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Quality Improvement Programme (QIP)



The Christian Service University College, Kumasi (CSUC) has functioned as an institution of higher learning since its inception in 1974, and has played key roles in providing spiritual, moral, academic and professional training. The institution has also participated effectively in the labour market for entrepreneurship, public service and Christian ministry.

The institution is currently confronted with key challenges which are not unique to CSUC. Private universities in Ghana have to contend with stiff competition, unfavourable and expensive regulatory systems, economic and funding challenges, declining quality of potential students, dwindling students’ enrolment, high cost of utility services, high operational cost, etc.  It is clear that most private universities are struggling to cope and survive in the midst of this myriad of challenges.

As a strategic response, the year 2018 witnessed the engagement of the CSUC stakeholder community comprising the Council, Management, Faculty and staff, which reflected seriously on the above challenges in order to explore and chart a new path for sustainable future growth. This resulted in the emergence and adoption of the “qualitative” improvement in services as the preferred growth strategy for the institution, in opposition to “quantitative” focus on increasing student intake.

The key interventions that will facilitate the successful implementation the Quality Improvement Strategy are the following: completion of on-going and improvement of infrastructure in general on the campus; improvement and modernization of the IT infrastructure; introduction of demand-driven programmes more responsive to the current and changing demands of the labour-market; institution of an external HR review that will ensure unproductive and needed staff are identified for appropriate decisions; enhancement of salaries to attract and retain high profile faculty and staff; beautification of the campus; establishment of effective administrative and maintenance systems.  In all, the implementation process of the Quality Improvement Strategy is expected to take about two to three years beginning in June 2019. It is estimated the execution of the Programme will cost about 8 to 10 million Ghana Cedis and the required funds are to be sourced from Impact Investment Funds and donors.

This document provides a blueprint for CSUC to achieve a consistent and appropriate brand image for positioning the University as an internationally recognised private university in Africa, with a commitment to excel in innovative teaching and learning and cutting-edge research. The main outcome of the re-branded CSUC is to provide a one-stop high education institution for teaching, learning and research, and to encourage a strong and diverse community of academics, researchers and students to foster multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary interaction in higher education, against the backdrop of the vision to become a university of choice.

1 Background of Christian Service University College
1.1 The Christian Service University College (CSUC) has functioned as an institution of higher learning since its inception in 1974, and was transformed into a University College in 2005. The institution has played key roles in providing spiritual, moral, academic and professional training for entrepreneurship, public service, Christian ministry, as well as effective participation in the labour market.

1.2 The Vision of CSUC is “to be a university of choice where Jesus is Lord and people are empowered to impact the world”. The Mission is “to promote knowledge for the training of men and women in Christian values and principles, academic and professional excellence for the transformation of society”. CSUC is rooted in the Core Values of the Lordship of Jesus Christ; integrity; hard work; good stewardship of resources; and mutual support and care.
2 Evolution of Public and Private Universities in Ghana
2.1 Higher/Tertiary Education in Ghana, particularly, university education until 1993, was dominated by publicly controlled universities. The notable public universities in Ghana include University of Ghana (UG), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the University of Cape Coast (UCC) and University of Education, Winneba.

2.2 From the 1990s till date, the higher education sector as a whole in Ghana has experienced a dramatic upward trend in social demand with the establishment of additional universities including University of Development Studies (UDS), University of Mines and Technology (UMAT), University of Energy and Natural Resources (UNER), University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), University of Agriculture and Environment (UAE) among others. There are also nine (9) newly converted Technical Universities offering various diploma and degree programmes across the country.

2.3 Following the deregulation of the higher education sector in 2007, private universities have sprung up quickly in Ghana. Statistics from the National Accreditation Board indicates that there are seventy-one (71) Private University Colleges as compared to nine (9) Public Universities and seven Quasi Public Tertiary Institutions. As at 2007, private universities had a total student population of 228,347, which constituted about 20% of the market share. Between 1999 and 2006, student numbers attending tertiary institutions in Ghana doubled from about 59,000 to more than 118,000.
3 Growth Process of Christian Service University College
3.1 Since its inception in 1974, CSUC has evolved in accordance with its vision and mission into a premier centre of academic excellence for teaching, research and service in Theology, Applied Science and Humanities in an evangelical and sound ethical environment in Ghana. The thrust to this success is anchored on the philosophy to produce leaders with scholarly depth, reflective faith, moral uprightness and potential for further education, as well as the skills to serve and educate the church and society.

3.2 Between the period of 1974 – 2004, the main focus of CSUC was on theological education. During this period, academic and non-academic staff stood at 3-5 and 7-10 respectively. CSUC was bewildered with poor infrastructure and weak finances coupled with limited student enrolment averaging 80-100.

