The Faculty Association of the University of Liberia (ULFA) has appointed Dr. Edna Johnny as the association’s first female president.
Dr. Johnny, a professor of economics at the University of Liberia has been elected to work with the administration to ensure that the rights and liberties of professors and instructors are protected.
In her induction speech, Dr. Johnny said faculty is one of the pillars in society that is helping to mold the minds of people, and yet they are given less of nothing to sustain their livelihood.
“We as faculty educate engineers, lawyers, managers, and even legislators, but most importantly it is our duty to mold students who will take after us in the academic profession. Most often getting these students to come back to the profession is challenging because when they see the welfare of lecturers compared to other professions, they prefer not to,” Dr. Edna Johnny said.
“We have seen lecturers and professors at the nation’s premier institution of higher learning retired or even died like Pleasants while in active service because they cannot afford medicals bills when they fall ill,” she said
Prof. Johnson added that they invest their time in education and most often the opportunity cost of acquiring higher education is costly, yet they do not get benefits that commensurate with their achievement.
“Their salaries are far below comparable positions in public institutions and the private sector, and sometimes some of the students we teach earn more than us in the public sector.”
Dr. Jonny called on the administration to see the need for an increment in faculty salaries. “For almost ten years now our salaries have not been increased. Lecturers resort to taking higher loans for the upkeep of their families.”
According to her, they cannot be the producers of light in the darkness and their standard of living continues to be far below those they taught — “this is not fair to us and the academic profession. “
She vowed to engage the administration constructively to uplift and uphold the dignity of the institution. “The role of the faculty and administration should complement each other for the betterment of the university,” she said.
Professor Johnny was elected President of the ULAF along with Dr. S. Morris Cooper, Vice President for Administration, David Kwiyarhe Jr., Secretary General, Wolobah Sali, Treasure, Joseph Lahun Taylor, Chaplain, and J. Mac-Nixon Flomo, Assistant Secretary General.
Serving as a guest speaker, Montserrado County District #16 Representative and a member of the UL Board of Trustees, Dixon W. Seboe, said at times faculty members have refused to teach at the detriment of struggling students.
“Faculty must be paid adequately and timely because you know and I know, for us to do performance reviews their take-home must take them home first,” Rep. Seboe.
According to him, ULFA protest over the years is a message to the administration that they are partners “so their take-home must take them home first on time for them to take care of their families.”
He called on ULFA to shift their advocacy to become more concerned about the quality of products they have put in the market because the true mark of an educated faculty is producing a true replica of the quality they possessed.
“Have you ever wondered why graduation that climaxes academic sojourn is referred to as ‘commencement?’ How can completion be referred to as beginning or starting”? It means that education has got no end. We must continue to be students until we leave this earth. The world is changing and in academia, we cannot be left behind.”
Rev. Dr. Julius S. Nelson Jr., President of UL, said “We are willing, looking, and ready for resources to pay our faculty and staff adequately and timely. Therefore, it is important for them to encourage students to live up to their obligations.
He pledged to work with Madam Jonny and her team to improve the environmental condition of the university. According to him, there are reasons why the university cannot engage in the things they ought to do because of the shortage of resources. “The university cannot improve without money”.