James Hope University’s senior leadership team, headed by the Vice-Chancellor/President, is responsible for the management of the institutions academic and non-academic affairs.
Paul Vita, Ph.D. is the inaugural Vice-Chancellor/President of James Hope University, responsible for the University’s overall leadership and planning, academic and non-academic programs, infrastructure, admissions, and student services, among other responsibilities.
Dr. Vita received his B.A. in English from Yale University. Funded by an English Speaking Union scholarship, he studied at Oxford University in 1989, after which moved to New York to pursue his M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he served as a preceptor for the institution’s internationally renowned core curriculum. His early career was distinguished by a deep commitment to teaching and groundbreaking research in nineteenth-century literature and culture, publishing extensively with a special affinity to the works of Charles Dickens. His first position at a post-secondary institution was that of assistant professor at Morningside University, in Sioux City, Iowa, during which he was inducted as a faculty member into the National Honors Society, Omicron Delta Kappa, and advised the institution’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, which was awarded the Tommaraasen Award for Excellence in Leadership and Service during his tenure as advisor.
Dr. Vita joined the faculty of Saint Louis University’s Madrid Campus (SLU-Madrid) in 1999, where he immediately took on leadership positions and was instrumental in launching its first graduate and undergraduate degree programs. During his tenure as the campus’ chief executive office, he oversaw the development of twelve new degree programs (including marketing, psychology, engineering and computer science) and doubled the campus’ enrollment through its successful strategic enrollment and retention management plan. He accelerated faculty research – introducing research grants and sabbatical leaves – and implemented shared governance structures to transform the SLU-Madrid into one of the finest and largest degree-granting branch campuses of a U.S. university overseas. Dr. Vita brings to JHU more than thirty years’ experience championing the U.S.’s liberal arts model of education as well academic rigor, research excellence, and best practices in higher education.
Barrister Ikemefule Blessing Adiele, Ph.D. is James Hope University’s founding Registrar and University Legal Counsel. Barrister Adiele brings with him more than 30 years of substantial administrative experience in university leadership and governance, having risen through the ranks to serve as Registrar of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria for a full five-year term. Moreover, he served for four years as a member of the University Governing Council representing The Congregation, as an appointed Special Adviser to the Governor of Rivers State in 2019, and as the Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association Advisory Committee in Rivers State. Barrister Adiele is an astute lawyer and solicitor, gifted and endowed with Alternative Dispute Resolution skills and the competence to offer sound advice to staff, institutions, and colleagues.
Barrister Adiele brings extensive academic and professional knowhow in theoretical and practical quantitative research to James Hope University and has a wealth of experience in virtually every Division or Department of the university Registry, including: Academic Office, Examinations and Records, Student Affairs Division, Establishments Division, Admissions Office, and Inter campus Relations/Affiliation with the University of Ibadan. Beyond his primary responsibility as a university administrator, Barrister Adiele takes a personal interest in conducting and publishing original academic research works in collaboration with scholarly colleagues.
Barrister Adiele obtained his B.A. Honours degree in Philosophy from the University of Lagos, his LL.B. Honours degree from Rivers State University, and his Barrister-at-law (B.L.) from the Nigeria Law School, Abuja. He was called to the Nigeria Bar and subsequently enrolled by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in January 2001. He holds an M.Sc. degree and Ph.D. in Peace and Conflict Studies from Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
His informal postgraduate studies include initial training as an administrative/faculty officer at the University of Port Harcourt and the University of Ibadan, and advanced administrative and governance studies in Togo, Ghana; the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Trinity Western University in British Columbia, Canada; the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA; the University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA; the University of Manchester, Manchester, UK; the University of Leeds, Leeds, UK; and Tall Security Company, Manchester, UK. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered), a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administration, Fellow Society for Peace Studies and Peace Practice, a Member of Exams Ethics Club International, a Member of the International Bar Association, a Member of the Nigerian Bar Association, and a Member of The European Centre for Research, Training and Development (ECRTD).
His career goal is to use his wealth of experience and practical knowledge of global best practices in corporate governance and management to drive the triple mission of teaching, research, and service, and to advance a dynamic, visionary, and growth-oriented institution.
Professor Oluyele Akinwalie Akinkugbe is the founding Dean of the James Hope University School of Business. He comes to JHU with 37 years of academic experience, returning to Lagos from Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Canada, where he taught Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Canadian Problems and Policies. Professor Akinkugbe’s academic engagements include service to several universities and other knowledge institutions in the southern African region as external examiner and reviewer; he is a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Professor Akinkugbe’s international consulting, research and teaching span almost every region of the world. He completed a two-year tour of service as Economic Policy Adviser to Government of the Kingdom of Tonga, South Pacific, in July 2018. Between 2010 and 2011, he served as Macroeconomic Policy Advisor to the Government of Barbados, Caribbean Islands. He is frequently sought after by numerous regional and multilateral institutions: the World Trade Organization (WTO), African Caribbean and Pacific regional grouping (ACP); Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA); United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP in New York, Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa, Zambia etc.); the African Development Bank (AfDB); Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA); and the Commonwealth International. He remains a consultant/resource person on a wide range of economic and social issues globally.
Professor Akinkugbe has held various academic leadership positions over the past three decades. He served as department chair in several universities and as Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management Science, the largest Faculty at the University of Namibia (UNAM). In this role, he spearheaded the review and strategic repositioning of the Namibia Business School—one of the Divisions of the Faculty of Economics—and facilitated the situation of an AfDB sponsored Regional Centre for Macro Modeling and Policy Analysis within the Faculty. As Head of Economics at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, he restructured academic mentoring, re-streamed core courses in economics, and diversified the staff profile. He is dotingly remembered for initiating the Botswana Economic Association (BEA) and the Botswana Journal of Economics (BOJE) at the University of Botswana.
Professor Akinkugbe is a prolific researcher, publishing internationally in peer-reviewed journals. He has edited scholarly books and has presented at academic conferences and workshops in Africa, Europe, North America, and Asia. A seasoned teacher, he has taught undergraduate and graduate students at universities in Nigeria, Zambia, Swaziland (Eswatini), Botswana, South Africa (Rhodes University and the University of the Witwatersrand), Namibia, and Canada (Acadia University, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Mount Saint Vincent University, and Saint Mary’s University).
Professor Akinkugbe received his B.Sc. from the University of Ife (now known as Obafemi Awolowo University), his M.Sc. from the University of Ibadan, and his Ph.D. from the Centre for Econometric and Allied Research (CEAR), Department of Economics, at the same university in 1988. Professor Akinkugbe’s strong intellectual capacity is evidenced by the following. He was the overall best graduating student in the 1983 M.Sc. in economics class, he completed his secondary school education with grade one distinction, and achieved the overall best West African School Certificate of Education (WASCE) result in sciences in the then Ondo Province.
Further, as a young graduate student—he was an integral part of the Ford Foundation sponsored LINK Project, a research network of model builders of which CEAR was a participating member. His doctoral thesis on Applied Econometrics, nestled on the LINK project, and was anchored on a 197-equation macro-model of the Nigerian Economy. LINK was at that time initiated and coordinated by the late 1980 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Professor Lawrence Klein of the University of Pennsylvania; it is now operated by the United Nations.