3.3 Between the period of 2004-2016, CSUC was transformed into a multi-disciplinary Liberal Arts Tertiary Institution. During this period, there was significant improvement in student’s enrolment, finances and faculty strength. Students enrolment rose to at least 2000; academic staff including full time and part-time faculty rose to at least 100; and non-academic staff rose to at least 50.

3.4 Efforts to achieve and enhance the quality and contribution to knowledge and industrial development culminated in the continuous innovation of its curriculum, introduction of new market-driven programmes, and expansion of its services. As part of its strategic development plans, the CSUC School of Business was established in 2013 to provide the environment for excellence in teaching, learning, and research in business, finance, management and strategy for industrial and socio-economic development of Ghana and Africa.

3.5 Currently, CSUC offers excellent undergraduate and postgraduate level programmes through its diversified Faculties of Humanities, Health and Applied Sciences, School of Business and School of Graduate Studies. In October 2016, the CSUC became the first tertiary institution within the West African sub-region to launch a specialized Master of Science Degree Programme in Monitoring and Evaluation.

3.6 Plans are far advanced by CSUC to mount new demand-driven programmes including Corporate Planning, together with the establishment of a new Faculty of Education whilst new health programmes in Physician Assistant Studies and Midwifery are being introduced.

3.7 CSUC has an online component of teacher-student interaction, ensuring additional convenience to student learning experiences. These steps are in line with the drive to impact locally and internationally for social transformation.

3.8 Service quality and costs of running private universities in Ghana remain paramount issues to academia and policymakers of the country. Hence, CSUC is advancing plans to integrate total quality management principles into the entire CSUC value chain.
4 CSUC within the Context of Public and Private Universities
4.1 Since 2016, new challenges have been emerging on the higher education landscape which is adversely affecting the sustainable growth of CSUC and almost all private and public universities. It is therefore necessary to situate the discussion within the context of the broader higher education sector in Ghana.

There are major structural and market differences between public and private universities. First, while public universities in Ghana are dependent on government subsidies and funding, private universities depend solely on internally generated funds to maintain their economic viability. Second, there is evidence that many students apply for admission to private universities because they have been unable to gain admission at a public university (Cabrito, 2004). Third, for private universities, ultimate survival is dependent on successful student enrolments and the subsequent retention of those students (Ferreira and Hill, 2007). Fourth, there is tension between public university values and objectives and those of the private university (Breneman et al., 2006).

4.2 Fifth, private universities have to compete with the public universities in the area of recruitment and retention of highly qualified faculty. Sixth, there is the ubiquitous lack of finances for expansion as well as inadequate infrastructure in terms of lecture halls and halls of residence for students and staff. Seventh, compensation packages of faculty are more attractive in public universities than what most of the private universities can afford. Eighth, there is another concern which is related to the cost-benefit analysis of studying in public and private universities in Ghana. As such, education in the public universities is much cheaper than in the private universities.

4.3 Ninth, the quality of education is also an important concern which is rated much higher in the public universities compared to the private universities. Thus, it remains a dilemma in the case of private sector education whether better quality would be too costly for students. Also, the frontier of distance education globally has expanded as both public and private universities have ventured into this arena to provide opportunities for students seeking academic advancement and laurels.
5 Understanding the Challenges Confronting Private Universities
5.1 Key challenges that private universities have to contend with include, but not limited to: proliferation of universities, stiff competition among universities, unfavourable and expensive regulatory systems, economic and funding challenges, declining quality of potential students, participation of more adults and the working-class population in education, increasing application of IT in educational delivery, dwindling students’ enrolment, high cost of utility services, high operational cost, etc. It is clear that most private universities are struggling to cope and survive in the midst of this myriad of challenges.

Also, with the current position of the government budgetary cuts across economic sectors, public universities are encouraged to generate internal funds to supplement subsidies and support development activities. Hence, public universities have embarked on aggressive marketing campaigns to increase their students’ population. Consequently, this has affected the relative numbers in both private and public universities. Recent statistics show that the market share of private universities reduced from 24% in 2014 to 14% in 2018. The student population of CSUC has declined from about 2000+ in 2010 to roughly 1500 to 1600 in 2018.

5.2 Private universities therefore have no option than to compete for students at both undergraduate and graduate levels of education through both regular and distance mode of educational delivery.

