COH Provost Visits Strategy Planning Retreats for School of Social Sciences and Centre for Social Policy Studies

The Provost of the College of Humanities, Professor Daniel Frimpong Ofori, has paid a working visit to two academic units on retreat. Prof. Ofori joined the School of Social Sciences (SSS) and the Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS) at their annual retreat held respectively at the Hephzibah Christian Centre in Aburi and the Royal Lee’s Hotel in Tutu, both on the Akwapem Ridge.

At the Hephzibah Christian Centre, the Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Professor George Owusu, welcomed the Provost and expressed appreciation that he took time off his busy schedule to visit the SSS team. He informed the Provost that the School was on a two-day retreat to review its Strategic Plan that expires at the end of 2022. The Dean then introduced the Facilitator for the retreat, Mr. Matthew Danquah, a Policy and Planning Analyst at the Institutional Research and Planning Office (IRPO). The Dean also introduced members of the School Management Committee as follows: Prof. Augustine Asaah, the Vice-Chancellor’s Representative on the Committee; Mr. Michael  Atiboly, General Manager, Investment and Development Division of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (representing the Public Sector); Mr. Emmanuel Asiedu, Chief Executive, Stanlib Ghana Limited (representing the Private Sector); Dr. Kwabena Nyarko-Otoo Director of Research, Trades Union Congress (representing Civil Society); Prof. William Baah-Boateng, Head, Department of Economics; Prof. Joseph Osafo, Head, Department of Psychology; Dr. Maame Gyekye-Jandoh, Head, Department of Political Science; Dr. Augustina Naami, Head, Department of Social Work; Dr. James Dzisah, Head, Department of Sociology and Ms. Mavis Addotey, the School Administrator.

In his remarks, the Provost stated that he was delighted to join the team at the retreat and was hopeful that at the end of deliberations, the School would not only come up with new strategies but would also take steps to implement the new strategic objectives to move the School forward. He used the occasion to discuss four issues that are of great concern to both the regulatory body, Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC), and the University. These are accreditation and reaccreditation of programmes, revision of courses, academic staff promotions and improved student services. 

Prof. Ofori informed the team that at a recent meeting between GTEC and a representation from the University, the regulatory body stressed the need to ensure that all programmes run by the University are duly accredited before they can be advertised and continue to be mounted. He, therefore, urged the Heads of the teaching units to clean up their programmes accordingly.

On promotions, the Provost was happy about the academic progress of faculty members across the College. He, however, expressed concern about the packaging of application dossiers and stressed the need for faculty members to be conversant with the policy guidelines on promotion. He urged the Dean and Heads of Department to emphasize this point at both School Management Committee and Departmental meetings to ensure a smooth processing of applications submitted for consideration by the College Appointments and Promotions. 

On students’ experience on campus, the Provost urged Heads of units to ensure that administrative staff in their general offices are well educated to provide best services to students in a welcoming and civil manner. He cited examples of harsh and unacceptable language use by certain administrative staff and proposed that units should consider assigning dedicated officers the task of attending to student’s complaints and issues. He also urged Heads of Departments to respond promptly to official requests from the College Administration on issues relating to students and academic programmes.  

The Provost commended the SSS team for the initiatives being considered for short courses and fundraising. He informed members that the College intends to introduce an awards scheme for both academic and non-academic staff during the annual College of Humanities Conference. 

The Dean thanked the Provost for his remarks and invited comments or questions from the team. Members took turns to express their pleasure for having the Provost and also brought up matters of concern for his urgent attention. These included the need to recruit additional staff to meet the increasing student numbers for both new and existing programmes; the request to consider appointing 3rd and 4th  year PhD students who have made good progress with their thesis work as part-time lecturers to assist with teaching; the need to streamline the process for recruitment of Distance Education faculty members to teach courses run by the departments; the need to automate and harmonize the process of accreditation and review of courses in such a way that documentation is not duplicated at various levels. 

At the end of deliberations, the Provost pledged his continued support to the School and stated that additional staff would be recruited for the various units as soon as the University receives clearance from the government to do so. He also urged Heads of Departments to ensure that only the best PhD students are considered for part-time appointment. He further informed the team that the plan to automate the accreditation process is underway and would soon be in operation. He further stated that he would engage the College of Education to agree on a workable framework for the hire and share of resources.

The Head of the Department of Economics, who is also Chair of the 2022 College of Humanities International Conference Committee, informed members that this year’s conference would be held from 13th to 18th October on the theme: Inequalities. He requested Heads of Department to encourage both faculty members (especially early career faculty) and PhD students to submit papers for consideration. He indicated that papers from the conference would be published in special issues of selected journals. The Dean stated that in view of the timing of the College International Conference, the School has decided to suspend its annual international conference to lend full support to the success of the College International Conference.

The Dean thanked the Provost once again for not only passing by but also taking to time to respond to concerns raised by the team.

At the Royal Lee’s Hotel, the Director of CSPS, Professor Nana Akua Anyidoho, welcomed the Provost and introduced members of the CSPS Management Committee present as follows: Mr. Edem Senanu, Managing Consultant, Alpha Primus Limited (representing the Private Sector) who was also the Facilitator for the retreat; Mrs. Mary Mpereh, Acting Director at the Development Policy and Planning Division, National Development Planning Commission, (representing the Public Sector); Dr. Augustina Naami, Head, Department of Social Work; Dr. Maame Gyekye-Jandoh, Head, Department of Political Science; Dr. James Dzisah, Head, Department of Sociology; Dr. Stephen Afranie, Senior Research Fellow and the CSPS representative on the Management Committee; and Ms. Mavis Addotey, Secretary to the Committee and School Administrator, School of Social Sciences.

In his remarks, the Provost expressed his pleasure at joining the CSPS team and described his visit as an opportunity to meet the CSPS Management Committee as well as faculty and staff in person. He further stated that his visit was to demonstrate that he had the interest of the Centre at heart.

The Provost commended the Director and the CSPS team for its achievements and ongoing projects and pledged his continued support to the work of the Centre. He reiterated the concerns raised earlier in the day about accreditation and reaccreditation of programmes, revision of courses, academic staff promotions and improved students’ services. He stressed the need for the Centre to ensure a review of its programmes and accreditation in line with GTEC requirements. 

Prof. Ofori stated that he is passionate about the growth and development of academic staff. He, therefore, stressed the need for faculty members to be conversant with the policy guidelines on academic staff promotion to ensure a smooth completed process. He also expressed concern about students’ experience and feedback that feed into Higher Education rankings. He referred to previous unacceptable comments from certain administrative staff within the College that should not be allowed to continue. He, therefore, proposed that the Centre should consider creating a central point to receive and address students’ complaints in a more civil and friendly manner. 

The Provost assured the Director of his commitment to strengthening the human resource at CSPS. He was hopeful that deliberations at the retreat would translate into a revised Strategic Plan. He expected to receive a copy of the revised document that would cover regular graduate programmes, special programmes (on weekend or sandwich basis) and fundraising efforts to support research and conferences as well as to incentivize faculty among other things. He commended the CSPS team and urged the team to keep up the good work.