One of West Africa’s oldest Colleges, the Prof Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities (formerly Liberia College), the pioneer of tertiary education in Liberia with history of academic excellence and praiseworthy tangible achievements in the educational sector and beyond of Liberia’s distinct borders, has propelled itself far above redemptive glamour and has prestigiously positioned on a new academic trajectory that establishes a profound unique collaboration and partnership with other sisterly globally recognized institutions of higher learning echelon and universities across the globe, particularly West Europe, United States of America, Asia, and West Africa, with North and South African in play.
These achievements can not only be referred to as magnificent milestone but by extension, also be described as a “great redemption” for the College, particularly the University and state specifically. Without an iota of doubts, the college can boost of numerous achievements despite of the severe consequence of the Coronavirus Pandemic which has weighed seriously on the societies across the globe. These new MoUs imbued with the widely acclaimed quality of education, coupled with the academically tasteful knowledge and wisdom of the faculty’s capacity, development, and students exchange inspiration, have been at the very heart of progress accrued.
All of these historic academic deals are geared towards quality education, faculty, staff and students overseas career development and exchanges to enhance the upliftment of the status of the people-centered College, mostly the University of Liberia among other higher institutions of learning on the African continent, is derived from the philosophy of the institution students- centered and dynamic President, Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo, who affixed his great ineffaceable signatures to these landmark academic deals. Fortunately, the academic team of the Prof. Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities under the visionary, farsighted and eloquent creative stewardship of the Dean of the College, Prof. Dr. Josephus M. Gray, merited a credit for tirelessly and firmly negotiating these historic establishments in the interest of the institution.
Considering the spirit of truism, the Scripture did not miss its words when stated that cast your bread upon the waters and after many days you shall reap your benefits, equally so became a fruitful and resounding reality when in less than two years, the College has entered into several landmark Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with five universities and colleges in Richmond, Mississippi State, America; Paris, France; New Delhi, India; Savannah, Georgia; Tilburg, Netherlands and Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Besides the MOUs, the Savannah State University and Tilburg University, the rest of the MOUs are signed by Dr. Nelson.
This unwavering dream to enhance the status of the University of Liberia (UL) among other higher institutions of learning on the globe is derived from the philosophy of the institution-students-centered-president, Prof., Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo. Nelson tied to his academic outreach crusade to elevate UL on a new academic trajectory enriched with the widely acclaimed quality education, coupled with the academically sophisticated knowledge and wisdom of the faculty’s capacity, development, and students exchange inspiration.
These institutions include Sharda University in New Delhi, India; Hinds Community College in Mississippi, USA; Paris Graduate School. France; Savannah, State University, USA; Tilburg University, Netherlands and L’ University Charles Louis De Montesquieu (UCLM) Cocody, Abidjan, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. While another Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Sawyer College and the Rhode University, Cape Town, South African is being worked on for possible partnership.
The MOU among the institutions of higher learning were signed by Prof. Dr. Nelson and his counterparts including Dr. Ashok Daryani, President, Sharda University; Prof Urban AMOA, Le Recteur, Charles Louis De University, Dr. Stephen Vacik, President, Hinds Community College, and Dr. Souha Akiki, President of Paris Graduate School in Paris.
Interestingly, the students and faculty of UL will be the most beneficiaries from these unique sealed major academic collaboration and partnership in the areas of quality education and academic excellence in the pool of enormous openings which stand to benefits a cross sectors of faculty, staffs and students of the Sawyer College by extension, the University of Liberia.
The pool of enormous benefits that students, staffs and faculty of Sawyer College now enjoy with these universities and higher institutions including full tuitions and fees wavier for BA, MA and Ph.D. Studies Program for the entire duration of the program while other waived 50% of tuitions and fees for each academic year for the duration of the entire degree program.
The MoU focuses on the following areas: Exchange of Faculty and administrative staff. Exchange of Scholars, postgraduate and undergraduate students, Dual Degree / credit transfer programs, Short term customized courses visit by students on credit transfer/study abroad, Semester student exchange (exchange 5 to 10 students per semester, Conducting collaborative research projects, Joint Bachelor and Master courses, exchange of PhD’s scholars and internships and sabbaticals. Conducting lectures and organizing symposia, Internships and sabbaticals and Exchange of academic information and materials. Other areas include Exchange educational and cultural materials of interest to both parties, Explore cooperative endeavors in research, faculty exchange, and short-term study abroad, Strengthen and expand mutual contacts between parties, and Publication of a joint-peer-reviewed academic journal.
