Rekindling Liberia College of the University of Liberia:  A Historic Synopsis, Successes and Prospects

By: Dr. Josephus M. Gray, PhD | Associate Professor and Dean | University of Liberia | 

J. Moses Gray

The College of Social Sciences and Humanities (Liberia College) was founded on an agenda of social responsibility to the Liberian Society and the world to provide educational access to the nation and other nationals across the globe. This agenda has served the College and its students well since 1862, and the canons behind that agenda have become an integral part of the philosophy of the University of Liberia. At the college, high premium is placed on academic freedom, and students receive a top quality education, faculty and students are equally held in an orbit of high standard. Liberia College has flourished for over 158 years, and is widely regarded among Liberians as an academic powerhouse, numbering at the top in a range of colleges and universities classifications in Liberia and also strives to be among the most innovative academic institutions in the world.

Liberia prides itself in having one of the oldest learning institutions not just on the African continent but in the world as well, cherished with centuries of existence; on February 4, 1862 Liberia College opened its doors to academic activities. It was established by the Liberian Government barely fifteen (15) years after the Independence of the Republic of Liberia. The college is historically the fifth oldest college on the African continent, and the oldest in the Republic of Liberia dating far back to centuries ago. For over 158 years, Liberia College has withstood the test of time as one of the best colleges in the areas of academic excellence, research, quality teaching and creative thinking in which all scholarly works are cherished and promoted. In 1951, Liberia College and the William V. S. Tubman Teachers’ College merged to form the University of Liberia through the Trustees of Donations for Education in Liberia (TDEL), based in the United States of America.

The Liberia College located in Fendall, Louisiana, Montserrado County, Liberia; is without doubt one of Africa’s oldest universities, and the second oldest institutions of higher learning in West Africa. Through the farsighted and illustrate leadership of Dr. Julius S. Nelson’s administration, the current faculties of the college are comfortable and are teaching through digital education by using Moodle eLearning platform to carry out teaching and interact with students. For the past six months, the entire faculty including the chairpersons participated in eleven (11) training circles including workshops, seminars and symposiums for effective eLearning teaching. Over the last one-half centuries, the Liberia College has worked to build an institution with the adroitness to directly address the fluctuating academic challenges that the youthful population faces, and the college has grown over the century, has been powered by continuous revolution and ongoing efforts to improve and provide quality education and truth, research and enhance students’ creative thinking and approaches to contemporary situation through the application of quality education.

The history of the college provides overviews and progress, and begins with a look at the programs that the college is pursuing in correlation with the University’s goal as part to continuous improving quality learning environments, research and quality education. Interestingly, for the first time in the nation’s history, the current generations of students enrolling at the university are learning through eLearning Moodle platform, which served as an added advantage for the students. It also discussed holistic broad-based areas of great interests that enable students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to achieving their specialized goals, improve the productivity, to prepare them for the job market have them imbued with the inspiration of job creation, and service to their communities. This account provides faculty demographic and data analysis, and delved into academic activities of every departments, and detailed achievements, challenges and prospects. The historical overview also gives its conclusions and makes several recommendations for implementation.

The college opened its doors in 1862, marking the crucial period in the Liberian history with emphasis on education to ensure a sound and academically prepared human resource development; the nation, without over statement, indeed needed trained men and women to run its affairs of the state.  Many believed that a tertiary education institution could accomplish this objective.  It was this thinking that gave rise to the founding of the College.  In 1862 the nation’s founding father, Joseph J. Roberts became the first president of Liberia College.

By all account, the first group of students was seven, three of them were recipients of the American Colonization Society’s (ACS) scholarships and the other four students met their own academic expensive.  The first group of students was tested in Greek, Latin and Mathematics. The college without doubt, is one of Africa’s oldest universities, and the second oldest institutions of higher learning in West Africa. About 18,000 students are enrolled at the University of Liberia, and of that number, approximately 12,000 enrolled at the Liberia College with the Department of English and Literature enrolling roughly 10,000 students yearly.  The college offers a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Mission and Vision

The mission and vision of the college are aligned with the University of Liberia. One of the world’s most ancient colleges, one of the college’s visions is to transform the way that the world is understood, how knowledge is created, and how problems are approached and solved including emerging problems.  It also provides academic excellence, research, and teaching cardinally cherished and promoted, with the uncompromisingly imbued devotion on high premium placed on academic freedom, creative thinking, and ensuring that students receive a top-quality education, as faculty and students are held in high esteem and standard.

