GVSU nursing professor earns fellowship in Ghana

By Kyle Doyle | 5/7/17 9:17pm

GVL - Courtesy of GVNow.com Sylivia Mupepi

A nursing professor at Grand Valley State University is traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to participate in a fellowship revamping nursing programs.

Sylivia Mupepi will be traveling to the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana to help the faculty reevaluate and restructure their nursing program, as well as pave the way for future student exchanges and train faculty in how to teach certain classes.

“When a program has been running for some time, one has to evaluate and look at how it’s functioning, how it is meeting the needs it was intended for and whether there are any shortfalls that need to be fixed,” Mupepi said.

The fellowship is from the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, a program dedicated to serving projects in African Higher Education in order to help strengthen the UCC nursing program.

During her trip to Ghana, Mupepi will be touring the campus and talking with faculty, staff and students to see how programs are functioning and ways to improve or fix them. She will also be bringing back alumni of UCC who have been working in the field of nursing for interviews on how programs at UCC helped them and if they need any tweaking.

With this, Mupepi will also be training faculty and staff in how to teach bachelor and master-level courses that she taught there during the summer. She will also work on setting up a study abroad program for UCC students to come to GVSU and spend a week learning about the United States health system.

Mupepi has been traveling to Ghana since 2008, where she helped set up a study abroad program between GVSU’s Kirkhof College of Nursing and UCC’s School Nursing in which GVSU students visit Ghana for a week in the winter semester and pair up with UCC nursing students to perform health screenings in different areas of the country.           

The program started off relatively small with only 12 students, but it has since expanded to 24, with last year’s applicant pool consisting of approximately 60 nursing students at GVSU.

“I knew the program would be a success,” Mupepi said. “There was a demand for the program.” 

Mupepi said the reason why so many students enjoy this study abroad trip is the fact that they are paired with someone in the same field from another country and they are supposed to run screenings with each other, getting to know one another as they work to make the world a healthier place.

She credits most of the success of the program and the expansion of UCC’s nursing school and all of her opportunities to the relationships she made along the way.           

“When you’re working on programs, you can never do things by yourself (because) when you are not there, and if anything happens (without extra help), then the program dies," Mupepi said.

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