Designing a curriculum for responsible forest governance in Ghana

This study examines the creation of a university curriculum that responds to the dynamic needs of present day forestry professionals. Such a curriculum is referred to in the thesis as a responsive curriculum: an adaptive curriculum that bridges the gap between abstract theories on one hand and the more contextual, continuously changing and demanding realities of the professional environment, on the other. Using Participatory Action Research design, it follows the journey of a forestry department at a university in Ghana in its creating such a curriculum. It investigates emerging challenges to responsible forest governance in Ghana and what that means for developing capabilities among future forestry professionals.

The study also discusses how the curriculum was developed. It highlights the key characteristics of the process and also illustrates how various contextual factors enabled or constrained curriculum development. Further, the study examines the interactions among teachers involved in designing and delivering the responsive curriculum. It situates their interactions in the context of a community of practice and investigates whether and how interactions and deliberations within the community becomes a platform for new knowledge and skills among the teachers. Finally, it offers an evaluation of the transdisciplinary approach used in the curriculum, from the perspective of the first two cohorts of students who enrolled in the programme. It also examines whether students believe they have acquired improved capabilities for responsible forest governance and how, overall, the curriculum approach meets their career aspirations.