- Published on Monday, 28 January 2013 08:44
- Written by DR. AMOS M.D.SIRLEAF (PH.D.), DIRECTOR-PROFESSOR, -BLACOLOGY-AFRICAN-LIBERIAN STUDIES AND RESEARCH DEPARTMENT
WHAT I BELIEVE: SHARED CULTURAL CONSCIOUS VALUES AND SENSITIVITY OF CUTTINGTON UNIVERSITY AND ITS ETHNO-TRADITIONAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL DIVISITY AND INTELLECTUAL COMMUNITYTY INOVATION
There is no vision that is greater than the fruition of a creative mind. For when the masses are culturally conditioned in a psychological slave system as captives, it becomes an absolute obligation and an opportune atmosphere for the open minded intellectual few to perform.
This article intends to point to the contemporary educational challenges facing Black-African people in general and Liberians, especially. From a social construction of reality, the contextual framework of this article was conceived as a sympathetic treatment and reaction of the classical cultural conditioning period of the Liberian colonial so-called educated practitioners from 1944-to present. Therefore, the reactionary intellectual covert deceptions against new and innovative ideas, perpetuated by institutionalized concepts of cultural marginality, requires some degree of critical thinking and observation. I am not unmindful, however, I am cognizant of the fact that change has enemies and people are always afraid of the unknown. Notwithstanding, from a nationalistic ethnic and authentic Black-African-Liberian Cultural Consciousness perspective, we as authentic Liberian educators must approach all things with conscientious objectivity, as we aspire to reform our tradition from a 21st first century didactic and pedagogical dimension. Our archaic philosophies of uncompromising on new ideas that are alien to us must be expeditiously conformed to the sophisticated information age of the 21st Century.
We cannot continue to confine ourselves to ideas whose time has passed and be afraid of ideas whose time has come. It must be articulated that many of our local pseudo –semi scholars from Europe and America have returned with an absolute objective of promoting European-American heritage. At worst, they have met some local unchanged elements to substantiate their aspirations and expectations. This discussion is centered on perceiving more completely the place and contributions of Black-African- repatriate Liberian intellectuals to post-conflict Liberian developmental human progress. Fundamentally, I am arguing that despite the historic denial of Black-Africa's true stories in western scholarship, used to justify the rapes and plunders of the continent and the suppression of Black-African culture through slavery and colonial oppression, cannot lead me to relent nor submit to a few frightening Liberian vestiges of imperialistic agents bent on impeding the natural progress of my people. I emphatically claim myself as Africa's natural gift to the world society and Liberia. This development has been unique and permanently enriching. My only tragedy is that the truth about Blacology and its role in human progress has been so effectively suppressed that not even the Liberian institution of higher learning (Cuttington University) and the Black-African world is fully convinced of its reality. This is why the main focus of Blacology as an -Education for a New Reality in post-conflict Liberia must have as its mission the restoration of what the 25-year useless genocidal Liberian civil conflict has denied our people, our young people, specifically our youth. “I find that the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”—Oliver Wendell Holmes. The dawn of a new decade is a fitting time to comment on the State of Cuttington University affairs, and take a high-level view, from outside looking in, and now inside looking out, on the mission in which we are all engaged as predictors of future Liberian leaders, builders, and scholars. There is much to be gained from periodically stepping back and asking: Who are we as an institution, (Cuttington University) aged, and what guides our activities, our decisions, and our overall direction within our veteran scholarly institution?
CUTTINGTON UNIVERSITY: AN INSTITUTION FOUNDING WAS GROUNDED IN PRINCIPLES THAT REMAINED AS FUNDAMENTALLY VITAL TODAY:
A belief that an educated citizenry is essential to the preservation of democracy; Cuttington University can attest to this etymologically. For freedom only takes a free people to give it up. Those who are not free do not know what freedom is to give it up.
Dedication to providing practical and meaningful education for working adults; Cuttington University subscribes to this value.
Commitment to unparalleled services to support student's anticipated goals and optimism, aspiration, expectation for success; and
An unwavering focus on ensuring exceptional academic quality. In 2010, these principles infused everything that I do as a Liberian-U.S. independent scholar, giving confidence that, individually and collectively, we as contemporary open minded and innovative Liberians must ensure that Cuttington University becomes the 21st century post-conflict Liberian adult-focused University—as the benchmark against which all others are measured. This was one of the reasons why I consented to Dr. Tokpa's appeals for me to come to Cuttington University on 9-11-2011 as part of my contribution to our people and our country.