5.3 Clearly, the changing demographics, financial, economic and environmental conditions have introduced various risks including financial risk, reputational and brand risk, enrolment risk, operational risk, growth risk, etc., into the educational system. With these risks, CSUC is motivated to innovate, reshape and transform its institutional mindset and to adopt market related strategies and is thereby poised to rebrand its products and services and to remain a relevant regional institution.
6 Which Way Forward?
6.1 Throughout the year 2018, the CSUC stakeholder community comprising the Council, Management, Faculty and staff reflected seriously on the above challenges confronting the institution in order to explore and chart a new path for sustainable future growth. The two main growth strategies which emerged were:

  1. the current ‘expansionist/Quantity Approach’ through increases in student intake and;
  2. the ‘Quality Approach’ which relies less on student numbers but more on qualitative improvement of services and infrastructure and increase in fees.

6.2 The key questions which informed the discussions were the following:

  • Which of them is more realistic and achievable?
  • Which will be more difficult to implement?
  • Which will give better study outcomes for students?
  • Which will be more sustainable?

The discussions and debate between the two growth options revealed that the Quality Strategy is a superior development alternative. The choice of this trajectory was premised on the answers to the following three key questions posed:

  1. Does Quality appeal to people?
  2. Are people ready and willing to pay for quality services?
  3. Do people have the resources to pay for high quality services?

At the end of the discussions, the answers to all these three questions were an unequivocal ‘YES’. So CSUC has overwhelmingly voted to pursue a Quality Improvement Strategy for its future growth. In other words, that is the new ‘brand’ the institution will consciously develop as its new image and focus. The remaining section of the Concept Paper focuses on the key elements of this strategy.

7 Determinants of Quality Education
7.1 Generally, for gains to be made in the delivery of quality higher education, it is incumbent on institutions to ascertain the factors that determine quality education. The following are some of the determinants of quality education which would require the attention of university administrators: the level of student-teacher interaction; the nature of learning environment; the amount of investment in education; and cultural factors.

7.2 Ancillary factors comprise of the following: continuous teacher development; a relevant pedagogy with learner-driven curriculum; adaptability to modern technologies such as information and communication technology tools; availability of requisite infrastructure including their easy access; conditions of employment for teachers; availability of standards for quality assurance and regulatory agencies; teacher-student ratio; nexus between current education and future economic needs; and level of stakeholder involvement in education.
8 Governance and Development of Quality Standard for Education
8.1 Governance standards required for quality education in higher institutions would encompass a framework of the following factors:

  • curriculum development standards;
  • developing professional standards;
  • benchmarks for developing sustainable physical environments;
  • effective system for procurement of educational materials;
  • establishing professional bodies for regulation and accountability;
  • monitoring and evaluation;
  • responsibility of all stakeholders; and
  • developing efficient learner-centred

9 Rebranding CSUC for Global Positioning and Competitiveness
9.1 A brand may be defined as a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies a firm’s good or service as distinct from those of other firms (AMA, 2010). It has also been explained as an asset that does not have physical existence and the values of which cannot be determined exactly unless it becomes the subject of a specific business transaction of sale and acquisition (Seetharaman et al., 2001).

9.2 One of the key subjects of interest associated with branding and commonly discussed in the parlance of marketing is the brand equity. Brand equity is explained as “the assets and liabilities linked to the brand, its name and symbol, that add to or subtract from the value provided by a product or service and/or to the firm’s customers” (Aaker (1996, p. 7), Brodie and Glynn (2010, p. 380).

9.3 Although competition among universities is not a new phenomenon, branding is a recent fashion for universities to position themselves in the field of higher education. Such recent positioning is not only strategic in nature; most importantly, it attaches value to what is otherwise university identification. Branding commodifies education and research, creating visual and symbolic kernels of commercial property that are subsequently marketed as products.

9.4 Through recognition, branding is inextricably linked to marketing; the reason to create a (recognizable and unique) brand is to establish a marketable feature, and such a feature is necessary under conditions of intensifying competition over resources (funding, renowned academics etc.) and consumers (students).

9.5 Rebranding is the process of changing the corporate image of an organisation. It is a market strategy of giving a new name, symbol, or change in design for an already-established brand. The idea behind rebranding is to create a different identity for a brand, from its competitors, in the market.

9.6 CSUC acknowledges that remaining competitive, distinctive and showing substantial growth requires consistent and coherent custodianship of its most important asset, its brand and hence its resolve to rebranding. CSUC branding effort is to shore up its value proposition and to reinforce its reputation as top-tier teaching and research regional university in Ghana with presence in most Africa countries through technology.


