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Friday, April 19, 2024

AMOS SAWYER COLLEGE TO INTRODUCE TWO-YEAR MA/MSW DEGREE PROGRAMS  

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Education is a crucial aspect of human growth and national development. Let us continually offer our services for human development especially in developing country like Liberia with huge uneducated population. Over the past years, the Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Liberia, has been actively engaged with reviewing and revising its curricula with focused to  constructively incorporate other new academic programs for career pathways for students and faculty, and to achieve sustainable  growth for secured employment.

Since its establishment 162 years ago by the founding fathers of the Republic, the College remains committed to empowering its students with requisite knowledge and practical skills vital to achieving personal and professional success in the changing local and global communities. The Amos C. Sawyer College also strives to be among the most innovative academic institutions in the world. Since Dr. Nelson took over the affairs of the University of Liberia, almost five years now, the flagship university has strategically positioned itself on a path of new academic trajectory, thus propelling itself far above redemptive glamour. The institution has instead elected to strengthen ties and collaboration with emphasis on academic and development that benefiting the entire institution and the country in general.

Since 1862, the college has traditionally served students pursuing a full, four-year undergraduate bachelor’s degrees in the most exceedingly respected professional academic disciplines. The College assists students to stay in the institution and realize their full potential and pays close attention to the progression of students from admission to graduation.

The new proposed degree programs are based on the philosophical vision of the faculty-student cantered President of UL, Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson to move the institution forward for the affordability of new career pathways for students and other Liberians and foreign nationals.

Based on the institution’s policies to offer quality education to individuals who desire to gain new knowledge and increase their knowledge in specific fields, and to offer affordable tertiary education to all, the Dean of Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Associate Professor Dr. Josephus M Gray held series of interactive sessions with Junior and Senior Students of the Social Work and Political Science Departments, and Full-time and Part-time faculty of the College.

The Dean’s interactive sessions with the stake-holders of the College were held separately, purposely for candid interactions with everyone about the new trajectory of Amon C. Sawyer College, particularly new programs, policies and to address other issues of regarding academic nature. The hour-long sessions held at the Office of the Dean, Thelma E. Duncan Sawyer Faculty Lounge and VIP Lounge at UL Fendall Campus were used to afford the students and faculty the opportunity to hold candid interactions with the academic team of the College.

The various meetings were further used to gather the students and faculty members’ opinions on quality learning and teaching and their impressions about the new trajectory of the College including the various departments and units including new and old programs, curricula, research, faculty capacity development, training, classroom management, introduction of a compulsory essay exams for students in the college, and to gather faculty concerns.

In his words of motivation to the students and faculty members, Dr. Gray praised them for their hard work, commitment to teaching and learning. He lauded them for their candid interactions and profound exchanges about learning, teaching, research and faculty development at the college and various academic departments, particularly the university.  Dr. Gray informed the students and faculty about plan to introduce new MSW two-year degree program in Social Work and two-year MA degree programs in Communication and Professional Writing and Sociology at the college, University of Liberia.

Upon completion of the curricula of the three new proposed master’s degree programs, the curricula will be presented to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for critical review before being submitted to the Academic Coordination Committee (ACC) and the Faculty Senate based the institution’s policies and procedures, an established way of approving new academic programs at the institution.

The new proposed MA degree program in Sociology working group is headed an illustrious young Liberian educator and scholar Assistant Professor Romeo Gbartea. He earned PhD in Sociology from the Federal Republic of Nigeria. While new proposed degree programs in Communication and Professional Writing working group is headed by a distinguished Liberian educator and administrator, Assistant Professor Dr. Nathaniel Gbessagee. He earned his PhD in Rhetoric and Critical Wring from the United States of America,

The master’s degree programs will afford students and Bachelor’s Degree holders new career pathways to pursue other career objectives in the three disciplines. The opened meetings were also used to inform the students and faculty about other new career pathways and programs at the college, new trajectory of Sawyer College, the introduction of compulsory thesis, Liberian constitution, quality teaching and learning, pedagogy, practical research, scholarship opportunities from European Union Office and Tilburg University in The Netherlands, as well as the proposed MA Programs in Sociology, Social Work, Communication and Professional Writing.

He also reminded the students that the new policies of the college mandates that all students in the college’s Midterm and Final Exams be administrated as Essay Exams, no more multiple choice, true or false and fill in the blank exams. The aim of the new policy to ban multiple chpice exams  is to help upgrade and enhance students writing skill, knowledge to able them express themselves on a specific subject, topic and independently communicate their ideas. Also, the college has introduced additional policies for departments and units to administrator for the final exams Department Tests (joint exams) under the supervision of a head of the department for course with multiple double or sessions, as a means to evacuate the students’ performance. “I am fully aware that the new policy wouldn’t be accepted by others in the college, but we are prepared and determined to ensure that the policy is implemented to the fullest”.

