Department Information

Associate Professor Josephus M. Gray, PhD
Associate Professor Josephus M. Gray, PhD, Acting Chairman

The Department of English and Literature is one department within Liberia College (College of Social Sciences and Humanities) at the University of Liberia. The establishment of the department can be traced far back in the 20th Century. It is the third oldest department established in 1891 through the effort of Professor Joseph Walters. He was a Liberian student at Oberlin College, Ohio, USA.   Walters is well respected for his novel “Guanya Pau” which is history in itself.”Guanya Pau” is believed to be the first prose fiction in English to come out of Africa. It is also a forerunner novel on the theme of female assertiveness. The most recent Chairman of the department was Mr. Marcus S. Sokpah. Unfortunately, Mr. Sokpah died on September 17, 2020; therefore, the dean of the college, Associate Professor Josephus M. Gray, PhD in International Relations and Foreign Policy Studies is serving as provisional Chair, pending the recruitment and subsequent appointment of a new chairman of the department.

The Department of English has the highest number of faculty members in the college and each year about 10,000 students enroll at the department. The department has 37 instructors of which 32 (86%) are males and 5 (14%) are female faculty. Bachelor’s degree holders are 19 (51%) and 17 (46%) are master’s degree holders. Only one person earned doctoral at the department.  From 1940 – 50, Liberia College, Precursor of the University of Liberia, was perhaps the first institution of higher learning in Africa to establish a post-graduate program in Creative Writing. The unit offers a four-year program of studies leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA). At the same time, it offers courses for freshman and sophomore students who are fulfilling English requirements under the general education program of the University.

The department also offers service courses in English and Literature for the William V. S. Tubman Teachers College, leading to the awarding of Bachelor of Science Degree in English Education. Nearly 10,000 students take English courses each semester. Additionally, the department is charged with the responsibility to direct the activities of the “University players”- a student’s organization which encourages drama production, with a view to providing for the students an opportunity to appreciate through participation, both the aesthetic qualities and literary values of theatrical art.  On the other hand, a student who is not interested in acting may choose to be a part of the “English Club” which among other things encourages and promotes public debates, writing and reading poetry.

It offers a four year program of studies leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA). At the same time, it offers courses for freshman and sophomore students who are fulfilling English requirements under the general education program of the University. The department also offers service courses in English and Literature for the William V. S. Tubman Teachers College, leading to the award of Bachelor of Science Degree in English Education. Nearly 10,000 students take English courses each semester.

Data on Faculty

The Department of English has the highest number of faculties in the college and each year about 10,000 enrolled at the department. The Faculty of the department, 37 instructors of which 32 (86%) comprised males and 5 (14%) female faculty. Bachelor’s degree holders 19 (51%) and 17 (46%) recorded as master’s degree holders, while only one person earned doctoral at the department.

From 1940 – 50, Liberia College, Precursor of the University of Liberia, was perhaps the first institution of higher learning in Africa to establish a post-graduate program in Creative Writing program. The unit offers a four-year program of studies leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA). At the same time, it offers courses for freshman and sophomore students who are fulfilling English requirements under the general education program of the University.

Overview of the Programs offered

The department also offers service courses in English and Literature for the William V. S. Tubman Teachers College, leading to the awarding of Bachelor of Science Degree in English Education. Nearly 10,000 students take English courses each semester. 

Additionally, the department is charged with the responsibility to direct the activities of the “University players”- a student’s organization which encourages drama production, with a view to providing for the students an opportunity to appreciate through participation, both the aesthetic qualities and literary values of theatrical art.   On the other hand, a student who is not interested in acting may choose to be a part of the “English Club” which among other things encourages and promotes public debates, writing and reading poetry.

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