PhD students after their course in research capabilities at Legon
The first in a series of PhD level courses being organized under Building Stronger Universities-Growth and Employment Platform (BSU-GEP) Initiative ended.
The three-day course, aimed at broadening the research capabilities of PhD candidates of the University of Ghana, was held on the University campus.
About 40 PhD candidates from diverse academic disciplines of the University of Ghana, including health, languages, environmental studies, performing arts and business administration, participated in the 3 day course.
Experts for the course were drawn from the Aalborg University in Denmark and the University of Ghana, Legon. They included Prof. John Kuada (Aalborg University), Prof. Joshua Abor (University of Ghana) and Dr. Aminu Sanda (University of Ghana).
Topics discussed touched on PhD proposal writing, the grading of PhD dissertation and the concept of scientific research. Others included roles of students and supervisors, the management of student-supervisor relationships and research design in the PhD process.
The treatments of the various topics produced insights into psychological, social and academic processes that candidates go through in the PhD process, coping strategies and knowledge for increasing the research skills of the participants.
The three-day course also emphasised the need for increased collaboration among PhD students of the University of Ghana, especially, those working in related fields. Immediate results from the discussions included advancements in the process of forming a doctoral network for candidates in the University of Ghana.
William Senaya, a participant, in sharing his view about the programme said the course was very good, systematic and extensive. He however, wondered if there was enough institutional support for some of the suggestions that emerged out of the discussions. He proposed that similar courses should be organized for PhD supervisors to improve the whole PhD process.
On, her part, Lydia Aziato a nursing PhD student, suggested that the course be extended to include University of Ghana staff who are willing to undertake PhD programmes in future. She believed that her PhD journey would have been shorter and less difficult had she gained the knowledge she acquired from the course at the beginning of her PhD programme.
She prosposed that the course should be organized often throughout the year and that similar forums should be held to train supervisors. She added that students should also be trained in the use of software especially bibliography management software through similar courses.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Aminu Sanda was grateful for the overwhelming support and attendance by both newly admitted and continuing PhD candidates of the University of Ghana. He noted that other PhD Workshops planned for the 1st half of 2013 include courses on Philosophy of Science, Advanced Quantitative Research and Policy Evaluation, Qualitative Research Methods, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Theory; amongst others. These courses will be facilitated by Scholars drawn from the University of Ghana and Universities in Denmark (comprising the 8 Danish Universities).
Meanwhile, the Danish Growth and Employment Platform Working Group of the Building Stronger Universities Initiative will be visiting the University of Ghana on 30th and 31st January 2013 to discuss key issues under Phase 2 of the Building Stronger Universities Initiative which is billed to start in August 2013. High on the Agenda will be a call for proposals for institutional capacity Building at the University of Ghana and the three other BSU Partner Universities.
A template for the proposal and the evaluation criteria will be announced concurrently with the ´Call for proposals´ on 1st February after consultations between the Platform Working Groups and Danish Steering Committees in January 2012.