Emerita Professor Elizabeth Ardayfio-Schandorf has a distinguished academic career. A trail blazer in many fields, her interests and engagements started in the early 1970s and have been nurtured over five decades through teaching, research, mentoring, consulting services and community outreach programmes.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in Geography (1969) from the University of Ghana, a PhD. in Geography from the University of Birmingham, England (1974). She also holds a post-doctoral training Certificate in Environmental Resource Utilization and Management/Rural Energy Systems from UNIFE/United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan, and a second post-doctoral Certificate in Women, Public Policy and Development from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champagne, USA.
She is a Geographer, an Environmental Advisor and Expert in Rural Energy Systems and a Development Consultant. She also has passion for Family and Gender Research/Analysis, Women’s Empowerment and Advocacy.
In May 2011, she was appointed Emerita Professor of Geography by the University of Ghana and the first Ghanaian woman ever to be appointed to that position in Ghana. She serves as a member of the Ghana National Commission for UNESCO and Chairman of the Academic Board of the Ghana Sharks Schools Olympiad. She is a member of the Public Accountability and Interest Committee.
Beyond the academy, she has hands-on experience in leadership and governance. She was the former Head of the Department of Geography and Resource Development, Editor of the Ghana Geographical Journal, the National Director of the National Family and Development Programme, sponsored by UNFPA/University of Ghana, Co-coordinator of the International research project on “The Challenge of Mobility for Urban Families in the Evolution of Residential Practices in the City”, Founder and Coordinator of the Women’s Research Group, and Pioneer expert in Gender and Development Studies among many others.
She also successfully served her tenure as the Warden of Volta Hall, the only female Hall of Residence in the University of Ghana, and Chairman of the Committee of Heads of Halls. She also served as a Member of the Advisory Board of the Journal of Humanities, College of Humanities, in the University of Ghana.
She is a past Vice-President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (Arts Section), having also previously served as member of Council for several years and the Honorary Treasurer. She served as a Council Member of the Architect Registration Council and also as a member of Council of the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, Ghana.
At the international level, her outstanding contributions have been well recognized. She was the First expert to be appointed a Fellow of the United Nations Leadership Academy, University of Jordan, Amman. She was the West Africa Representative of the Commonwealth Geographical Bureau; the Representative of the Gender Commission on the International Geographical Union, the Africa Representative of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), and the West Africa Executive member of “Women Organizing Change in Agriculture and Natural Resources” (WOCAN).
She has served as a Consultant to many United Nations and specialized agencies both home and abroad, such as the National Council on Women and Development (now the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN/ECA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UNESCO, the United Nations Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UN/INRA), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN/FAO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
As a researcher, she has undertaken fifty major academic researches as well as action-oriented and policy studies. Her over 100 publications, including 17 books and monographs, and scholarly articles are published in reputed national and international journals.
She has served and continues to serve on numerous Committees and Boards both home and abroad.