The Vice-Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Professor (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson, has met with Senior Members of the six Colleges of the University. In the series of meetings held from 10th -12th August 2020, Professor Akosua Dickson shared her vision for the University for her tenure of office.
According to Professor (Mrs.) Dickson, sharing her vision at the College levels would bring a sense of togetherness among Senior Members and Management of the University; which she believes would help her in pursuing her set goals. She urged senior members to bring in their suggestions and contributions towards the achievement of her vision.
The Vice-Chancellor, in her presentation, clearly defined her vision as ‘’Positioning KNUST as a competitive global research-intensive institution for advancement in science and technology for industrial and social uptake towards sustainable national and global development”. At this, she encouraged Senior Members to always regard KNUST as a research-intensive institution.
She explained that her vision was in line with the University’s vision of building on KNUST’s leadership as the Premier Science and Technology University in Ghana, and to be among the top ten Universities in Africa, through advancing knowledge in science and technology through creating an environment for undertaking relevant research, quality teaching, entrepreneurship training and community engagement to improve the quality of life”
Professor Dickson outlined her goals into priorities which include; Human Capital Development/Staff Welfare, Impactful Research & Innovations, Digitisation/ICT, Entrepreneurship Drive for Students, Infrastructure Development, Constructive Partnerships, Resource Generation and Management, and Increasing visibility of the University.
On Human Capital Development and Staff Welfare, the Vice-Chancellor said that this goal seeks to attract, develop and retain talents among staff. She noted that this goal would ensure the training of staff in diversified modes of delivery such as virtual technologies and e-pedagogies in teaching. This goal, she added, would also establish Structured Leadership & Excellence Development programmes (SLED) and the Staff Creativity and Innovations Recognition Programme (SCIRP) to enhance leadership development among staff. Professor Dickson on staff welfare, promised to enhance staff motivation, welfare and pension and introduce the Staff Support Schemes (SSS) and pledged to champion health by introducing periodic health walks for staff.
Regarding Impactful Research & Innovations, the Vice-Chancellor emphasised on KNUST being a research-intensive institution. This to her would be done by establishing an Enterprise Development Unit (EDU) for coordination and commercialisation of research findings, creating a Young Researchers Forum (YRF) intended to acquire skills in Grantsmanship, Teaching and Research Communications, increasing female researchers in STEM disciplines through mentorship and attractive fellowships and introducing the Vice-Chancellor’s Industry Biannual Encounter (VIBE Meetings) as well as enhancing Library Research Support Services among others.
In terms of building a Robust and Resilient e-system to provide diverse online Platforms to enhance teaching, learning and research, Professor Dickson revealed plans of increasing access to ICT and digitisation infrastructure. She was very particular about the role of ICT in teaching and learning. Linking to the effects of the coronavirus which caused academic work to be moved online. She added that it has become needful for the inclusion of Smart Technologies for synchronous and asynchronous teaching, learning, assessments, and research and virtual and augmented reality labs for 3D-aided learning. For this cause, KNUST, with the help of philanthropists would introduce the “SONSOL PROJECT” to support one needy student with one laptop.
In a bid to foster entrepreneurship drive for students, the Vice-Chancellor shared her intentions to improve open elective courses for students using e-modules across disciplines to broaden their horizon and promote research-led teaching, student-centered life-long learning approaches and soft skills development. She explained that this would enable KNUST to produce all-rounded graduates for the industrial world.
The Vice-Chancellor revealed plans to construct a 24-hour library mall with digital online resources for students, enabling them to learn in a safe and serene environment. She also announced plans to modernise existing Laboratories, Workshops, Studios and Lecture Halls by equipping them with e-facilities for recording light audio and video files.
She shared intentions on building a Central Multipurpose Laboratory Complex for undergraduate students to ease students’ pressure on existing facilities. Prof. Dickson further promised to provide an all-inclusive education, which means adopting barrier-free and disability friendly infrastructure.
Professor Dickson emphasised the need to strengthen relationships with KNUST alumni, the stakeholder community and the government. In order to facilitate this vision, she mentioned the creation of a “KNUST-CONNECT” Alumni App with features such as graduate tracking, bonding, alerts, news feeds to keep alumni informed on the progress of the University. Professor Dickson said her vision also would seek to enhance the Communities Impact Programme (CIP) to facilitate better interactions between the University and the society at large by addressing societal challenges.
In order to increase internally generated funds (IGF) for the University, the Vice-Chancellor revealed intentions of establishing strategic production units including water and tissue manufacturing plants, commercialise research findings to ensure increase in research uptake by society, develop short- courses in demand-driven programmes, and promote the ‘One Department-One Start-Up (1D-1S)’ agenda which would make all nighty-nine departments of the University come up with a start-up.
The Vice-Chancellor pledged to increase the visibility of KNUST by introducing University-Media interaction every semester and enhance the utilisation of social media by the University. Professor Dickson intimated her commitment to strengthen the decentralised Collegiate System, operate an open-door policy for information flow, promote teamwork and discipline as a strong organisational culture for the University among others for the betterment of KNUST.
Professor (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson in her concluding remarks, encouraged Senior Members to put their shoulders to the wheels of KNUST and to come together and labour on to achieve a common objective.