First woman to lead University of Ghana shares her vision

Ghana/November 05, 2021/By: Francis Kokutse /Source:

“My goal as vice-chancellor will be for the university to train students who are critical thinkers, technologically adept, humane, culturally sensitive and ready to provide leadership for the country and the continent. I will focus on developing 21st-century citizenry skills for our students.”

This was the message Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo delivered at her induction as vice-chancellor on 26 October of the 73-year-old institution, set up as the University College of the Gold Coast, an affiliate of the University of London, and which became the University of Ghana after independence.

Amfo, a linguistics professor and experienced higher education manager, promised to “create a culture that promotes research, teaching and learning, administrative processes and extension activities driven by technology and anchored in humanism”.

She identified key strategic objectives to drive the university to achieve its vision of attaining world-class research institutional status, which include reinvigorating impactful research in the (applied) sciences and humanities; developing technology-driven and robust processes in research management, teaching and learning, and all other institutional processes.

In addition, Amfo wants to strengthen traditional revenue streams and expand alternative income sources. This is to meet debt obligations, but also to ensure robust mechanisms for the prudent management of resources to achieve success and avoid failures and debts.

She proposed to harness the bountiful talents within the university community for the collective good through the promotion of creativity and innovation in teaching and learning.

“Our classrooms will be modernised to allow for the use of modern pedagogical aids which permit, among other things, lecture capture for reuse in non-contact situations. Our faculty will receive continuous training in modern pedagogical skills,” she promised.

Amfo said it was important to groom the next generation of leaders at the University of Ghana through actively involving them in university governance and management and by facilitating structured leadership and management training programmes through the new Legon Leadership Academy plan. The academy will focus on honing the skills of a cadre of potential leaders.

University career

Until her appointment, Amfo was the acting vice-chancellor and the pro vice-chancellor responsible for academic and student affairs.

Prior to her becoming the academic and student affairs pro vice-chancellor in November 2019, Amfo was founding dean of the school of languages (2014-19), and previously served as the head of the department of linguistics (2013-14).

Amfo has participated in the governance of the University of Ghana through her service on several statutory and ad hoc boards and committees.

She is a professor of linguistics and obtained both her PhD and MPhil degrees from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Her bachelor degree in French and linguistics is from the University of Ghana. She has a post-graduate certificate in administration and management from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and has received additional training in higher education management and leadership from Harvard Business School, the University of Applied Sciences, Germany, and INSEAD (business school), France.

Professor Amfo’s career in academia started in 2001 as a lecturer in the department of linguistics after her masters degree.

In 2007, the same year she obtained her PhD degree, she was promoted to senior lecturer. She became associate professor in 2011, and professor in 2017.

Amfo has acquired extensive multicultural experience through various professional engagements in countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America as well as Australia.

Her passion for mentoring, particularly younger professional women, has driven her to organise and or facilitate several capacity-building training programmes in both the public and private higher education sectors, as well as in other public and private organisations.

She has also made her mark in her field of expertise as assistant secretary-general of the Federation of Modern Languages and Literatures, a UNESCO-affiliated scholarly association, and as the president of the Linguistics Association of Ghana (2010-14).

She is a member of the West African Linguistic Society and the Society for Communication, Medicine and Ethics.

She is a pioneer fellow, senior scholar, mentor and assessor of the African Humanities Program (AHP) of the American Council of Learned Societies as well as the chair of the interim executive committee of the African Humanities Association (AHA), an offshoot of the AHP. She is currently the associate director for transition for the AHA.

Amfo is also the co-founder and the acting president of the African Pragmatics Association and a fellow of the German Academic Exchange Service, Commonwealth Professionals Fellowships, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the prestigious International Women’s Forum Leadership Program.



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Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.

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First woman to lead University of Ghana shares her vision – Sarraute Educación María Magdalena

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