News Releases

UWI Council meets in the Bahamas to examine the university in a new century

For Release Upon Receipt - April 30, 2014

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – Members of the Council of The University of the West Indies (UWI) – the supreme governing body of the regional institution –  along with other specially invited guests met last Friday, April 25, at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort in the Bahamas, for the Council’s Annual Business Meeting. 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. Themed Positioning our University in a New Century, the report first focused on the institution’s financial self-sufficiency.

Chaired by UWI Chancellor, Sir George Alleyne, the meeting examined a number of matters, including the approval of financial reports, tuition fees for the coming academic year, the appointment of deans and senior managers, and endorsement of recommendations for the award of honorary degrees.

In the Vice-Chancellor’s report, one of the key highlights was the fact that while government income to the University dropped from 57% in 2009, to 49% in 2013, revenue from other sources has increased from 42% to 51% in the same time period, thus demonstrating an increase in the University’s self-reliance. Alternative income streams for The UWI include contract research and programme/project grants, business ventures, asset investments and philanthropic giving. The UWI gives particular priority to relevant and scholarly research in areas such as agro-technologies and food security, energy efficiency and sustainability, and tourism development and human security, among others.

He added that as a tertiary level institution that spans the Caribbean region, The UWI constantly seeks ways to expand growth, without sacrificing quality, and achieves success, evidenced by steady growth in enrolment, with a whopping total of 49,000 students as of January 13, 2014. From 2006-2013, there has been a 29% increase in the awarding of Lower Second Class Honours degrees alone. Such growth spawns the need for capital development projects to maintain quality teaching and learning, and one outcome in the past year was the establishment of Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning on all campuses. The primary aim of these Centres is to enhance the quality of teaching of the University’s lecturers, teaching assistants and tutors. 

The Vice-Chancellor also spoke on the ways that The UWI continues to extend its reach, serving more and more communities – national, regional and global. The Central Office for Regional and International Affairs (CORIA) at the Vice-Chancellery at the Mona campus, founded in 2012, has as its mandate to develop and implement a coherent corporate strategy to promote the regional and international relations and profile of The UWI. In fact, the Turks and Caicos Islands has become the newest contributing member to the University of the West Indies as of January 30. Students of contributing countries receive a 40 per cent discount on the cost of tuition. 

In closing, the Vice-Chancellor highlighted The UWI’s three “firsts” in the region: being the first choice of Caribbean nationals seeking tertiary education; its mission to be first in providing new knowledge through research contributory to growth, development and transformation of the region, and being the first port of call for Caribbean governments wishing technical advice and expertise. The UWI constantly strives to preserve regionality, reaching outside its physical walls to positively impact the overall development of the Caribbean.

The Rt. Honourable Perry Gladstone Christie, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas addressed the gathering as well.


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation.  

(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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