A few days ago, I had the rare opportunity to engage with some of the most renowned sociologists in this country. After decades of leaving the Department of Sociology of the University of Ghana, I had the chance to once again see some of the lecturers who I greatly admired.
The Department of Sociology had tried to form an alumni association many years ago. It has not been easy; everyone is busy, “times are hard” some will say, and there are so many competing demands. We all know that where there is a will there is a way. The alumni meeting was initiated and launched and it was a very successful program.
It was nostalgic as we saw lecturers who taught us so many years ago. Even though a few are no more, the greater majority are still strong and active. It was such a delight to see Emeritus Professor G.K. Nukunya, Prof Senah, Dr Ohene Konadu, Prof Abotchie and good old Mends amongst the people who showed up. Indeed Prof. Nukunya was very instrumental in getting the alumni homecoming event initiated. Both men who are in their 80’s and other lecturers who are in their 70s and 60s generally looked strong after decades of teaching. There must be a co-relation between lecturing/teaching and youthfulness because all the lecturers still looked very good. They didn’t look stressed or worn out. Prof Nukunya drove to the event himself and looked just the same like he did in the early 90s.
An active alumni association could be a great assert to any school. It provides the usual bonding and great networking opportunities for its members. It can also be used to refresh students’ knowledge about new trends in their practice and serve as a platform for the discussion of relevant topical issues. Most importantly, an alumni can help in addressing some of the pressing challenges the school has. At the event, the organizers intimated that the group would also act as a platform to advocate for social policy formulation. The Head of Department of the Sociology Department, Rev. Prof Okyerefo emphasized this during his welcome address. He called for the setting up of a Sociology Research fund. I think this is absolutely important.
As is typical of universities, the homecoming was held with two lectures. I was initially apprehensive about how two lectures could be held at one sitting and within two hours, but it worked. The first lecture was delivered by Prof. Ernest Dumor, a renowned Sociologist and father of the late international broadcaster, Komla Dumor. He spoke on the topic “The Relevance of Sociology in Career Development, the case of Komla Dumor”. It was very emotional as Prof Dumor recounted how Sociology influenced his son’s career and equipped him to have an enquiring mind and a philosophical orientation. He spoke about the methodical approach he used in his assignments to arrive at logical conclusions and how he used research to seek for facts. He admonished journalists and all professionals to read widely and equip themselves. The lecture revealed the strong love and bond that existed between the father and his son and how they both influenced each other. The lecture, though brief made a case for the relevance of Sociology in modern times. It is my wish that many people will have the opportunity to study this important course.
Prof Kodjo Senah delivered the second lecture on an equally interesting topic which every young professional needs to hear. He spoke about some of the health risks of young professionals. Indeed young professionals of today face a lot of health risks. The anxiety of travelling long distances in traffic to and from work, the challenges of meeting high targets in the office, the desire to be promoted and the efforts at getting all the basic necessities of life all add to the stress of young people. Whilst young successful professionals go through a lot of stress you can imagine the kind of stress unemployed graduates go through. All these challenges are enough to give most young people high blood pressure and other related diseases. So whether you have a job or not there is stress in every situation and all you need to do is to find a workable efficient coping mechanism.
The two topics were well delivered and laced with a lot of practical examples that made them engaging and exciting. The event ended with the selection of a seven member interim executive and an official launch of the alumni and association.
If you are wondering what the study of Sociology can do for you, please read about it. The internet makes learning very easy and I believe your research will get you to uncover and discover a lot about this important area of study. Sociology has indeed broadened my world view and opened up my mind to many things. I still treasure the memories of some my favorite courses: Gender Studies, Rural sociology, Criminology, Industrial Sociology, Social Psychology, theories of Development and Underdevelopment and many more.
If I were a Sociology lecturer I will be so proud to see the impact I have made in the lives of my former students who are excelling in their various fields of work.