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General News of Tuesday, 18 April 2006

Source: Graphic

Battle For VC of KNUST

A Fierce competition is emerging at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) for a new vice-chancellor (VC) to replace Prof Kwesi A. Andam.

Prof Andam has allegedly dropped an initial attempt to seek a two-year extension following agitation from some professors.

The University Council has constituted a Search Committee which will vet applications, make background searches, interview applicants and have three of them shortlisted, one of whom will be selected by the council.

Although no applications have yet been submitted for the top position, Daily Graphic investigations have revealed that at least eight professors are likely to enter the race.

They include Prof K. K. Adarkwa, the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniel Buor, the Provost of the College of Art and Social Sciences, Prof Aboagye Menya, the Provost of the College of Sciences, and Prof Tsiri Agbenyega, the Dean of the School of Medical Sciences.

The rest are Prof A. Adimado, the Director of International Programmes, Prof E. Ephraim, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Prof Awuah, the Dean of the School of Agriculture, and Prof S.A. Osei, the Provost of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Prof Andam, 59, whose four-year term as VC expires after September 30, this year, is alleged to have sought a two-year extension, relying on the clause in the appointment letter that he can ask for an extension.

That, however, did not go down well with some professors, some of whom were reported to have written a letter to the council protesting against the decision.

According to university sources, the agitated professors argued that the time had come for the VC to give way for others who were within the 55- and 56-year range to contest for the position before their ages ruled them out.

The VC position is for four years, with a two-year renewal clause, and considering the fact that the compulsory retirement age is 60, anybody above 56 is ineligible to apply.

All the names emerging as possible contestants are academics of high repute and the university community is keeping its fingers crossed to see what will happen in the coming weeks.

Two of them, Prof Osei and Prof Adimado, contested with Prof Andam for the position in 2002.

Prof Agbenyega is believed to be the youngest among the candidates and indications are that although he qualifies for the position, his youthfulness may compel him to give way to the more experienced ones.

Some lecturers the Daily Graphic spoke to stressed the need for the University Council to take a second look at the clause of extension in the appointment of the VC to avoid acrimony and the tarnishing of the image of vice-chancellors.

As a result of the age limit attached to the VC?s appointment, some professors get peeved any time an incumbent VC seeks an extension of his appointment.

It was gathered that apart from of the incumbent Prof Andam, the last two VCs before him, namely, Professors Ayim and Amonoo-Neizer, went through similar experiences.

The erstwhile PNDC government appointed Prof Amonoo-Neizer as Ghana?s High Commissioner to Zimbabwe when the agitation started against his decision to seek an extension, while Prof Ayim moved quietly to the faculty.

Even as he prepares to quit the top post, Prof Andam will be regarded as one of the most result-oriented VCs ever to run Ghana?s foremost Science and Technology university.

His term saw many laudable programmes and projects at the KNUST, notable among them being the special dispensation given to students from less-endowed schools during admission.

That has resulted in many disadvantaged students having the opportunity to enrol at the KNUST to pursue various programmes of study, including Medicine, which is considered the preserve of students from the so-called endowed schools.