Faculty Statistics

For the current academic year, the college has a combined 212 faculty members of which 190 represent male faculties and 22 female faculties.  The institutional faculty breakdown for the academic year 2019/2020 shows that 90 (45%) represent faculty members with bachelor’s degrees, while faculty members with master’s degrees constitute 105 (50%) and 11 (5%) doctoral degree holders.   The college’s statistics further showed that 93 male faculty members are holders of bachelor’s degree, 86 of the male faculty members are master’s degree holders and 11 male faulty members earned a doctoral degree.  Of the twenty-two (22) female faculty members, three (3) earned only a bachelor’s degree and 19 others hold master’s degree.  The 190 male faculty members, 94 members represent full-time faculty as 96 members stand for adjunct faculty.

Achievements of College

Established as a degree-earned college, the Liberia College which serves as a flagship college of the University of Liberia is regarded as an integral part 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 pays close attention to the progression of students from admission to graduation. Liberia College owed 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 students’ enrollment of the of undergraduates represents the 15 political subdivisions of Liberia.

For the record, Liberia College is well-regarded and strongly valued due to it numerous perceptible 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 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 graduated with high distinction, in several academic and professional fields of studies.

Bulks of the graduates of the college since its formation in 1862 have 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, Speaker of  the national legislature, Foreign Ministers, deputy ministers, Commissioners, heads of public cooperation, standard-bearers of animated political parties, and religious leaders.  Others fruitfully moved onward to become presidents, vice presidents, deans, academic directors and chairpersons of the University of Liberia.  Currently, some of the graduates of the college are tremendously making contributions to the global society, and serving as engineer, pilot, lawyer, scientist, banker, auditor, professor, manager, politician, entrepreneur, judge, medical doctor, military officer, law enforcements officer, policy-maker, media tycoon, and research fellow, among other professional fields.

Other areas of achievements include the reopening of LUX FM 106.5 which serves the university community and the Liberian society with fair, accurate, balanced and objective broadcasting. Also degree granting academic disciplines has increased from nine  (9) to ten- with the latest being the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and faculty career development in the professional field of Moodle eLearning and the  distribution of laptops.  Besides, faculty members with master’s and doctorate degrees have increased compared to other.

ELearning Status

Through the farsighted and illustrate leadership of Dr. Julius S. Nelson’s administration, the current faculties of the college are comfortable and are teaching through digital education by using Moodle eLearning platform to carry out teaching and interact with students. For the past six months, the entire faculty including the chairpersons participated in eleven (11) training circles including workshops, seminars and symposiums for effective eLearning teaching.

Administrative Management

The current President of the University of Liberia is Rev., Dr. Julius S. Nelson, Jr., is being assisted by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Prof., Dr. Moses M. Zinnah, PhD. The vice president is aided by deans. The University of Liberia is organized into academic and administrative units, with 39 academic units conferring degrees. The collages are headed by deans who are assisted by chairs as heads of academic departments. At the institution, faculties typically hold the academic ranks of teaching assistant, instructor, assistant professor, associate professor and full professorship. The deans and chairs play dual roles both academically and administratively. Each College, graduate program and professional school   has its own unique administrative structure in place.

Current Enrollment Data

Enrollment figure for academic 2019-20 is about 19,406 students. Of this number, 5,233 were male and 14,183 were female, almost certainly among the lowest figure in gender gap in the five undergraduate colleges. The college hosts 15 academic departments.  The first Dean of Liberia College was Professor Anna M. Cooper, while the Seventeenth and current dean of the college is Associate Professor, Dr. Josephus Moses Gray, Ph.D, By virtue of the College being the oldest at the University of Liberia, makes the Dean of the College the doyen of the Deans of the university, followed by the Dean of the William V. S. Tubman Teachers’ College. In 1951, Liberia College and the William V. S. Tubman Teachers’ College merged to form the University of Liberia through the Trustees of Donations for Education in Liberia (TDEL), based in the United States of America.

 Academic Units

Presently, there are fifteen (15) academic departments in Liberia College, nine (9) of which confer undergraduate Bachelor’s degrees in several academic disciplines. The Departments of Physical Education and Sports, and History are the oldest established units in the college, they were established in 1862. The Department of Sociology and Anthropology for now produces the highest number of graduates, as it has led in the number of graduates for at least the last four years. The Department of Sociology and Anthropology is followed by the Mass Communication Department, as the second-highest producer of graduates. In the third and fourth positions are the Institutes of Population Studies, and Department of Political Science.  Other degrees granting units include the Departments of History, Geography, French Studies, English and Literature, and Social Work, the newest established Bachelor’s degree program, while the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies next academic year 2020-2021 will join ther other nine departments as a degree conferring unit.

