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As 2016 becomes a distant memory, the new work year has emerged with attendant urgency to be productive, to meet objectives and accompl i sh goal s . The year 2016 was challenging so it closed with some reflection and introspection on the past and with a commitment to focus on what can improved in the future.
As most of you are aware, the global financial downturn has resulted in an economic recession that has impacted Trinidad and Tobago and, by extension, the St Augustine Campus. It is no secret that we have had to manage the campus with a reduced funding allocation. Senior management and academic heads have met in an effort to identify and agree on mechanisms for more effective financial management. While one of our priorities is to try, as far as is possible, to maintain staffing, cost containment measures have had to be implemented throughout the Campus. Regular systematic reviews, exploring ways to be even more productive and efficient, are the “new normal.”
Subsequent to these meetings at the campus level, there were university level sessions on the new Strategic plan for the period 2017 – 2022. Guided by the Vice-Chancellor’s vision of the triple-A strategy - Agility, Alignment and Access –and our campus vision for innovation and entrepreneurship, we are developing a five year plan to take the institution forward. As a university we are years behind in this particular initiative. However, we have already put things in place for a rapid start. In particular, with Professor John Agard’s assiduous leadership of the Office of Development, Research and Knowledge Transfer, we are well on the way to meeting our target of having our first spin-off by August 2017. This would represent our first direct contribution to the economic development of our country and our region through the nurturing of foreign exchange earning small and medium enterprises.
Over the last six months I have spent much time learning more about the processes, policies, the people and the physical plant at the St Augustine Campus. The campus and university are rather unique entities. In fact, although I have been part of this institution for over 36 years, I am now no longer surprised at the discovery of something new. It has achieved much in its relatively short existence. However, the institution must be on a constant drive to transform itself to improve its support for national and regional development while simultaneously having international reach and appeal. This is a challenge to which we must all respond – staff and students alike. Change is the only unfailing characteristic of our environment and the survival of our region, our nation and our university requires that we properly assess and adapt to the ever-changing environment.
I closed 2016 giving heartfelt thanks to all for their support. I am encouraged by and appreciative of the commitment demonstrated by all staff to the institution, to regional development and to the generations to come, to their service beyond the call of duty to ensure that UWI remains the premier teaching and learning institution, and to the families of this network of people who we must not forget also provide support for what we do here. I am sure I can speak for all in expressing appreciation and gratitude to our institutional, government, corporate and community partners with whom we work tirelessly in making our service mandate a reality. Let us all move into a new year with that spirit of gratitude - thankful for what we have, in the midst of the financial constraints, and mindful of the fact that there are many who are not as fortunate.
So, with 2017 only just begun, allow me to offer best wishes - for good health, success, productivity and prosperity to each one of you and all of your families.
Campus Principal: Professor Brian Copeland
Director of Marketing and Communications: Dr. Dawn-Marie De
Editor (Ag) : Rebecca Robinson
The UWI Marketing and Communications Office
Tel: (868) 662-2002 exts. 82013, 83997