News Releases

Six Senior UWI Lecturers Promoted to Professors

For Release Upon Receipt - March 24, 2015


Regional Headquarters, Jamaica –– The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is pleased to announce the promotion of six of its senior lecturers to the rank of professor, with effect from February 2015. These newly appointed professors qualified for promotion based on their records of teaching and research as well as their contributions to public service.  They are Dr Jayaram Chillumuntala of the Cave Hill Campus, Barbados; Dr Colin McKenzie, Dr Matthew Smith and Dr David Tennant, all from Mona Campus, Jamaica; and Dr Patrick Akpaka and Dr Francis Dziva of the St Augustine Campus, Trinidad.

The careful scrutiny and subsequent promotion of these six individuals, who have met the University’s highest academic standards, is demonstrative of The UWI’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research, innovation, intellectual leadership and outreach and its mission and vision for Caribbean development.

Dr Jayaram Chillumuntala, who is currently a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science, Mathematics and Physics at Cave Hill, has been with The UWI in this capacity since 2008. He was promoted to professor in Mathematics. He earned his Master of Science degree in Pure Mathematics with distinction from Andhra University Visakhapatnam, India in 1976 and was awarded Doctor of Philosophy in Pure Mathematics from the University of Madras, India in 1984. Prior to his appointment at The UWI, he served as a lecturer at universities in India, South Africa and Botswana, where he also dedicated his service to programme development. Professor Chillumuntala has over 30 years of teaching experience and has supervised four Master of Philosophy students. He has published over 45 research articles in various American, Canadian, European and Asian journals and has been serving as an area editor for the algebra section of the European Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics. Professor Chillumuntala has also been serving as an assessor for Mathematical Reviews and has already reviewed eight mathematical research articles.

Dr Colin McKenzie, now Professor McKenzie, has worked at The UWI since 1992 in the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, Mona Campus, Jamaica. He joined the unit as a research fellow, was promoted to assistant lecturer in 1997, then to lecturer in the following year and subsequently promoted to senior lecturer in 2006. Professor McKenzie obtained his Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery with honours at The UWI, Mona Campus in 1990 and attained the designation, Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford in 1997. He is registered both with the Medical Council of Jamaica and the General Medical Council in the United Kingdom. Professor McKenzie has established himself as an academic and currently leads a regionally and internationally recognised research programme in genetic epidemiology. He has produced extensive work in the areas of genetic determinants of cardiovascular disease and severe childhood malnutrition, which has earned considerable respect from his colleagues in the field. Professor McKenzie is well published in the area of population and health (hypertension, obesity, lipid) genetics. His publications include 51 peer reviewed publications, 13 papers and posters presented at scientific meetings and one book chapter. He was a Rhodes scholarship winner in 1991 and went on to receive several other honours during his career, including a Principal’s Research Award in 2006. Professor McKenzie has balanced his profession with a number of contributions to public service; these include serving as a member of the Selection Committee for the Rhodes scholarship for Jamaica for six years, as an examiner for a number of university assessments and research papers, and in the private sector as a member of the Board of Directors at NCB Insurance company in Jamaica from 2003 to 2013.

Dr Matthew Smith earned his professorship 12 years after joining The UWI. He began at The University’s Mona Campus in the Department of History and Archaeology as a full-time lecturer in 2002 and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2010. He earned both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science degrees from The UWI, Mona Campus in History and Government Political Theory and Comparative Politics respectively. He obtained the title, Doctor of Philosophy in Caribbean/Latin American History (Major Field) Minor in US History from the University of Florida in 2002. Professor Smith’s area of specialisation is Haitian Political and Social History. His scholarly activities include the publication of 18 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and a major monograph Red and Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict, and Political Change, 1934-1957 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009) and Liberty, Fraternity, Exile: Haiti and Jamaica after Emancipation (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014). His recent distinctions and awards include the Principal’s Award for Best Research Publication, Most Outstanding Researcher in the Faculty of Humanities and Education at The UWI Mona in 2010 and a Principal’s Research Fellowship from 2010-2011. In 2010 he was also co-winner of Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Award for Best Book in the Caribbean and earned another Principal’s Research Award in the Faculty of Humanities and Education for Best Research Publication in 2012. In addition to his teaching and research accomplishments, Professor Smith has served the University honourably in various leadership capacities, both locally and abroad. 

