50-Year journey from theological to liberal arts university college - Untold story of Christian Service University College, Kumasi
Christian Service University College (CSUC), a liberal art evangelical institution based in Kumasi, has impacted the socio-economic development of Ghana for the past 50 years even though its story has not been told.
The University College began in January 1974 as a merger of two visions from two groups.
The first group, made up of Ghanaian Christians, had a vision of an interdenominational evangelical institution of high academic standard, which would train men and women for Christian Ministry.
The second group comprised of expatriate missionaries who had a vision to train workers from the well-established churches in southern Ghana for a thrust into Northern Ghana and neighbouring countries.
Interestingly, the Worldwide Evangelisation for Christ (WEC), as one of the missionary groups, had acquired property in Kumasi and had built four houses and a radio studio with plans to construct buildings to serve as the beginning of a training Bible college.
The two visions merged in September 1974 and the first residential classes started with five students.
Since then, the college has grown from strength to strength and has become a reputable non-denominational Christian University College in Ghana.
From theology to liberal arts
The CSUC operated as a theological centre of excellence for well over 30 years running certificate, diploma and degree programmes, respectively.
In September 2004, the College Council led by Prof. Sam K. Afrane took a milestone decision to transform the college from solely theological college into a liberal arts university college to offer programmes in business, communication, education, nursing, midwifery, information technology, computer science and planning and development.
In the same year, the college received its first certificate of accreditation from the National Accreditation Board (now Ghana Tertiary Education Commission) and on October 31, 2005, became a ‘University College’.
Since then, the institution has introduced more programmes and maintained rigorous academic standards to meet its vision and mission.
The CSUC has been mentored by three public universities in its 50-year history, namely the University of Ghana (UG), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and University of Cape Coast (UCC).
In addition to academic affiliations, the institution has entered into partnerships and collaborations in the area of research, student and faculty exchange programmes and other mutually beneficial areas as a move to sustain its vision of becoming a Christian university known for excellence in teaching, research and training in ethical leadership for societal advancement.
Some of the institutions include the Wheaton College, Eastern University, Council of Independent Universities (CIU), Ulting Overseas Trust, Baesock University, University of Energy, Science and Technology, China, Ghana Bridge Foundation and International Network for Christian Higher Education (INCHE).
Unique identity, impact
As a faith-based institution, the CSUC strives to integrate the Christian faith in its academic life.
The institution does not discriminate against students who apply to study on the basis of religion, gender and race which is consistent with Ghana’s constitutional provisions on freedom of association.
However, some Christian activities such as church services, counselling, prayer meetings are organised to stimulate spiritual growth in line with its mission of promoting knowledge for the training of men and women in Christian values and principles, academic and professional excellence for the transformation of society.
The CSUC brand of tertiary education is unique in several ways.
It is characterised by Christ-centred education, promotion of industry-led academic programmes, student mentorship scheme and entrepreneurship programmes, student support services (food bank project), ICT driven education underpinned by AI and scholarship scheme to enhance access to tertiary education.
Since its inception in 1974, CSUC has produced over 8,000 graduates who are serving in various sectors of the Ghanaian economy.
The institution has made great impact in nation building as it has produced seasoned politicians (Members of Parliament and Municipal, Metropolitan and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) across the political divide; heads of international, local and rural banks; astute journalists; public relations practitioners; heads of churches and religious organisations; seasoned development planners, faculty of internationally renowned institutions, and well-trained health professionals (nurses and midwives).
Some of our alumni include Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante (Former Chairman, National Peace Council); Rt Rev. Prof. J.O.Y. Mante (Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Ghana), Ms Cassandra Twum Ampofo, (PRO, Ghana Education Service); Mr Michael Aidoo, (the CEO, Sekyere Rural Bank Limited); Hon. Kennedy Kankam (MCE Asokore Mampong); Hon. Donkor Fuseini, former DCE, Sekyere Afram Plains; Mr William Addo (CEO, Ultimate Group of Companies); Hon. Elijah Adanse Bonnah (MCE, Obuasi East); among several others.
In spite of all the achievements of CSUC in the past 50-years, the institution is confronted with significant challenges.
One major challenge is sources of sustainable funding.
The institution currently relies heavily on student fees (about 95 per cent) to run which is not sustainable.
Meanwhile, the institution has taken steps to explore sustainable funding from international and local sources.
The second major challenge is inadequate hostel facilities.
Student numbers are growing exponentially but hostel facilities on campus are woefully inadequate to meet the growing need.
Due to the compact size of the campus, the institution acquired a 10-acre land to be developed as a new campus but has been held back due to lack of funds.
To improve ICT led education, the institution is building a six-floor multipurpose ICT block from IGF but has stalled for years due to lack of funds.
When completed, the ICT block will provide space for state-of-the-art ICT library, Computer Labs and well-furnished lecture theatres.
With the rising cost of electricity, CSUC is embarking on an ambitious solar energy project to address the energy needs of the institution.
The feasibility studies have been completed; what remains are the funds to start and complete the project.
From the foregone, there is no doubt that CSUC is on a path to greatness.
The institution has set between September 2023 and September 2024 to celebrate its Golden Jubilee (1974-2024) and would require closer collaboration and support from civil society, alumni, government and corporate Ghana to succeed.
The vision is on course; the prospects are positive and with the support from all stakeholders, the sky would be the limit.