Remarkably, the Social Work unit came into existence as a result of a partnership with Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia, the United States of America (USA). The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies in the 2020/2021 academic year will begin the process of conferring Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies. The non-degree granting units include Physical Education and Sports, Liberian Languages, Social Science, Arts and Crafts and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). The College is the largest in terms of departments, students’ enrollment, workforce and faculties.

Brief Profile of the Dean of Liberia College

President of the University of Liberia, Rev., Dr. Julius S. Nelson, Jr., appointed Associate Professor Dr. Josephus Moses Gray, Ph.D., and Dean of the College  effective February 1, 2020.  Dr. Gray was among several proven academics and professionals appointed following a thorough and rigorous evaluation.  A scholar of international relations and foreign policy studies, Dr. Gray is an accomplished leader in the higher education which progressively reflects: quality teaching, research with emphasis on internationally recognized professor with a Ph.D. in International Relations. The dean’s motto: strict adherence to “Quality of Teaching and Zero Tolerance against Academic Fraud”. He is an Executive of the International Confusion Association and China-Africa Think Tanks headquarters in Beijing, China. Dr. Gray succeeds Associate Professor Sekou Konneh, was appointed Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs.

Dr. Gray joined the university faculty team as an Adjunct Faculty of the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida Graduate Program of International Studies, University of Liberia for three years and ascended to a full-time faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2018. His research interests are in international relations, political science and governments, geopolitics of Africa and the cure of riches, diplomacy, foreign policy studies, democracy and globalization, and governances. Dr. Gray, an author, diplomat and research fellow,  is the Chief Executive Officer of the African Council of Think Tanks, International Studies and Applied Research. He also lectured international relations as associate professor at the University of Liberia Graduate Program of international studies. He also teaches at the Department of Mass Communications as associate professor of journalism.

Dr. Gray’s doctoral dissertation is:” Effect of Diplomacy: Liberia, U.S., China’s Triangular Relation, while his master’s thesis was:” Assessing the Effect of the Liberian Civil War and bachelor’s thesis: The Impact of Liberian Media in Democratic Governance”, is instructive and detailed research. He has written and published three books: The New Geopolitics of Africa’s Oil and Energy”, Liberia’s Emerging Democracy, and “The Effect of Diplomacy”.

As wildly respected for his instructive researches and articles, Dr. Gray brings great experience in quality teaching and rising research, and also brings a commitment to research excellence, a commitment to teaching excellence, and innovation to the university community. The dean similarly has a profound vision for how the Liberia College can power the wider UL’s mission. He oversees over 75 graduate students’ at the University of Liberia Graduate School thesis and a PhD candidate’s dissertation in Australia, and leads a college of more than 200 faculty members, 96 bachelor’s degree, 105 master’s and 11 doctoral degree holders, and about 8,000 students.

Dr. Gray expressed his profound joy and excitement to be a part of the dedicated, committed crew, astute team member and a significant player in such a dynamic academic powerhouse reflective of a community of fountain sound knowledge, and looks forward to working with the unique faculty, staff and students. He was born in Harper City, Maryland County, but his parents hailed from the village of Kayken in Barclayville Chiefdom, Grand Kru County.

He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations and Foreign Policy Studies with high distinction (Magna Cum Laude) from  CEDS University of Paris located on  37 Quai de Grenelle, 75015, Paris, France.  Dr. Gray’s Ph.D. dissertation was successfully defended before an academic jury of five French recognized academics including  Prof. Dr. Faund Nohra, Associate Professor at Paris Dscartes and Academic Director of CEDS (Dr. Nohra supervised Dr. Gray’s dissertation) and Dr. Michael Strauss, Professor at CEDS University of Paris; Dr. Michael Lebedev, Professor at CEDS and Diplomat and Dr. Souha Akiki, President of Paris Graduate School and Professor at CEDS.

Dr. Gray’s Ph.D. dissertation contains 566 pages, 3,123 paragraphs, 202, 916 words and 2, 470, 268 characters both single and double spacing, while it contains 9,750 punctuation marks, 855 in-text citations. The instructive studies also contained 590 references and 16,265 lines. The study is organized into three major parts and comprises ten major chapters; it sums up with the findings of the study and gives recommendations. He has authored and published dozens of peer-reviewed scholarly articles and three books and over 150 scholarly works in local and international journals. All these scholarly articles and books are all appropriate to academic disciplines and mostly used for scholarly work especially at the graduate level. He is specialized in International Relations, International Politics, Strategies, Diplomacy, Foreign Policy Studies, International Economics and Finance, International Trade, and Business, Public International Law, Applied Research and Geopolitics.

