Dear Mr. Abdul-Hakeem: I read your very interesting but grossly misguided and utterly misinformed rejoinder to an anonymous commentator on, presumably, an article that you wrote and published titled “Re: Professor Is Not Higher Than PhD” (Modernghana.com 7/11/20), or it could be an article with a totally different title, and want to simply and briefly bring your attention to the fact that while, indeed, here in the United States of America the title of “Professor” tends to be loosely and indiscriminately used in addressing college and university teachers, nevertheless, the professoriate here in the United States is, by and large, much better structured and far more disciplined and academically and professionally far more productive than the kind of sterile rag-tag mess that prevails in Ghana and elsewhere in much of the so-called Third World.
I would also like to quickly point out for your education and enlightenment that absolutely nowhere in the American Academy, where the bulk of the Nobel Prizes are awarded annually, would any college undergraduate refer to a Teaching Assistant, such as you claim to be, as a “Professor.” Our students are not that ignorant and illiterate, as you seem to suggest or suppose. Teaching Assistants are routinely called TAs from the most elite universities or academies to the lowest rungs of the four-year tertiary academies. And, by the way, we also have RAs or Research Assistants in the American Academy, whose association and professional validation the most significant of Ghanaian scholars and intellectuals highly prize. We also have a three-track system for professorial promotion, namely, Instructional or Teaching Track; Research Track; and Administration or Non-Classroom Track.
It is largely Classroom and Research professors who tend to be promoted by the number and quality of their scholarly output and/or publications, less so for classroom professors at my institution. Noninstructional professors are promoted by their documented demonstration of competence in their areas of professional/professorial practice. As well, academic rankings differ from institutional system to system. In my State University of New York Community or Junior College, for example, regardless of degrees acquired or attained, often PhDs and the Master’s degree, a newly hired teacher begins at the bottommost level or rank of Instructor, then to Assistant Professor, which takes about five years, with the automatic conferral of tenure or guaranteed permanent employment and all the perks that come with the attainment of such status. And then from Assistant Professor, one gets promoted to Associate Professor and then to Full-Professor or simply Professor. There is an annual quota system here, so one’s promotion is not necessarily automatic: it gets more stringent as you go higher up the rungs.
But, of course, the promotion ladder is not the least bit as simple and facile as you, Mr. Abdul-Hakeem, seem to suppose. Like all human-made institutional structures, it is full of minefields and political handicaps and interpersonal shenanigans some of the details of which you may already be familiar with. Now, the question pertaining to the selection of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as the presidential-election running-mate of Candidate John Dramani Mahama is decidedly one of the questionable character of the former President, and has absolutely nothing to do with any jealous or envious “traducers” and “predators,” whatever the latter terminology means in your vocabulary arsenal, trying to gratuitously malign Candidate Opoku-Agyemang. Rather, it has everything to do with the moral judgment of Naana Opoku-Agyemang, knowing fully well, at least for this writer, the murky circumstances under which another Fante-descended professor and a Mahama benefactor by the name of President John Evans Atta-Mills met his death and, in particular, the bizarre conduct and ironic reaction with which the then-Vice-President John Dramani Mahama responded to the same.
I shall fully come to that in a separate column down the pike, as it were, but it well appears to me that Mr. Mahama – there is absolutely nothing “Excellent” about this payola-guzzling political scam-artist – might have taken the advice of his personal Spiritual Adviser, namely, Prophet Emmanuel Badu-Kobi, by jumping onto the first Fante-born woman who crossed the crosshairs of his crotch, who readily appeared to lack the sort of common sense and wisdom that the Asante-Bekwai native spoke about in his very controversial sermon the other day. We are here, of course, talking about ethnic stereotypes, Mr. Iddrisu Abdul-Hakeem.
*Visit my blog at: KwameOkoampaAhoofeJr
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
July 12, 2020
E-mail: [email protected]