The Council of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), at its 258th Special Meeting held on Thursday, June 25, 2020 has appointed Professor (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson as the Vice-Chancellor of the University. Her appointment for a Four-Year Term, takes effect from 1st August, 2020 to 31st July, 2024.
Professor Mrs. Dickson, Professor of Pharmacognosy until her appointment is the current Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University. She thus becomes the first female Vice-Chancellor of KNUST.
Profile of Prof. Mrs. Rita Akosua Dickson
Prof. Mrs. Rita Akosua Dickson is an alumna of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy in 1994. She pursued graduate studies leading to the award of MPharm. in Pharmacognosy in 1999 and was appointed a lecturer the following year in the Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, KNUST. In 2003 she was awarded a Commonwealth scholarship to pursue a PhD at Kings’ College London, University of London, UK. She used this opportunity to successfully complete her programme and acquire a Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (GCAP), from the same university. She returned to teaching at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 2007 and was promoted to a Senior Lecturer in 2009 and further to an Associate Professor in 2014. Between 2011 and 2012.
Prof. Dickson is a Phytochemist whose work spans the areas of bioactive natural products in the management of communicable and non-communicable diseases and she has been devoting time to natural products research with anti-infective, wound-healing, anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic and antidiabetic properties among others; based on their ethnopharmacological usage. Her research has led to the isolation and structure elucidation of several bioactive natural products including cassane furanoditerpenoids, coumarins, alkaloids, glucosides and flavonoids with potentials as leads in drug discovery.
She firmly believes that Africans can reduce the continent’s disease burden by focusing on and exploring the use of its flora and fauna to generate lead compounds and standardized extracts for drug development in the fight against diseases. She is keen about phytopharmaceutical analysis and quality control of herbal medicines to ensure their safety and efficacy.
She has successfully supervised a number of MPhil and PhD students and has published extensively in her research area. She has attended and presented research papers at several local and international conferences; and has over 50 publications in peer reviewed International Journals to her credit.
She serves as a reviewer for several journals in pharmacognosy, natural products and phytochemistry as well as a reviewer for South Africa’s National Research Foundation and the KNUST Research Fund (KReF). Professor Dickson has been actively involved in the evaluation of papers of academic staff for promotion in both local and international universities and has been an assessor and external examiner for PhD theses locally and internationally. She is currently the Editor in Chief for the International Journal of Ethnomedicine and Pharmacognosy (IJEP) and editorial member of International Journal of Science and Research Methodology.
Professor Dickson has been the Head of Department of Pharmacognosy for three terms from 2009 to 2013. Before her appointment as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, she was the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and also acted as Provost of the College of Health Sciences in the absence of the Provost.
Professor Rita Akosua Dickson is a Board member of the Ghana Pharmacy Council and Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. Before her appointment, she was the Chairperson of the Education sub-committee of the Pharmacy Council and serves as an examiner in the Ghana Pharmacy Council Professional Qualifying Examination for pharmacy graduates. She also served on the Continuous Professional Development Technical Committee of the Pharmacy Council. As a fellow of the Ghana College of Pharmacists, she has served on several committees locally and internationally in the area of Pharmacy Education and Training. She is currently a member of the Steering Committee of the Ghana National Medicines Policy Programme.
Prof. Dickson membership of several local and international organizations including the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA), Society of Medicinal Plant Research (GA), International Society of Ethnopharmacology (ISEP), Phytochemical Society of Europe (PSE) and American Society of Pharmacognosists.
Her people-oriented approach to leadership is underpinned by her commitment to both staff and students in providing them with opportunities for their development. She is receptive to new ideas and creative thinking from both staff and students.
Prof. Dickson enjoys inspiring and mentoring the next generation through talks and engagements, as she motivates them to build their leadership skills and competencies. She is passionate about the youth and enjoys encouraging girls to take up careers in science. She loves to cook and share traditional meals with friends and family and is happy to spend some time in the gym when she can afford it.
Prof. Rita Akosua Dickson is a Christian of the Baptist denomination and worships at Grace Baptist Church, Amakom, Kumasi. She is married to Nana Dickson; a banker and the couple is blessed with four daughters.