The University of Liberia (UL) has officially launched the Department of Computer and Information Sciences (DCIS) program as a new department within the Thomas J. Faulkner College of Science and Technology.
Officially launched in the Auditorium of the UL Capitol Hill Campus Wednesday, March 2, 2022, by President Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., the DCIS will offer Bachelor of Science Degrees in Information Technology (IT); Computer Science; and Information Sciences.
Already, the University of Liberia has faculty members that are internationally trained and recognized for their research in various areas of Computer Science.
The new program aims to maintain a specially designed lab to enhance students’ learning, help faculty and students in their research and facilitate industrial collaboration at the University of Liberia.
Through the Computer Science program, the University of Liberia plans to have a blended program, working with other universities, colleges, and organizations for research, capacity building, and training.
It also plans to work with all stakeholders, both local and international, to ensure that Liberia’s human resource capacity increases and advances.
Launching the program, Prof. Dr. Julius Julukon Sarwolo Nelson, Jr., President of the University of Liberia, said the university’s DCIS program intends to prepare students for careers in Information Technology, Computer Science, and Information Systems.
He said the university would initially offer a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology concentrating on four areas – Software Engineering, Cyber Security, Data Science, and Networking Technology.
Dr. Nelson noted that students would gain knowledge in cutting-edge technology such as Artificial Intelligence.
The UL President said the university would ensure that its DCIS program produces the best IT experts in Africa and the entire global village.
He also announced that the University of Liberia, through its Faculty Senate, has approved a one-credit computer literacy course, adding that it is a required course for all first-year students that will be coming to the university with the aim of preparing students for their academic journey in the 21st-century teaching and learning environment.
Dr. Darren Wilkins, UL Vice President for Information Technology, said during the third and fourth year of the program, students are required to open their businesses so that they do not just graduate as technicians. Still, they should be able to create jobs as entrepreneurs.
“It’s actually a practical program, a hands-on program,” said Dr. Wilkins. Meanwhile, Dr. Wilkins indicated that money is needed to have the environment that will equip students with practical skills so that the program is hands-on.
Dr. James McClain, Dean of the Thomas J. Faulkner College of Science and Technology, described the newly established academic program as unique.
With the launch of the Computer Science program, Dr. McClain said the University of Liberia would be taking computers from the blackboard and making it physical for students.
He said the College of Science and Technology will now be offering 14 distinct degree-granting programs with the launch of the DCIS. Among the programs offered by the college are Climate Change and Environmental Studies.
He believes that the study in Computer and Information Sciences programs will hugely impact the development agenda of Liberia.
Dr. Darlington David, Chairman of the DCIS Program, UL, said through this program, the University of Liberia will be offering a wide range of academic options that will prepare students for the rapidly growing and growing field of computing.
He said the program aims to prepare students for flagship careers in computing with a commanding understanding of computer science, information systems, and information technology.
“The program will provide opportunities in the applied knowledge while it’s still an enthusiasm for life-long learning,” he said.
According to Dr. David, all of the programs will have a concentration in Computer Science, Information Technology, Information Systems including Data Science, Cyber Security, Network Engineering, and Software Engineering, among others.
Cllr. Edward k. Goba, Deputy Post and Telecommunications Minister for Administration, serving as a proxy for his boss, said the President of the University of Liberia, Prof. Nelson, could not have selected a better time to establish the DCIS program than now.
“As sector head, we have [a] rough time recruiting capable people to man our various IT properties,” he said, adding that as such, the Ministry is at all times knocking at the doors of other IT institutions.
Minister Goba said the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications is pleased about this new program at UL, and it is prepared to give its support. According to him, the
DCIS program will help the ministry to enhance its effort in establishing forensic labs, particularly in cybercrime.
Assistant Education Minister for Fiscal Affairs and Human Resource Hon. James Armah Massaquoi, on behalf of the Ministry, hailed and congratulated the University of Liberia for the monumental achievement of establishing the DCIS.
“It is monumental because it also adds on to the major role [that] all of us in education expect that the University of Liberia will be playing in our educational space,” said Minister Massaquoi.
He noted that UL is very big in the education sector. A lot is expected from the institution, adding that when achievement of this nature comes by, “we can only be happy, and we want to congratulate you.”
He noted that other universities are doing similar computer programs, but he emphasized that this is special because it is the nation’s own.
“It’s a big history-making event by the launch of this program today,” he noted.
Col. Patrick T. Sudue, Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP), hailed the University of Liberia for launching the DCIS program and thanked President Nelson and his able staff for the overall improvement of the university.
Col. Suede, a UL faculty member, also used the occasion to announce plans to have Criminal Justice being taught at the University of Liberia.
“Probably some of you will not be aware, we are also going to have criminal justice being taught at this very University of Liberia, which of course I will be one of the instructors to teach the course,” he said amidst applause from the audience.