| Prof Grant Kululanga The Principal | University of Malawi, The Malawi Polytechnic

Prof Grant Kululanga - The Principal

Served From January, 2010
Qualifications PhD Civil Engineering

Grant Keeble Kululanga has been the principal of the University of Malawi—The Polytechnic since 2010, having been vice principal from 2007-2010. A full professor, Kulanga has been in higher education coming up on thirty years, during which he has held other management positions. He served as the dean of the Faculty of Engineering from 2005 to 2007, and as head of the Department of Civil Engineering from 2002 to 2005, having started off as a lecturer in 1991 after briefly working in the industry. Besides management, Kululanga instructs students in a variety of undergraduate and post-graduate courses, including serving as an external examiner for postgraduate students at the University of Zambia and the University of Pretoria. He also served as an external examiner at the University of Kitwe. Thus, he is as much an instuctor as he is a manager.

As principal, he holds the most senior management position. In this capacity he has overseen increases in the programs offered, students enrolled, and staff hired; he has also led the drive to acquire and to build new infrastructure. Notably, the acquisition of Chichiri Campus, occurred under his tenure. Also located at Chichiri Campus, Kululanga acquiesced to the establishment of the Raphael Tenthani Centre, named after the late veteran journalist and correspondent for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). (Development of the Centre was possible because of a generous contribution from Her Majesty’s government Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, through the British High Commission in Malawi.) Kululanga also led the effort to raise funds for the construction of three new buildings that are currently under construction—two at the Main Campus and one at the Annex Campus. These new infrastructural developments and staff increases will doubtless enable the Polytechnic to cater to the increased number of students, some of whom are enrolled in the new academic programs that have started during Kulanga’s tenure, himself a noted academic instructor and researcher. 

He refers to conducting research as his life blood. He has raised funds, as an individual or as part of teams, for as many as eighteen research projects. Typically, these projects have been conducted in partnership with various universities—such as Mzuzu, Botswana, Pretoria, Strathclyde, and Leeds Metropolitan—or organizations like the World Bank and the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa, among many others. So renowned are his contributions to research, broadly defined, that the prestigious International Socrates Committee—at an award ceremony conducted at Oxford University, United Kingdom—awarded him a gold medal for being one of the outstanding scientists of the twentieth century for his contributions to the world of science in engineering. The award was accompanied by an engraving in the World Registry of Outstanding Scientists of the Twenty-First Century. This international recognition is among his proudest achievements. 

Indeed, his academic research productivity is one of the things that stand out about Kululanga, who has published or co-published up to 44 academic publications to date. His paper entitled, ‘Measuring Project Risk Management Process for Construction Contractors with Statement Indicators Linked to Numerical Scores’, published in the Journal of Construction Engineering and Architectural Management was named the outstanding paper of 2011 by the Emerald Literati Network. The same year, he was named among the top-ten authors in construction engineering. Another of his papers was recognized by the Malawi Institute of Engineers (MIE), which also recognized his contributions to engineering in Malawi. Not surprisingly, given his research prolificacy, Kululanga served as a member of the university-wide Research and Publications Committee from 2002 to 2009, chairing the Committee in 2002. He has also served on a number of other university-wide and college-wide committees. 

He served as the faculty representative to the university-wide Postgraduate Committee for Faculty Representatives from 2001 to 2008, and the chairperson of the committee from 2006 to 2009. In 2006, he served as the chairperson of a university-wide committee looking into curriculum reform and quality assurance in higher education in Malawi. Among the goals of this committee were to increase access, participation, and mobility among students. He served as chairperson of another university-wide committee in 2009, this one looking into human capital, equipment, and infrastructure project development. As principal of the Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, he has automatically also been a standing member of the University Council since ascending to this position in 2010. College-wide, he has served as the chairperson of the following committees: Clerical and Technical Staff Disciplinary Committee, Students Disciplinary Committee, Academic and Administrative Housing Committee, College Library, Finance and Management Committee, Information Communication Technology Committee, Strategic Implementation Plan Committee, Quality Assurance Committee, WASHTED Committee, and Finance and Audit Committee. Moreover, his service extends outside the University. 

Since 2014, Kululanga has been a board member of the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM) He has also been a member of various industry-wide organizations, including serving as the second vice president (2001-02) and executive member (2003-04) of the MIE. He has also been a board member or chairperson (as specifically indicated) of the following organizations: chairperson of the Establishment of Malawi University of Lake View (2001-02); Malawi Industrial Research and Technology Development Centre (2001-03; 2012-13); National Construction Industry Council (NCIC)(2001-03); Malawi National Electricity Council (2003-04); chairperson of the Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) (2005-06); Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA)(2006-07).      

A civil engineering graduate of the University of Malawi—the Polytechnic (class of 1987), Kululanga was awarded an MSc. in Engineering Construction and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering by the University of Loughborough in 1989 and 1999 respectively. When he is not polishing up research papers, you will find Kululanga sightseeing, especially nature, by himself or with his family. He is married, and has three children—two sons and a girl. One of his children is a graduate; the other will soon be a graduate, and a third is completing high school. He espouses the Christian faith, specifically as a member of the Seventh Day Adventist denomination. He has no pets.