At UL, USAID Enhances Faculty Development Program

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At least two engineers and one City and Regional Planner, trained at the Rutgers University in the U.S. are expected to join the faculty of the University of Liberia (UL) in the Department of Civil Engineering, T.J. R. Faulkner College of Science and Technology, and Liberia College respectively.

According to a statement, Samuka Konneh who specialized in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Kieyee Bordolo, who also specialized in Structural Engineering, were both Teaching Assistants at the College of Science and Technology at the UL.

The two were awarded scholarships to do graduate work in Engineering at Rutgers University. The Coordinator of the Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD) Program, Francis Cooper said that the two instructors are expected to begin their instructorship at the Engineering Department immediately upon their arrival in the country.

According to Mr. Cooper, the two former TAs successfully completed their studies on May 14, 2014, and are expected in the country before the end of this month. He then admonished other Liberians to emulate the returning instructors’ fine examples.

For his part, the Acting Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering, Augustus S. Moore expressed gratitude to the government and people of the United States of America for sponsoring the instructors through the USAID/EHELD.

He said that the two instructors have already expressed their eagerness to join their colleagues in the Department of Civil Engineering.
In a related development, Daniel D. Smith whose scholarship resulted indirectly from another USAID/EHELD grant has successfully earned a Master degree in City and Regional Planning also from Rutgers University.

Mr. Smith’s scholarship award was a result of the president of the university, Dr. Emmet A. Dennis’ negotiation with the UL’s partner—the Rutgers University to use its overhead from the joint USAID/EHELD grant as scholarship for a UL graduate.

Dr. Dennis was a full professor and academic administrator at Rutgers for many years prior to becoming the president of the UL.

“The return of the two trained Liberian Engineers and City Planner is one of the finest priorities of the university Administration in ensuring that more other Liberians are trained to build up the human capacity needs of the country, especially in the areas of the natural and health sciences, agriculture and engineering,” Mr. Smith is quoted as saying.

For Dr. Dennis, he sees the graduation of the two Liberians as opportunities for more of their colleagues to be trained in the like manner. He then praised the initiative and support from USAID.

Meanwhile, more Liberian staff from among the UL faculty is expected to return home shortly to enhance the number of qualified faculty at the UL.

More than 46 faculty and or potential faculty of the UL; drawn from various departments and disciplines are on scholarships studying abroad and eventually will join the UL’s academic community.

In another development, the Coordinator of EHELD has disclosed that there are five scholarships now available for Liberian students to study in West and East African universities including universities in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Makerere University in Uganda.

According to him, the scholarships will concentrate on obtaining Master’s degrees in Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Mining and Geological engineering.

The EHELD project in Liberia aims to equip young Liberian (men and women) for careers as leaders, entrepreneurs, and valued professionals in two critical sectors—agriculture and engineering.

The EHELD’s five-year project is funded with the generous support of the American people, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the management firm, Research

Triangle International (RTI). The project works with two of Liberia’s leading universities—UL and Cuttington University to create centers of excellence with improved teaching curricula, facilities and best practice teaching methodologies.

In the earlier period of the country’s post-conflict recovery, USAID’s educational contributions focused on assistance in primary and secondary education. Three years later, USAID expanded its assistance to include tertiary education.

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