New AU Vice Chancellor Unanimously Elected

March 19, 2014

Dr. Munashe Furusa
Dr. Munashe Furusa
Dr. Munashe Furusa, a Zimbabwean and dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at California State University, Dominguez Hills, was unanimously elected as the new vice chancellor of Africa University, Bishop David Yemba announced Wednesday.

Yemba, chancellor of the United Methodist university in Old Mutare and episcopal leader of the Central Congo Area in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said the appointment is effective July 1.

Yemba said Furusa has the qualifications needed for dealing with the nature of Africa University – church-related, Pan-African, and private.

“We wanted someone who is able to face challenges such as growth,” said Yemba, who noted that the university has grown from two faculties to seven in more than 20 years.

He said Furusa will build on the work of the first three vice chancellors of Africa University – who laid the foundations for the institution, consolidated relationships, and managed human and financial resources.

“It is also expected that the new vice chancellor will be called to be more aggressive in the area of fundraising. We believe Furusa will be able to fulfill this mission,” Yemba said.

Bishop Marcus Matthews, episcopal leader of the Baltimore-Washington Conference and vice chairman of the Africa University Board of Directors, praised the choice of Furusa.

“We are fortunate that a scholar of Dr. Furusa’s eminence and wide experience in Africa and the United States has agreed to serve as the next vice chancellor of Africa University,” Matthews said. “His extensive contacts in the international business and education communities will raise the profile of Africa University around the world.”

The Rev. Dr. Kim Cape, general secretary of the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, said Furusa was the unanimous choice of both the search committee and the AU Board.

“He was the final choice from 70 applicants. He impressed both students and faculty during his visit to the campus,” Cape said.

Furusa replaces Fanuel Tagwira, who has held the post of vice chancellor since 2009.  Tagwira plans to take a sabbatical and then return to the Faculty of Agriculture at AU.

A member of the Board of Directors for the National Council for Black Studies, Furusa has maintained strong ties with African people and organizations. He works closely with African American and African elected officials, African consul generals, ambassadors, black churches, nonprofit organizations and Chambers of Commerce to create opportunities for developing underserved communities in the U.S. and Africa.

Furusa, a first-generation college student, received his doctorate in African literature and critical theory, and his master’s and bachelor’s in English from the University of Zimbabwe.

Africa University, established by The United Methodist Church in 1992, draws students from all over Africa. The current enrollment of 2,000 represents students from 29 countries, and nearly 5,000 graduates are changing the face of Africa as they become leaders in the church, government, business, and civil society.

While at California State University, Dominguez Hills, Furusa served as professor and department chair of Africana studies, chair of the Academic Senate, and the executive director of the California African American Political and Economic Institute.

He has also chaired and served on numerous committees, and been honored with several university recognitions, including the university’s Excellence in Service Award, the Lyle E. Gibson Dominguez Hills Distinguished Teacher Award, and the Frederick Douglass Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service. He was twice awarded the Cheikh Anta Diop Award for Outstanding Research in Africana Studies.

In Zimbabwe, Furusa served in numerous posts, from high school principal and assistant professor at the University of Zimbabwe, to chairman of the Zimbabwe Literature Curriculum Development Committee.

His publications include The Borders in All of Us: New Approaches to Global Diasporic Societies, and African Womanhood in Zimbabwean Literature: New Critical Perspectives on Women’s Literature in African Languages.

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