Professor Elsie Effah Kauffman has been appointed Dean of the School of Engineering Sciences, University of Ghana effective 1st August 2022. This makes her the first woman to ever be appointed to the position.
Professor Kauffman is an Associate Professor and founding Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Ghana. She attended ATTC Demonstration School in Winneba and Nana Kwaku Boateng Experimental School, Koforidua for primary school education before she proceeded to Aburi Girls’ Secondary School. She passed with distinction was awarded a scholarship to the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales in 1988 where she obtained an International Baccalaureate Diploma. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE, Cum Laude), Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) and PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania. After her graduate studies she received her postdoctoral training at Rutgers University, serving also as founding Director of the Cell Biology Laboratory at the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials before joining the University of Ghana in 2001.
She initially joined the Department of Physics where she taught undergraduate courses and also supported teaching in the Dental School and the then newly formed Department of Physiotherapy. Incidentally she was the first female to be appointed full-time to the Department of Physics. During the period between 2001 and 2006 she was a member of the committees that prepared proposals for the establishment of the Departments of Physiotherapy, Radiography, Audiology and Medical Physics. In 2001 she was nominated to serve on the planning committee set up by the Academic Board of the University to make proposals for establishing the then Faculty of Engineering Sciences, now the School of Engineering Sciences.
Prof. Effah Kaufmann’s teaching and research focus on Tissue Engineering, Biomaterials and Application of Biomedical Engineering concepts to the solution of problems in the Ghanaian context. Prof. Elsie Effah Kaufmann was appointed as the first Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering in 2006 and served as Head for a number of years (2006-2012, 2014-2016). As Faculty and Head of Department, she was dedicated to student welfare, high quality academic work as well as the growth and visibility of the Department. Her teaching and research are focused on tissue engineering, biomaterials, design of scaffolds for tissue engineering applications, characterization of natural materials and the application of biomedical engineering concepts to the solution of problems in the Ghanaian context. She has also published in Engineering Education. In spite of her heavy administrative and teaching responsibilities, she has consistently developed and cultivated a reputation for service at the University and at National and International levels as indicated by her service on numerous committees. She was elected to represent non-professorial academic staff on the highest decision-making body of the University of Ghana, the University Council in 2010, a position she held for four years.Nationally, she has served on the Management Board (current Chair) as well as the Research and Technical Committee of the National Nuclear Research Institute of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission; the pioneering Technical Advisory Committee on Medical Devices of the Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana; and the Ghana Standards Authority’s Technical Committee on Metrology & Measurement (pioneering Subcommittee on Medical Devices). She is currently a member of the University of Ghana Centre for Ageing Studies. She has also been an invited speaker at numerous high profile fora both nationally and internationally.
As a reflection of her hard work and achievement, Prof. EffahKaufmann has received a number of prestigious local and international awards. She was the recipient of University of Ghana’s Best Teacher Award for the Sciences in 2009 and a winner of the prestigious International Women’s Forum Leadership Foundation Fellowship in 2011. This Fellowship enabled her to acquire certificates in Leadership Development from the Executive Education Programs of INSEAD, Singapore and Harvard Business School, USA. In 2017, she became the Impact Africa Summit Laureate for Education in Ghana, anaward that recognizes her “exceptional and continuous contribution to science education in Ghana and for being a role model and inspiration to many young girls, activities which are vital to achieving Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 5”.
In 2018 Prof. Effah Kaufmann received the Leading Women Achievers Award from the Global Women Economic & Social Empowerment Summit (GWESES).She is also the recipient of the National Society of Black Engineers’ 2018 Golden Torch Award for International Academic Leadership in recognition of her excellence in support of academics on an international level and exhibition of commitment to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. In March 2019 she received the Ghana Women of Excellence Award for Tertiary Education (Science and Mathematics), conferred under the auspices of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in recognition of her contribution to the social and economic development of Ghana. She is also Glitz Africa’s Honouree for Excellence in Education, 2019 and the recipient of the 2020 Feminine Ghana Achievement Award for Education (General). Prof. Effah Kaufmann has been featured in Who’s Who in Ghana Publication, 2019 and as an Inspirational Person in the Those Who Inspire Ghana Book, 2020. Prof Effah Kaufmann was the STEM Personality of the Year at the Women’s Choice Awards 2021 and Exceptional Woman in Academia for the Instinct Women Awards 2021. She was also recognized as an Innovation Ecosystem Game Changer for the Advancement of STEM during the Ghana Digital Innovation Week in 2021.
Prof. Effah Kaufmann has contributed immensely towards the development of Science education at all levels in Ghana and beyond and has been the Host and Quiz Mistress of the Ghana National Science & Mathematics Quiz TV Programme since 2006. She is a member of the Scientific ProgrammesCommittee of the Next Einstein Forum and a member of the Ghana National Committee of the United World Colleges. She sits on the Boards/ Advisory Councils of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Ghana Communication Technology University and Institute of Project Management Professionals—Ghana. She is also a Council Member and Professional Engineer of the Ghana Institution of Engineering, a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering (an accolade awarded by the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering) and a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. She spent the whole of 2021as a Visiting Scholar and Founding Head of the newly-established Department of Orthotics and Prosthetics at University of Health and Allied Sciences. She is the immediate past President of the Ghana Society of Biomedical Engineers. She assumes the position of Dean, School of Engineering Sciences, University of Ghana on August 1, 2022.