Professor Amfo calls on young academics to take mentorship seriously

Accra- Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Dean of School of Languages at the University of Ghana (UG), has called on young academics to take mentorship very seriously.

Prof Amfo, who also urged young academics in a mentee-mentor relationship to set personal goals, noted that mentorship was mentee-driven because the mentee was the bigger beneficiary in the process, hence the need for the mentee to define what he or she wants out of the relationship.

Essentially mentorship is a process where someone gets guidance from a more experienced person; mentorship is critical to career success and it shortens the journey to the top, she said.

She said without it, success is possible but it would take a longer time, saying in mentorship one gets to learn from successes and the mistakes of the mentor.

Prof Amfo said this at BANGA-Africa Workshop and Mentoring Session 2019, hosted by the UG- Carnegie Scholars Network (CSN).

UG-CSN seeks to bring together all beneficiaries of the Carnegie Next Generation of Academics in Africa project at UG, to network and share ideas and research findings.

The workshop was held under the theme: Mentorship: A Tool for Enhancing Academic Research and Progression.

Among its objectives was to provide some eye-opening experiences to young academics, to understand life within academia and as well provide an opportunity for them to identify people who can help them grow.

The sessions in the workshop would also help participants who submit abstract to get feedback from experienced academics and would help them ask questions on how to publish their papers.

Prof Amfo said the key role of mentors was to provide critical feedback, provide guidance and as well point out opportunities to mentees.

When you are looking up to a mentor, that person is usually a busy person, so it is not for your mentor to be shadowing you; it is for you be shadowing the person and trying to get attention because you know what you want; you shape how the relationship should go,” Prof Amfo said.

Prof Justice Nyigmah Bawole, Dean of UG Business School, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), described the academic community as a social system, where people required some social support.

He said, for instance, there are students who did not understand how to relate to supervisors and how to relate to colleagues, adding that once you get into a mentoring session it helps you to be able to appreciate and pick up social skills that enable you to function within an academic community.

Prof Bawole, who stepped in for the Director of the BANGA-Africa Project -Prof Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu as the chairperson for the occasion, said psychologically, going through PhD and higher learning was tough, hence the need for the experienced to provide the social and psychological support to such individuals.

He said mentee-mentor relationship could be abused particularly when the mentee sees the mentor as a financial backbone and when a mentor finds something and passes it on to the mentee, anticipating that the mentee will follow up and he or she refuses.

Dr Collins Badu Agyemang, Coordinator for Pan-African Doctoral Academy and Public Relations Officer (PRO) of UG-CSN, also told GNA that the Network was interested in how influential mentorship could be in training people and was of the view that in this modern era, the advent of social media and others was not making people avail themselves to be mentored.

He said it is about time the experienced and those in leadership positions develop an interest in nurturing and mentoring the up and coming ones.

From this conference, even though we are a young association, we are interested in how we can hold the hands of one another, groom ourselves, support ourselves, so we will be able to shoulder the demands of our time, he said.

Dr Agyemang, who is also a Lecturer at UG’s Department of Psychology, said mentorship should be driven by the mentee and it is expensive from the view point of the mentor; mentors must be ready to sacrifice their time, must be patient and malleable.

Professor Joseph Osafo, Head of Psychology Department at the University of Ghana, in his goodwill message, admonished the mentees not to abuse the mentorship opportunity offered them.

He also charge mentors and mentees to be committed to strengthening each other.

Source: Ghana News Agency