10 Strategic Objectives of the New Christian Service University

10.1 The management of CSUC acknowledges that to realize its vision and mission requires great efforts and courage, and without deviating from its core values the following strategic objectives have been set:

  • To reflect the mission of the University by producing high-level human resource with acumen in disciplinary, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary fields to meet industrial needs.
  • To develop creative, innovative, market-driven and demand-driven competitive programmes across disciplinary, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary academic and industrial disciplines.
  • To establish itself as a regional hub for the development of innovation and transfer of technology for training of teachers, lecturers and professionals in disciplinary, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary academic disciplines.
  • To promote visibility and recognition of the university within Ghana and the sub-region whilst positioning the University within the international league of private universities as a brand for offering disciplinary, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary academic programmes.
  • To operate in both regular and distance learning modes; with strategic focus on internationalization and diversification of its academic programmes.
  • To attract the best teaching and research faculty, to forge closer collaboration between industry and academia and to emerge not only as the best teaching private university in the sub-region but also best research private university.
  • To infuse total quality management principles into its day-to-day operations by offering best fit quality value propositions to its stakeholders.


11 The New CSUC Brand: Actions, Interventions and Initiatives

11.1 In order to keep CSUC energetic and competitive, a number of important issues rooted in Quality Improvement Strategy must be addressed. These actions, interventions and initiatives include but not limited to the following:

  • Evolution to Regional Brand and Internationalization: With dwindling domestic students’ enrolment due to fierce competition among universities, CSUC will strive to evolve as a regional brand to appeal and attract large number of international students.
  • Collaboration and Partnership with Foreign University: CSUC will strike strategic collaborations between departments and foreign universities to run joint academic programmes and research related activities.
  • Emerge as Research Centered Private University: CSUC should strive hard to emerge as a private research university in the sub-region which provides the platform for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research activities. CSUC will also develop schemes to attract best teaching and research faculty.
  • Focus on Demand-Driven Postgraduate Programmes: With growing demand of postgraduate programmes, CSUC will focus on market-driven postgraduate programmes targeting industry specific demand-driven programmes.
  • Engage in Aggressive Marketing Campaign: Marketing in higher education sector is not new. With the growing recognition of the important role marketing plays in student recruitment, CSUC will commit resources into aggressive marketing campaigns locally and internationally.
  • Establishment of Scholarship Schemes and Endowment Funds: Education as a vital social service often attracts funding and various forms of support from philanthropies, churches, community groups etc. CSUC will position itself to benefit from such social capital by establishing Scholarship Schemes and Endowment Funds.

12 Summary of Key Interventions
The major interventions of the Quality Improvement Strategy are as follows:

  1. Complete on-going projects and improve infrastructure in general including classroom facilities
  2. Improve and modernize IT infrastructure
  3. Introduce demand-driven programmes more responsive to the current and changing demands of the labour-market
  4. Undertake external HR review that will ensure unproductive and needed staff are identified for appropriate decisions
  5. Enhance salaries to attract and retain high profile faculty and staff
  6. Beautify the campus
  7. Introduce effective administrative and maintenance systems

13 Adoption of Sustainability Measures
Upon the successful introduction of these key interventions, the institution will be in a position to adopt the following two critical policies regarding its long term sustainability:

  1. Limit student population to about 1000 -1500
  2. Increase fees to match its quality programmes and learning environment

It is expected that the increase in fees will generate adequate financial resources required for the sustainable operation of the institution. In all, it is estimated that about 8 to 10 million Ghana Cedis will be needed for the implementation of this strategy. The implementation process is expected to take about two years beginning in June 2019.
14 Conclusions
The importance of higher education in promoting economic growth cannot be overemphasized.  Universities compete more and more globally with each other for students and faculty members. Poor university academic quality is detrimental to the recruitment of new students, thus exacerbating the financial crisis private universities face as a result of low students’ enrolment. To remain competitive, higher education institutions, including private universities need to improve on quality standards, productivity and adopt policies that encourage innovation.

14.1 Against the backdrop of the vision to become a university of choice, CSUC is comprehensively embarking on rebranding itself to be an internationally recognized private university in Africa, distinguished for engaged scholarship, social responsiveness, professionalism and an ethics of care.

14.2 This document provides a blueprint for CSUC to achieve a consistent and appropriate brand image for positioning of the university as an institution of superior academic excellence, with a commitment to excel in innovative learning and teaching and cutting-edge research, thereby benefitting society through knowledge. The image of CSUC and how it is portrayed is paramount as it is a representation of who we are and what we stand for, and what we want to become.

14.3 The main outcome of the re-branded CSUC is to provide one-stop centre for teaching, learning and research, and encourage a strong and diverse community of academics, researchers and students to foster multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary interaction in higher education.


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