Executive MBA Students from Ghana Tour Cheyney University Sites: Possible Exchange Program in the Works
March 29, 2013
Some of 80 Executive MBA students from the University of Ghana who recently came to Cheyney University to take part in an International Economic Development Workshop. Honorary Consul General for Ghana Michael Griffin will soon fly to Ghana to see how many students want to return to Cheyney as part of an exchange program.
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania rolled out the red carpet in February for a group of 80 Executive MBA students from the University of Ghana who came to CU to take part in an International Economic Development Workshop. CU's Chief-of-Staff and Deputy to the President, Sheilah Vance arranged for the visit with the help of Dr. George Colton, Dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies; Dr. Gedeon Mudacumura, Director of CU's Master of Public Administration (MPA) Program; Dr. Eric Hilton, Executive Director of Enrollment Management; Dr. Stephen Hughes, Director of the University’s Aquaculture Research and Education Laboratory (AREL); Dr. Adedoyin Adeyiga, Professor and Director of the National Science Foundation Building Excellence and Access through Research (BEAR) Program; Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Suzanne Phillips; Sharon Cannon, Executive Director of CU's Entrepreneurial Leadership Center (ELC); Keith Bingham, CU's archivist; and the Honorary Consul General for Ghana, Michael Griffin.
The students began the day with breakfast at CU's Center City location--hearing from Drs. Colton and Mudacumura. VP Phillips and Vance also brought greetings on behalf of President Michelle Howard-Vital, who welcomed students at CU's main campus later in the day. Ghana's Ambassador to the U.S.--His Excellency Daniel Ohene Agyekum--also visited the Center City location to bring greetings before heading back to Washington. Ambassador Agyekum said that he was impressed with the CU facility, had heard great things about CU, and that he hoped this visit was the start of a long and fruitful partnership between CU and Ghana. He also agreed to visit CU's main campus in the fall.
The Ghanaian students toured the impressive high-tech facility and got their admissions, MPA and housing questions answered before boarding a bus for CU's main campus, where they had lunch and enjoyed a reception at the Great Hall in Carnegie. This gave the visitors an opportunity to interact with CU students and faculty.
CU Ambassadors took groups of the Ghanaian students on tours of the campus on what turned out to be a cold, snowy day--something the visitors were not used to.
"It was definitely cold for them," Griffin acknowledged matter-of-factly. "They come from 90 degree temperatures so the weather is a big factor for them" That's why, he believes, Ghanaian MBA students will choose to come to study at CU in the summer, when the weather is more to their liking.
"I want to very seriously do some type of exchange program between Cheyney University and the University of Ghana," Griffin exclaimed. He is interested in a program that facilitates a bilateral relationship.
A big highlight of the tour came when Biology Associate Professor Dr. Stephen Hughes, showed them around the artificial tilapia and basil farm on campus. CU earns profits from its tilapia and basil sales.
The visitors had a busy afternoon, hearing from Associate Professor and Director of International Programs Dr. Norma George, who serves as advisor to international students.; Honorary Consulate Griffin regarding International Economic Development featuring Agribusiness; Dr. Adeyiga; Cannon, who talked about the services at CU's ELC; Bingham, who gave students a brief history of the nation’s first historically black college; and Dr. Sesime Adanu, Director of Cheyney's Institutional Research and a native of the Volta Region of Ghana
While in the U.S., the students also toured Temple, Howard, Harvard and Princeton Universities but Griffin says that most of the students liked Cheyney the best. "They were very happy, " he said. "They felt that everyone was very warm, very welcoming and very informative. I felt that the aquaponics part was incredible information for them," he said. CU even gave the students goodie bags and workshop certificates, something Griffin said no other university did.
Griffin, who went to CU for a semester and whose brother graduated from Cheyney, is an exporter of fresh fruit out of Africa. He and Vance have talked extensively about potential partnerships between Cheyney University, the University of Ghana and the government of Ghana. Griffin says the President of Ghana—His Excellency John Mohamma—is big on agriculture. Griffin will fly to Ghana on April 15 for a nearly two week stay to determine how many students want to study in the U.S. He expects 15-30 students to come as part of an exchange program and he says it's possible professors might do an exchange program, too.
"Cheyney University looks very much like our main campus so many students would feel at home here," Griffin acknowledged. In fact, he said, they did feel at home here.
Griffin returned to Cheyney University in March to discuss possible joint ventures. He met with Vance, Colton, Mudacumura, Hughes, Adeyiga, and Lawrence Green, CU's Director of Sponsored Research, to put some options on the table, including wind power. According to Chief of Staff Vance, "We are working on a follow up plan to develop collaborations in renewable and sustainable energy and agriculture with Ghana, Rwanda, and Nigeria."
"The idea of a solar energy power facility on campus" is exciting, Griffin remarked. He believes that CU and University of Ghana students and faculty can collaborate on such a project. He hopes to have more definitive ideas and commitments when he returns to the states at the end of April.