Weeks after endorsing government pronouncement to reopen schools, the United Methodist University (UMU) said it will launch its Graduate School of Theology as of March 2015. According the Dean of the UMU Graduate School of Theology, Dr. Yatta R. Young, the school will start with Divinity program and move on to other fields of studies including peacebuilding. “This program is in fulfillment of the desire of the Bishop of UMC Liberia, Rev. Dr. John G. Innis,” Dean Young said.
She asserted that the plan of the UMU to start the graduate school of theology is to ensure that clergy within the Liberia Annual Conference has a minimum of Master of Divinity. “We have been granting diplomas and undergraduate degrees since the Gbarnga School of Theology was founded in 1959,” she added. Dean Young who is also former dean of the Gbarnga School of Theology indicated that UMC Liberia has reached a point where it needs to upgrade its scholarly ministry to the people of Liberia including United Methodists.
On the question of whether the UMU was prepared to operate a graduate program, Dean Young said the institution was well prepared with an array of faculties all of whom have their doctorates in several theological fields. She however indicated that the issues text books will be discussed with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) and the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) to provide some e-readers for the students. The issue of textbooks was raised by educational authorities of Liberia during our consultation process,” she noted.
The UMC Liberia Clergywoman and educator said UMU and the Ministry of Education (government agency responsible for education matters) are working on few concerns that will bring the UMU Graduate School of Theology full operations. The recruitment process is expected to start on January 31, 2015 with an entrance exam in Monrovia and the campus of the Gbarnga School of Theology (GST) for students outside of Monrovia. “We will start with 50 students and the building that the College of West Africa (CWA) will be used for the graduate school program, adding we will move on the GST Campus in the future,” Dean Young concluded.
By E. Julu Swen