Overviews of Academic Departments

    Liberia College has flourished for over 158 years, and is widely regarded among Liberians as an academic powerhouse, numbering at the top in a range of colleges and universities rankings in Liberia. The College has a combined 212 faculty of which 190 represent male faculties and 22 female faculties.

The institutional faculty breakdown for the academic year 2019/2020 shows that 90 (45%) represent faculty members with bachelor’s degrees, while faculty members with master’s degrees constitute 105 (50%) and 11 (5%) doctoral degree holders. The college’s statistics further showed that 93 male faculty members are holders of bachelor’s degree, 86 of the male faculty members are master’s degree holders and 11 male faulty members earned a doctoral degree.

Of the twenty-two (22) female faculty members, three (3) earned only a bachelor’s degree and 19 others hold master’s degree. Out of the 190 male faculty members, 94 members represent full-time faculty as 96 members stand for Adjunct Faculty. Concerted efforts are being made by the university to seek scholarship schemes and opportunities for faculty development which can help to increase the number of doctoral and master’s degrees holders and decrease bachelor’s degree holders.  A flexible undergraduate degree structure is based on the student’s choice of subject specialism, high-quality teaching grounded in interaction and dialogue between teachers and students.

Currently, there are fifteen (15) academic departments in Liberia College, nine (9) of which confer undergraduate bachelor’s degrees in several academic disciplines. The college’s unique empirical learning method combined with a resilient attitude of critical thinking and research provides students with several opportunities to collaborate with leading faculty on research works. The College has the spirit and the record of being a place that is so keen and devotedly active in not only thinking about, but in thorough touch with the future of higher education for the 15 academic units, headed by Chairs and assisted by professional staff. Find out more about the departments that make up the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Department of Arts and Crafts   

The College of Social Sciences and humanities is the flagship of all the Colleges at the University. The Department of Arts and Crafts is one of the 15 departments of the Colleges.  It was established in the 1970s and has since undergone lots of changes throughout the past years.  Among those who served as Chairs of the department include Vanjah Richards, Caesar Harris, Oho Wilson and presently chaired by Mr. Richard Mensah. He holds BA in Publishing Studies.

Department of English and Literature

The Department of English and Literature is one department within Liberia College (College of Social Sciences and Humanities) at the University of Liberia. The establishment of the department can be traced far back in the 20th Century. It is the third oldest department established in 1891 through the effort of Professor Joseph Walters. He was a Liberian student at Oberlin College, Ohio, USA.   Walters is well respected for his novel “GuanyaPau” which is history in itself.”Guanya Pau” is believed to be the first prose fiction in English to come out of Africa. It is also a forerunner novel on the theme of female assertiveness. The most recent Chairman of the department was MrMarcus S. Sokpah. Unfortunately, Mr. Sokpah died on September 17, 2020; therefore, the dean of the college, Associate Professor Josephus M. Gray, PhD in International Relations and Foreign Policy Studies is serving as provisional chair, pending the recruitment and subsequent appointment of a new chairman of the department.

The Department of English has the highest number of faculties in the college and each year about 10,000 enrolled at the department. The Faculty of the department, 37 instructors of which 32 (86%) comprised males and 5 (14%) female faculty. Bachelor’s degree holders 19 (51%) and 17 (46%) recorded as master’s degree holders, while only one person earned doctoral at the department. From 1940 – 50, Liberia College, Precursor of the University of Liberia, was perhaps the first institution of higher learning in Africa to establish a post-graduate program in Creative Writing program. The unit offers a four-year program of studies leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA). At the same time, it offers courses for freshman and sophomore students who are fulfilling English requirements under the general education program of the University.

It offers a four year program of studies leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA). At the same time, it offers courses for freshman and sophomore students who are fulfilling English requirements under the general education program of the University. The department also offers service courses in English and Literature for the William V. S. Tubman Teachers College, leading to the award of Bachelor of Science Degree in English Education. Nearly 10,000 students take English courses each semester.

