USF-Ghana Scholars Program
2013 Heiskill Award Honorable Mention: International Exchange Partnerships
Nomination submitted by: Dr. Kiki Caruson, Assistant Vice President for Research, Innovation and Global Affairs
Program Overview: The Ghana Scholars Program promotes the exchange of ideas, scholarship and culture between the University of South Florida (USF) and its partner universities in Ghana, the University of Ghana and the University of Cape Coast. The program contributes to the professional development of Ghana’s educators and to the internationalization of the USF campus. USF hosts Ghanaian faculty who are working on their dissertation during a sabbatical from their teaching responsibilities at their home universities. The visiting faculty members engage in research collaborations, participate in professional development and leadership training, and experience culture at a major research-oriented university in the U.S. These research collaborations often incorporate students from the partner institutions, thus providing an international experience to student researchers in the U.S. and in Ghana. This exposure and experience at a major university in the U.S proves not only vital for the individual scholars at a critical stage in their academic careers but also to building capacity at their home institutions when the scholars return to Ghana.
USF benefits from the wealth of knowledge the Ghana Scholars bring to the University as well as the diversity of perspectives they bring to campus life. During their 4-6 month stays, the scholars share their rich culture and diverse discipline perspectives in a variety of ways: through professional and social interactions with colleagues, engagement with students in and out of the classroom, and active involvement in the larger university community. The program has led to research and teaching collaborations between USF faculty and the Ghanaian scholars that transcend the scholars’ stay at USF.
The partnerships also expand to include scholars in Ghana who have not participated in the formal program at USF. This year alone, four former Ghana Scholars are engaged in cross-national research collaborations with USF faculty members. As a result of this sustainable and authentic collaboration students, faculty and administrators at all three partner institutions benefit from this highly successful program.