The UL in Transition: Engaging Reforms, Strengthening Competitiveness: Introductory Remarks
Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr.
President of the University of Liberia
Mr. George Wah Williams
DIRECTOR AND LEAD FACILITATOR, EDDEIN (EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT INNOVATIONS)
Professor Dr. Moses M. Zinnah, VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS, UL
Dr. Darren Wilkins, CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER/VICE PRESIDENT FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Attorney Norris L. Tweah, VICE PRESIDENT FOR UNIVERSITY RELATIONS
Mr. Melvin Howard, National President, Officers and Members of the University of Liberia Alumina Association in the Americas (ULAAA),
FRIENDS, PARTNERS, COLLEAGUES FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LIBERIA CABINET WHO ARE TURN IN TODAY
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Greetings of Shalom/Peace. Let me express on behalf of the UL Administration, Faculty, Staff and Students our sympathy and condolences to the people of the United States, Citizen and residents of Georgia 5th Electoral District for the passing of the CIVIL RIGHTS ICON, THE LATE CONGRESSMAN, HONORABLE JOHN LEWIS. MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE.
As the fifteenth (15th) President of our nation’s flagship institution of higher learning, The University of Liberia, I extend my sincerest thanks and appreciation for the invitation to participate as one of the panelists, on this online platform: African Educators’ Forum, where I will be elaborating on the TRANSITION AND ACADEMIC REFORMS instituted by our leadership team, in a relatively short time, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Let me express gratitude to the Director and Lead Facilitator of Educational Development Innovations, Mr. George Wah Williams for such an outstanding platform.
First and foremost, the foundations and theoretical underpinnings of my vision for the University are grounded in the mission, vision, and core values of the University of Liberia, as the Chief Executive Officer/President.
For the past few years, the University of Liberia has been breaching frontiers in instituting reforms aimed at improving standards and strengthening systems to achieve academic excellence, be nationally equipped, productive, and internationally competitive.
Our vision and developmental reform agenda for the University of Liberia include, but are not limited to the following:
1. Encouraging Curriculum Review and Development for Enhancement – A Curriculum Review Committee will be set-up to do a comprehensive review of all curricula across academic programs. This process is to ensure that our curricula are bench-marked against other outstanding Universities within the sub-region, Africa and the World ensuring that we reflect National Priorities of the Republic of Liberia.
2. Identifying areas of national needs and creating academic programs to train the needed local professionals – We will work with our local and international partners to ensure that we train professionals relevant to the growth and development of our country. Let us remember that “RESEARCH DRIVES INNOVATIONS” LEADING TO CREATIVE THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX TO ACHIEVE OUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES.
3. Continuing our faculty development initiative but with huge emphasis on strengthening areas of gaps – We have over thirty-five to forty faculty colleagues who are on study leave seeking graduate and post-graduate degrees. The University of Liberia has made significant progress over the years in improving our faculty profile particularly in the Sciences, Engineering and Business Programs. Despite the progress, there are still VISIBLE gaps relative to the required number of qualified instructors needed in some academic programs. The notable departments include: Mathematics, English, Mass Communication, History and Physics. All of this is to ensure that we BRIGHTEN THE LIGHT of the University of Liberia.
4. Expanding our sources of revenue intake at the University – WE have established the “LUX INVESTMENT CORPORATION” TO LEAD US IN PROCESS OF DEVELOPING INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESOURCE MOBILIZATION. We have been identifying realistic investment opportunities, analyze the cost of funding those investment activities, solicit initial funding sources to finance the investments.
· We are also seeking to expand our revenue base through contribution from our alumni community. Through the Office of Alumni Engagement and Enhancement, we will foster a productive relationship and partnership with our hundreds of thousands of alumni around the world. Together we will renew the pride of “giving back” to our noble institution and actively participate in reforms and developmental activities with a sense of pride and belonging.
5. Establishing the President Student Leader Mentorship Program – The President Student Leader Mentorship Program will provide our students the opportunity to acquire practical administrative and operational experience through participation in the day-to-day operations of the University
Strengthening or developing a Contracts, Grants and Partnership Office to compete for targeted funding. We have a DRAFT FENDALLL LAND DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR THE FUTURE UNIVERSITY CITY. Secondly, we have applied for membership into the SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SOLUTIONS NETWROK (SDSN) FOR ACTIVE PARTICIPATION BY THE UL FAMILY INTO ACTIVITIES OF THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDCS).
7. Strengthening the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Center to enable students, faculty, and staff to participate in distance eLearning programs, and to access the wealth of online educational resources. This center has been institutionalized but it must be more strengthened. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, and Information Technology Program is being worked out for the new academic year 2020/2021.
· On July 28, 2020, the UL will begin its first Special E-Learning Semester with the support from the Government of Liberia and our partners.
Ladies and Gentlemen, progress comes through deliberate actions and this coronavirus pandemic presents a rare opportunity to embrace the inevitable change/reform for teaching and learning at the University of Liberia. We are welcoming technology in our learning environment at the University of Liberia for the new normal. WE NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE AND MORAL, TECHNICAL AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO ACHIEVE OUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES.
Finally, on behalf of the University family, I wish to extend our gratitude to the Educational development Innovations for this forum.
Thank you very much and happy to be here today. God bless you.