The Governing Council of the Dr. Hilla Limann Technical University (TaTU) in the Upper West Region has appointed Professor Elias Nortaa Kunedeb Sowley as the first Vice Chancellor of the institution, as the school has attained university status.
The polytechnic was converted into a technical university according to the Technical University Act 2016 (Act 922), with the aim of providing higher education in engineering, applied arts, science/technology-based disciplines, technical and vocational training. Prof. Sowley’s appointment took effect from June 1, 2020 and will see him serve a four-year term.
In addition, the Council has also appointed Prof. Baba Insah, Vitus Songotuah and Karim Kuuri as Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Registrar and Director of Finance respectively. The decisions were taken by the University Council at its Governing Council meeting after a recommendation from the university’s search committee.
Prof. Sowley in his acceptance speech commended the university’s search committee and the Council for the honour done him. He noted that the position presents a singular opportunity to help enhance the academic status of the university to being one of the best in Ghana.
He also promised to help to transform the university into a premier world-class institution, by ensuring that all programmes have a cooperative education component to offer the graduates practical and hands-on work experience upon graduation.
Until his appointment Prof. Sowley was the Dean of Graduate School, University for Development Studies (UDS), Tamale, since September 2018. Prior to this, he had been Director of Academic Planning and Quality Assurance (2013 – 2018), Head of Agronomy Department, (2008 – 2013), Ag. Dean of Student Affairs (July 2015) and Postgraduate Programmes Coordinator (2008 – 2010) at the same university.
He has served as Convocation Representative (Professorial) on the Governing Council (2016 – 2018) and Member of the Academic Board (2001 – 2003 and 2008 – 2021) at the University for Development Studies.
Prof. Sowley has served as Chairman or Member of several Statutory and Ad Hoc Committees of the University for Development Studies. Many universities and other higher education institutions within and outside Ghana have benefitted from his services as an External Examiner, External Assessor, and Quality Assurance Expert.
Prof. Sowley is a member of several local and International Professional Associations and Societies. He is a Fellow of the Ghana Institute of Horticulturists (GhIH) and the Chartered Institute of Leadership and Governance (CILG).
He is the National President of Ghana Institute of Horticulturists – from 2017 to date. Prof Sowley is also a member of several other professional Associations and Societies: including the British Society for Plant Pathology (2004 – Date), Canadian Phytopathological Society (2014 – Date), American Phytopathological Society (2007 – Date) and Ghana Science Association (1998 to date).
Prof. Sowley is a seasoned academic with vast experience in higher education and quality assurance. He obtained his BSc. (Hon) in Botany and Diploma in Education from the University of Cape Coast, where he studied from 1990 to 1994.
After graduating with Second Class Honours (Upper Division), he did one year of National Service and worked for two additional years before proceeding to the University of Ghana, Legon, where he pursued the MPhil Crop Science programme (Plant Pathology Option) from 1997 to 1999 and graduated in 2000. After graduating from the University of Ghana, he was employed as a Senior Research Assistant by the University for Development Studies in May 2000 and upgraded to a lecturer with effect from January 2001.
He worked in this position until he was offered a government of Ghana scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. programme at the University of Reading in the UK, which he started in October 2003, completed in December 2006 and graduated in July 2007.
After graduation, he returned to the University for Development Studies where he continued as a lecturer until being promoted to Senior Lecturer in January 2011 and then Associate Professor in July 2016.