Magazine article New African

The Humble Queen of Academia: For a Woman Who Sees Challenges in the Line of Duty as Exciting Moments Because They Bring out the Best in Her, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang's Appointment as Vice Chancellor of Ghana's University of Cape Coast (UCC) Could Not Have Come at a Better Time. Stephen Gyasi Jnr Went to Meet the First Woman to Occupy Such a Position in Ghana, and She Doesn't Disappoint

Magazine article New African

The Humble Queen of Academia: For a Woman Who Sees Challenges in the Line of Duty as Exciting Moments Because They Bring out the Best in Her, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang's Appointment as Vice Chancellor of Ghana's University of Cape Coast (UCC) Could Not Have Come at a Better Time. Stephen Gyasi Jnr Went to Meet the First Woman to Occupy Such a Position in Ghana, and She Doesn't Disappoint

Article excerpt

When Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang assumed office in October, she was unequivocal about her vision for Ghana's prestigious institution: "To make the University of Cape Coast one of the preferred global institutions that provide cutting-edge intellectual orientation for effective leadership." This she intends to achieve with the unfailing support of all interest groups within the university community.

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Professor Opoku-Agyemang who, until her appointment to this high office, was the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, beat five male applicants to become Ghana's first female Vice Chancellor and she believes her leadership capabilities and track record as a disciplinarian played a vital role in clinching the post.

"There were several considerations that went into selecting the best candidate for the position and I believe if I had fallen short in any area, I wouldn't have been given the job," she says.

Born in Cape Coast on 22 November 1951, she had her elementary education at the Komenda Primary, Koforidua Girl's Secondary and Aburi Presbyterian boarding schools, after which she gained admission to the prestigious Wesley Girl's High School in Cape Coast where she took her O and A levels, which helped her to gain admission to the University of Cape Coast in 1973.

She graduated with a BA (Hons) in Education in 1977 and she also gained a Certificate in French from the Universite de Dakar. She proceeded to York University in Toronto, Canada, where she completed her masters and doctorate degrees in 1980 and 1986 respectively, after which she joined the University of Cape Coast as a lecturer.

During her 22-year teaching career, Professor Opoku-Agyemang served as the warden of Adehye Hall, head of the English Department, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research before reaching her current high position.

Described by some of her students as an "affable disciplinarian", she takes over from Reverend Professor Emmanuel Adow Obeng, whose tenure ended last month, for a renewable four-year term.

Talking about her greatest memory as a lecturer, she said that after a lecture one day, some students approached her and said they did not understand the lesson she had taught--a discussion that disturbed her a lot.

She arranged a private class for them when she realised their academic background was rather weak and, according to her, "the most gratifying thing was to watch them graduate with one of them coming out with a "second class upper". That experience, she told New African Woman, "taught me to be mindful of the fact that my lessons must cater for the needs of the less privileged."

She intends to focus on expanding laboratories and learning facilities, as the pressure on residential accommodation is set to be eased with the completion of facilities being put up by the government, the Students' Representative Council and other stakeholders within the university community. Under her administration, the university would take advantage of its unique location, which she describes as "a repository of important relics of Ghana's pre-colonial and colonial past" to enrich its educational system.

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Under her administration, the university's distance-education programme will receive massive support to ensure that it continues to turn out first-class graduates to succeed in the job market: "We intend to set up a virtual campus where students and lecturers can have encounters online, receive tutorials and present assignments to minimise the inconvenience of meeting at the lecture halls all the time. …

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