USF World News

The Ghana Scholars Program: Building Partnerships One Professor at a Time
September 12, 2012

Designed to enhance collaboration between the University of South Florida and its signature partners in Ghana, the University of Ghana (UG) and the University of Cape Coast (UCC), the USF Ghana Scholars Program promotes the exchange of ideas and scholarship, and contributes to the professional development of Ghana’s university educators. The Program addresses the critical need for capacity-building within higher education in Ghana. As a result of the program, competitively selected Ghanaian faculty are able to take a sabbatical from full-time teaching loads at their home institutions and complete the writing stage of their dissertations while at the University of South Florida. During a four to six month stay in Tampa, the faculty from Ghana receive mentoring from senior USF faculty, engage in research collaborations, participate in professional development workshops and leadership training opportunities, and experience the culture of a major metropolitan research-oriented university.

The Ghana Scholars Program was launched in 2009 by the Office of the Provost and supported a total of five scholars during the 2010-2011 academic year. The first cohort was overseen by Drs. Kofi Glover and Linda Whiteford. Another six Ghanaian Scholars joined USF as a second cohort for a writing sabbatical during 2012-2013 following the transition of the program to USF World. The University of South Florida, the University of Cape Coast, and the University of Ghana have shared the costs of supporting the Program. 

As access to a university education has become more available in Ghana, its universities have struggled to keep up with student demand. Faculty at Ghanaian Universities manage heavy teaching responsibilities and often must sacrifice the completion of their dissertation research to teaching duties. In a 2007 article on faculty at the University of Ghana, Doze Stamata, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) and Deputy Head, Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA) at the University of Ghana, Lagoon, observed that one of the issues facing higher education in Ghana was that “[a] little under 50% of male senior [faculty] members had terminal degrees while the figure for females was… a little under 30%, not much change from the previous decade.”  What are needed most by those Ghanaian faculty with substantial experience in the classroom, but few resources for research and writing, is time to dedicate to completing their doctorates; and more specifically, time to complete the writing portion of the dissertation process.  

The benefit for all three partners

By providing the opportunity for faculty to complete their terminal degrees, both the University of Ghana and the University of Cape Coast can improve their teaching and research productivity, increase faculty retention, and cultivate more robust universities. The ultimate outcome for Ghana through the expansion of the professoriate is workforce development, strengthening of the market economy and improvement of society in general. With an increase in senior, credentialed faculty conducting research, chairing dissertation committees and mentoring graduate students and junior faculty, the University of Ghana and the University of Cape Coast will be able to support even more faculty to receive terminal degrees and, ultimately, grow their graduate and research programs. 

In return, USF extends its global impact and benefits from the wealth of knowledge the scholars bring to campus life as well as the diversity of perspectives present among them.  The exchange of ideas has led to research collaborations between USF faculty and Ghana scholars that transcend the scholars’ stay at USF.  This year, two former Ghana Scholars will engage in cross-national research collaborations with USF faculty members. As a result of this sustainable and authentic collaboration all three partners benefit from this highly successful program.

Not only has the Ghana Scholars Program encouraged research collaboration among USF faculty and colleagues at our partner institutions, it has yielded impressive results in terms of enhancing the research productivity of the Scholars themselves, and sets a platform for future scholarship links across USF, the University of Ghana and the University of Cape Coast. USF World is proud to report that four of five in the original cohort of Ghana Scholars has successfully received their doctorates; many have gone on to publish their findings. Most recently, Dr. Godwin Egbenya, a member of the first cohort of Ghanaian Scholars, who completed his doctoral degree at the University of Cape Coast proudly reports that his research on the interplay between education, poverty and rural development has been published.

The names and affiliations of all the Cohort One (2010-11) and Cohort Two (2012-13) follow together with the names of the senior faculty at USF who graciously gave of their time to mentor. This program would only work with the interest and engagement of the USF faculty mentors and we are most grateful for their commitment to this program:

Cohort One

Dr. Godwin Egbenya, University of Cape Coast. Godwin was mentored by Dr. Kathy Borman in the Department of Anthropology. Dissertation title: The Education-Poverty Interface and its Effects on Development: The Views of Rural Agona Mankrong and Urban Agona Swedru Respondents.

De-Velara Botchwav, University of Cape Coast, De-Velara was mentored by Dr. Edward Kissi was hosted by the Department of Africana Studies, Dissertation title: Garvey and Damuah in Perspective: Their Philosophical Contribution and Work towards an African Religious Reformation and Spiritual Renaissance.

Dr. Camara Kwasi Obeng, University of Cape Coast. Camara was mentored by Dr. Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong in the Department of Economics. Dissertation title: Poverty Implications of Trade Liberalization Financing in Ghana.

Dr. Dido Regina Yirenya-Tawiah, University Ghana-Lagon. Dzidzo was mentored by Dr. Ricardo Izurietta in the Department of Global Health. Dissertation Title: Genital Schistosomiasis among Women in the Volta Basin of Ghana.

Dr. Benjamin Dankyira Ofori, University of Ghana-Lagon. Benjamin was mentored by Dr. Ambe Njoh in the Department of Geography, Environment and Planning. Dissertation title: Market Centers and Trading Activities along the Volta Lake in Ghana.

Cohort Two

The six scholars from Ghana who participated in the 2011-2012 program report that their research is nearing completion and that their time spent in Tampa was beyond their expectations. Reports of successful degree completion are expected during the next months.

Isaac Bentum-Ennin, University of Cape Coast. Isaac was mentored by Dr. Kwabena Gyimah-Brempong in the Department of Economics. Dissertation title: Accumulation of International Reserves and Economic Growth in the West African Monetary Zone.

Modesta Efua Gavor, University of Cape Coast. Modesta was mentored by Dr. Edward Kissi in the Department of Africana Studies. Dissertation title: Significance of Clothing among Selected Ghanaian Chiefs as an Element of Cultural Tourism.

Kankam Boadu, University of Cape Coast. Kankam was mentored by Dr. Don Dellow in the Department of Adult, Career and Higher Education. Dissertation title: Citizenship Education in Colleges of Education in Ghana.

Ransford Gyampo, University of Ghana. Ransford was mentored by Dr. Earl Conteh-Morgan in the Department of Government and International Affairs. Dissertation title: Youth, Participation, and Development in Ghana’s Fourth Republic.

Jesse Sey Ayivor, University of Ghana. Jesse was mentored by Dr. Graham Tobin in the Department of Geography, Environment and Planning. Dissertation title: Evaluation of Management Effectiveness of Protected Areas in the Volta Basin of Ghana.

Samuel Obeng Manteaw, University of Ghana. Samuel was mentored by Dr. Kevin Archer in the Department of Geography, Environment and Planning. Dissertation title: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Nuclear Regulation in Ghana.

Moving forward, the emergence of eleven new Ph.D.’s at the University of Ghana and the University of Cape Coast not only strengthens the institutional capacity of those universities but supports broader authentic and sustainable partnership across all three institutions and future research initiatives. USF is proud to work alongside the two premier universities in the longest standing democracy in West Africa and the Ghana Scholars Program is testament to the profound and long lasting influence of collaborative and interdisciplinary university partnership.