Department of French Studies

The Department of French studies was established in the ‘60s. The aim of this establishment was primarily meant to train local translators/interpreters to facilitate the scheduled OAU Summit to take place in Buchanan. The Department of French Studies was primarily established in the 1960s to train Liberian high school graduates to facilitate through interpretation for the Buchanan scheduled OAU Submit. The department is headed by Zawu B. Gayflor, he holds BA and MA in French Studies and Linguistics.  Later it became a unit at the University of Liberia with expatiates teaching along with some nationals.  Today, the department has become a degree granting entity with no expatriates.

The Faculties of the department are 24, with males representing 18 (75%) and female 6 (25%).  Out of which 24 faculty, Full-time Faculty records 8 (33%) and 16 (67%) adjunct-Faculty members. Full-time male faculty is 7 (88%) and 1 (12%) female faculty. While for adjunct, 11 (69%) are males and 5 (31%) recorded for female faculty.  Nowadays, the department of French studies is staffed by Liberian trained instructors or graduates from the University of Liberia majoring in French. Currently, the department is made of both graduates from the same department and others from West African region with emphasis on the language.

First Semester 2019/2020

Department of Geography

The training in Geography was set up at the University of Liberia in 1971 with the assistance of the Federal Republic of Germany that provided technical assistance as regards to professors, equipment, teaching aids and textbooks. The Department of Geography provides scientific knowledge about the Earth and its people including basic and applied research relevant to national socio-economic development at the Bachelor’s levels.  The department is chaired by Rev. Jethro S. Tamba. He holds BA and MSc in Regional Science  Currently, the Department of Geography hosts the total of 18 faculties, 7 (39%) of the number made of full-time faculty while the statistics of the Adjunct Faculty stand at 11 (61%). The faculty includes five bachelors’ degree holders while 12 of the faculty earned master’s degrees in various disciplines, and one doctoral degree holder.

Moreover, it is one of the seven (7) degree granting departments in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Liberia.  Since the inception, it has granted Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees to more than seven hundred (700) graduates in the field of General Geography.  In addition to training activities, the Department of Geography actively engages into research activities, environmental impact assessments, feasibility studies and related geography studies.  To qualify for a Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA.) in Geography, a candidate must have completed course work totaling not less than one hundred and twenty eight (128) credit hours of which forty two (42) credit hours should be in the student’s major area of study, and should have passed all required courses as well as other departmental requirements with a GPA of not less than 2.0.  The one hundred and twenty-eight (128) credit hours required for graduation are distributed as follows: General Requirement 62 Credit Hours; Major Requirement, 42 Credit Hours, Minor Requirement, 18, Credit Hours,   Elective  6 Credit Hours  total: 128 Credit Hours.

Department of History

The Department of History was established in 1862 about the same period the college was established. It is one of the oldest degree granting departments in Liberia College. Apart from the degree, it offers in Liberia College, it trains 50% of the students in Teacher College majoring in History. The unit has a combined instructional staff of 11 males, five full-time faculties and six adjunct faculty members.  The Chair of the department is Associate Professor Samuel T. Kortue, he earned PhD in history.   The Department of History has over the years served as a gateway to the study of International Relations, Law, Human Right advocacy, and Educators. The department was established with the primary objective to present an in-depth, accurate clear comprehensive study of the multicultural, social, economic, political and ethnographic development in the major regions or centers of world civilization which include Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Near East, the Americas and Europe from antiquity of the 21st century.

The Department therefore emphasizes an integrated approach to the teaching and study of history. This is fundamental and making both students and teachers to identify, understand and provide the requisite solutions to complex problems or developments affecting their communities and wilder societies as well as the world at large.  The unit has had Ten (10) Chairpersons from 1980 to present, apart from the war’s years. The first Chairperson of the Department of History was Dr. J. Pal Chaudhure, Associate Professor from 1980 to 1983.

The course of study for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in History takes four (4) years. A candidate must complete his/her general educational requirement as prescribed by the University of Liberia. History Majors are required to complete a total of 36 credit hours in their focal area in addition to 88 credit hours of general course requirement of the University of Liberia academic program. A total of 124 credit hours must be accum1ilated by History Majors in order to qualify for graduation. Career for History Majors, among the jobs a graduate can consider are: Advertising executive, research analyst, broadcasters,   consultant, campaign, Foreign Service officer, information specialist, intelligence agent, journalist, legal assistant, personnel administrator, researcher and a teacher or lecturer.

Institute of population Studies

The Institute for Population Studies (IPS) formerly Demographic Unit at the University of Liberia  was established in 1973  through the  Ministry of Planning & Economic Affairs (MPEA)  with the  assistance  of  United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with the goal of building the capacity of Liberians in demographic training and  research for socio-economic development and planning purposes. The department is chaired by Assistant Professor Johnson Kei, he holds BA and MA in Population studies. The Institute also conducts basic and applied research in the fields of population studies that are germane to the national socio-economic needs of Liberia.

