UG spearheads effort to build new generation of academics

Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, the Acting Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana (UG), says the University, with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, seeks to build a critical mass of a new generation of academics.

That generation, she indicated, would be engaged in cutting edge research and contribute more effectively to global knowledge generation.


Prof Amfo said she had just signed a new grant of one million dollars for the Third Phase of ‘Building A New Generation of Academics’ (BANGA) Project to support doctoral education and early career faculty research capacity development.


The support would also ensure that the Pan African Doctoral Academy delivers doctoral schools that aim to enhance knowledge, skills base and general scholarship of PhD candidates graduating from UG and other West African universities, she said.


It would also enhance the overall UG faculty research quality and outputs by providing funding support in the form of seed grants to early career faculty, and team research grants led by a senior faculty, who then provides mentorship to early career faculty and graduate students.


Prof Amfo said this at the opening of the Second International Research/Mentorship Conference in Accra, organised by the UG-Carnegie Scholars Network, in collaboration with the Pan African Doctoral Academy (PADA).


The two-day conference is on the theme: “Quality Research and Mentoring: Keys to Sustainable and Inclusive Development”.


It aims at providing some eye-opening experience to young academics, foster discussions on mentorship as well as focus on research and ensuring research works become meaningful for sustainable and inclusive development of Ghana and Africa.


The BANGA-III will focus, among other things, on promoting timely completion of PhD studies at UG through thesis completion grants to PhD students and systematic mentorship provided by senior faculty.


Prof Amfo said the UG had enjoyed generous funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York for many years and that had supported faculty and graduate development.

She commended Prof Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, the Director for the UG BANGA-Africa, and Dr Jemima Asabea Anderson, Director of PADA, for their commitment, support and leadership.


Professor David Dodoo-Arhin, an Associate Professor at the Department of Material Science and Engineering, UG, underscored the need to institutionalise academic mentoring, especially for early career faculty, across the University.


He said a report by the Visitation Panel to the UG in December 2007 identified mentoring of young lecturers/faculty as one of the ways to strengthen the reputation of the University.


“In order for us to achieve a sustainable and inclusive development from the quality research and mentoring perspective, the recommendation by the Visitation Panel must be given a university-wide thought since academic mentoring is not yet institutionalised,” he added.


Dr Jemima Asabea Anderson, the Head of the Department of English, UG, who chaired the conference, described early career mentorship as an important part of research experience from which universities stand to benefit.


She encouraged students to take advantage of such opportunities and identify people who could serve as mentors to them, adding: “Mentorship is crucial, it is possible to climb to certain positions but it is easier if you are directed”.


Source: Ghana News Agency

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