One of Ghana’s renowned Pharmacist and Biomedical Scientist, Professor Johnson Nyarko Boampong, was invested into office as the 12th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, (UCC) earlier this month.
It was all joy and extreme delight for the family and the UCC community and, by extension, the entire Ghanaian academia when it was announced in June this year that he was going to take over from Professor Joseph Ghartey-Ampiah.
When searching for a special someone for a special position like the Vice-Chancellor for a no mean an educational institution such as the University of Cape Coast, it’s always good to have an image with a high reputation and foresight. I believe the race was not easy considering the caliber of highly placed “professional professors” within the UCC community and even beyond. The onus finally rested on him.
His passion, zeal, fortitude, and commitment demonstrated over the years facilitated his choice for the University’s highest office.
He takes up the mantle at a pandemic period such as this, when the concept of the entrepreneurial university has been necessary and more significant amid the Covid-19 pandemic than ever and where efforts are largely being made to focus on new ways of doing things.
An alumnus, highly unassuming, and profoundly efficient, Professor Nyarko Boampong has spent several years at the UCC in various enviable capacities. By his appointment as the Vice-Chancellor of the University, he becomes the immediate past Provost of the College of Health and Allied Sciences after completing his three-year term as the Dean of School of Biological Sciences, all at the University.
Professor Nyarko Boampong headed the Department of Biomedical and Forensic Sciences for five years before becoming the Dean. He also led the same Department to establish the Certificate in Herbal Medicine, B.Sc. Biomedical Sciences, B.Sc. Forensic Sciences and MPhil and PhD in Drug Discovery and Development. He also promoted the establishment of a functional Laboratory to advance research in the School of Biological Sciences. As Dean, he ensured the renovation and refurbishment of other laboratories, planting of new seedlings in the Botanic garden and enhanced international collaborations.
As Provost, Professor Boampong has fervently championed the establishment of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, which runs Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) Programme. Again, working with international partners of which he played a leading role, Bachelor of Science in Biophysics and M. Phil in Medical Physics curricula have been completed and being processed at various levels for eventual approval by the University Council.
Since 2001/2002 academic year, when he joined UCC, through his hard work and commitment, he has worked with successive Vice-Chancellors of the University to promote it around the globe. As per reports received from professional colleagues, he is considered as a respected scholar, teacher and has continuously provided academic leadership in relevant sections of the University.
Academic research which is aimed at national development has been the focus of VC of the UCC to investigate into national problems where the intention is to identify facts that will assist in solving the problem or dealing with the situation, Professor Nyarko Boampong’s research interests, therefore, covers multidisciplinary areas, a reflection of his diverse professional training in the area of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy. These include parasitic diseases, drug resistant parasites, drug discovery, and targeted drug delivery.
The renowned Pharmacist and Biomedical Scientist has more than sixty publications in peer-reviewed journals and is a Fellow and Member of the Academic Board of the Ghana College of Pharmacists.
In the area of teaching, he has taught Parasitology and supervised undergraduate and postgraduate (M.Phil and PhD) students with diverse backgrounds. His contributions towards the training of postgraduate students, especially PhD candidates, have been recognized by the University, and he was awarded best PhD theses principal supervisor and co-supervisor for graduating students from College of Health and Allied Sciences and College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, respectively, in 2016/2017 academic year.
Some of the students he trained have been appointed as lecturers in universities in Ghana and elsewhere. He has mentored many lecturers and also serves as an external examiner to other universities in Ghana.
A truly learned academician and a leader Prof. Nyarko Boampong has had thorough education from the bottom to the very apex. He studied at the Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Japan, for his PhD in Tropical Medicine from 2004 to 2007 as Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) scholar. From here, he continued to do his post-doctoral research at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh in India as CV Raman Scholar four years later, in the year 2011.
He also obtained his M. Phil degree in Zoology (Applied Parasitology) from the University of Ghana (1995-1999). He has B. Pharm degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (1997-2001) and, B.Sc. degree and Dip. Ed (1988-1992) from University of Cape Coast. Prof. Johnson Nyarko Boampong has received training in higher education management from local and international organizations and has gained enormous practical administrative experience in University administration. He has taken many other professional courses abroad and has presented his research findings at different international conferences. He is a member of many international and local professional associations. Through his entrepreneurial understanding and experience, he has been able to practice his professions successfully and has been consulted widely on community pharmacy practice. He established Biomeid Pharmacia, a Community Pharmacy that provides pharmaceutical services to the University community. Prof. Nyarko Boampong is the proprietor of Creative Academy, an elementary school situated at Mpeasem, a Suburb of Cape Coast. He believes that universities should serve as engines of economic growth and development by building the mindset of students to be more entrepreneurial and creating an environment where students will be able to practice what they learn.
His vision to transform UCC into a world-class entrepreneurial university with a global competitive edge is laudable and welcome.
This is because the importance of an entrepreneurial University to the economy, especially during this stage of Ghana’s development, cannot be overemphasized. This obviously requires a significant increase in research and development, which he has over the years proven to be capable.
In his own words, “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 it is attempting to redirect our focus to novel ways of doing things”.
It is about time that the UCC was recomposed and repositioned as the global hub of creative thinkers, and will offer demand-driven programmes, integrated with practical entrepreneurial courses and actively translating the products of its innovative research, for sustainable national development.
The University also faces a challenge concerning the intake of the significant number of Free Senior High Scholl graduates. His focus here by way of helping to increase students’ intake and ensure their success and welfare, as well as to emphasis on academic distinctiveness, must be fundamental. This, apart from helping to improve upon the policy of the government to widen the scope of education for as many Ghanaian children as possible, will also help to generate additional revenue and maintain fiscal discipline
I believe the first test of a truly great man is in his humility and vision, and these have been truly manifested in all his endeavours. All for your success as usual. Kudos Professor.
Nana Sifa Twum