Prof. Johnson Nyarko Boampong-Vice-Chancellor


Sir Chancellor, Ladies and Gentlemen, the subject for our critical reflection today, is, ‘Transforming UCC into an Entrepreneurial Hub: A Call to Action’.

There is an emerging trend and a global systemic shift towards the concept of Entrepreneurial Universities. Ladies and Gentlemen, the concept of Entrepreneurial Universities within the higher education landscape, is therefore not new. But what makes this emerging concept significant and appealing to me, particularly within these uncertain times, is how the COVID-19 pandemic has called to question existing paradigms, and, is attempting to redirect our focus to new and innovative ways of doing things. 

The term Entrepreneurial Universities has been subjected to a great deal of critical scholarly enquiry, but time and space would not allow for a deeper and reflective exegesis. 

Sir Chancellor, my primary calling and career trajectory has been that of a scientist but, having served this great University in various capacities and interacted widely with both industry and the academy throughout my professional life, I come into this academic conversation with an intimate connection and passion for innovation that the concept Entrepreneurial Universities evoke.
Sir Chancellor, it will interest you to know that I am not only a scientist and an academic, but, I am also in a sense, an entrepreneur and so, at least, I have an understanding of what an entrepreneurial University ought to look like. My understanding of a world class entrepreneurial university, therefore, is one that seeks to work out a substantial shift in organizational character so as to arrive at a more promising posture for the future. 

Entrepreneurial universities in my opinion always seek to become “stand-up” universities that are significant actors in their own terms. Again, in my view, entrepreneurial universities can mean three things: the university as an organization becoming entrepreneurial, the various units of the university developing entrepreneurial mind-sets and, turning themselves into entrepreneurs whilst interacting with the environment within which they operate.

Sir Chancellor, as I take over the mantle of leadership today, I will be building on the solid foundation that has already been laid by my predecessors who have set high standards of academic leadership over the decades. I am therefore going to galvanize and lead a well-motivated staff and students who would have the ability to innovate through research, work in teams, take risks and create opportunities in order to respond to challenges, facing our institution, communities, region, nation and the world around us.

A world class entrepreneurial university, to my mind, must have structures and characteristics that differentiate them from others. 
Sir Chancellor, Entrepreneurial Universities:
    Have good leadership and governance structures; 
    Build capacity incentives;
    Apply entrepreneurship in teaching and learning; 
    Create a culture of entrepreneurship;
    Build stakeholder partnerships;
    Pursue aggressive internationalization; and
    Are a driving force for economic growth, and employment creation.

Is UCC Capable of Becoming a World Class Entrepreneurial University?

The answer, Sir Chancellor, is yes!

UCC has for almost sixty years of its existence produced some world class professionals, who have contributed immensely, to the development of Ghana and indeed the world, and we can all be proud of this achievement. It must, however, be noted that, several new universities in Ghana and Africa have in the recent past, performed creditably well, to erode some of the prestige and positive image we have had in Africa, and indeed the world.

In fact, our position on the rankings for universities in the world, Africa and in Ghana attests to this fact. Again, the COVID-19 pandemic, has pushed educational institutions, and virtually all nations into a critical period which has changed the lives of large numbers of students, lecturers, and parents around the world. 
The pandemic is very likely to have significant long-term effects on education and national development, and so we must stand and be counted significantly.

Despite the situations mentioned above, I personally believe, UCC is well placed to take its rightful position in the league of universities nationally and internationally.

I promise, that, under my leadership as Vice-Chancellor of UCC and especially in these crucial times of COVID-19, we will be more committed to resource academic and non-academic staff as well as students, to undertake relevant research and then demand from them enhanced productivity, and ensure, translations of research findings to solve problems that confront Ghana and the rest of mankind.

Sir Chancellor, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am taking the mantle of leadership as the Vice-Chancellor at a time, when the University has already implemented two strategic plans in the past years, and it is now half-way through its implementation of the third strategic plan. This strategic plan aims at making the University one of the top-notch institutions in Ghana, Africa and the world at large.

I will, therefore, use this opportunity to share my vision and mission, which have been carved out of the university’s vision and mission respectively, with all stakeholders, in order to provide a strategic direction that will guide us as an institution within my four-year term of office as the Vice-Chancellor of this noble institution.

My vision is: “To re-position UCC as the global hub of creative thinkers, offering demand-driven programmes, integrated with practical entrepreneurial courses and actively translating the products of its innovative research, for sustainable development”.

My mission is: “To ensure that UCC creates a niche by providing quality, equitable and inclusive education that empowers the graduates to be independent, lifelong learners and responsible citizens, who have passion for job creation while contributing to public service”.

Proposed Strategies to Achieve My Vision and Mission

Sir Chancellor, Ladies and Gentlemen, within the next four years, I would like to provide exemplary academic leadership and operate an all-inclusive governance system by focusing on the following five broad areas to achieve my vision.

1.    To increase students’ intake and ensure their success and welfare;
2.    To emphasize academic distinctiveness
3.    To generate additional revenue and maintain fiscal discipline;
4.    To enhance visibility and promote internationalization; and
5.    To create organizational culture and improve efficiency and effectiveness of the governance system.

Under my leadership, the University will work to produce ethically responsible graduates with employable and entrepreneurial skills. This requires a thorough audit of all academic programmes, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, to promote harmonization, in order to reduce duplication of courses at various departments. 
New demand-driven programmes will, therefore, be introduced and a stimulus fund for STEM and Entrepreneurship education created.
The School of Business Incubation Centre will further be developed and resourced to become the University-wide Entrepreneurial Centre to be called UCC Design Thinking and Business Development Centre. 

