The Persona of KsTU’s First Woman to Attain a PHD

The Persona of KsTU’s First Woman to Attain a PHD

Picture: Dr. Patricia Owusu-Darko

A determined and passionate personality, Dr. Patricia Owusu Darko, the first woman to attain a PhD in Kumasi Technical University (KsTU) in 2008 and also, the first female Director of the Graduate School in KsTU continues her service to humanity.

Born to Mr. Kyei, from Agogo, Asante Akyem, one of the most prominent educationists and one of the first blacks to sign middle school certificates in Ghana, Dr. Patricia attended the highly esteemed Aburi Girls Secondary School at Aburi in 1977. She furthered her education at the then University of Science and Technology (UST) in 1985 to read Biochemistry and completed as the best female graduating student of the class of 1989. For her National Service she was a Teaching and Research Assistant, after which she was motivated to enroll in her alma mater (KNUST) for a Masters (MPhil) programme in Biochemistry (Food Option). She also pursued her PhD at the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences (Food Science), University of Strathclyde Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Having worked with Kumasi Technical University for over twenty-six years, she became the Head of the Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management (HCIM) Department of the University from 1999 to 2003 and 2010 to 2011. She was part of the committee that drafted the NABPTEX approved syllabus for instruction in the Hospitality programmes in Technical Universities in Ghana. Dr Owusu-Darko also served on the committee that drafted the BTech Food Technology programme of the University. She has also made inputs for drafting curricula for training in other formal and informal training programs in Food Technology, Hospitality and Tourism.  She was the first Director of the Office of International Affairs and Institutional Linkages from 2011 to 2016, where she vigorously helped position the University as a globally competitive educational brand with its associated benefits for the University in all its dealings with institutions and other partners. 

She is a Senior Lecturer in Food Science and Technology at KsTU and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Food Safety and Quality Management Systems (a course she led to design) in Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (AAMUSTED), Kumasi in Ghana. Dr Patricia Owusu-Darko currently serves as an external examiner and assessor for appointments and promotions in several universities, both locally and internationally. She had supervised over two dozen postgraduate and over three hundred project works in universities across the country.  She is currently the Director of the Graduate School of the Institution.

She is an accredited trainer for the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland (Introductory Food Hygiene, International Certificate for Food Hygiene, HACCP and Food and Health) and has trained several people in each of the modules. She has served as a resource person and consultant for several organisations such as Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA), Nestle, Department of Social Welfare, Root and Tuber Improvement and Marketing Programme (RTIMP) of Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the defunct Centre for Biodiversity Utilization and Development (IRNR, KNUST). She has organised training workshops for both the formal and informal sectors and trained over 3500 food handlers in the hospitality industry.

She has also organised several outreach programmes and workshops (both locally and internationally) aimed at increasing enrollment of girls in STEM/TVET programmes and empowering women in TVET /STEM for participation in leadership roles.

She has attended several conferences and published papers in reputed journals and is an editorial board member and reviewer of several journals. Some of her Research Interest includes Food Safety, Food Security, Flavour and Sensory Science, New Product Development, Post Production Utilization of Cocoyam, Hospitality Science, Food Policy analysis and implementation; and Food Safety and Hygiene.

One of her enviable achievements is her recent election as the President for the Institute of Hospitality in Ghana. She also serves as the National Chairperson of Women in Technology and Development (WITED), a brain child of the Association of Technical Universities and Polytechnics in Africa (ATUPA), which advocates for the girl child in TVET and STEM education and the involvement of women in national development; and serves on some of its Working Groups. Dr Owusu-Darko is also the Country Ambassador for Global Harmonization Initiative (GHI). She is a member of the Institute of Hospitality, Ghana; Food Authenticity, UK; Global Food Safety Intiative; Global Harmonization Initiative; African Society of Food Scientists and Technologists; and the International Union of Food Scientists and Technologists (IUFOST).

 Dr. Owusu-Darko wishes to see a lot of women attain the same feat and even go beyond her and is excited that she has been a trailblazer for women, especially in KsTU. She believes Ghana is a fertile soil for Women in TVET/ STEM to bloom and thrive.

Speaking to Dr. Owusu-Darko she encouraged all staff to work together and support Management of the University to achieve the set goals. She is very optimistic that with the right strategy and cooperation among the staff of the University, attaining a world-class status is very achievable.

In addition, she advised women in the HCIM Department to go beyond their expectations to develop themselves by publishing their works to get promotion. She further urged them to attend relevant workshops to harness their potential in their various fields.  

Amongst her siblings are Mrs. Joyce Asibey (first black Headmistress of Aburi Girls Secondary School), Mr.  F.P Kyei (former IGP of Ghana): Mrs. Helen  Asiamah (Director, Internal Communications, Environmental Protection Agency) and Mrs.  Mary Agyepong (Foundation Registrar at the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, UESD)

Dr. Owusu-Darko is a mother of five children.  An ardent Christian, Dr. Owusu-Darko points to God through Jesus Christ as her source of inspiration and strength.

Public Relation Office