News Releases

UWI appoints three new Deans at the St. Augustine Campus

For Release Upon Receipt - July 15, 2015

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. June 14, 2015 – Three new Deans have been appointed at The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine ahead of the academic year 2015/2016. Effective August 1, 2015, Professor Stephan Gift assumes the role of Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Terence Seemungal as Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences and Professor Ann-Marie Bissessar as Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. All appointments are for a period of 5 years. Dr Isaac Bekele has been reappointed as Dean Faculty of Food and Agriculture for one academic year also beginning August 1, 2015. 

Professor Stephan Gift is currently Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Leader of the Electronics System Group. He was awarded a UWI postgraduate scholarship and completed his doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering at age 24, the youngest PhD graduate in the Faculty’s history. He later joined the Department in 1995. He has published over 50 papers in international peer-reviewed journals. He has developed several new electronic systems and in a series of papers has challenged Einstein’s theory of relativity. He is also the first person in his Department to be promoted to the rank of Professor. Professor Gift has received many awards including the Young Innovator’s Award in 1986, The UWI Guild of Graduates Pelican Award for Excellence in Science and Technology in 1993, the Prime Minister’s Special Award of Merit for Innovation in the Field of Electronics in 2002 and Friends of the Tobago Library Committee Individual of the Year Award for 2006 in recognition of outstanding contribution in Science.

Professor Terence Seemungal has made an invaluable contribution to the study of lung health. He is current Head of the Department of Clinical Medical Sciences in the Faculty of Medical Sciences. He is also and Chair of the Campus Open Lectures Committee. His work with the academic group of Professor Wedzicha in London contributed significantly to the body of knowledge of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. His academic contributions form a consistent body of work of high quality, originality and significance. Recently, he was ranked No. 10 in the world in an analysis of the top 100 “most influential papers on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).” The article in the International Journal of COPD, A bibliometric analysis of the 100 most influential papers on COPD, was based on a study looking for the most often cited works. The most frequently cited were published between 1966 and 2010. Professor Seemungal’s article was published in 1998 and at the time of the study had been cited 768 times. The most cited article was published in 2007 and had 2,164 citations.

Professor Ann-Marie Bissessar is Professor of Political Science and former Head of the Department of Behavioural Sciences. She has to date written/ co-edited/edited sixteen books and approximately seventy articles in peer reviewed journals. Her areas of research include issues of Governance, Public and Health Sector reform; Human Resource reform and regulations in relation to Money Laundering, Human Trafficking and Anti-Corruption. She was appointed to the rank of Professor in 2010. Among her recent publications is Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana: Race and Politics in Two Plural Societies which she co-authored with Professor Emeritus John Gaffar La Guerre in 2013. In it, an attempt is made to probe more carefully the processes by which social and ethnic problems, as these pertain to Caribbean countries Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, are conveyed to the political arena and the mechanisms by which they determine critical outcomes.

Dr Isaac Bekele has served as Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture since his appointment to the post in 2013. He holds a PhD in Biostatistics from Cornell University; an MSc in Biometry from Reading University and a BSc in Statistics from Addis Ababa University. He has over 20 years’ experience in the area of environmental studies, providing statistical support to graduate students as co-supervisor or statistical support provider. He has also been a statistical consultant to the Institute of Marine Affairs for an extended period and taught statistics to MSc Environmental Engineering students. His research interests include statistical mathematics, theories in agricultural, biological and environmental fields.

These new deans join other recently appointed colleagues - Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine- Dean of the Faculty of Law, Dr Heather Cateau - Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Education and Professor Indar Ramnarine - Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology.



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. Website:



(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)