Dr. Kofi Amegah, a lecturer at the Department of Biological Sciences, has suggested to University Management to reserve some positions for leading researchers in the University.
“Maybe, we can adopt Goodall’s suggestion by reserving some positions for leading researchers in the University so that if you aspire to that position you know what it takes. For instance, we can have two Vice-Deans and two Pro-Vice-Chancellor positions - one for academics and the other for research,” he said.
Dr. Amegah made the suggestion while presenting a paper on the topic: “Research Matters on the Promotion of Academic Staff in University of Cape Coast” at the 3rd Expert Forum organised by the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) Branch of UCC. The Expert Forum, a platform for members of the UTAG-UCC to deliberate on major national and local issues, was on theme “Academic Progression and Promotion of Faculty: Standards, Disclosures and Procedures”.
Dr. Amegah appealed to University Management to endeavor to change motivations of faculty members to pursue scholarships through high quality research to enable them to climb the academic progression ladder. He touched on some challenging issues that were militating against the conduct of quality research in the University such as lack of transparency, prolonged assessment process, competition for management positions and the scary of publication fees charged by good quality journals. He, however, said provision of assessors comments to clear up lingering doubts, measures to curb undue delays from assessors and provision of incentives to attract research funds were remedies to these challenges.
On the issue of single or sole authorship, he said it should be discipline specific and not based on whole sale promotion in the University. Dr. Amegah said: “Promoting sole-authorship, we should demand that a proportion of the papers we submit for promotion are first author and corresponding author publications.”
Touching on the issue of increasing the numbers of research papers submitted for promotion, he called on the University to be guided by quality as the benchmark for academic promotion in the University, and not to focus on quantity in research where assessors would fail colleagues who present such papers. On accelerated promotion, the Lecturer opined that prospective research applicants should exude high level of excellence in research and be given the opportunity to provide “a written justification as to why accelerated promotion is being sought to enable an assessment of applicants motives.”
Speaking on the topic: “Outreach Matters on the Promotion of Academic Staff in UCC”, a lecturer at the School of Medical Sciences, Prof. Ivy Ekem, described outreach as “Engaging the university and community in defining mutual concerns and together exploring ways to address them.” According to her, areas of outreach include technical assistance and technology transfer, policy analysis, organizational and community development, assistance in programme development and evaluation; professional development and service-learning activities. She asked faculty to assess outreach through documentation which was necessary for appropriate recognition and reward.
Commenting on how outreach should be done, Prof. Ekem advised both administrators and individual faculty members to be specific and clear about the commitments of faculty members to professional outreach or service. She said weighting of outreach for promotion should be based on the relevance of activities to the local community, before national and international relevance.
She appealed to the Directorate of Academic Planning and Quality Assurance to assist in developing instruments for assessing the process, the project and the project impact. The University, according to her, should make faculty expertise more widely and rapidly available to the society.
The Director of Centre for Teaching Support, Prof. Douglas D. Agyei, who spoke on “Teaching Matters on the Promotion of Academic Staff in UCC”, said the effective implementation of the criterion for considering teaching for promotion as stated in the 2012 Statues has been a great challenge. According to him, the common practice in the processing of promotions for faculty, over the years, was applicants submitting appraisal reports of their teaching by their students.
He argued that the move “has not been sufficient because such reports have not formed integral part of the final assessment in determining the ultimate decision of whether an applicant should be promoted or not”. To that end, he suggested the provision of clear indicators and guidance that would ensure a fair, transparent and equitable method of assessment for Faculty teaching, as well as setting out the criteria against which faculty promotion to different ranks in the University would be assessed.
In his view, the use of students’ appraisal or evaluation report, evidence of professional development through workshops or training programmes attended and the evidence of observed teaching should be used for assessing faculty teaching in the University.
Speaking on “Missing Matters and Procedural Issues on the Promotion of Academic Staff in UCC”, a former Director of the Directorate of Academic Planning and Quality Assurance, Prof. Kofi Awusabo-Asare, underscored the need for a clear cut documentation on teaching, research and outreach in the University. That, he said, would help faculty to be abreast of the procedural issues on promotion in the University.