AAFSA In The Spotlight Member

Francis Godwyll


Dr. Francis Godwyll

Associate Professor and Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership

Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management, College of Education and Human Services 



1. What do you do at UNF?

I am an Associate Professor and the Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership in the Department of Leadership School Counseling and Sport Management.


2. Tell us something that would surprise people to know about you?

I believe in collaborative leadership embeddedin a strong philosophy of collegiality, teamwork, democratic/shared governance and social justice. I have a strong international/intercultural and interdisciplinary background spanning 21 years of higher education experience in six institutions across three different countries, ten plus years of which I served in various leadership roles.


I have twice won the Distinguished Faculty Graduate Teaching Award for The Patton College of Education at Ohio University, in 2006 and 2009. In 2010, I received the Distinguished Faculty Research and Scholarship Award for The Patton College of Education at Ohio University.  In 2011 I was a recipient of the Transformative Faculty Recognition Award from the office of the ExecutiveVice President and Provost of Ohio University.


My extensive interdisciplinary background has afforded me the opportunity to teach courses in Educational Leadership, Social/Psychological Foundations, Special Education, the Honors Program, partnership courses on democratic education for a Teacher Education Department, as well as courses in an African Studies Department. 


3. What are some of your accomplishments or community involvement?

I am extremely insightful, and see things that are not obvious to others, assisting me in identifying patterns and meanings in phenomena. In a given context, I am able to generate different kinds of possibilities from a number of angles, providing me with multiple tools to assess a situation. These predispose me to be a creative problem-solver.  I have a highly-developed capacity to understand how others feel, and I am genuinely concerned about their well-being.


These characteristics have been central to my work as a consultant on educational policy, reform issues, and program monitoring/evaluation for the Ministry of Education in Ghana; SOS Hermann Gmeiner Village School Projects in Ghana (a private welfare organization for orphaned and destitute children), and the Ghana National Association of Teachers. I have further served as an External Examiner for the Faculty (College) of Education at the University of Western Cape, South Africa. External Examiner (Assessor) for the Appointments and Promotion Board(equivalent of university level Tenure and Promotion Committee) for the University of Education at Winneba, Ghana.


I have almost twenty-one years of working at the college level supplemented by years of teaching and active engagement in pre- college institutions (K-12). I have been involved in evaluation and certification of student-teachers and teachers of K-12 across the length and breadth of Ghana in both regular and special schools. I have also worked collaboratively with educational administrators, policymakers, international donor agencies, parents, community leaders, and local educational supervisors


In line with my research interest area my scholarly and creative activities span articles in journals/magazines, SAGE encyclopedia entries, written chapters in edited books, co-authored books, and individual bookpublications.


I have served on about 100+ undergraduate empirical research capstone projects, about 70+ masters level capstone projects/theses, chaired 25+ completed doctoral dissertations and served as a member on 20+ completed dissertations. 


4. What person had the greatest impact on your life?

Having grown up in humble settings in a developing country I have experienced firsthand how a college education can become the great equalizer, leveling the playing field and opening up possibilitiesto opportunities that are life changing and transformational. I moved from a small invisible mining town in a developing country to attend one of the oldest and top ranking high schools in Ghana, became a teacher in the K-12 schools, went to college, became a teaching assistant at the university, pursued my masters, became a lecturer in a university in Ghana, won a highly competitive scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to pursue my doctorate in Germany, after which I was invited to the United States as a visiting scholar, later acquired a tenure earning faculty position, became tenured and currently serve as the Doctoral Program Director at UNF. The two formidable people who provided me the discipline, faith in myself and the building blocks for success are my parents of blessed memory. My father Mr. B. E. Godwyll, retired as an educator in an equivalent position of a State Superintendent of Schools in Ghana and passed away 15 years ago. My mother, Mrs. Adwowa Godwyll  retired as an educator at an equivalent level of a school district curriculum supervisor in Ghana and passed away on August 18, 2014.


5. What is your favorite thing about working at UNF?

The dynamic students in my program I work with daily and sitting and working in a nature preserve.


6. What are you most passionate about?

Working with my students and seeing them blossom, teaching, engaging in scholarly and creative activities focusing on leadership as it relates to marginalized populations and the use of education as a tool for empowerment through a social justice lens. I also enjoy collaborating with colleagues on research and professional development activities that have so far brought me to work closely with scholars and educators from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East, and North America.


7. How do you feel AAFSA benefited you and why did you join AAFSA?

It provides me a platform to interact with other professionals in UNF who otherwise I would not have the privilege to learn from. 






*If you have recommendations for In-the-Spotlight nominees, please send an email, including the nominee's full name, to aafsa@unf.edu













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