The immediate former Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. D. D. Kuupole, has called on the University to enhance its engagement with communities to address challenges affecting them.
Prof. Kuupole said it was important for the University to strengthen its engagement with communities within and beyond the institution’s geographical boundaries in all aspects of their livelihood for optimum satisfaction.
The former Vice-Chancellor was speaking at the Faculty of Arts Lecture Series on the topic “University-Community Engagement: the Case of University of Cape Coast”.
Prof. Kuupole commended some Faculties/Schools which were vigorously engaging in community services with the aim of mobilising research capacity to address community problems and aspirations. He mentioned the Community Based Experience and Service programme (CoBES) of the School of Medical Sciences, the Department of Population and Health Community Project at Yamoransa, Theatre for Development Outreach project by the Department of Theatre and Film Studies among others.
The former Vice-Chancellor said though UCC has been engaging the communities surrounding the University, efforts must be made to find ways of making a significant impact on the lives of people living in these communities. “Have we been able to effectively engage them to know their needs so that we can empower them to solve their problems?” he asked.
Prof. Kuupole recommended a comprehensive policy on community engagement to be implemented by Colleges, Faculties/Schools/Departments to develop, transmit and apply knowledge for the public good in some identified communities. He noted that one of the action plans of key thrust 5 of the 2018-2022 University of Cape Coast Corporate Strategic Plan, was to develop one Community-based Social Laboratory by the end of 2021.
In his explanation, Prof. Kuupole said “Community-engagement is an umbrella term that describes the many ways in which members of a university-community use their skills, talent, and energy to benefit a wide array of communities within and beyond the university, while at the same time providing students of the university with rich, real-world learning experiences”. He said University-community engagement was a necessary practice; that should not be ignored.
Through university-community engagement, Prof. Kuupole noted that the human resource of the community could be harnessed to achieve the goals of the community as well as enhancing the relations between the University and the Community. He further noted that “Its importance for staff and students of the University include improved institutional commitment to the curriculum, improved student retention, enhanced uptake and use of research and knowledge products, employability of graduates, and use of services and increased material and financial support.
The lecture was chaired by a former Provost of the College of Humanities and Legal Studies, Prof. Stephen B. Kendie.