Liberia College Holds One-day Symposium on Research and Quality Education

Partial views of Chairpersons and faculty of Liberia College at the One-day Academic symposium

MONROVIA — As the renowned and famous maxim propounds that education has no end, even the doctors, professors and all those in the academic community are still engaged in the learning curve. True to this ever existing hard facts of reality under the rubric of sharpening the skills of those tasked with the responsibility to impact knowledge for those caving for academic excellence.

Based on the challenges in the ever changing world propelled by high technologies with the genuine preparedness to positively brace such responsibilities; a one-day academic symposium under the theme: “Research and Quality Education” was held on Wednesday, February 3, 2021  at the Executive Lunge of the University of Liberia’s Fendall Campus in Louisiana, outside Monrovia. The thrilling academic exercise was overwhelmed with several esteemed professors and scholars of the University presenting instructive lectures on research methods, excellent teaching and critical thinking.

The academic symposium was organized by the Office of the Dean of THE College of Social Sciences and Humanities (Liberia College) in partnership with Academic Affairs. This exercise is the vivid reflection of the President of the University of Liberia, Prof. Dr. Julius J.S. Nelson’s unwavering emphasis for research at the nation’s flagship university to equip and widen students’ scope and understanding regarding research methodologies and their ability to think critically and act independently.

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. Liberia College (College of Social Sciences and Humanities) 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. It was established by the Liberian Government barely fifteen (15) years after the Independence of the Republic of Liberia. Indeed, its significance is not only praise worthy, but profoundly historical.

This agenda has served the College and its students well since 1862, and the canons (driving forces) 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, while imperatively, students receive a top quality education, therein, faculty and students are also equally held in an orbit of high standard.

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 150 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 his welcome remarks, the Dean of College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Prof. Dr. Josephus Moses Gray reminded heads of various academic departments and faculty members of the University of their collective responsibility to equip students with the necessary tools and skills for excellent research, thesis writing and quality education.  Acceding to Dr. Gray, students need to be efficiently empowered with the requisite research knowledge and excellence education to equip them stay on top, make critically decisions and act independently, if they are navigating their role and journey in the competing job market.

Speaking further, Dr. Gray disclosed that any high quality research is one that is built on high expectations, in alignment with high research standards, and is highly rigorous, noting that professors and scholars need to change their strategies from time to time because of the current trends and needs of the global society since learning is not an event nor static rather its growth and developments are in constant motion. So true and appropriate, since there is a constant change happening in every sectors of academia”, Dr. Gray added.

Dr. Gray further indicated that through the use of necessary tools and skills, students of the university will be able to identify problems and look for practical solutions in a systematic way. He said: “I sincerely believe that the reintroduction of thesis at the College as reflected in the revised  curricula compliments and strengthens the philosophy of the University of Liberia”.

Dr. Gray then expressed his anticipation that faculty members that will be assigned research methodology course to teach and guide students with the thesis should be well equipped and skilled with the recognized tools- professionalism and qualification because they will have a huge influence on students’ path to success, and that they must be prepared to serve as a mirror of those they will guide.   

Also speaking at the symposium, the Dean of Faculty and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Prof. Stephen Jubwe, extolled the Dean for the symposium and encouraged those concerned to carefully take advantage of the exercise.  Professor Jubwe who deputized for the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Moses M. Zinnah reminded the chairpersons and faculty that Dr. Nelson’s administration has placed high premium on creative thinking and excellent teaching at the university.

Meanwhile, the academic symposium was marked by instructive presentation of practical papers and lectures on research and excellence teaching. The first lecturer was the Chairman of the Department of Geography, Rev. Jethro S. Tamba who presented on the topic: The Importance of Abstract, Acknowledgement and Dedication while the second presenter was Cllr. Mark Bedoe Wla Freeman, He presented edifying paper on the topic: The importance of Confidentiality and Privacy in thesis, while The Chairman of the Department of Political Science, Assistant Professor Richmond S. Anderson lectured on the topic: The Importance of Background and Definition of Key Terms in thesis.

The Director of Planning and Assistant Professor Alex Teaway of UL Graduate Program of Regional Planning presented on the topic: “Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods in research, followed by the Chairman of Department of Communication and Media Studies, Prof. Euriahs M. Togar who presented on the topic: “The Importance of Data Analysis Presentation in thesis.

A faculty of the Department of English and Literature, Adjunct lecture, Kolunah Flomo provided a researched paper on the “Importance of Observing Punctuation in Thesis”, while the Chairman emeritus of the Department of English and Literature, Prof. Peter S. Dolo lectured on the Significance of pro-reading, checking spelling and grammar in thesis.

The Chairman of the Department of History, Associate Professor Dr. Samuel Kortue dwelled on the Difference Between Reference and Bibliography, while the  Chairman of Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Dr. J. Kerkula Foeday presented on the topic: The Importance of the Purpose of Research Instruments, Sample Size and Sampling Techniques in Research. The Chairman of the Department of Social Science, Prof. Hassan O. Telema lectured on “importance of Hypothesis and Research Questions in thesis “and Chairman Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Prof. Michael S. Seator discussed the Topic “Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations regarding thesis. While the significance of limitation and delimitation in thesis was discussed by Prof. James Mulbah of the Department of Geography.

Dr. Josephus Moses Gray, Associate Professor and Dean of Liberia College briefly discussed research methods and further lectured on the topics: Statement of the Problem and Objectives of Research Paper. 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 and Foreign Policy Studies.  while  Prof. James Shilue of the  Department of Sociology and Anthropology presented on the subject: “The Importance of Literature Review”.  Prof. Abraham Fofana of the Department of Political Science presented on the topic: “The Significance of Research Design” While Adjunct faculty, Roseline Tomah discussed the topic: the Importance of In-text Citation in Research and the Effect of Plagiarism on thesis. Also data collection and population of the study in research was generally discussed by the panelist and participants.

Fascinatingly, each presentation was marked by questions, concerns, observation and comments, thus making the symposium to be stimulating and exciting.  In his closing remarks, Dr. Gray reminded the panelists that a worktable Manual “A Working Guide” for Research Methodology and Thesis will be formulated to be used by all academic departments of Liberia College, as a guide for research and thesis writing. According to Dr. Gray, the manual stands out to be a suitable source of teaching and knowledge of the application of research procedures.

He used the occasion to express his profound appreciation and gratitude for the numerous supports that his office continues to receive from the President of the University of Liberia, Prof. Dr. Nelson and the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Prof. Dr. Zinnah. 

At the auspicious occasion, Dr. Gray recognized the chairpersons and faculty for the amazing works their contributions and inputs towards this research manual, saying that “Let us keep up the spirit and that we cannot rest, we have a responsibility to equip our students with the necessary tools and skills for excellent research and thesis writing, a logical and systematic path for new and useful knowledge on a particular subject.

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 and also strives to be among the most innovative academic institutions in the world.  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.

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 actively thinking about the future of higher education through the 15 academic units, headed by Chairs and assisted by professional staff.

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 of the University. Since 1862, the College has traditionally served students pursuing full-blown 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 its 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.