A delegation of 15 faculty members and administrators from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the United States of America (USA), is in Ghana to participate in the first joint symposium that also features the University of Cape Coast and the Central University.
The symposium will focus on the theme of social determinants of health.
Speakers at the symposium will include Prof. Mrs Rosemond Boohene, Dean, Centre for International Education, University of Cape Coast and Dr Abigail Opoku Mensah, School of Business, University of Cape Coast.
Later in the week, the group will hold discussions with Provost Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah at the University of Ghana on research partnerships and student exchange activities.
According to Prof. Seth Appiah-Opoku, Professor of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama, the team will also hold meetings with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision, and the US Centre for Disease Control.
The delegation includes 11 faculty staff from history, social work, nursing, community health sciences, political Science, communication and information science, and gender and race studies, along with Prof. Lisa Pawloski, Associate Dean for International Programmes in the College of Arts and Sciences, Prof. Thaddeus Ulzen, Associate Dean in the College of Community Health Sciences, Prof. Seth Appiah-Opoku, Professor of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr Pamela Young, Director of Outreach Programmes and Initiatives.
This visit is a follow-up to the delegation from the University of Alabama who visited the University of Ghana in 2018 and an initial visit in 2012.
That initial delegation included Prof. Robert Olin, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Prof. Luoheng Han, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Alabama.
The visit follows a model of other international initiatives at the University of Alabama, including those in Cuba and Greece.
For these initiatives, faculty with similar research and creative activity interests are paired from both Alabama and the partner country for exchange programmes.
Regarding the research partnerships, the symposium and meetings will help to identify potential faculty partners from both the University of Alabama and Ghana to facilitate international research publications and externally funded research projects.
The group will also explore increasing the number of Fulbright Scholars from the University of Alabama to work in Ghana and sending researchers and teachers from Ghana to the University of Alabama.
The delegation will also discuss how additional programmes and student exchanges could be achieved to further develop the existing successful student study abroad programmes that Prof. Appiah-Opoku and Dr Ulzen have created over the past 10 years which involves sending University of Alabama students to Ghana.
Further, the development of strong faculty research partnerships between the university can assist in developing additional student programmes focused on service learning and research, both in Alabama and in Ghana.
“Ghana is of great interest to the University of Alabama as it has an excellent reputation for its focus on higher education, with the University of Alabama having several successful research faculty members from Ghana,” Prof. Appiah-Opoku said.
“We are also aware of the Ghana government’s policy on free high school education which greater emphasises the focus and importance of education in Ghana.