In 1988, the Institute collaborated with the than Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs and stakeholders in the establishment of the National Population Commission and the preparation of the National Population Policy for Social and Economic Development. Since 2009, IPS offers both major and minor courses in Demography and provides training in middle-level statistics for individuals in the public and private sectors.  The Institute offers BA degree in demography and administers Certificate in Statistics for middle-level statisticians from the private and public sectors. The Institute provides middle-level statistics training for individuals in the public and private sectors. The Certificate in Statistics program was organized in 1980.

Department of Liberian Languages

The Department was founded in 1974. It was created through the recommendations of the late President Williams R. Tolbert, Jr., during his inaugural speech in the ‘70s. President Tolbert believed common language was cardinal to the Liberian culture, and the president recommended that Kpelle be taught at highest institution of learning. The department is chaired by James S. Momo, he holds BSc Secondary Education and several other diplomas and certificates. When the Department of Liberian Language was introduced, Pastor Joseph T. Allison who was Pastor in charge of the S. Peter’s Lutheran Church became the head of the language program.  Few years later, the late John Barclay took over from him and served up to 2006 when he met his end. Subsequently, Mr. James Momo took over the affairs as Acting Chairperson, a position in which he served up to 2018 when he was satisfactorily appointed as fulltime Chairperson to enhance the language program.

Because of President Robert’s tireless efforts and dedicated services rendered to the college, the establishment of additional colleges was made in order to improve the system of the institution.  These colleges functioned satisfactorily until Liberia College gave birth to the University of Liberia in 1951 at which time Mr. J. Max Bond was appointed as its first President. Among the many departments under the umbrella of the University of Liberia, the Department of Liberian Languages then came into being in 1975 predicated upon the recommendation of the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr., that the Kpelle language should be taught at the University of Liberia for students of the program to value the Liberian culture through language studies.  In the year 1994, said program was officially followed by the Vai Program.

Department of Mass Communication

The Department of Mass Communication is an integral part of Liberia College and was established in 1983 through a bilateral agreement between the Liberian Government and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to train journalists and other media practitioners. The department is chaired by Euriahs M. Togar, he holds BA and MSc in Communication and Information Science. The department emphasizes excellent journalism, demonstrated in professionalism and respect for the code of ethics for journalists. The inaugural academic activities were commenced in 1984. Since its establishment about 30 years ago, it has trained over 300 professional Liberian journalists with the needed journalistic skills and techniques most of whom are making tremendous contributions in the society in several sectors both public and private. The Department is wildly respected and it is the only degree granting in journalism in the country.

At the department, students are held in high standard by the faculty.  The department has 12 faculty members, four of whom are full-time faculty representing 30% and 8 (70%) adjunct faculty. The combined degree holders include 4 (34%) bachelor’s degree and 7 (58%) earned master’s degree while one faculty earned a PhD degree representing 8% of the total instructional staffs.  The department offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Mass Communication and now students can select from either of two paths (Broadcast Journalism and Print Journalism) in the department’s journalism program. Students can also select a minor/elective in other disciplines offered by the University.  Courses in our program are designed to guide our students in the standard practice of communication, especially journalism.

 Department of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)

As the result of the act of the Liberian National Legislature creating Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program on May 18, 1954 and Executive order number 12-54 was published, mandating the then Department of instruction, now Ministry of Education and the Department of War, now Ministry of National Defense respectively to formulate coordinate strategies for the execution of the ROTC Program in all accredited High Schools, Colleges and Universities within the Borders of the Republic of Liberia, thus making it a required course for study. The department is chaired by James W.S. Gboluma, he holds in BA in Sociology.  The Program is designed to provide basic information to and familiarize students with the general activities (constitutional mandate) of the military organization, thus inspiring them to sacrifice self-interest, cultivate team work, unity disciplines as well as effective leadership attributes both within the military and other civilian functionaries.

 Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

The original Department of Philosophy and Religion was established in the 1960s and did offer minor courses before the civil crisis in Liberia. The current chair of the department is Michael S. Seator, Jr., he holds BA in Philosophy and MSED in Educational Administration and Supervision. Later, the department started offering, service courses to the University. The current instructional staffs in the unit are eight, seven males and one female. It has a total of two full-time faculty, representing 25% and 6 (75%) adjunct Faculty.