As an institution of historic and cultural enlightenment and higher learning, Cuttington University has evolved over more than a century of serving adult learners of great magnanimity. In that time, our University has become a gateway of political, social, cultural and leadership center of opportunity for adults who have the desire to enhance their intellectual and economic well-being, the capacity to learn, and the will to persevere. Blacologically, I appreciate the sacrifice my students, specifically post-conflict Liberian students make to enroll at Cuttington University. This is my first experience after 35 and some years away from Liberia.
As a contemporary and innovative independent Liberian nationalistic Black-African, and an American educated scholar, I must be adamant on my commitment and natural obligation to providing both academic opportunity and an enabling environmental culturally sensitivity and ethnically diversified supportive services—the guiding vision and a shoulder for our potential Cuttington University learners to lean on by means of helping these learners realize their dreams and true potential. This is my message and this is my Blacological dream to your moving forward. As an open access University, and an ambitious learning center, we must accommodate, from our different and diverse training backgrounds, different learning styles, a wide variety of academic preparedness, and the need for flexibility that adult students require.
Based upon this analysis, I wish to propose a Blacological motto: “We fit your life's Circumstances.” This motto is not just a catch-phrase for our commitment to offer convenient choices of setting and schedule. It also means that every Cuttington University employee understands, values, and is dedicated to opening the doors of higher education to working adults, and to serving as coaches, mentors and advisors to ensure that our students, especially those who are preparing for their thesis research, achieve their goals no matter what their life circumstances. This is why at Cuttington University, Blacologically, “WE FIT YOUR LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES”. For many students, under this motto, we are the 21st century contemporary Blacological Liberian scholars, under the auspices of Blacology: A Cultural Science and Research and Development Institute, embrace Cuttington University as a University of First Opportunity of fitting your life's circumstances by —serving those for whom higher education has been out of reach and thus transforming the lives of their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings and, most importantly, children, who are inspired by the accomplishments of someone who looks like them, or their Blacologically engaged educated family members now able to envision hope for a new future.
For me, I think this is a good day for Cuttington University to be appreciative of a new and innovative interdisciplinary cultural science, Blacology Research Department. For others, we are the 21st century Cuttington University Liberian scholars of Second Chance—serving those whose previous collegiate experiences were interrupted by 25-years of Civil Conflict, family circumstance, military obligations, financial crises, or who simply were not ready to persevere as younger students. For countless individuals, we the 21st century University Liberian scholars think that Cuttington University is the institution of Challenge, Choice, and Change—adults who wish to develop new skills and talents, who seek new employment opportunities, who long for intellectual growth, and who seek advance credentials, can now come on the calls of Blacology: A Cultural Science Research and Development Institute, where schedules and professors will be flexibly made for students. For Blacology, students are the potential architects of the erection of the greatness of a nation's political, social, cultural and intellectual identity.
To all of these students, the motto “We fit your life's Circumstances” signifies an institution committed to a new way of doing and looking at things. New ways of serving a diverse population, to ensuring that what we teach is of an authentic Blacologically globalization value, and to providing the support networks needed by many to help our post-civil conflict traumatized students and our people step-by-step until they celebrate their achievements on graduation or Commencement Day. For Blacology as an institution, and Blacologists as its architectural scholars, we are an institution that earns the trust of those who select Cuttington University as their academic home away from home.
Blacologically, we believe that integrity is a cornerstone of every interaction with prospective and current students and with our graduates. From sound, trusted, and professional instructional advice regarding academic research, admissions, thorough guidance regarding financial aid, to fair and impartial grading, to accurate and honest academic advising, to appropriate career counseling, Blacology believes that every student, “touched and heard,” must be honest and genuine. This is my ultimate dream and aspiration for the anticipated creation of an autonomous Blacology Department at Cuttington University. Our overarching guide is the belief that by doing what is best for each and every student in the Blacology Department in particular and Cuttington University in general, we do what is best for our institution and the Cuttington University's Blacology brand (WE FIT YOUR LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES). As the faculty and staff of this institution, Cuttington University, I would like to respectfully appeal to our unequivocal attention that you do not have to like Dr. Sirleaf personally, but you are admonished that every action we take builds this trust, not only for our students but also for our corporate, our national and international supporters, community colleges and institution partners. These partners can refer their employees, their students, and their service men and women, their investigators, their covert operators to Cuttington University with complete confidence, knowing that we will fully meet their expectations in providing the highest quality educational experience.
