Present Salutes the Past: Kelaniya Uni’s FCMS Celebrates Silver Jubilee

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Dec 2 2021

The University of Kelaniya’s Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies (FCMS) reaches the significant milestone of 25 years since its establishment in 1995. The FCMS is nationally and internationally recognised for producing high calibre entrepreneurs and management professionals. Though the FCMS is one of the youngest faculties in the University of Kelaniya, it has demonstrated a remarkable strength needed for dynamic transformations and developments in Commerce and Management, and has commendably committed to triangulate teaching, research, and community engagement. 

In May 1976, the first seed of Commerce education in the University of Kelaniya was planted by W. M. Jayarathna (currently a retired professor), who is considered the founding father of Commerce and Management education in the University of Kelaniya. On 18 May 1976, University of Kelaniya obtained the opportunity to admit 122 students from GCE A/L Commerce Stream to read for a separate degree (in Sinhala and Tamil) in Commerce. In 1978, with the arrival of M. W. Wickramarachchi (currently an Emeritus Professor), the degree which was started as a three-year course was stabilised as a fouryear course. 

After a year and half, Professor Wickramarachchi returned to his native University; the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. It was then in 1980 that arrival of Ananda Patabendige (currently a retired professor), who had dedicated his life to this faculty, took place. He contributed to the development of the academic staff and physical resources. It is through his contribution that the foundation for the establishment of this faculty was laid. In 1980, Bachelor of Commerce (Special) degree was legally approved, and the Commerce section, affiliated to the Department of Economics was separated and named Department of Commerce and Ananda Patabendige was its first Head. 

In 1986, the FCMS commenced the Master of Commerce (MCOM) degree programme. In 1992, the proposed two degree programmes; Bachelor of Business Management (Special) in Human Resource Management, and Accountancy were approved and the first batches were admitted. In February 1995, the Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies obtained the Faculty status with two departments; Department of Commerce and Financial Management, and the Department of Accountancy and Human Resource Management. 

Ananda Patabendige was the first Dean of the FCMS. In 1998, Sunil Shantha was elected as the Dean of the FCMS. During his period, the Department of Accountancy and Human Resource Management was separated and identified as two independent academic departments. Historically, it was a new raise for the FCMS as the Department of HRM is legendary as the first HRM Department in the Sri Lankan University system. D. R. Dissanayake and Ariyarathna Jayamaha were appointed as the first Heads of DHRM and DoA respectively. 

In 1999, the proposed external degree programme was implemented by the HRM. In April 2005, the Marketing Management Unit was upgraded to Department status and Wasantha Kumara was its first Head. In 2008, Professor Patabendige was Dean of the FCMS and he held the post for one year. Then, Dr. R. P. C. Ranjani was unanimously elected Dean of the Faculty. In 2011, the Finance Studies Unit was upgraded to Department status and Ruwan Abeysekara was its first Head. In 2012, Dr. D. M. Semasinghe was elected Dean. 

In 2017, Professor D. M. Semasinghe reached the pinnacle of the University administrative structure being appointed ViceChancellor of the University of Kelaniya. Dr. P. N. D. Fernando has been serving as the Dean of the FCMS since 2017. At this significant juncture, the FCMS salutes Senior Professor Ranjani,Professor Tilakaratne; the current Vice Chancellor of the Open University of Sri Lanka, Professor Jayamaha, the current Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Senior Lecturer Dissanayake, retired Senior Lecturer Jayasena, and the Retired Professor Dissanayake for their immense contribution to establish the FCMS. Currently, 14 undergraduate degree programmes are offered by the FCMS. 

The Faculty has produced a total of 9,507 graduates, from 1995 to 2019, who are currently working in different corporate atmospheres. Further, nine postgraduate degree programmes including Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Business Administration and Masters of Commerce, Business Administration, Human Resource Management, Business (MB) in Accounting / Finance, Business Management (MBM) in Marketing, Business Studies (MBS) and Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing (PGDM) are offered by the FCMS. Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) is a professional doctorate that the FCMS introduced for the first time to the Public University System of Sri Lanka in 2016. 

Further, the FCMS offers several diploma and higher diploma programmes including: Diploma/Higher Diploma in Business (DIB/ HDIB), Marketing (DIM / HDIM), Human Resource Management (HDHRM), Business Accounting (HDBA), and Business Finance (HDBF). The FCMS has aligned all its degree programmes with the Sri Lanka Qualification Framework (SLQF). The FCMS has received membership of the Association of Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business (AACBS) in 2019, and is currently working towards getting AACBS accreditation. 

Since 2003, the FCMS and the Faculty itself obtained three competitive grants from the World Bank; Improving Relevance and Quality of Undergraduate Education (IRQUE), Higher Education for Twenty-First Century (HETC) and Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development (AHEAD). At the end of 2020, there were 123 permanent academic staff members belonging to the FCMS, including one chair professor, a senior professor, twelve professors, 43 Ph.D. holders, and 28 senior academics reading for Ph.D. Thirty nine academics hold professional qualifications including CA, CIMA, CFA, ACCA, AAT, CIM and CMA. Since 2010, the annual research conference of the Faculty International Conference on Business and Information (ICBI) had continued its journey for the 12th consecutive year in 2021. 

ICBI has given a new face, introducing the Doctoral Colloquium in 2017, and achieved a key milestone in 2020 hosting the full paper proceedings in Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Furthermore, plenary discussions with industry experts were also a part of the ICBI since its inception. A CEO forum was introduced to the ICBI in 2020. Additionally, the Department of Accountancy organises the International Conference in Accounting Researchers and Educators (ICARE), the Department of Marketing Management organises the International Conference of Advanced Marketing (ICAM) and the Department of Human Resource Management organises the National HR Summit annually. 

Kelaniya Journal of Management (KJM) is the official research journal published by the FCMS since 2012. It is published twice a year (June and December). KJM was awarded two-star status for its journal publishing Practices and was indexed in Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) in 2018 and is currently under the evaluation for SCOPUS and Wed of Science indexing. Other Publications are the Kelaniya Journal of Human Resource Management, the Journal of Business & Technology (JBT), the Journal of Marketing (SLJM), the International Journal of Accountancy (IJA), and the South Asian Journal of Finance (SAJF)as biannual, peer-reviewed, refereed journals.

At this significant and glorious juncture, the FCMS is grateful to all the pioneers, former Deans, Heads of the departments, academic staff members, non-academic staff members, and also the students who have dedicated themselves to the betterment of the Faculty from then to now. May the Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies, University of Kelaniya be a victorious Faculty, and a cooling shower of nectar that quenches the thirst for knowledge in the field of Commerce and Management forever! 

[Source: ‘Glorious Years of Success’ - 25th Anniversary Book published by the Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka]Tharindu Dananjaya Weerasinghe (Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Commerce and Management Studies, University of Kelaniya)

CEYLON TODAY | Published: 2:00 AM Dec 2 2021

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