“A leader is best when people hardly know he exists, when his job is done, his goal achieved, they will say: we did it ourselves.” These words from Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher and writer, not only delineate Professor Edward Kwame Asante’s leadership skills, but also his ambitious personality to solicit efforts to achieve a collective goal.
Taking office in August 2018, Professor Edward Kwame Asante has become the fourth President of Garden City University College located at Kenyase in the Ashanti region.
His astute and capable leadership has enabled the private university to achieve many significant and remarkable advancements, pushing the institution to become the private university college of choice in the country.
Today, Garden City University College is on track to achieve its stated goals: Academic excellence, staff satisfaction and excellent student experience have been hallmarks of University College during the period.
“Business Leadership for Transformation: Redefining the Possibilities” was his watchword for shaping and changing the University’s status quo.
Over a four-year period since 2018, the University has made key achievements including revising its marketing and branding strategies to record the highest number of student enrollments since its inception in 2001 and others infrastructural advances.
Branding and Marketing
Under the able leadership of Professor Asante, the school currently has an Office for Institutional Advancement with units for Marketing and Communications, International Programs, Alumni Relations, and Corporate and Foundation Relations .
The Marketing and Communications unit designed effective branding and marketing strategies that gave GCUC a distinct identity. The strategies aimed to increase institutional visibility and publicity of GCUC’s potential, performance and activities of students, faculty and staff.
The unit’s effective branding and marketing strategies, among others, resulted in an increase in the total student population, which was on a downward trend to 1,700.
When he took office on August 1, 2018, the school’s lower recorded admissions reached its current number of 4,446, surpassing the University Council’s target of 3,400. A GCUC Global Alumni was also inaugurated on December 18, 2021 with alumni networks and current students working as GCUC brand ambassadors.
Merchandise potential in GCUC advertising has been maximized. Currently, GCUC has branded medals for each graduating student and also receives branded t-shirts, mugs, pens, and umbrellas.
Distance program delivered by technology
The past two years have prompted all higher education institutions to reassess their conventional ways of teaching and learning. At a time of inflection for the world, the GCUC had to seize new opportunities to strengthen the relationship between insight, values and focus to advance its core goals.
In this regard, the University College has established the Center for Open, Distance and Online Learning (CODeL) to provide technology-driven programs. The program uses blended distance learning to increase accessibility by allowing students to access education regardless of their geographic location. The platform helps students combine their studies with their professional, family and social responsibilities.
With the financial support of the Founder and Ecobank Gh. Ltd., and technical support from the ICT department, virtual teaching and learning has been adopted for complementary nursing and midwifery programs. Currently, GCUC has virtual learning centers in Kumasi, Wa, Tamale, Takoradi, Koforidua, Oda and Keta. These two technology-focused programs are largely responsible for the increase in student enrollment
In order to enhance the academic, social and personal experience of the University College community, the following projects have also been undertaken:
Provision of facilities at Albert Acquah Hall
The total number of residents has increased from two hundred and seventy-seven (277) when Prof. Asante to four hundred and eighty (480) as a result of certain improvement measures undertaken, including;
1. A failed hostel internet system has been restored, upgraded and extended to all floors. The non-availability of internet connectivity was a major obstacle which did not make the students agree to stay in the room.
2. The introduction of the shuttle system has made more students accept hostel accommodation. The distance between the hostel and the University College prevented students from residing in the establishment. Many students prefer the private hostels near the University College to the University hostel.
3. The provision of a restaurant and a mini-supermarket in the lobby also made the stay in the lobby more comfortable and convenient with more recreational facilities such as volleyball and ball courts. tennis provided to stimulate students’ extracurricular activities.
4. The sixth floor of the hostel has been completed and furnished with students currently occupying rooms upstairs.
Minor infrastructure, maintenance and painting works
During the period, the school also saw infrastructural renovations and facilities such as the construction of a summer hut for students and faculty using its internally generated funds. The space built in collaboration with the student representative council offers an avenue of relaxation. Maintenance and painting work has been carried out and the sixth floor of the new university college block has also been completed.
The Dr. Ben Adu Amankwah block within the University College grounds houses an elevator for easy access to the school library. Sidewalks were also constructed to prevent potholes from developing on the main walkway of the university campus.
Two skills labs for nursing and midwifery programs have been re-equipped with modern equipment to improve the practical training of students.
Professor Asante also ensured that the university acquired some vehicles, including a Toyota hiace and two 66-seater Tata buses for stress-free transit to and from campus during clinical sessions. The acquisition of the buses contributed to an increase in enrollment in the program.
The $150,000 grant
Under his leadership, the University College management applied for a grant from Investors & Partners (I&P) and was successful in obtaining US$150,000, or 1.2 million cedi equivalent. Management is currently awaiting disbursement of funds to complete Phases 2 and 3 of the digitization campaign and to acquire 1,000 laptops to pilot student access to learning tools.
The fund would also facilitate the re-equipment of the infirmary and the security service, and the creation of a career services center, where students can explore career options that match their strengths, obtain information on the options, and finding after-school jobs.