Under the able leadership of Associate Professor, Steve M. Jubwe, then Dean of Liberia, asked the Chair, Michael S. Seator, Jr., and his colleagues to work and revise the academic program of the department for a granting degree program. Instantly, the team did the assignment very well. Thus, at the 96th Faculty Senate, the new academic program was officially launched, articulated, defended and approved for use and study.   When Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., was appointed as the chair, the very program was revisited and revised. It got its approval at the Faculty Senate for implementation. In the new (revised) program some of the courses that will be offered include:  Comparative Philosophy, Comparative Religion, African Traditional Religions, Religions, Sociology of Religion, Philosophy of Religion and Society and Religion.

The department continues to offer service courses to almost the entire populace with the exception of Teachers, Business, and Agriculture Colleges. These service courses include but not limited to: PHIL 300 (Introduction to Philosophy), PHIL 307 (Ethics/Moral Philosophy), and PHIL 403 (Logic). Liberia College is required to do two Philosophy courses as a matter of requirement. Besides the mentioned colleges, the Science College is required to do only the introduction.  With regards to quality and caliber of instructors, the department is blessed.

Department of Physical Education & Sports (P.E.)

The Department of Physical Education and Sports is as old as Liberia College. It was purposely created in 1862 to keep the students physically and academically fit during their stay at the University. The department is headed by Fayia D. Koijee, he earned BBA in Management and is the longest serving faculty in the college with years of professional experiences and achievements. It is also intended to spot out potential students who could make up a varsity team and train them for varsity sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, handball, table tennis, lawn tennis, track and field. The department offers many activities so that the students will choose any activity. The reason for different activities is that students are gifted in many areas and in different ways. Courses such as basketball, volleyball, football, table tennis, handball, lawn tennis, track and field are offered in every semester. Students are therefore asked to choose the courses that they like and fit in their schedule.

Department of Political Science

The Department of Political Science traces its origin to the early 1960s as a constituent part of the then joint-Department of History and Government, College of Liberal and Fine Arts, University of Liberia. Late Ambassador Christopher Tugbeh Minikon Moses and Oscar S. Norman – renowned Liberian civil servants were significant figures in its early establishment  and faculty under the collegiate deanship of Madam Fatima Massaquoi Fahnbulleh and the presidency of Dr. Rocheforte Lafayette Weeks- the first Liberian President of the University (1959- 1972). The chair of the department is Assistant Professor Richmond S. Anderson, he holds BA in Mass Communications and double master’s degrees (MA) in International Relations and  (MSED) in Educational Administration and Supervision. He has contributed immensely to the teaching profession and served several dedicated positions in government.

The department offers two areas of emphasis—International Relations and Comparative Politics. Students in these disciplines are required to complete a total of 124-Credit hours for Major, and 18-Credit hours for Minor Student. The Faculty of the department is 11 males out of which 4 (36%) represent full-time faculty and 7 (64%) adjunct faculty members. All the faculties hold master’s degree. In order to accommodate 124-Credit hours students are required to do 48-Credit hours in their respective discipline, 64-Credit hours prescribed courses from other disciplines, including 6-Credit hours as Elective and 18-Credit hours for Minor.

The Department at its formative stage enjoyed a dynamic plethora of both foreign and Liberian-born professors within its ranks who were highly experienced and intellectual statesmen and academics; prominent amongst them were:  Dr. Abraham Lamina James- Professor (1971-84); Chairman (1980-1983), Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer (Professor and Dean of Liberia College- 1973- 1979) and Dr. Tukumbi Lumumba-Kasongo – Congolese academic and Chairman of the Department (1983- 1985).

     Department of Social Science

The Department of Social Science was established in 1974 by Clarence E. Zamba Liberty, the then Dean of Liberia College. Currently, Social Science as a non-degree offering. The current head of the Department is Professor Hassan O. Telema; he holds a B.A. in Sociology and M.A. Degree in Social Development Policy from Beijing Normal University, People’s Republic of China. The number of faculty in the department is 11, of which 5 (45%) comprised males and 6 (46%) female faculty. earned Bachelor’s degree holders, 4 (36%) and 7(67%) recorded as master’s degree holders. 11 made of male faculty and one female faculty. There are 5 (45%) full-time faculty, and 6 (46%) adjunct faculty. Not only that, the Department has also been obliging to students of Teacher’s College, Business College, and Science College by exposing them to the lifestyle, and historicity of the state of Liberia. This is supported statistically that it has passed on to our non- social science major students the ability to fundamentally understand society and their environment.

