Rev. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr. declares his reign at the University of Liberia a KAIROS MOMENT. “The task of creating an enabling environment to promote the advancement of academic activities will be necessary and requires absolute commitment,” he asserted. Rev. Dr. Nelson said BRIGHTENING THE LIGHT at the university will require the collective dedication of students, faculty, and staff.
He points out that challenges imposed on the university by scarcity of resources, a limited qualified, experienced and trained workforce, the culture of intolerance and violence arising from students’ activities must now stop, adding, “we must be intentional about building a culture of tolerance and non-violence on the campuses of the University of Liberia.”
He named a comprehensive review of all curricula across academic programs and the creating of academic programs to train the needed local professionals as his immediate focus for the university. “Research driven innovations will be the hallmark of the university in this administration,” Nelson emphasized. Acknowledging the university’s academic progress, he said the university has made significant progress over the years in improving the faculty profile particularly in the Sciences, Engineering and Business Programs, but still has visible gaps that need to be bridged. He named the departments of Mathematics, English, Mass Communication, History and Physics are the university programs that must claim the attention of the administration.
“We will ensure that Teaching Assistants and Instructors at these departments are provided the opportunity to study at top-notch universities and return to improve the faculty profile and academic standards at the University,” Nelson stressed. He indicated that improvement at the university will require the creation and identification of realistic investment opportunities that will help to fund activities at the university during their profit earning periods.
Rev. Dr. Nelson said he will prioritize the improvement of students’ activities on all the campuses of the university. He pointed out that the attitude that student political activities at the university are the only relevant social activity must be overcome by reviving other student activities, adding, “The Student Advisory Council which provides student leaders from various organizations the opportunity to be heard among others will be reactivated.”
Nelson also named the Varsity Sports, Miss UL Pageant, intellectual competitions, and field trips as events that students must participate in as they together with the administration brighten the light at the university. “Seminars and student exchange programs will be sponsored to provide all the students the opportunity to exercise and enhance their God-given talents,” he concluded.
Earlier the President of the Republic of Liberia and Visitor to the University of Liberia Dr. George Manneh Weah challenged Rev. Dr. Nelson to manage the university with the same strength and vigor with which he served the institution. “Nelson is one of you, a student, instructor, and administrator that is why he is the best choice at this time in the life of the university,” President Weah noted. He said the government will stand by the Nelson administration and the university by making available the needed resources that will enhance operations at the nation’s highest institution.
Nominated on October 18 by President Weah and elected on November 11 by the university’s Board of Trustees, Nelson’s induction on November 28, 2019 brings to 15the number of presidents that have served the university. The University of Liberia was founded in 1862 as Liberia College and became a full University in 1951. It is a public institution funded mainly by the Government of Liberia. The University now has four campuses: Capitol Hill, Fendall, Medical School, Fendall, and Starz-Sinji campus located in Sinji, Grand Cape Mount County.
Reporting and photos by E. Julu Swen