcome them?

The challenges I have encountered in the past few years about market competitiveness in education delivery. At all times, I revisit Charisma University’s mission and vision, along with our strategic plan, to guide me in surmounting these challenges. At the heart of our mission and vision is excellence in education, which we believe all students deserve. Understandably, many academic institutions have migrated to online platforms. These institutions are both new and old, and high-quality, excellent education is our primary source of competitiveness. Our rich pool of internal stakeholders and the Charisma University leadership enables this.

5. Can you describe your leadership skills and how you have demonstrated them in your personal or professional life?

I am primarily a person-oriented educator and leader, and I have been aspiring toward transformational leadership. I engage well with Charisma stakeholders, learn about their needs, and endeavor to meet those needs as long as they align with our institution’s values. As a transformational leader, I strive for inspirational motivation by modeling a vision for Charisma University. I need to establish this vision and the corresponding goals and objectives to inform Charisma University’s strategic plan to achieve those goals and objectives. I effectively motivate others and empower each internal stakeholder to take action on the strategic plan at the individual, team, and organizational levels. I make sure that other Charisma University leaders, faculty, employees, and student representatives participate in key organizational processes, such as goal setting, decision-making, and problem-solving. This way, we have a dynamic culture within our institution. I always strive to be a role model for everyone, and my Christian values guide me as I do so. My overall leadership perspective helps create a culture wherein everyone performs better than even they expect from themselves. As may be seen here, my Christian qualities are very much aligned with my leadership skills.

6. How do you plan to make the most of your time at Charisma University, and what extracurricular activities interest you the most?

For extracurricular activities, I enjoy playing soccer and writing. I have a group of friends with whom I play soccer with. As for writing, I mostly work on academic and white papers exploring various topics. I plan to make the most of my time at Charisma University in two ways – these on top of my daily work at the University: advocacy and social responsibility. 

 I mentioned earlier that education is close to my heart and my family’s values. I have embarked on personal advocacy that also revolves around education. In recent years, we have noted a surge in admissions applications from students with stellar grades who need adequate financial means to continue their education. These students deserve the best education, such as Charisma University. My advocacy is to seek ways to support such students through full scholarships. 

 Next to advocacy, I plan to allocate time and effort to Charisma University’s social responsibility program. We should give back to the communities where we operate. I will explore ways to contribute to environmental protection on a broader level. I will spearhead community outreach so that we can conduct meaningful dialogue with community leaders to see how best to help and support community members. Resources for Charisma University’s social responsibility programs are being organized now.

7. What do you think are the most pressing issues facing society today, and how do you think your education at Charisma University can help you contribute to solving them?

For me, the most pressing societal issue is poverty that result in homelessness, especially homelessness affecting children. I see it in America, I see it in Turks & Caicos. I can contribute to solving this problem through my advocacy in education. Education is a crucial element in breaking down the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Offering scholarships to deserving students will improve their resilience against challenges such as poverty and homelessness. 

The second pressing issue that I see is environmental injustice. In a nutshell, environmental injustice occurs when people becomes marginalized, displaced, or alienated as a result of environmental degradation to which they are vulnerable. Affected people are usually those that fall in-between racial, socioeconomic, and health gaps. My second advocacy, social responsibility, can help these people better deal with the challenges according them. 

8. Have you had any experience with online learning before, and how do you plan to balance your coursework with other commitments?

Yes, I have had experience with online learning. I have learned that effective time management helps me balance my coursework with other commitments. I have attended a short time management course to help me achieve this balance. I cannot emphasize enough that time is a precious resource. Conflicts between coursework and other commitments occur among online learners because of the less-structured studying in online or blended classes compared to traditional face-to-face classes. In online learning, we pace ourselves. To ensure that one does not lag behind peers, time must be effectively managed to accomplish all tasks while leaving time for personal growth, entertainment, and relaxation, among other things; this has worked well for me.

9. How do you think your diverse background and experiences can add to the richness and diversity of the Charisma University community?

The beauty of diversity in Charisma University is that most students and faculty members are international. Because of the diversity at Charisma University, students become more prepared to step into the global scene after they graduate. At Charisma University, they have the foundational ground wherein they can learn to associate and engage with individuals coming from different cultural backgrounds than theirs. Moreover, because of Charisma University’s diversity, students have a safe space to learn from each other outside their classrooms. The curricula are designed to encourage engagement between students so that they can discuss different perspectives, learn from their peers from different backgrounds, and share experiences at length with each other. For example, the students have learned to attack and solve problems from different perspectives, which makes solutions innovative and highly interesting.

Classroom discussions can also be riveting because of diversity. Studying with peers from different backgrounds exposes students to many cultural perspectives. Classes have lively discussions that encompass students’ perspectives from different walks of life, cultures, beliefs, experiences, and values. Conversations with peers from diverse backgrounds encourage students to explore unfamiliar ideas, think creatively, and ponder upon perspectives they have never considered before. These all result in growth from which international students benefit.

10. Lastly, what questions do you have for us about the academic programs, faculty, or resources available at Charisma University?

I don’t have questions about the factors that you mentioned. However, two “grey areas” are worth further exploration soon. The first pertains to increased collaboration with Charisma University from parties such as academicians, researchers, and the general intellectual community. There is a dearth in collaboration opportunities in research that our qualified faculty can undertake for their professional development. I hope that more opportunities such as these present themselves to us soon. 

The second grey area that I see pertains to the future of online education, which currently needs more access to data systems and big data that can inform the design of programs and curricula. The field of education lags in collecting and storing insightful data that can help tailor programs better to suit the learning needs of the 21st-century student. As a university founder, the continuous expansion of program and course offerings is a daily pursuit because I am so conscious of the need to maintain the high quality of the education we provide and the increasingly diverse learning needs of international students.

A) Kindly provide us with the following information also:

  1. Year of Founding:  2011
  2. Founding Members:  Prof. Dr. Peterchris Okpala & Dr. Sandra Okpala
  3. Office Locations: #44 Salt Mills Plaza, Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands.
  4. Company Strength: Rich learning resources for students.
  5. Website: www.charisma.edu.eu
  6. Company Logo:  See attached.

B) High-res image (300 dpi) of Founder/Chancellor, if you send us a portfolio of pictures, we will choose the best that suits you & our magazine.

 Will share separately

Please note: -If you would like to add or highlight any other interesting insights that we might have missed out on in our questionnaire, please feel free to do so.

A topic that has yet to be included in this conversation is accreditation. Since the inception of Charisma University, we have accomplished several accreditations that we passed with flying colors. Based on our experience, it would be highly beneficial if accrediting bodies improved outcomes tracking. Why is this important to me? Charisma University accepts transferees from accredited schools. Although we check on the accreditation of schools from which our transferees come, learning measurements that we apply indicate that a good number of these students transferring from other academic institutions need to show outcomes that are at par with that of equivalent Charisma University programs. It is a cause for concern because our students and faculty must compensate for the gaps. Tracking outcomes on the part of accrediting bodies is highly important because doing so provides data or insight about whether students are succeeding or now and why or why not.