World Class Faculty & Research / September 30, 2021

Maryland Smith Partners with Ghana’s Ashesi University for Faculty Development

The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business has recently established a partnership with Ashesi University, a private university in Accra, Ghana.

This partnership will first involve a yearlong faculty development program, focused on enhancing Ashesi’s scholarship of teaching and learning. The initiative also taps Maryland Smith faculty in the top 2% of the most-cited scholars and scientists worldwide and ranked No. 16 in the University of Texas at Dallas’ Top Worldwide Business School Rankings.

Ashesi’s stake in the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program to develop Africa’s next generation of leaders supports its Maryland Smith collaboration. “Ashesi is applying its grant funding, here, for faculty development to strengthen their research infrastructure in terms of applying research foundations to enhance classroom content and experience,” says Gilad Chen, associate dean for research and academic director of the partnership. “On our end, this partnership is a way to capitalize on our research and teaching strengths.”

Ashesi Provost Angela Owusu-Ansah says her institution “strives for teaching excellence and makes it ‘community property’ on the continent.”

“As a thought leader, Ashesi would be irresponsible not to actively seek credible ways of building capacity and producing knowledge facilitated by a community of highly regarded scholars,” she adds.

The new partnership follows on from recent Ashesi-Maryland Smith activity. Members of Ashesi’s 1,200-student body participated last November in virtual case competitions as part of the Smith School’s Center for Global Business (CGB)’s International Business (IB) Agility Labs series. “The center will be exploring more partnerships and opportunities in the African continent over the course of the next academic year,” says CGB Executive Director Rebecca Bellinger, who visited Ashesi in 2017 as part of a Global Business School Network delegation.

Building off initial efforts by CGB, Chen collaboratively developed the curriculum with Maryland Smith Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives P.K. Kannan and Ashesi leadership including Owusu-Ansah. Chen will join a dozen other Maryland Smith professors in presenting two iterations of a 15-module series, via Zoom, throughout the 2021-2022 academic year.

"It was important for us to understand the specifics of what Ashesi faculty would need and design the curriculum,” says Kannan. “We had discussions with the Ashesi team, understood their need for specific content as well as the number of times each content was to be repeated, to ensure opportunity for as many participants as possible."

The series will cover various topics, including business research and scientific methods, university infrastructure in support of research, and teaching tools for enhancing evidence-based teaching and learning.

The program further is designed to accommodate participation by additional faculty and administrators from Ashesi-network institutions in Africa. “This room for expansion further aligns this partnership with University of Maryland President Darryll Pines’ advocacy for increased outreach and activity in Africa,” says Chen.

Maryland Smith Dean Prabhudev Konana says, “Our faculty are drawing from their highly regarded research to help businesses and policymakers tackle big challenges and sudden turns in the markets and economy. Similarly, this initiative is an exciting opportunity for Maryland Smith to reinforce Ashesi University in its critical role to foster knowledge, leadership capabilities and analytic thinking in Ghana’s and western Africa’s future leaders.”

Owusu-Ansah adds, “The Smith-Ashesi story contributes to the Ashesi faculty's intent to nurture their ‘thought leadership’ and build a legacy as valued influencers who impact academia, industry collaborations, think tanks, and government and policymaking to transform Africa.”

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Greg Muraski
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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