The College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS) held its 8th and penultimate lecture for the second semester in the CBAS Public Lecture Series on Tuesday, 28th March, 2017 at the Auditorium of the Centre for African Wetlands. Professor Erasmus Okine, Vice-President (Research) at the Lethbridge University, Canada delivered the lecture on the topic “Challenges and Opportunities for the Comprehensive Universities: Planning for the Future and Unleashing Excellence”.
Prof. Daniel B Sarpong, Chairman
The programme was chaired by Professor Daniel Bruce Sarpong, Head, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, who acted in the stead of the Provost of CBAS, Professor Daniel K. Asiedu.
Mr. Emmanuel Baidoo (College Secretary)
In his welcome address, College Secretary of CBAS, Mr. Emmanuel Baidoo, indicated that the CBAS Public Lecture Series was instituted to provide, among other things, a forum for interaction between researchers, students, industry players and other stakeholders, to build the knowledge base of students and help solve industry related challenges. He added that the College aims to build the investment portfolio of the College’s Endowment Fund whilst providing visibility for the College.
Professor Erasmus Okine
Speaking on the topic which he indicated was relevant to both students and Administrators of the University of Ghana, Professor Okine opined that there had been a shift in the expectations from governments, students, industry, society and other stakeholders of University education over the period - from the inception of University education to present time. He noted that early expectations of University education were basically to satisfying the thirst for knowledge (scholarly expertise), belief that society would benefit from the scholarly expertise and that scholarly expertise developed with the ability to address difficult problems and achieve desired ends. Additionally, it was believed that University education would help transmit a common culture and common standards of citizenship.
However, in recent times, stakeholder expectations marginally contrast the early expectations and are somewhat at variance with the aims of current Universities. Now, Industry challenges Universities to produce graduates that are job ready and possess skillsets needed to fill essential positions. Society also expects Universities to churn out graduates who would be globally competitive and help realise expected returns on society’s investment in education. Similarly Governments expect that through research and innovation systems, graduates should be able to facilitate the anticipation and mitigation of environmental impacts, engage individuals and communities to enhance the wellbeing of people and enable the cost-effective discovery, development and production of natural resources.
Professor Okine intimated that in the face of these challenges, Universities must remain relevant, responsive, maintain their reputation and relationships, as well as generate enough resources. This, he said, could be achieved by identifying the strengths of the University and riding on those strengths. Most importantly, extending students’ contact hours with faculty members is very critical. Also, academic programmes could be remodeled and tailored to opportunities and challenges that exist in the community. Additionally, Universities should not fail to maintain and strengthen ties with the communities that they serve as a way to, among other things, rake in resources through donations from alumni and philanthropy by members of society.
A Section of the audience
He concluded by stating that, the most important strategy for Universities to remain undeterred is by firmly establishing a research culture that students could take away into the society.
At the end of his lecture, the Speaker received a standing ovation. The audience participated actively by thanking him for a prescient lecture and set of answers he gave to their questions.
The Chairman, Professor Sarpong, thanked Professor Okine for his insightful lecture.
A Citation of Honor was presented to Professor Okine by the Provost of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Prof Daniel Asiedu
Prof. Asiedu presenting the citation to Prof. Okine
Prof. Okine displaying the citation