School of Graduate Studies Hosts Inception Meeting with Council of Graduate Schools

The School of Graduate Studies has hosted an inception meeting with a delegation from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), USA and all Deans of Graduate Schools in selected tertiary institutions in Ghana. 

The meeting, which among other things offered an opportunity for the discussion of matters relating to graduate studies and culminated the setting up of a Council of Graduate Schools in Ghana, was held at the conference hall of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, ISSER.

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, Prof. Gordon Awandare, in his opening remarks, was full of gratitude to all who had travelled to be present for the meeting. He was hopeful that the University of Ghana connecting with the Council of Graduate Studies will contribute to enhancing its vision of becoming world-class research institution.  “One of the key ingredients of being research-intensive is having a very strong graduate school and a very strong graduate programme to attract the best students…. We are glad that the University of Ghana is linking up with the CGS because it is a place where best practices can be shared, challenges can be discussed and innovative approaches can be developed”, he stated.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, Prof. Gordon Awandare

Noting that the University of Ghana places emphasises the expansion of its graduate programmes and the development of new competitive and attractive programmes, Prof. Awandare disclosed that the University is looking forward to getting new ideas and shared experiences in the area of supervision and mentorship, attracting funds for its programmes and developing online teaching and learning platforms, online management of thesis examination and also recruiting an extensive good quality external examiners for its graduate programmes. “These are some of the areas we hope we can learn from colleagues who have done this very well”, he added.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Dean of the University of Ghana School of Graduate Studies, Prof. Robert Darko Osei, expressed gratitude to the Council of Graduate Studies team and all present for attending the meeting. He expressed excitement about the University of Ghana’s involvement with the CGS. He noted that the collaboration will strengthen the University’s graduate programmes in conformity with the University’s vision of becoming a world-class research-intensive University to attract some of the world’s best researchers and students.  “We are fully committed to being part of the CGS initiative and by extension, global network”, he added.

Dr. Suzanne T. Ortega, President, Council of Graduate Schools, in her keynote presentation, took the participants through global challenges of graduate education. She noted that the four enduring challenges that several graduate students face include financial support for their programmes, access and students’ success, career alignment and graduate student health and mental well-being.

President, Council of Graduate Schools, Dr. Suzanne T. Ortega

Dr. Ortega opined that the struggles and challenges of students differ by the student characteristics. She indicated that nearly half of the master’s degree students (47%) have the challenge and struggle of managing student loan debts and four (4) out of ten (10) doctoral students are reported to struggle with saving for life events. “International students controlling spending is the primary struggle of international graduate students, as nearly one-half (48%) of them report. Thirty-two percent (32%) of international students struggle to pay bills on time”, she added.

Taking the participants through the mission of the Council of Graduate Schools, Dr. Ortega expressed among other things, the Council of Graduate Schools’ concern in identifying and exploring challenges in graduate education and identifying and implementing innovative solutions.

The meeting also saw Dr. Janet Rutledge, Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, elaborating on international partnerships for postgraduate education, and Dr. Joseph Oppong, Academic Associate Dean, University of North Texas, throwing light on Graduate Professional Development Workshops.

Prof. Cosmos Nwokeafor, Dean, Bowie State University Graduate School, gave brief remarks on the Expectations and Advancement of Student Success in a Graduate Programme: A Review of the Role of Graduate Schools in the Academy after which participants had extensive general discussions on the way forward and a talk on the overview of graduate education in respective graduate schools. 

Present at the meeting were Deans from the Graduate Schools of the University of Health and Applied Sciences, Takoradi Technical University, Catholic University, Christian University College, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Ho Technical University, Ghana Institute of Journalism, Valley View University, University for Development Studies, Ghana Communication Technology, Koforidua Technical University and the Vice Dean of University of Education, Winneba.

A group photo after the event

Others present were the Dean and Former Deans of the University of Ghana Graduate School, Members of the Graduate School Board, University of Ghana and Representatives from Ghana Tertiary Education Commission.

Other officials present at the meeting were Prof. Martin Oteng Ababio, Ag. Provost, College of Education; Prof. Adobea Owusu, ISSER, College of Humanities; Apostle Dr. Christian Tsekpoe, Director, Post-Graduate Studies and Research, Pentecost University; Mr. Kaylex Dabo Offei, Coordinator, School of Graduate Studies, Regional Maritime University; and Ms. Christiana Adu, GRASSAG President, University of Ghana.