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New role

Interim social work dean takes on dual responsibilities


By Jeff Green

Dr. Paul Banahene Adjei is taking on new duties.

He is jointly appointed interim associate vice-president (Indigenous research) effective May 2, while continuing as interim dean, School of Social Work.

The president accepted the recommendation and it was approved by the Board of Regents on April 28.

‘Institutional and community leader’

“A skillful academic and respected researcher, Dr. Adjei will play a central role in fostering strong respectful relationships with Indigenous communities and researchers, as well as enhancing Memorial’s approach to community-identified and researcher-led research priorities,” said Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).

“I look forward to working with Dr. Adjei in his new capacity. I am confident we will benefit from his experiences as an institutional and community leader as he continues the important work underway at our university.”

His appointment with the research portfolio is until May 1, 2023, or upon completion of a successful search for an associate vice-president (Indigenous research), whichever occurs first.

While in his new role, Dr. Adjei will work closely with Dr. Bose, senior leaders from the research portfolio and from across the university and partners, including Indigenous leaders and governments, focusing on research involving and relating to Indigenous communities. He will also provide leadership related to Memorial’s Research Impacting Indigenous Groups Policy.

“Having worked with Dr. Adjei for more than six years in his tenure as an inaugural member of the President’s Advisory Committee on Indigenous Affairs, as well as his extensive involvement in the development of the Strategic Framework for Indigenization, I have great confidence in Dr. Adjei’s abilities, knowledge and lived experience to carry out the responsibilities of the role of associate vice-president (Indigenous research),” said Catharyn Andersen, vice-president (Indigenous). “I would like to extend my gratitude to him for stepping up into this role at this time.”

Dr. Adjei’s extension to his interim dean, School of Social Work appointment, is effective July 1, 2022, and continuing until June 30, 2023, or upon completion of a successful search for a permanent dean, whichever occurs first.

“Dr. Adjei is a community-engaged and highly committed academic leader in the School of Social Work and across Memorial,” said Dr. Margaret Steele, interim provost and vice-president (academic). “I am confident that this dual appointment will serve the academic and research portfolios well, and I look forward to working with him through this time of transition.”

Vast experience

An award-winning scholar, educator, researcher and public speaker, Dr. Adjei’s expertise is in the areas of social justice, anti-Black racism, critical race, critical whiteness studies, anti-colonial theory and Indigenization. Dr. Adjei draws on his African indigeneity to fashion new answers for social work education.

Earlier this year, he was honoured as one of the Most Inspiring Immigrants in Atlantic Canada.

A member of the Committee on Ethical Research Impacting Indigenous Groups, Dr. Adjei is an associate professor in the School of Social Work, where he is a member of a joint Visiting Indigenous Elders pilot project with the Indigenous Student Resource Centre, and is a member of the Nunavut Arctic College partnership.

As a community builder, Dr. Adjei serves with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District Provincial Anti-racism Advisory Committee and is a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador RCMP Black Engagement Steering Committee.

He’s also the director of the Ghanaian Community of Newfoundland and Labrador Association.

An active researcher, Dr. Adjei has secured funding for his work from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, published several essays in scholarly journals, written book chapters and co-edited a publication and has presented at national and international conferences.

“I am reminded by my Akan elders of Ghana that not so much what we are called — but what we answer to — is what matters,” he said.

“I am honoured and humbled by this opportunity, and I look forward to continue working with Indigenous leaders, governments as well as the university community to support Indigenous research in the province and at the national and global levels.”

Prior to coming to Memorial in 2013, he taught as a sessional lecturer at the University of Toronto and was a part-time professor at Centennial College.

Dr. Adjei received his undergraduate degree in social work from the Department of Social Work of the University of Ghana. He received his master’s and PhD degrees from the University of Toronto, specializing in social justice education.

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