The Paris Graduate School in February 2022 awarded ten scholarships, one fully funded Ph.D. studies, and nine fifty percent funded scholarship for master’s studies in social sciences while the Sharda University in Delhi, India has awarded one fully funded Ph.D. and twenty fifty percent funded scholarships to Sawyer College. The Hinds Community in USA and Savannah State University, USA have awarded full scholarships for the Undergraduate studies in Humanities and Social Sciences while Tilburg University’s scholarship is directed to students and faculty of the Department of Communication and Media Studies in the discipline of Communication and other fields of social Sciences.
The College’s academic programs have helped to enrich knowledge and helped them to be competitive in job market. They are also in a strong position to be of service to the intellectual communities, especially the global society. Academic achievement was once thought to be the most important outcome of formal educational experiences and while there is little doubt as to the vital role such achievements play in student’s life. Generally, ‘academic success’ is one of the most widely used constructs in educational achievement and assessment of higher education for students.
In line with best practices and the philosophy of the president of the university, Dr. Nelson, since 2020, to current, there has been a review of the College curricula for most of our programs with the aim of eliminating unnecessary (dead weight) modules while ensuring that the quality of courses offered and the course contents meet international standards, coupled with prone-future-secured platforms including the anxiety driven expectations of potential employers to take maximum advantage of our graduates that will make them strong competitors in the job markets.
Meanwhile, the University of Liberia and Sharda University in New Delhi, India on Thursday, October 6, 2022, signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with focus primarily on capacity building of both the faculty and students of the University of Liberia which is based on mutual interests of educational benefits between the two sisterly universities.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by high corps of academics including Deans, Professors, Administers and the Office of Internationals Relations of Sharda University.
Receiving the three-man high-powered delegation headed by the Dean of Prof. Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Prof. Dr. Josephus M. Gray, the President of Sharda University, Dr. Ashok Daryani wholeheartedly welcomed the delegate and expressed optimism for greater collaboration and mutual cooperation between the two universities.
During the signing ceremony, the President of Sharda University, Dr. Daryani stressed a stronger tie between the two sisterly universities aimed at strengthening not only in the areas of academic, but also in the area of economic viability.
Speaking on behalf of the President of the University of Liberia, the Coordinator in the President’s office, Atty Cletus A. Sieh expressed delight and appreciation to the President of Sharda University for embracing such a laudable venture that will promote congenial academic partnership. Mr. Sieh expressed optimism that students and faculty of the University of Liberia will take advantage of the opportunity.
During the signing ceremony, books authored by two professors of the Prof. Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Liberia, Dr. Prof. Josephus M. Gray, Dean of the College and Assistant Prof. Richmond S. Anderson, Chairman of the Department of Political Science, presented copies of their books to the President of Sharda University.
The Sharda University President, Dr. Daryani praised Dr. Gray and Assistant Professor Anderson for sharing knowledge through their unique publication of quality books.
The Sharda University President encourages Dr. Josephus Gray to consider the publication of another quality book on Liberia, US and India’s Relations. The Sharda University President has regestered his interest to co-author the book and will be sponsored by his university.
Also, a gift was presented to the President of Sharda University by Atty Cletus A. Sieh on behalf of the President of University of Liberia, Prof. Dr. Julius Jolokun Sarwolo Nelson, Jr.
Receiving the gift, the President of Sharda University stated his appreciation for the kind gesture.
Meanwhile, The MOU paves the way for Sharda University and the University of Liberia to expand working relationship at academic and mutual levels for the benefit of the two universities.
Major areas of benefits of mutual benefits include exchange of faculty and sabbaticals, exchange of Ph.D. scholars, provision of scholarships for postgraduate and undergraduate students, dual degree program, credit transfer programs, short-and long-term customized courses, joint collaborative research projects and publication of a joint peer-viewed research journal.
While in Delhi, the UL delegation also held discussions with high profile Deans, Heads of academic departments and Units, Academic Directors and Research Scholars. The delegation was taken on a guided tour to several of the Sharda University world class campuses including the teaching of Sharda University.
Faculty Lunge, Journalism Award and Major MoU
Being very cognizant of the intellectual value-kudos involving some individuals whose unflinching contributions to the academia specifically, and the greater society in general that have immensely taken the growth and developments of the educational sector wherein positively impacting the people and society; it remains the fervent aspiration to remember these illustrious characters for their imprints deeply engraved on the image of our society. In that vein, and without doubts, the college can boost of numerous achievements, despite the severe consequence of the coronavirus scourge which transformed into a pandemic with vicious stamp on the societies across the globe.
