Meet University of Ghana’s First Female Vice-Chancellor To Be, Prof Nana Aba Appiah Amfo
The University of Ghana Council has appointed Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, as the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University.
She takes over from Vice-Chancellor Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu.
Prof. Appiah Amfo’s appointment as Acting Vice-Chancellor takes effect from August 1, 2021.
She will be acting as the Vice-Chancellor of the University until the appointment of the substantive Vice-Chancellor.
Until her appointment, Prof. Appiah Amfo was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for Academic and Student Affairs of the University, a position she assumed on November 1, 2019.
According to a press statement signed by the University’s Registrar, Mercy Haizel-Ashia, the decision was taken after the inauguration of the new Council.
The Council acted in accordance with, “Section 10(2)(b) of the University of Ghana Act, 2010 (Act 806) and section 6(3) of the University of Ghana Statutes,” the statement said.
Her appointment in an acting position was necessitated by the inability of the University to complete processes for the selection of a substantive replacement for the outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu.
If confirmed, the 49-year old Professor of Linguistics will not only become the first female to assume the role in the nation’s premier university. She will also be the youngest ever to achieve the feat.
With the Chancellor, Registrar and Council Chair of the university all being females, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo completes a quartet of an all-female leadership of the university.
In 2020, Prof. Rita Dickson was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, making her the second female to be appointed to the position in a public university after the University of Cape Coast’s Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang.
On Issues Surrounding the appointment of a substantive Vice-Chancellor
The University of Ghana is currently before an Accra High Court for alleged irregularities in the constitution of the search party, commissioned to recommend the next Vice-Chancellor.
In January 2021, the Search Committee announced that it had received seven applications for the position. The applications included those of Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, herself, and Professor Felix Asante, both Pro Vice-Chancellors in charge of Academic and Student Affairs and Research, Innovation and Development.
The other applicants were Director of ISSER Prof. Peter Quartey, Dean of Students, Prof Godfred Bokpin, Prof. Daniel Ofori and Prof. Samuel Cudjoe. The seventh applicant was a faculty member with Pakistan’s IQRA University.
Highly placed sources at the University of Ghana say the Search Committee, proceeded with and completed its work with seamless cooperation from all applicants and other stakeholders. But after submitting its report to the university’s council, the legality of the Search Committee is being questioned.
The plaintiff alleges that the “inclusion of Vesta A. Nunoo and Prof. Baffuor Agyeman-Duah as two of the three representatives of the University Council on the Search Committee, was in breach of prevailing law; as their tenure, as members of the council, had expired before their nomination.”
He argues that “as of July 31, 2020, the tenure of many members of the University Council had expired, and the continued membership and inclusion in the work of the University Council of these members renders the activities of the Council, post terminal dates null and void and of no legal effect whatsoever”.
Even though the Statutes of the University do not say that the three people to be nominated by Council unto the search committee must necessarily be members of the University Council, Mr Ennin believes the intended interpretation of the provision is in the statute and hence is seeking a declaration from the High Court to that effect.
The committee comprises three members nominated by Council; three members nominated by the Academic Board; a Chairperson appointed by Council who is neither a member of Council nor of the University; and the Registrar acting as the committee’s secretary.
About Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo
An alumna of the University of Ghana, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo had her secondary education at Holy Child School and Archbishop Porter Girls’ Secondary School. She proceeded to the University of Ghana from 1991 to 1996 for a Bachelor’s degree in French and Linguistics. Both her MPhil (2001) and PhD (2007) degrees in Linguistics are from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway.
Professor Amfo is currently an Advisory Board member of the Coalition of People Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Harmful Practices (CoPASH) – A UNFPA supported programme.
She is a member of several professional associations including the Society of Communication, Medicine and Ethics, International Pragmatics Association (where she serves on its Consultation Board; the first African to serve in this capacity since the Association’s establishment in 1986); West African Linguistics Society and Linguistics Association of Ghana (where she served as President from 2010 – 2014); a pioneer fellow, senior scholar and Chair of the Steering Committee of the African Humanities Program of the American Council of Learned Societies.
She is also a fellow of the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD), Commonwealth Professional.