GVSU nursing professor earns fellowship in Ghana

GVL - Courtesy of GVNow.com
Sylivia Mupepi

GVL – Courtesy of GVNow.com Sylivia Mupepi

Kyle Doyle

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

“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.