In clearly defined context; among areas of success include the establishment of Faculty Lounge named in honor of Mrs. Thelma Duncan Sawyer, widow of Prof. Amos C. Sawyer and alumna of the College; the Academic Excellence Journalism Award in memory of an illustrious Liberian, statesman and an icon of Print Journalism in Liberia, Mr. Philip N. Wesseh; Department of Creative and Performing Arts, and the signing of several MOUs with universities and higher institutions of learning across West Europe, United States of America, Asia, and West Africa and however, the inaugural dean’s bulletin of Liberia College should have been published earlier than now.
Merger of 16 Departments Into Six
One of the major single milestones of Liberia College is the merging of academic departments from fifteen (15) to six (6). Presently, Liberia College leads in the area of females’ enrollment. These two achievements stand-out as great landmark achievements of the University of Liberia. Even, the Visitor of the University of Liberia and President of Liberia, His Excellency, Dr. George Manneh Weah has acknowledged this noteworthy cornerstone achievement of female enrollment at Liberia College.
Introduction of New Courses and Programs
Sawyer College has also identified a number of new courses and programs that can be developed and will be attracted to the teaching professions especially for subjects like Social Sciences and Humanities including Communication, Media studies, English and French Language, Demography and population Studies, Geography, Political Science (International Relations, Comparative Politics and Liberian Government and Politics), Sociology, Criminology, Arts and Crafts, History, and Physical Education and Sports. The College has trained faculty to effectively use computers and is in the process of making computer knowledge as part of the requirements to determining and guiding the process of faculty recruitment. This exercise has so far yielded enormous dividends by not only addressing human resource needs, but has also resulted in positive outcomes.
Introduction of Departmental Exams
The College has also introduced a standard-based education system which promotes equity by establishing a baseline of knowledge and skills that all students, regardless of their background, should master as part of their education. The College provides students with useful skills for a fulfilling and productive life. Other areas include introduction of these as a major requirement across the College for graduation, reviewed and revised curricula, faculty capacity building, provision of oversea career development for faculty members, (need for) improvement in website, coupled with update/upgrade of academic programs, progressing actions relating to assessment and mal-shaped policies, strict adherent academic workloads, persistent training of faculty including capacity building in the areas of research methodologies, pedagogy, strengthening management’s oversight, faculty and staff supervision & appraisals, recruitment of competence and qualified faculty and staffs, introduction of debts (debates?) among departments.
As a means of urgent priority, the dean has steadfastly established a research desk to coordinate thesis, research and faculty publications at the College level, as well as exams sub-committees to supervise semester examinations. The dean’s office is currently strategizing so that the College can establish a new department in performing arts and collaboration and partnership with other colleges
Lux FM 106.5 Radio
The reactivation and reopening of Lux FM 106.5 Radio (under the Department of Communication and Media Studies), Station used to propagate and project the Image of UL, and train students in broadcast journalism including serving the university community and the Liberian society with fair, accurate, balanced and objective broadcasting, is another cardinal achievement.
For the record, Liberia College is well-regarded and strongly valued due to its numerous achievements. The College is wildly respected for being the first in the Republic of Liberia and second in West Africa to confer degrees in several academic disciplines, and has also produced the highest number of Bachelor’s Degree graduates in the country. Hundreds of these graduates from the College have enrolled in other universities across the globe and earned masters and doctorate degrees. Some have graduated with high distinction, in several academic and professional fields of studies.
Outputs of Graduates
Bulk of the graduates of the College since its formation in 1862 has made tremendous contributions and sequentially are rendering their invaluable services to the various communities and societies across the international sphere with obvious outputs. Some of the alumni of the College went on to serve as president and vice presidents of the Republic of Liberia, ministers, senators, representatives, Ambassadors, Bishops, Legislators, foreign ministers, deputy ministers, commissioners, heads of public cooperation, standard-bearers of political parties, and religious leaders.
Others fruitfully moved onward to become Presidents, Vice Presidents, Deans, Academic Directors and Chairpersons of various departments of the University of Liberia. Currently, some of the graduates of the College are making tremendous contributions to the global society, and serving as engineers, pilots, lawyers, scientists, bankers, auditors, professors, managers, politicians, entrepreneurs, judges, military officers, law enforcement officers, policy-makers, media tycoons, and research fellow, among other professional fields.
