Ghana University Vice-Chancellor gives impressive lecture on ‘Building a world-class scholarly profile’

Seated, are Professor Nokuthula Sibiya, and Professor Emmanuel Ohele Afoakwa. Standing are MUT and GCTU staff members

Anyone that attended a presentation at the University’s Council Chamber on 27 February 2024, will be forgiven if they thought that University Management was eagerly looking forward to working with the Ghana Communication Technology University (GCTU), and that soon the University would be considering formalising the relationship with the Western African university. All of this was because of the quality of the presentation by the Vice-Chancellor of GCTU, Professor Emmanuel Ohele Afoakwa. Professor Afoakwa’s presentation, which was ‘Building a world-class scholarly profile’, was an advice and a roadmap to academics at all levels of their profession, to seriously consider how they would reach the next step of their trade by constructing a personal plan, with set out markers, that would propel them forward. The plan should include presenting papers at conferences, where the academic should meet other like-minded individuals and network with them, and work on projects. He said he himself was approached by an academic from a US university, and they ended up writing a proposal that won funding. They met at a conference. Professor Afoakwa called this attitude “investing in your career”.

Professor Afoakwa believes in focusing on one area of study and excel in it. This belief is supported by his profile. Professor Afoakwa, a world-class scholar himself, with a Ph.D. Degree in Food Science from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK, which he obtained in November 2008, put a plan for himself at a very early stage of this academic career. Now he is a Professor of Food Science and Technology.

Professor Afoakwa also holds Certificates in International Food Laws and Regulations from the Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA; and in Food Quality Management Systems and Food Safety Management Systems from the International Agricultural Centre, Wageningen University, Netherlands. Professor Afoakwa is a trained and a licensed food auditor by the World Food Safety Organisation, UK.

“I realized that books on food technology were written by white people,” he said. He said decided to take advantage of the natural food plant that is abundantly available in his country, cocoa. Professor Afoakwa decided to dedicate his energies on contributing to knowledge about this area of study. Now he is an international expert in cocoa and chocolate processing technology and has authored two world reference books in the cocoa and chocolate industry. His books are titled ‘Cocoa Production and Processing Technology and Chocolate Science and Technology’.

Now Professor Afoakwa has published more than 30 articles in highly recognized journals on cocoa alone. He has also published articles on maize and cowbeans. He emphasized that this achievement was a result of a personal plan that he put together for himself.

Professor Afoakwa said it was vital that academics deposit their work where it would be accessible so that their impact would be widely felt. “My name is all over the place because I put my work where others will be able to find it”, he said. One such place where one can deposit their work is Google Scholar.