News Releases

Commonwealth University Heads to meet at UWI Mona

For Release Upon Receipt - November 7, 2012

St. Augustine

University heads from India, Africa, Canada, the UK and the rest of the Commonwealth will converge on the Mona campus and the Regional Headquarters of The University of the West Indies from November 9 to 11 for the Conference of Executive Heads of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). The conference, which is being co-hosted by The UWI and the University of Technology, Jamaica, will address the theme “University Rankings and Benchmarking: do they really matter?” 

Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Honourable Portia Simpson-Miller, will deliver the opening remarks at the conference, which will mark the beginning of the ACU’s centenary celebrations. The ACU is the world’s first and oldest international university network, established in 1913, with more than 500 member institutions in developed and developing countries across the Commonwealth. Drawing on the collective experience and expertise of its membership, the ACU seeks to address issues in international higher education through a range of projects, networks and events.

Professor E. Nigel Harris, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies and Chair of the ACU Council, will deliver the welcome address. Professor Harris says the theme of the conference is a subject that poses challenges to most university vice-chancellors today, as they seek to measure and demonstrate their university’s ‘value’ to prospective students, parents, alumni, governments and other stakeholders.

“The 2012 ACU Conference of Executive Heads will take a broader view of performance measures and benchmarking,” says the Vice Chancellor, “examining other drivers such as economic policies, changing political and social agenda, staff recruitment and retention, and student aspirations. The event aims to provide a balanced portfolio of tools through which leaders can manage the full range of their work.”

The ACU administers scholarships, provides academic research and leadership on issues in the sector, and promotes inter-university cooperation and the sharing of best practice. “Future Forward: Design, Develop and Deliver” is the centenary theme, and the conference will consider key issues relating to the future of international higher education: designing academics and universities for the future, developing tools to meet new challenges, and delivering, recognising and measuring growth, impact and success.

The ACU Centenary Lecture will be given by Director of the Smith School for Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford, Professor Sir David King, who will speak on the global implications of a growing middle-class on higher education.

Other speakers include:

* Professor Clement Sankat, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI, St. Augustine Campus;

* Professor Katie Truss, Head of the People, Management and Organisation subject group at Kent Business School, University of Kent in the UK;

* William Archer, founder of i-graduate, The International Graduate Insight Group, the world leader in customer insight for the education sector, which tracks and benchmarks student and stakeholder opinion across the globe;

* Zia Batool, Director-General of Quality Assurance & Statistics at the Higher Education Commission, Pakistan;

* Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and editor-at-large of Times Higher Education magazine;

* Professor Phyllis Clark, Vice-President (Finance and Administration) and Chief Financial Officer of the University of Alberta, Canada;

* Dr Patrick Dallas, a multidisciplinary consultant, who chairs the Advisory Committee in chemical engineering at UTech, as well as the University Council of Jamaica’s Board of Studies in Computer Science and Information Technology.

* Professor S. Satyanarayana, Vice-Chancellor of Osmania University, India;

* Professor Angela Hildyard, Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity, at the University of Toronto;

* Professor Thoko Mayekiso, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Engagement, at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa;

* Dr Anna Kasafi Perkins, Senior Programme Officer, Quality Assurance, University of the West Indies, Regional Headquarters;

* Dr. Elaine Wallace, University Registrar, UTech, Jamaica;

* Stacy Richards-Kennedy of The UWI, St Augustine, an international development specialist with experience in the design, implementation and evaluation of social development projects.

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About UWI

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, Bermuda, 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.)