Humans of J-WEL: Ada Sonia Peter, Covenant University | MIT J-WEL

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Humans of J-WEL: Ada Sonia Peter, Covenant University

Based off of Humans of New York, Humans of J-WEL is a new series designed to build our global community, allowing our members to get to know one another by sharing each another's deep knowledge, expertise, and challenges.

Ada PetersThe J-WEL team is delighted to bring you the second installation of our "Humans of J-WEL" series. We recently spoke with Professor Ada Sonia Peter, Professor of Digital Media and International Security at Covenant University in Nigeria. Covenant University is a member of J-WEL Higher Education. 

In her administrative role, she serves as the Director, International Office, and Linkages at Covenant, where she is leading and accelerating the seamless and successful relationships between Covenant and international organizations in addition to J-WEL, such as MITx, Coursera, AfDB, UNESCO, and hundreds of other world-class institutions.

Her expertise has helped to facilitate these transformative collaborations and includes integrating online learning into the existing curriculum at Covenant; closing skills gaps identified in university curriculum; and designing courses to offer students industry-relevant learning.

What is the main higher education topic on your mind right now?

Resuscitating industry-relevant learning at African higher education institutions.

What advice do you have to share for others in a similar role as yours?

To lead successful university-wide curriculum changes or shifts, be sure to consider diverse diffusion methods and involve key stakeholders, including individual faculty members and heads of department at higher education institutions; regulatory agencies; and industry.

During Covenant’s membership in J-WEL, you have been leading a major curriculum review process. How would you describe your approach, goals, and where you are in the process?

Covenant University continues to review the content of its offerings to students using the following pivotal question: Is the curriculum preparing students for the 20 to 50 years they will live in, or the past 20 to 50 years we have lived through?

The process' three critical goals are to improve the coherence between the University's mission and the curriculum, graduate students with 21st century industry-relevant knowledge and skills, and multiply the MIT approach of problem-solving and learning across Covenant. Today, our focus has not only shifted from teaching to learning — we are also working with 400+ global organizations (whom we refer to as curriculum partners), and closing existing gaps in the curriculum to stay up to date with industry demands.

What major lessons can you share from Covenant’s response to the pandemic? 

The university has fully reckoned implementing blended learning as one of the key strategies to achieve in the following four years. 
  1. Improve on its curriculum content to match current trends and to improve how students learn; Covenant will focus onshifting from the preservation and transfer of knowledge for civil service to criticism and inquiry, knowledge creation, and application.
  2. Improve students' learning experience and outcomes and expose tacit knowledge.
  3. Put at-par intellectual understanding and embodied capability to reconnect thinking and acting and develop reflective practitioners. 
  4. Insist on quality outputs and outcomes that are top-notch and at the cutting-edge of critical skills and knowledge.

How do you envision the future of higher education? 

I envision a higher education that [anticipates future skills] to curate new knowledge and solutions to problems that the world is yet to encounter.


Interested in connecting with Professor Peter? Professor Peter is excited to connect with other members of the J-WEL community to continue these conversations or explore potential areas of collaboration. She can be contacted at