Beyond Blacological legacy of academic excellence, I believe that our curriculum must be relevant not just for today, but in building skills required for the jobs of tomorrow and with a renewed cultural consciousness and self actualization. Furthermore, our instructors-professors must undergo a continued in-service training for certification, qualification, and proficiencies. For those at least technologically illiterate professors, who know how to teach online and in classrooms across Cuttington University campuses, must not only be one subject matter experts, but also must be adapted to courses at teaching adult learners, must value the wealth of experiential learning that each student brings into the classroom, and must encourage students to persevere through the inevitable tough times and academic challenges. I positively believe that a great academic institution is made up of faculty and staff who are passionate about education, dedicated to excellence in all aspects of their work, and whose sole focus is always, first and foremost, the students, because the students are our first customers. Without the students, there can be no Cuttington University.
Blacological research reveals that the men and women, who built, nurtured and sustained Cuttington University, exemplified these characteristics mentioned supra. Our future as and an astute culturally diversified national University is inextricably linked to ensuring that we espouse and live these values in all that we do as Blacologists. The students who choose Blacology Department at Cuttington University as their academic home, from a Blacological dimension, will be the alumni whose lives are bettered by the knowledge, skills and abilities they have acquired during their time at Cuttington University. The anticipated and future prospective countless success stories of each class of Blacology Department graduates and their high regard for their alma mater will create and sustain our contemporary scholarly academic reputation as an institution that makes a difference in the lives of its alumni nationally and internationally.
Our policies and practices must always exceed the standards required by the regulatory agencies within the archaic and UN substantiated Liberian political academic structures, our accrediting bodies, and the Association of African Universities. Cuttington University is above all else based on its academic invincibility. Blacologically, it is imperative to mention that we must always act in concert to make certain that our students achieve the core competencies we embrace as learning objectives, and we must manage the entire academic enterprise responsibly, from the smallest department to the largest region. All of our colleges are qualitatively and quantitatively equal, from Bong County, the Cuttington Community College in Kakata, and the Graduate School in Monrovia, respectively. Therefore, all special events in any of our colleges must draw the attention and be attended by all. This must become an ultimate reality. This is one Cuttington University with many diversified colleges with one God's serving human family. While upholding the highest standards of governance, academic quality, service, and integrity, Cuttington University must remain a nimble institution responding to the modern changing needs of the students, workforce, the world marketplace, and the challenges of serving a geographically dispersed and growing population of adult Liberian learners of Blacology.
Blacologically, I emphatically, without compromise, believe that change is linked to continuous improvement, not only glued to the archaic and antiquated philosophical and pre-historic ideologies, Voodoo teaching one track-minded, and concepts. Our curriculum must remain contemporarily relevant, our instruction must be technologically sophisticated world-class, and our student services responsive to the complex needs of our diverse students, especially our physically challenged students and families in our university community).
In essence, as we approach the new year of this decade soon with Blacology Department on my ultimate agenda, Cuttington University is poised to become the gold standard for Blacology Department, a Cultural Science Research Institute adult-focused higher education. It is a privilege, for me personally and for each of us, to be a member of this academic community and to be affiliated with others who are dedicated to changing lives in ways that are salutary and indelible. As a University Community, we can look back with pride at the foundation built by those who came before us, and we can look to the future with a strong sense of optimism that we are architects of the Blacology Department at Cuttington University, the nation's premier institution of higher education for adult students. Personally, my pride and optimism are made possible by the beliefs and un-relentless endurance I share and the underlying values of Blacoloy, that inform our commitment to the students we serve—inspiring our work in the next decade, and beyond. Blacology is strong and must prevail by any means necessary; either at Cuttington University or any part of Liberia, Africa, and the global community.