Social Science as a non-degree offering Department offers three key courses: Introduction to Social Science (Sosc 102), Introduction to Liberian Society (Sosc201), and Introduction to University of Liberia Student Life (ULSL 101) respectively.  Department offers three key courses: Introduction to Social Science (Sosc 102), Introduction to Liberian Society (Sosc201), and Introduction to University of Liberia Student Life (ULSL 101) respectively.

Today, the Department of Social Science has a mandate to supervise three required courses: Introduction to Social Science (Social Science 102); Introduction to Liberian Society (Social Science 201); and University of Liberia Student Life (ULSL 101), the latest course requirement for all freshmen and transferred students for their first semester. Introduction to Social Science (SOSC102) offers students the basic perspectives of societies in general, human dynamism, the evolution of culture and man.  Introduction to Liberians society (Social Science 201) informs students about the Liberian society from diverse social disciplinary perspectives, such as the Economy, Geography, Sociology, History, Demography, and form of Governance (Politics) of Liberia. Social science 201 is a sophomore course mandatory for approximately the entire University.

Department of Social Work

The Department of Social Work was established in 2015 by a well-regarded professional team of social work and sociology comprising Joseph Jonah, Saydah Taylor, Joseph Geebro and Joseph F. Kpukuyou were instructed to develop and present a four-year Bachelor Social Work Degree curriculum to the Dean of Liberia College (Professor Steve Jubwe).  The current chair of the department is Joseph S. Kpukuyou, he holds BSc, MA, MPhil in Social Work. The department is the fastest growing academic unit at the University of Liberia, with students of the department assigned to the Police, Immigration and National Army (AFL) addressing social problems. Thus, the Social Work program, for the first time ever, officially started at the University of Liberia in October 2016/2017- first semester academic year.

 Department of Sociology and Anthropology

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology was established in the late 1950s, less than a decade following the chartering of the University of Liberia in 1951 by the National Legislature. It is one of the 15 academic units in Liberia College and one of the eight departments in the College granting undergraduate degrees to hundreds of students from diverse walks of life, including students from the 15 counties of Liberia and foreign nationals. The departed is chaired by Dr. J. Kerkula Foeday, he holds BA, LGSW, MA, MSW, DSW in Sociology and social Works. The Department grants BA in Sociology and allows students to do courses in other disciplines as minors, including Anthropology, Demography, Economics, English, French, Geography, History, Management, Mass Communication, political science, primary and secondary education, public administration, among other disciplines.

This academic unit has a combined faculty of 32, males- representing 27 (84%) and 5 (16%) females. Full-time Faculties are 8 (25%) of which 7 (88%) males and 1 (12%) female; 2 (25%) of the full-time faculty members hold Bachelor’s Degree, 5 (63%) Master’s Degree and 1 (12%) holds a Doctoral Degree. The department has one female full-time faculty and four adjunct females’ faculty; all the females in the department have earned a master’s degree. Breakdown of data shows that of the 24 Adjunct Faculty, males registered 20 (83%) of which 3 (13%) hold Bachelor’s Degree, 20 (83%) master’s degree while one faculty has earned a doctoral degree.

The Department currently has two programs, namely Sociology and Anthropology, but grants an undergraduate degree, BA, in Sociology. For now, it offers anthropology courses for those minoring in Anthropology. The curriculum of the Department covers courses in four areas: Required General Courses, Elective Courses, Anthropology Courses, and Sociology Courses.  There are 26 required general courses with cumulative 64 credit hours that students must complete before graduating.  For electives, students are required to complete two three-semester-credit-hour courses based on their interests or areas of study.

Meanwhile, bulks of the graduates of the college since its formation in 1862 have 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, Speaker of  the national legislature, Foreign Ministers, deputy ministers, Commissioners, heads of public cooperation, standard-bearers of animated political parties, and religious leaders.

Others fruitfully moved onward to become presidents, vice presidents, deans, academic directors and chairpersons of the University of Liberia.  Currently, some of the graduates of the college are tremendously making contributions to the global society, and serving as engineer, pilot, lawyer, scientist, banker, auditor, professor, manager, politician, entrepreneur, judge, medical doctor, military officer, law enforcements officer, policy-maker, media tycoon, and research fellow, among other professional fields.

About the author: Associate Professor Josephus Gray, PhD is currently the Dean of Liberia College. A scholar of international relations and foreign policy studies, Dr. Gray is an accomplished leader in the higher education which progressively reflects: quality teaching, research and leadership.

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About Cholo Brooks 14342 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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