Professor Copeland graduated with a BSc in Electrical Engineering from The UWI St. Augustine in 1978, an MSc in Electrical Engineering (Control Systems) from the University of Toronto in 1981, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering (Control Systems) from the University of Southern California in 1990.
He was a Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at The University of West Indies from 2007 to 2015. From 1997 to 2007, he was the Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The UWI. He has lectured in Digital Electronics, and Microprocessor Systems Design and Control Systems.
Additionally, he was Co-ordinator of the Real Time Systems Group (RTSG), a UWI unit for developing university/industry liaison through impactful R&D projects. At the RTSG, Professor Copeland was Project Leader for the design and construction of the Electronic Scoreboard at the Queen’s Park Oval. He currently co-ordinates the Steelpan Initiatives Project (SIP), which saw the development and patenting of the G-Pan, a re-engineered form of the traditional steelpan, and the Percussive Harmonic instrument (P.H.I.), an electronic form of the traditional steelpan. Professor Copeland is also the Convener of the Steelpan Research Centre, UWI, and is a former Member of the Board of Directors of CARIRI.
Professor Copeland has won many prestigious awards. In 2008, he was the first recipient of the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and in 2007 he was a joint recipient of the Chaconia Medal Gold as a member of the G-Pan development team. Among other awards, he also received the Guardian Life Premium Teaching Award in 2002, the BP/AMOCO Fellowship Award for Senior Academic Staff (UWI) in 2001, and a LASPAU/Fulbright scholarship for the doctoral programme at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles) in 1987.
On April 29, 2016, he was named as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal Designate of The UWI St. Augustine Campus. He assumed office on July 1, 2016, and his appointment is for a period of five years.