Liberia: UL President Outlines Major Transformation Plans

State - run University of Liberia (UL) President Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson has outlined major transformation plans he envisions for the nation's premier academic tertiary institution to ensure that its graduates are capable of competing with their compatriots within the sub-region and beyond.

In his inaugural address at Fendall on Thursday, 28 November as UL's 15th president, Dr. Nelson says a Curriculum Review Committee will be set-up at the University in the next couple of months to do a comprehensive review of all curricula across academic programs.

"We will be ensuring that our curricula are benchmarked against other outstanding Universities within the sub-region. Gaps identified will be adjusted accordingly to ensure our graduates are capable of competing with their compatriots within the sub-region and beyond," he says.

"We will particularly focus on creating new academic programs in areas where there are limited professionals in the country. A notable example is the lack of a national tertiary Research Training Program," he discloses.

According to Dr. Nelson, a number of the challenges facing the country today can be resolved by sponsoring national research, using locally trained professionals hired at affordable rates.

He promises to continue UL's faculty development initiative but with huge emphasis on strengthening areas of gaps; and to expand the University's sources of revenue intake as Government's subsidy has over the years accounted for over eighty percent of the University's sources of revenue.

He announces initial plans that will constitute expansion of UL's revenue base including identifying realistic investment opportunities, analyzing the cost of funding those investment activities, soliciting initial funding sources to finance the investments and analyzing the relevant pay back and profit earning periods for every investment portfolio before its inception, among others.

Dr. Nelson further outlines plans to establish the President Student Leaders Mentorship Program which will provide students the opportunity to acquire practical administrative and operational experience through participation in the day-to-day operations of the University.

He seeks to reactivate the President Student Advisory Council which will provide student leaders from various organizations the opportunity to be heard, be informed and as deemed necessary, participate in the decision-making process of the University.

He notes that as the leadership team works towards handling the challenges at the University, it must be intentional about building a culture of tolerance and nonviolence on UL campuses.

Dr. Nelson was sworn into office by UL Board of Trustees Chairman Rep. Matthew Gee Zarzar.

He says the task ahead to create an enabling environment to promote the advancement of academic activities is huge, but he underscores that it will be necessary and it requires absolute commitment and dedication collectively to brightening the light of the University.

"In doing so there will be challenges such as scarcity of resources, limited qualified, experienced and trained workforce, culture of intolerance and violence arising from students' activities, and so on," Dr. Nelson stresses.

Dr. Nelson declares that his leadership team will work collectively to mobilize additional resources to assist in taking good care of UL's faculty and staff members in the not - too distant future.

He vows to duly fulfill the office of the president of the University of Liberia, faithfully execute all duties entrusted to him in accordance to the charter, the constitution and by - laws and the rules of regulation of the University.

He says he will endeavor at all times to maintain and uphold the privileges, rights and dignity of the University.

Addressing prospective graduates of the 100th class of UL, Dr. Nelson promises "that this Centennial graduation will not be "LAZY," as the audience burst into laughter over the saying which he apparently borrows from a Liberian music to indicate that the 100th graduation will be grand.Dr. Nelson announces that neighboring Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio will serve as the 100th Commencement Convocation Speaker.

During Dr. Nelson's inauguration, Students Transitional Committee Chairman J. Benedict S. Paye, Jr. pledged the cooperation of the student body, but reminds President George Manneh Weah and the University Administration of the challenges that are still facing the Institution.Student Paye urges that these challenges be addressed to have a smooth environment on the campus.

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