Lancaster University Ghana (LUG), one of the University's several international campuses, has announced the appointment of its third Provost since it was opened in 2013. LUG is a partnership between Lancaster University and the Transnational Academic Group.
When Prof. Malcolm McIver took up office in January, he became the third white man in a row to head up Lancaster's Ghana campus, succeeding Prof. John Grainger (2013–17) and Prof. Anthony Jarvis (2017–20). This is indicative of the extent of institutional racism in British higher education – recent figures indicate that there could be as few as zero black academics in the most senior leadership roles in UK universities.
LUG's new Provost had a successful career in the healthcare industry before entering academia, and building up extensive experience in international education. From 2004–2015, McIver worked at the University of Hertfordshire, and for almost 10 years was responsible for coordinating their Southeast Asia projects. He has also spent two and a half years as Bournemouth's Associate Dean for Global Engagement, and he worked for two years as an 'education specialist' at LeapEd Services, a social enterprise in Kuala Lumpur with a mission to promote 'child centred education in Malaysia.'
The LUG campus is based in the upmarket East Legon district of Accra, home to 'distinguished personalities like parliamentarians, diplomats, internationally-acclaimed athletes.' When it was established in 2013, LUG had just 67 students, which grew to about 500 in 2016. The current campus masterplan includes the ambition for the student population to grow to 4,000.
The annual intake is 60-70% Ghanaian, with international students from across West Africa, but also the UK, Spain and India. LUG currently offers eight undergraduate degrees, and two postgrad degrees – an Executive MBA and an MSc Management.
An undergraduate degree costs $9,000 a year (less than £7,000), considerably cheaper than the £9,250 UK students have to pay annually to study at the Bailrigg campus. Despite the price differential, as 'a fully-fledged branch campus ... students who complete Lancaster University Ghana will receive the same degree as students at our UK campus.' Even though it is over £2,000 cheaper than the UK, LUG is ranked by one Ghanaian news publication as the third most expensive university in the country.
LUG students, however, are not members of LUSU, but rather have a Student Representative Council (SRC), which amongst its activities, organises an annual Open Forum, 'for students to be able to express their concerns and ask questions to the management and senior officers of the university.' Bailrigg students can only dream of having such an opportunity – perhaps LUSU sabbs should look to their Ghanian equivalents in the SRC to learn how to represent students in the University.
As the Bailrigg campus continues to be hit by industrial action over the University's failure to tackle issues such as the racial and gender pay gaps, the appointment of yet another white man to head up Lancaster's West African campus hardly seems to indicate a management serious about tackling institutional inequality.