Research and Thesis Writing
Liberia 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 Thesis writing as a special requirement for students to fulfill a-year Baccalaureate Degree Requirements to earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Degree. The College has been successful in integrating research in all the degree granting departments, as a major requirement for graduation. At Liberia College, faculties pursue a full range of research interests related to their own academic disciplines.
Faculty Peer-reviewed Publications
In fulfilling its essential role, the College has served hundreds of thousands of individuals in the area of academic excellence, man power development and knowledge. Interestingly, the innovative Dean of the College has published a 680-page high-pitch research book titled: “The Effect of Diplomacy”, with the subtitle “Liberia, U.S. and China’s Triangular Relations”, has been peer reviewed and uniquely passed quality test, and now stands as a “milestone”, and “result-oriented”, based on proven scholarly writings and a profound studied.
The Chair of the Department of Political Science, Assistant Professor Richmond S. Anderson has authored and published his latest book entitled: Analytical Writing: With Focus on Feature and Editorial Writing.
While Mr. Ambrose Monboe Nebo, Instructor of the Department of Political Science has authored and published a book: Introduction to Liberia Criminal justice System. Also, Mr. Benjamin G. Sumo, Instructor, Department of English and Language Studies, has published his latest Novel: Short Stories, Essays and Poems from Liberia.
Establishment of New Programs
Positively, few departments including Communication and Media Studies, Geography, Political Science and Sociology and Anthropology are successful in reviewing and revising their curricula. Also, the introduction of certificate programs in the followings areas: (1) Joe Mulbah Center for Public Relations and Quality Journalism (b) Statistics Program for Middle-level statisticians (c) Geo-Information Services (d) Physical Fitness and (e) Middle-level French Language. Moreover, the induction of the Criminology Program in the faculty of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as a new discipline at Liberia College, and persistent career development of faculty and staffs.
Focus on Quality Education
The College maintains academic excellence, quality teaching, broad based research and emphasizes professionalism, efficiency and productivity. We are incredibly proud of how Liberia College responded and adapted to the adjustments needed due to the coronavirus. Not only has Liberia College adapted to meeting the change that the environment caused by COVID-19 pandemic, but we have been able to maintain academic excellence and online teaching, positioning us to provide better service for our students going forward.
Use Hybrid Learning
The college can basically be considered as one of the leaders in the use of hybrid learning combining online education and traditional learning. Extensive use of the Moodle platform was made to teach many courses made use in zoom and video recording classes. All the faculty members of the College are computer-literate, and are teaching through digital education by using Moodle eLearning to carry out teaching and interact with students.
Fight against COVID-19 Pandemic
We are incredibly proud of how Liberia College responded and adapted to the adjustments needed due to the coronavirus. Not only has Liberia College adapted to meet the changed environment caused by COVID-19 pandemic, but we have been able to maintain academic excellence and online instructional activities, positioning us to provide better service for our students going forward. Our faculty showed remarkable commitment to enhancing the online, remote learning experience for our students
Introduction of Academic Excellence Award
Consistent with the introduction of academic excellence award, 30 students received accolades for their outstanding academic outputs in their respective field of studies; while faculty members with master’s and doctorate degrees have increased.
Concerted efforts are being made by the university to seek scholarship opportunities for faculty development schemes which can help to increase the number of doctoral and master’s degrees holders and decrease bachelor’s degree holders. Over the two academic years, the College was successful to send over 15 faculty members and staffs abroad for advanced studies in MA and Ph.D in America, Nigeria, Ghana, India and Netherlands; established as a degree-granting college, Prof. Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities (formerly Liberia College) which serves as a flagship College of the University of Liberia is regarded as an integral part of the University. 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 pay close attention to the progression of students from admission to graduation.
Liberia College owes its origins to the arrival of scholars and teachers from the American Colonization Society (ACS). The school has a global reputation of outstanding academic and quality teaching achievement, and serves as a diverse community where almost the entire student enrollment of the undergraduates represents the 15 political subdivisions of Liberia. The path to reach this stage since 1862 the foundation of this great institution, our glorious achievements has been rough and tough and even though the College was bereft of all what it needed, we were able to successfully rise up to the challenges and to keep up our tasks including producing graduates upon whom degrees and other academic awards are yearly conferred.