Dr Carter

Dr Beverly-Anne Carter (née Francis) dedicated approximately 17 years of unwavering service to the CLL. She began her academic career as a Lecturer in French, at the then-known, Department of Language and Linguistics in 1992. In 2005, Dr Carter took the helm at the CLL. Her vision was clear: to build upon the foundation laid by her predecessor, Dr Sylvia Moodie-Kublalsingh. Her aim: to transform the centre into “a national, regional and international centre of excellence for foreign language study and research”. Looking back over the 17 years, those who have had the privilege of working under her oversight would wholeheartedly agree that she accomplished her goals. Dr Carter has unequivocally made a substantial contribution to the CLL’s legacy, often leading by example.

An example of academic excellence

Dr Carter is an exemplary academic, whose professional career set the tone for the professional excellence expected of staff. She is a mother of two sets of twins, a faithful wife and devoted daughter. And yet, she has dedicated countless hours to furthering her academic career. Dr Carter found the time to prepare for and deliver university courses; and write grant proposals. She designed and carried out impactful research projects. Moreover, she led the CLL through numerous quality assurance exercises, and supervised postgraduate students at the Masters and PhD levels. She published refereed books, book chapters and articles. Dr Carter frequently attended and presented at conferences locally, regionally and internationally. She engaged in professional development training; and recommended and funded training for staff. Furthermore, she sat on various University and non-university committees and panels, and much more. She accomplished all this, while managing the daily nuances of a university language centre. A language centre, which delivered, at its peak, 12 language courses to over 1000 students annually. Not to mention, a language centre, which was staffed by multilingual and multicultural employees.

Forging a centre of excellence in language study and research

The rewards of Dr Carter’s resolute dedication to the CLL are evident in her academic and professional accolades. She is the recipient of the prestigious, French national award, Chevalier des Palmes Académiques. This award is bestowed upon individuals for their distinguished academic service in propagating the French language and culture. She has also received highly-esteemed fellowships and awards from the University of Oxford, Mc Gill University, Harvard University and the University of the South Pacific.

Additionally, she received grant funding for a number of projects. Most notably to establish the first Confucius Institute at The UWI St. Augustine Campus. She also received funding to carry out the multidisciplinary research project, Language and Competitiveness – Positioning Trinidad and Tobago for Sustainable Development. Funding was also received to film and produce a promotional foreign language DVD, entitled Languages for Life – Profiles of the Foreign Language User. Under her directorship, the CLL received official recognition from the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago for its contribution to Japanese language education. The Embassy of Korea in Trinidad and Tobago also recognized the centre’s dedication to the teaching of Korean language and culture. In recognition, the Embassy funded the Korea Corner, which is located in the Self-Access Facility at the CLL.

A sincere and inspiring leader

Certainly, Dr Carter’s professional and academic excellence have contributed to the CLL becoming “a centre of excellence for languages”. However, they are not the sole attributes for which she is fondly remembered. Her longest standing secretary recalls that she “treated everyone fairly and with respect”. One of her former students remembers how she inspired her in her early adulthood. Dr Carter often encouraged her to speak up for herself and to relentlessly pursue all options available to her. As her lecturer, she was always willing to share her life experiences, while “keeping it real”. She demonstrated refreshing candour, calm logic and humour. Her international staff members value her wisdom and her willingness to give others opportunities, even creating them herself at times. They state that the genuine interest she shows in others is truly inspirational and undoubtedly contributes to that feeling of family that is palpable at the CLL.

An emotional goodbye

Unsurprisingly, in her final words to her CLL family, Dr Carter chose to focus on her staff. At an intimate, emotional luncheon, held in the CLL’s atrium, Dr Carter acknowledged that much of her accomplishments as director, could be attributed to her staff’s generosity. In her opinion, “the CLL is a special place because of its staff, who give so generously.” Although introverted by nature and having a unique leadership style, she recognizes that leading the CLL family has helped her rise to the occasion. And allowed her, in her words, “to run the strongest leg possible” in this race for academic and professional excellence. Dr Carter admitted that her goal, during her tenure, was to help the CLL reach new heights. But added that she wanted to be able to graciously pass the baton on to its new director. She expressed her satisfaction with the fact that the CLL family fully embraced her vision, sticking “together through thick and thin”. She conveyed her confidence that the CLL will continue in the same trajectory under the leadership of the Acting Director, Dr Nicole Roberts.

Quoting directly from Dr Carter, “holding on the something too tightly means that your hands are not open to receiving anything else”. Certainly, the CLL staff will continue to learn from her remarkable example. We will cherish our memories with her and use the many lessons we have learned from her to continue to grow as individuals and as a centre. We will embrace the new experiences awaiting us under the directorship of Dr Roberts, while wishing Dr Carter the very best in this new chapter of her life.