Dr David Tennant has an excellent track record of research leadership, teaching and course administration at The UWI. Prior to his promotion to the rank of professor, he was a senior lecturer and associate dean of Graduate Studies in the Department of Economics at the Faculty of Social Sciences at The UWI Mona Campus. His first degree, a Bachelor of Science with a double major in Economics and Management, was earned at UWI Mona. He then moved on to obtain a Master’s degree in Development Finance from the University of Manchester with distinction, and Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Management, also from the University of Manchester. His area of specialisation is Development Finance with specific attention in addressing issues that are particularly relevant to the financing of development in Jamaica and other developing economies. Professor Tennant’s teaching accomplishments at The UWI span both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He developed a new postgraduate course – Applied Economic Research and Analysis – and restructured six undergraduate and two postgraduate courses to ensure they address current issues affecting developing countries. He was also part of the team that launched The UWI’s Banking and Finance Bachelor of Science degree and subsequently conducted a review and evaluation of the programme. He is also Chairman of the Department of Economics’ Undergraduate Committee and in that capacity he developed and implemented a plan for the review of curriculum and teaching. Professor Tennant has an impressive reputation of raising research grants and initiating consultancies that have enabled him to engage in research collaborations with policy making institutions and other international scholars. He was the recipient of the Principal’s Research Day Awards for Best Publication in the Faculty of Social Sciences on three occasions, awarded Most Outstanding Researcher on two occasions and earned the Principal’s Academic High Flyers Awards in 2007. He is also credited with 20 articles published in refereed journals in a range of reputable journals specialising in applied economics, finance and development studies. Among his latest projects, he has co-edited and authored chapters in a refereed book, Debt and Development in Small Island Developing States, published by Palgrave McMillan in December 2014. In addition to his work in teaching and research, he participates actively in public service. This includes the Board of Commissioners of the Financial Services Commission for eight years and contributions to public policy by authoring numerous technical reports used by international financial institutions to help shape policies in developing countries.

Dr Patrick Akpaka has been promoted to the rank of professor of Medical Microbiology. A Jamaican national, but Nigerian by birth, he currently works at the Unit of Pathology and Microbiology at the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University’s St Augustine Campus. In 1990 he obtained his Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus and his Doctor of Medicine qualification from The UWI Mona Campus in 2004. He joined The UWI teaching staff as a lecturer in 2005 and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2011. During this time he has served as a consultant microbiologist at The Scarborough General Hospital in Tobago since October 2008 and a part-time consultant microbiologist with the South West Regional Health Authority General Hospital in San Fernando, Trinidad. He teaches at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including supervision of the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Professor Akpaka is responsible for the development and introduction of the University’s Master of Science degree in Medical Microbiology, which saw its first cohort of students in 2012/2013. During his career, he has pioneered several research projects investigating the molecular epidemiology of several multi-drug resistant infections caused by several bacterial organisms. He has authored two book chapters and 38 articles published in refereed journals and presented 18 papers at regional and international scientific conferences. Besides his teaching and research, Professor Akpaka contributes significantly to university and public service.  He is a university examiner and a course convener. At the University’s administration level, he has served as Acting Head of the Department of Para-Clinical Sciences and Deputy Dean of the School of Basic Health Sciences in the Faculty of Medical Science in July 2012. He also works with several regional health authorities in Trinidad and Tobago, serving as Chairman of the South West Regional Health Authority’s Infection Prevention and Control Committee and a member of the Laboratory Management Committee of the Tobago Regional Health Authority.

Dr Francis Dziva of the St Augustine Campus earned his professorship in Veterinary Bacteriology. He is currently based at the Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine. His other qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Science from the University of Zimbabwe which he obtained in 1991, a Master of Science degree from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) at the University of London in 1993 and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RVS) in 2011. He has been a senior lecturer at The UWI since 2012 with a background of significant experience as a principal investigator, a senior research scientist in the United Kingdom and a lecturer in Zimbabwe. Professor Dziva is an active member of the RVS and a member of the editorial boards of the International Scholarly Research Notices, the Microbiology Open Veterinary Science Journal and West Indian Veterinary Journal. His own publications include one co-authored book, one monograph, 44 articles published in refereed journals, 10 presentations at scientific conferences and seminars as well as several other papers for invited lectures regionally and internationally. At The UWI, he lectures at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and is also supervising one Master of Philosophy student, one Doctor of Philosophy student and two groups of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Since his move to The UWI, Professor Dziva has set up projects of a more applied nature, using his skills in molecular biology to study bacterial pathogens important in Trinidad and Tobago. He is currently a visiting research scientist at the Department of Animal Sciences at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Other honours include two Outstanding Research awards from the Institute for Animal Health in 2004 and 2007 and two Merit Research awards in 2005 and 2012 from the Institute of Animal Health in Compton, UK.


The following remarks from the external assessors’ reports were shared by The University’s Office of Administration:

Dr Jayaram Chillumuntala

“He has a focused research programme and his papers have made an important contribution to ideal theory and the theory of multiplicative lattices. He has written papers with some of the leading people in the field.”

Dr Colin McKenzie

“Dr McKenzie is an outstandingly well published and respected scientific leader and collaborator in the area of population as well as health genetics.”

Dr Matthew Smith

“The applicant is already an established scholar in the field of Caribbean and particularly Haitian historiography. His personal research is of an exceptionally high standard and is undoubtedly of world leading quality.”

Dr David Tennant

“In sum, Dr Tennant strikes me as a talented, hardworking and productive researcher. I have no doubt that he would be an asset to any reputable economics department internationally.”

Dr Patrick Akpaka

“One point that especially struck me about Dr Akpaka’s publications is that they reflect the very collaborative nature of his work, especially on a global scale.”

Dr Francis Dziva

“He is an expert on avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) – an important cause of septicaemia and cellulitis in broiler chickens – and on the pathogenesis of E. coli and salmonella. His 2013 paper on the evolution of an APEC strain is an outstanding contribution to the field.”

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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 over 50,000 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.)