For Release Upon Receipt - May 4, 2012
Kingston, JAMAICA – On Friday 27 April, 2012, members of The University of the West Indies’ (UWI) University Council – the supreme governing body of the regional institution – along with other specially invited guests gathered in Jamaica, in the Council Room at the Mona Campus for the Annual Business Meeting of Council. The meeting of Council, chaired by UWI Chancellor, Sir George Alleyne, dealt with a number of matters including approval of financial reports, tuition fees for the coming academic year, the appointment of Deans and several Senior Managers, endorsement of recommendations for the award of honorary degrees and approval of the Strategic Plan to guide the institution for the next five-year period.
One of the major highlights of this special meeting of the University Council was the comprehensive report by the Vice Chancellor (VC), Professor E. Nigel Harris, of the University’s accomplishments and highpoints of the preceding year.
Among the significant achievements conveyed by the VC was the record growth in student numbers over the past decade, from approximately 22,000 to in excess of 47,000, which has in turn spawned a number of capital development projects to meet the demand for teaching, learning and living spaces. More than 21 infrastructural projects were undertaken in the period under review. Among them, state of the art student housing, medical facilities and the Ryan Brathwaite athletic track at Cave Hill, teaching and student accommodation at Mona, along with the new Faculty of Law building, Film Building, Daaga Auditorium and Teaching and Learning Complex at St Augustine, and the upgrade of Open campus sites across the region, including Grenada, St. Lucia, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
Reporting on the solid foundation set in the current five-year strategic planning period (2007-2012) which soon draws to an end, the Vice Chancellor noted the gains in expanding Caribbean citizens’ access to higher education – namely through a 25% increase in enrolment in undergraduate and graduate programmes over the planning period 2007-2012, and initiatives such as the establishment of the Open Campus and Western Jamaica Campus and the addition of more market-driven programme offerings at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He also highlighted improvements in teaching capacity aimed at preparing a distinctive UWI graduate as demonstrated by initiatives such as the strengthening of UWI’s Quality Assurance Units and the commencement of Institutional Accreditation exercises. Special emphasis was placed on the formation of research clusters in areas relevant to sustainable regional development, and the Vice Chancellor highlighted some important research projects in the period under review, namely, the Caribbean Cocoa Rehabilitation project, the regional Biosafety Project through the Global Environment Fund, and research in Non-Communicable Disease, HIV/AIDS as well as in the areas of Improving Early Childhood Development and Parenting Interventions.
As the next five-year strategic planning cycle approaches, the draft 2012-2017 Strategic Plan was also presented. Council approved this new Plan which features a business model approach and utilises the Balanced Scorecard framework for better goal setting, implementation and progress assessment; with a clear commitment to improved employee engagement at all levels.
Vice Chancellor Harris asserted that “The regional University continues to operate in an environment in which our contributing countries are facing economic challenges. Despite these challenges which have adversely affected its operations, the University remains true to its mission and resolute in its determination to deliver quality degree programmes, to conduct first rate research relevant to regional growth and to offer technical and advisory services to our governments, private and public sectors. This is best exemplified by the tremendous efforts made by the Principals of our four campuses to maximise the limited resources they have at their disposal to improve service to students, staff and other stakeholders, and to expand and update infrastructure in order to deliver on that commitment. Efforts to diversify our funding base remain a critical element of our current strategic plan and a central feature of our next plan.”
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Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.
(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)
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