Fortunately, at Sawyer College under the leadership of Dr. Gray, females outpace men in the college three separate graduation ceremonies held during the academic years 2020, 2021and 2022, respectively. The valedictorian of the 103rd class was a female while 19 females graduated with high marks above male graduates.

Besides, under Prof. Gray’s leadership as Dean of the College, more qualified and competent female faculty have been hired, from 14 when Dr. Gray took over to 55 females, including hiring of two female chairpersons for the Departments of English and French Studies. While more females have been hired in administrative positions including Record Officers and Administrative Secretaries.

The past three convocation Speakers of Amos C. Sawyer College have been females and the task to introduce the speakers was given to female graduates, while the recent convocation master of ceremony was a female who status was changed from part-time faculty to a full-time faculty due to her exceptional qualities as well as her committed and dedicated service.

Moreover, females were exceptional during the 2022 final thesis oral defense and presentations. As a result of the academic exercise, two female graduates Miss Danielle Wornee, 20, year old, of the Department of Social Work and Miss Juma Patricia Sando, 20-year-old of the Department of Geography who outperformed the 216 graduates during the undergraduate final thesis oral defense were awarded a fully funded master’s degree Scholarship by the Amos C. Sawyer Educational Foundation through the instrumentality of Hon. Thelma E. Duncan Sawyer, widow of Dr Amos Claudius Sawyer.

Furthermore, under Dr. Gray’s leadership and with the numerous supports of UL President, Prof. Dr Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, more part-time faculty members status have been changed to full-time faculty with about 106 new employed.Other tangible areas of gains include the introduction of new BA degree granting programs in Criminology and Fine and Performing Arts and the reviewed and revision of 90 percent of the College’s curricula.

Other include UL sponsorship of faculty and staffs of the college to pursue master’s degree and doctorate degree studies programs in Ghana, Nigeria, Netherlands, and India, respectively. Presently, 48 faculty members and staffs from the College are abroad for advanced studies in various disciplines including Demography, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Literature, English, History, Political Science, Communication and Public Policy. While two other graduates are offered fully-funded master’s degree scholarships to pursue studies in Environment Science and Public Policy.

With less than two years, the College through the University of Liberia has entered several landmines’ MoU with several other higher institutions of learning in America, France, Ivory Coast and India. They Paris Graduate School and the University of Paris, France, Hinds College, Richmond, Mississippi, USA, L’ University Charles Louis De Montesquieu, Abidjan, Ivory Coast as well as the Sharda University School of Humanities and Social Sciences in Knowledge Park, Greater Norda, New Delhi, India.

All these tangibles were achieved due to support given the college by the President of the University of Liberia, Dr. Nelson and support received from the faculty and staffs. The academic team of the College continues to seek scholarship opportunities for faculty and students, while at the same time initiating new academic programs and placing emphasis on quality teaching of students through research and the introduction of essay exams across the college for Midterm and Final Exams.

The College is driven by its commitment to society and is dedicated to providing quality programs and degrees in a flexible and supportive environment. At the college, high premium is placed on academic freedom, and students receive a top-quality education, while faculty and students are equally held in an orbit of high standard.  The College remains committed to empowering its students with requisite knowledge and practical skills vital to achieving personal and professional success in the changing local and global communities. The campus is situated on a major highway and surrounded by friendly communities.

The College is an interesting paradox. It’s a small, supportive community hosted in a single roof of the Academic Complex of the University of Liberia. It is just a place where anyone soon knows every face and it’s the best place with a beautiful land scape, with access to every possible amenity. It sits at the heart of the university’s Fendall campus in Louisiana, Montserrado County, few miles away from the capital, Monrovia.

The college has been successful in integrating research in all the degree-granting departments, as a major requirement for completion. At the College, faculty members pursue a full range of research interests related to their own academic disciplines. The college has harmonized the various academic departments’ curricula and introduced standardized research methodology course across the college.  Students who successfully pass the research course are advanced for senior thesis writing or undertake a senior project as a special requirement to fulfill a four-year Baccalaureate Degree Requirements to earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree.

The graduates of the college are making tremendous contributions to societies across the international sphere with obvious outputs in numerous areas, including national development. Some graduates have risen to serve as President, Vice President, Justices of the Supreme Court, ministers, senators, Representatives, Ambassadors, presidents of tertiary institutions, heads of public corporations, standard-bearers of political parties, academic directors, deans and media experts.

Sawyer College has a proud history of providing courses that help communities to grow and flourish. Thus the focus on combining practical knowledge with quality learning and teaching. Interestingly, it was the first to be established in the country with a well-defined and founding mission. The College remains driven by its commitment to society and is dedicated to providing quality programs and degrees in a flexible and supportive environment.

The College also strives to be among the most innovative academic institutions in the world. Its remains committed to empowering its students with requisite knowledge and practical skills vital to achieving personal and professional success in the changing local and global communities in which they live, work and compete in the job market.

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