Prof Amos C. Sawyer College to Establish Certificate, Diploma, Degree Programs in Creative and Performing Arts

The President of the University of Liberia (UL), Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson has described the role of performing arts and entertainment as pivotal to the growth and development of any nation. Dr. Nelson made the disclosure on Tuesday at the joint Technical Working Session organized by the Office of the Dean of Prof. Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Liberia.

The Technical Working Session brought together the leaderships of Prof. Amos Sawyer College and the Creative Society of Liberia including the Liberia Movie Union, Musician Union of Liberia, Liberia Culture Union, Liberia Association of Writers, and Photographer Union of Liberia. Others participants were drawn from the Liberia Chef Association, Liberia Artists Union and Liberia Tailor Union.

According to Dr. Nelson, the Performing Arts including music, crafts, culture, traditions arts, movies and drama are needed and necessary to be part of the academic programs of the University of Liberia. Therefore, he encouraged the Dean of the Prof. Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Dr. Josephus M. Gray and his team of academics to formulate the necessary curricula reflective of international practices in line with other institutions in the sub-region that will lead to the establishment of certificate and diploma program in performing arts and eventually elevate the status of the Arts and Crafts Department to a degree granting level.

Dr. Nelson praised the leadership of the Prof. Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities for organizing Tuesday’s Technical working session which he described as necessary initiative in the interest of the states, university of Liberia and members of the Creative society of Liberia. He added that the UL Administration will support and work with the Dean of the college, Dr. Gray and his team for the successful establishment of the certificate and diploma program in performing arts.

Dr. Nelson said “We will work with the dean and leadership of Prof. Amos C. Sawyer College to achieve this milestone program being put forward as the university always provides opportunity for knowledge sharing”. He admonished the Sawyer College to take advantage of the blended learning at the university to establish contacts with other knowledgeable Liberians overseas with great expertise and experience to contribute towards teaching and learning at the college, particularly UL.

Dr. Nelson entreated the Dean of the College to accelerate ongoing technical work towards the curricula for onward presentation to the Academic Affairs for subsequent presentation to the Academic Coordinating Committee (ACC), Faculty Senate and the Board of Trustees.

Earlier, the Dean of the college, Dr. Gray said performing arts and entertainment are not just drivers of economic growth but offer an opportunity to portray Liberian cultures internationally, create jobs, and enhance economic growth and development.

According to Dr. Gray, performing arts also facilitate self-expression, and enable artists to reach wider audiences on social, economic, political and environmental issues through the arts of performance.  Dr. Gray disclosed that performing arts annually contributes to global economy including the U.S. with about 2 million jobs and raises about 170 billion in wages, while it reaped about 500 million yearly in Nigeria. According to  him, performing arts is a way of communicating different thoughts and feelings to the other people in the society.

Dr. Gray added that performing arts give everyone a chance to explore different cultures from different parts of the world. He hoped that performing arts will continue to be nurtured and encouraged, since they offer students a chance to express themselves more effectively through movies, songs, culture, drama, tradition, crafts and arts.

Prof. Gray said performing arts creates a platform of opportunity for one to be creative. He added that through creativity the world can be presented from a different perspective, and   can move audiences and societies to look deeper into themselves. He further said that performing arts and entertainment are vibrant, innovative and deeply meaningful source of bringing the desired energy and passion in the classroom for academic programs. He indicated that performing arts have been a part of human culture for a long time in history, and serve some one of the best tools for effective and decisive communication.

Speaking further, Dr. Gray said performing arts can teach people how to express themselves effectively. to communicate a specific message and can also be a tool through which people including the physical challenged can communicate and be understood. According to him, performing arts are about being creative and innovative. Dr. Gray emphasized that without a creative voice, a society may become all but dead inside, and a social group without any creativity is likely to be repressive rather than being a force for good, social growth and economic development.

According to him, the Department of Arts and Crafts will be rebranded while the curriculum will be revised and widened with the introduction of news courses to equip students with contextual and technical skills needed for development and self-initiative for career in the performing arts.

Dr. Gray then praised the Creative society of Liberia for the immense contributions towards creativity and performing arts and for persistently showcasing their ideas and portraying Liberian cultures in the most positive way. He Gray reiterated that there are too many positive things happening in the country that need to be portrayed to the global societies through performing arts in order to project the nation’s image internationally.

He reminded the leadership of the Creative Society of Liberia that the Administration of the University of Liberia has recognized the importance of creative and performing arts as major drivers of economic growth, job creation and development.

According to him, upon the UL Faculty Senate’s approval of a certificate, diploma and degree programs in creative and performing arts, members of the Creative society will be given the necessary opportunity to enroll at the nation’s premier university to gain quality education in their fields of studies. He expressed the institution’s outstanding desire to partner and collaborate with the leadership of the Creative society of Liberia.

According to him, the leadership of the Sawyer College with the support of the administration of the University of Liberia will work assiduously to rebrand the Department of Arts and Crafts and introduce new course in performing arts.

Also speaking, the President of Liberia Movie Union (LIMU), Mr. Eddie Gibson stressed the need for the program at the University of Liberia to equip members of the Creative society and students of the university with needed skills and expertise in the discipline of performing arts. He praised the student-centered President of the University of Liberia, Dr. Nelson for the level of improvement at the institution and his vision towards the performing arts and creativity in the country.

According to Mr. Gibson, the performing arts industry fuels development and serves as a major economic driver. He therefore appealed to the UL Administration to widen the curriculum of the Department of Arts and Crafts to include other courses such as creative and performing arts.

The welcome remarks were delivered by Assistant Professor, Richmond S. Anderson, Chairman of the Department of Political Sciences while the Vote of Thanks was delivered by the Chair of the department of English and Language, Assistant professor Dr. Kula Marie Thompson-Williams. The working session of the technical working group was held under Dr. Williams’ supervision.

Meanwhile, after the formal opening, the working session was split into six groups to brainstorm and make recommendations regarding areas that should be considered for the curriculum revision and enrichment. The groups also focused on the proper name of the department in their recommendations which were presented to the curriculum development committee.

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