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UL students laud resumption of thesis oral defense

Prospective graduates of the   Prof. Amos C. Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Liberia have shared Joys of Milestones after successful participation in a week-long standard final thesis oral defense and presentation.

 The academic exercise which officially started on April 11, 2023, concluded on April 24, 2023, with a formal program organized by the Office of the Dean of the College to articulate achievable knowledge, objective, and skills. The exercise took place at the Thelma E. Duncan Sawyer Faculty Lounge in Fendall.

The Dean of the College, Prof. Dr. Josephus M. Gray praised the candidates for their successful participation in the final thesis oral defense and presentation of their research studies.

Dr. Gray reminded the candidates that at Sawyer College, there are no shortcuts to any place worth going, noting that the candidates have chosen to be extraordinary.

According to Dr. Gray, the most outstanding among the 50 candidates will be rewarded a master’s degree studies scholarship to enroll at UL Graduate School or Cuttington University Graduate School. The scholarship of excellence in research was awarded by the Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer Foundation to Prof. Amos Claudius Sawyer College of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Liberia.

” You make the President of the university proud; you make your Dean proud; you make your Chairpersons proud; you make your Families and Friends proud”, Dr. Gray noted. The Dean continued: I can’t imagine how proud you must be to submit to this academic exercise to show up to present and defend your research studies while some of your colleagues have chosen to do otherwise.

Speaking further, Dr. Gray informed the audience that the final thesis oral defense and presentation reflects a recognized standard and took into consideration five main chapters, including Chapter One which discussed the backgrounds of the study, problem statement, purpose and objectives, research questions, significance of the study, limitations and delimitation, while Chapter Two discussed Literature Reviews relating to the research problem.

 Chapter Three focused on the methodology, design, population and targetted population, research instruments, sample size and sampling techniques, data collection procedures and data analysis.

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 The two last chapters – Four and Five discussed data presentation, analysis, research findings, summary, conclusions, and recommendations. 

Generally, the candidates were mandated to submit not less than 30-page thesis, project, or field seminar work, signed by a research supervisor and approved by department’s chairperson.

Prior to the formal closing program, eight candidates from the Department of Communication and Media Studies (formerly Department of Mass Communication) successfully participated in the final thesis defense with great presentation and discussion about their studies.

The candidates spoke about the key findings of their studies in front of the 7-Member Thesis Committee, headed by Assistant Prof.  Alexander O. Teaway.

Besides the candidates from the Department of Communication and Media Studies, other Candidates from the Departments of Geography, English and Language Studies, Social Work, History and Political Science successfully participated in the final thesis oral defense with great presentation in front of the thesis committee and audience, including faculty, staff, and students. 

So far, only candidates from the Departments of Sociology and Demography deliberately failed to participate in the academic exercise, although, it is one of the basic components and requirements contained in the curricula of the various departments and units for students at Amos C. Sawyer College to successfully earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree and Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree, respectively.

 Unfortunately, standard thesis writing and defense have been dormant in the College for about 15 years, but as the University of Liberia continues to prestigiously position itself on a path of new academic trajectory under the leadership of its students-faculty centered President, Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, the Dean and Academic Team of Sawyer College have reactivated the writing of thesis, students’ projects, seminar, and the final thesis oral defense to the level of professionalism that meets best practices and international standard.

During the final thesis oral defense, candidates were given an opportunity to present and defend their research studies before a  Seven-man Academic Committee headed by Assistant Professor Alexander O. Teaway. Other members are Dr. D. Elliott Wreh-Wilson, former President of Tubman University; Prof. Dr. Nathaniel G. Gbessagee, former President of Grand Bassa Community College; Cllr. Mark Bedor-Wla Freeman, Chairman, Freedom of Information Commission; Mrs. Roseline Tomah, Research Officer, Liberia Institute of Research and Policy Studies; Rev.  Leviticus O. Kollie, Instructor, Department of English; Mr. Ernest Winderburk, Instructor, Department of English and Language Studies; Mr. Abraham Fofana, Instructor, Department of Political Science and Mr. Roosevelt Tula, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science.

The Dean of the College, Associate Professor Dr. Josephus M. Gray served as ex-officio while the Administrative Assistant to Dr. Gray, Mr. Boimah Coleman, was charged with the official responsibility to coordinate and manage the thesis defense exercise.

The thesis defense proceeded very well with support from the various departments and units with about 60 faculty, staff, and students attending each session.

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