This Centre will collaborate with the Ministry for Business Development, Industry, financial institutions and UCC Enterprise Limited, to reinforce practical entrepreneurship and nurture the entrepreneurial talents of students, and assist them to create and manage their businesses, and/or possibly partner the University to run joint ventures.

To further champion practice-oriented teaching and learning activities, the Centre for Teaching Support, will be restructured into Teaching and Learning Support Centre which will include an Instructional Design Unit for the organization of workshops for lecturers and other tutors in UCC affiliated institutions. The Centre to run Professional Education programmes for teachers at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels.

Sir Chancellor, to strengthen and improve upon physical and ICT infrastructure and facilities, the Directorate of Physical Development and Estate Management will be strengthened, to work in collaboration with other identifiable units within the University, the Public and Private Partners, to draw an environmentally sound ten-year infrastructural development plan to be implemented.

The plan will cover the following: Hostels, Lecture Theatres, Laboratories, Offices and residential accommodation for staff. It will also include a Medical Centre, Research Centres, Industrial Parks, Recreational Centres, highly integrated Security Systems and Road Networks.

To build consensus, I will lead the University to work with the chiefs and opinion leaders of the surrounding communities; Duakoro Apewosika, Akotokyere, Kwaprow, Amamoma, Ankaful and the Central Regional Co-ordinating Council. We will organize periodic stakeholder engagements to brainstorm, develop ideas and sensitize the communities on the need to maintain clean surroundings. Together, we will ensure that UCC land is well protected.

Sir Chancellor, the impact of an entrepreneurial University on the economy, requires a significant increase in research and development. One of my strategies, is to promote UCC as a centre of academic excellence and research. 

Thus, research activities in the University will continue to be actively coordinated, by the Directorate of Research, Innovation and Consultancy (DRIC) to guarantee, that faculty and students, undertake focused research relevant to local and national development. 

The existing laboratories will be resourced and linked to form integrated laboratories to strengthen research. Efforts will also be made, to create General Physical Laboratories where expensive equipment will be kept, for common use. DRIC will be tasked to collaborate with UCC Design Thinking and  Business Development Centre to guarantee that research outputs are translated and developed further to create businesses.

Furthermore, to make the University relevant to changing trends and also support various government policies, existing partnerships with industry will be expanded by co-opting experts from industry, to be part of the deliberations of Departments, Faculties and Colleges, for their expert advice and guidance.

Sir Chancellor, our University is almost entirely dependent on government subventions for meeting its capital and recurrent expenditures. There is, therefore, the need to create and sustain income generation activities, in the University to supplement government efforts. 

The University has a number of unique opportunities to create business ventures, through both faculty and student led initiatives. The proposed University-wide Entrepreneurial Centre will work in collaboration with identifiable units to create viable businesses where UCC has a competitive advantage. 

The existing strategic business of the University, will be strengthened. Workers’ Unions and other entities will be encouraged to partner the University to create new businesses, and part of the profits, will be used to enhance the welfare of the workers. Similarly, financial disciplinary procedures to procure goods and services, will be followed.

Sir Chancellor, we will embark on marketing drives that seek to enhance the visibility and internationalization of the University. The Directorate of Academic Affairs will work closely with the Centre for International Education and the Colleges, to advertise our programmes by engaging prospective students either in their home countries or through Ghana missions abroad or reputable agents. 
Visibility will be also be enhanced through a vibrant and well-populated website, diaspora engagement and collaboration with the PANAFEST secretariat. Also, International and Regional Alumni Associations will be strengthened, by liaising with the Institutional Advancement Office.

Sir Chancellor, to create an organizational culture and institutional governance system, that provides leadership and equal opportunity, I will lead the drive to enhance institutional governance by operating an open-door policy, to promote effective communication among management, staff and students, whilst respecting the established channels of communication. 

Also, the strategic objectives of leadership will be communicated to all members of the University community. To fashion a new change-oriented character, the Directorate of Human Resource will be made to work with JICA to use the KAIZEN Philosophy to cultivate institutional identity and distinctive reputation by building a work culture, aimed at increasing productivity and creating wealth. 

My administration will also set up a committee to review the UCC Statutes (2016), to make it more responsive to current happenings.
Sir Chancellor, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to conclude by thanking all and sundry, for the confidence reposed in me, to lead the University for the next four years. Mankoe, an educational management expert, reminds us, that management involves decision-making, about what goals to pursue, and how to attain these goals, with the efforts of other people. 

Drawing theoretical inspiration from this, I have set the academic tone, by sharing my vision with all stakeholders, as the newly appointed Executive Head of this university. It is expected that through participatory leadership and concerted efforts, we shall all work together, towards the achievement of the vision and mission of this university. I promise to be transparent in all in my dealings, while I remain firm, in my pursuit of the principles of fairness and consistency to ensure equal opportunity for all. I guarantee to work assiduously, to make UCC one of the best entrepreneurial universities, in Africa and beyond.

I, further pledge, to collaborate effectively with the Governing Council, Academic and Non-Academic Staff, Students, Affiliate Institutions, Ministry of Education and its agencies like NCTE and NAB, and Parents in the discharge of my duties. 
I believe that if we all play our unique roles as stakeholders effectively, with one accord, we shall work as a team to build an entrepreneurial University, a university of excellence, with worldwide acclaim.

I am aware, that, there will be challenges in implementing these innovative ideas, but, we can. For we know, that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

I, therefore, invite all of us to a new dawn. The dawn for a call to action. An emphatic call that is embodied in the chorus of UCC anthem.

UCC Let Us Rise to Our Call!!          UCC to Our Call Let Us Rise!!

Long Live the University of Cape Coast!           Long Live Ghana!

Arigatoo gozaimashita (Japanese),
Thank You