The new Vice-Chancellor of UCC, Prof. Johnson Nyarko Boampong, has indicated his commitment to lead the process of transforming the University into a World Class Entrepreneurial University with a global competitive edge.
To achieve this, Prof. Boampong said: “My vision is to reposition UCC as the global hub of creative thinkers, offering demand-driven programmes, integrated with practical entrepreneurial courses and actively translating the products of its innovative research, for sustainable development.”
The Vice-Chancellor pointed out that his vision would be realised by ensuring that “the University creates a niche by providing quality, equitable and inclusive education that empowers the graduates to be independent, lifelong learners and responsible citizens, who have passion for job creation while contributing to public service”.
Prof. Boampong made these statements during his investiture as the new Vice-Chancellor of the University. At the same function, Mr. Jeff Teye Emmanuel Onyame was inducted as the new Registrar.
Outlining the strategies to achieve his vision, the new Vice-Chancellor said he would provide exemplary academic leadership and operate an all-inclusive governance system by focusing on increasing students’ intake and ensuring their success and welfare as well as prioritising academic distinctiveness. In addition, he noted that his administration would generate revenue and maintain fiscal discipline; enhance visibility and promote internationalization; and also create an organisational culture and improve efficiency and effectiveness of the governance system.
The Vice-Chancellor said under his leadership, the University would work to produce ethically responsible graduates with employable and entrepreneurial skills. “This requires a thorough audit of all academic programmes, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, to promote harmonization, in order to reduce duplication of courses at various departments” He stressed that “New demand-driven programmes will, therefore, be introduced and a stimulus fund for STEM and Entrepreneurship education created”.
Concept of “Entrepreneurial University”
The Vice-Chancellor noted that the concept of “Entrepreneurial University” was the emerging trend stressing that “What makes this emerging concept significant and appealing to me, particularly within these uncertain times, is how the COVID-19 pandemic has called to question existing paradigms, and, is attempting to redirect our focus to novel ways of doing things”.
Prof. Boampong indicated that though he was a scientist, he had come to the realisation that the concept of the Entrepreneurial University was the catalyst for development of the University. “My primary calling and career trajectory has been that of a scientist but, having interacted widely with both industry and the academy throughout my professional life, I come into this academic conversation with an intimate connection and passion for innovation that the concept of Entrepreneurial Universities evokes” he explained.
Coming from the background as an entrepreneur, Prof. Boampong explained that “My understanding of a world class entrepreneurial university is one that seeks to work out a substantial shift in organizational character so as to arrive at a more promising posture for the future”. In his opinion, an Entrepreneurial University seeks to become “stand-up” university that is a significant actor in its own terms.
UCC Design Thinking and Business Development Centre
One of the ways Prof. Boampong said he would accomplish his vision was to upgrade the School of Business Incubation Centre and resource it into a university-wide Entrepreneurial Centre to be called UCC Design Thinking and Business Development Centre. “This Centre will collaborate with the Ministry for Business Development, Industry, financial institutions and UCC Enterprise Limited, to reinforce practical entrepreneurship and nurture the entrepreneurial talents of students, and assist them to create and manage their businesses, and/or possibly partner the University to run joint ventures,” he explained.
To further strengthen practice-oriented teaching and learning activities, Prof. Boampong said the Centre for Teaching Support, would be restructured into Teaching and Learning Support Centre which would include an Instructional Design Unit for the organisation of workshops for lecturers and other tutors in UCC affiliated institutions. He indicated that the Centre would run Professional Education programmes for teachers at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels.
Prof. Boampong also said he would resource existing laboratories and linked them to form integrated laboratories to strengthen research. “Efforts will also be made, to create General Physical Laboratories where expensive equipment will be kept, for common use” he pledged. He said DRIC would be tasked to collaborate with UCC Design Thinking and Business Development Centre to guarantee that research outputs are translated and developed further to create businesses.
Partnership with Industry
Furthermore, to make the University relevant to changing trends and also support various government policies, Prof. Boampong stated that existing partnerships with industry would be expanded by co-opting experts from industry, to be part of the deliberations of Departments, Faculties and Colleges, for their expert advice and guidance.
The Vice-Chancellor said the proposed University-wide Entrepreneurial Centre would work in collaboration with identifiable units to create viable businesses where UCC has competitive advantage.
He said his administration would encourage Workers’ Unions and other entities to partner the University to create new businesses, and part of the profits would be used to enhance the welfare of the workers. “Similarly, financial disciplinary procedures to procure goods and services will be followed,” he added.
Other areas the new Vice-Chancellor mentioned would receive attention under his leadership were physical and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure, research, university-community/stakeholders relations, enhancing visibility and internationalisation of the University.
Present at the function were the Omanhen of Oguaa Traditional Area, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II; Minister of State in-charge of Tertiary Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah; Central Regional Minister, Mr Kwamena Duncan, Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Tsutomu Himeno. The rest are the Chairman of National Accreditation Board, Prof. Kofi Awusabo-Asare; Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Dora Edu-Buandoh; Heads of other public and private tertiary institutions; former Vice-Chancellors and Registrars of UCC, members of UCC Council; Provosts, Deans, Directors, clergy, and some members of Convocation.