The President of the state-run University of Liberia (UL) has outlined plans aimed at improving activities at the University in a bid to bring the school on par with top learning institutions across Africa and the world over. In a speech she delivered at the 2nd Annual Convention of the University of Liberia Alumni Association in the Americas (ULIBAAA) recently, Dr. Professor Ophelia Inez Weeks said the government owned university is in the process of establishing the Personnel Evaluation and Enhancement Program (PEEP) to help determine effectiveness and efficiency on the job.
According to her, this will help determine mechanisms that need to be put in place to increase productivity, as well as to offer opportunities for staff to attain advanced degrees and participate in job-related refresher workshops, seminars, symposia and short courses. “This will allow us to retain productive personnel, to re-tool and re-train dedicated and committed staff who need enhancement, and allow us to minimize deadwood,” said Dr. Weeks.
Dr. Weeks, whose father; Rocheforte L. Weeks Sr., served as the third President of the UL from 1959-1972, and the first Liberian to serve the University, pointed out that under the PEEP program, the school will implement its newly developed (presently only on paper) Teaching & Learning Center (TLC).
Commenting on curricular issues, the UL President said it is the hope and aspiration of the University to complete reviewing and revising all academic programs that have not been reviewed for the past five years. She disclosed that a new policy has been put in place that mandates a five-year review cycle.
“We will also begin the process of introducing hybrid & on-line courses at UL before the end of 2018,” she said. On program development, Dr. Weeks noted that the five (5) undergraduate and three (3) graduate programs will be established within the next 3-4 years.
She named the undergraduate programs as Mechanical Engineering, Architecture, Information Communications Technology, Fisheries, and an Honors College.
For graduate programs, she disclosed that the University will offer Masters in Public Health, Masters in Environmental Sciences, and a Public Financial Mangement & Public Procuremnent Program within the existing Page 6 of 9 graduate Business/Public Administration programs.
“Some of these programs will require less than three years because the developmental process is already underway. Others will take more than three years due to the complexity of the program, and availability of funding. More details on these programs can be found in my inaugural address,” Dr. Weeks furthered.
On students’ success, she stated that the school is on the road to realizing a fully functioning Testing & Evaluation Center; one that is not limited to entrance exams. “We hope to put in place a Students Success & Service Center that will contribute to correcting the existing chaotic and defective student union financial aid program, restore discipline, and at the same time infuse good leadership training for our students,” she indicated.
“The University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU) Financial Aid Program, needs improved oversight, with the introduction of a more structured merit-based and need-based selection system and process that is fair and transparent. And there needs to be more structured psycho-social and mindeducation programs for our students,” Dr. Weeks explained.
On the issue of infrastructural improvement, she said the UL hopes to complete wi-fi and internet access for all of its four campuses by the end of the year. “This was already in the making, and we look forward to the realization. Our challenge continues to be lack of access to a fully-integrated network platform/system for enrollment, human resource and financial management, which require a level of sustained finances that we do not presently have, but we are hopeful,” Dr. Weeks told the UL ALUMNI in the Americas.
She further disclosed that the UL President asserted that the administration has designed enrichment programs. “We have potential local and international partners to assist our College of Agriculture and Forestry with developing a Poultry Program with focal involvement of youths (using the 4H model), and women in communities that surround our Fendall and Sinje campuses. Also, in partnership with the University of Liberia Alumni Chorus (ULAC), we are currently working together to construct a Performing Arts Center,” the UL President continued.
“This project was initiated a little over a year ago. Additional medium-size and big-ticket projects may require more time to fundraise, and will include putting in place a capital campaign,” Dr. Weeks among other things added.
UL President Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks