News Releases

The UWI Open Campus Principal receives Commonwealth of Learning Honorary Fellow Award

For Release Upon Receipt - December 16, 2016


The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has conferred the title of Honorary Fellow on Dr Luz Longsworth, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Open Campus of The University of the West Indies in recognition of her leadership in higher education. Dr Longsworth was named among seven new honorary fellows at the Pan-Commonwealth Forum (PCF) on Open Learning, on 28 November 2016 during the 8th Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

COL is an intergovernmental organisation created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. It awards honorary fellowships every three years at its triennial Pan-Commonwealth forums. These fellowships honour carefully selected individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the growth and development of open, distance and technology-enabled learning in their own country and internationally and/or to the advancements of education and development in the Commonwealth generally.

The designation of COL Honorary Fellow, which is a designation for life,  recognises impact in areas such as: leadership and service, published works including courseware, lectures and presentations and mentorship. Since 1998, the award has been bestowed on several distinguished educators/administrators across the Commonwealth. Other 2014-2016 COL honorary fellows included:

·       Mr Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor and President, RMIT University, Australia

·       Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President, the University of the South Pacific, Fiji

·       Professor Naveed Akhtar Malik, Rector, Virtual University of Pakistan, Pakistan

·       Professor Tolly Salvator Augustin Mbwette, President of the Pan African University Council and a former Vice Chancellor of the Open University of Tanzania, Tanzania

·       Professor The Honourable Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, Minister of Education and a former Vice Chancellor of University of Cape Coast, Ghana

·       Ms Chetna Vijay Sinha, Founder and President of Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank and its non-profit sister, Mann Deshi Foundation, India

In his closing remarks at the ceremony, COL Vice-President Dr K Balasubramanian said: “I am sure that these seven honorary fellows, along with the 53 honorary fellows designated in the early PCFs will guide us through thought, action and spirit.”

Professor Asha Kanwar, COL’s President and Chief Executive Officer, indicated her personal delight that, through this conferment, COL would be able to acknowledge a great contributor to education and skills development in the Commonwealth. She drew particular reference to Dr Longsworth’s exceptional service and leadership to learning for development, change management, and organisational transformation. 

Dr Longsworth has more than 30 years’ experience in academia and business in Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, and Belize where she was the Resident Tutor and Head of the then School of Continuing Studies. She was officially appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Open Campus in 2016. Prior to that, as a senior administrator at The UWI, she served in various posts at the Mona and Open campuses, including Director of The UWI Open Campus Country Sites, and Director of The UWI Mona Western Jamaica campus in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

In response, Dr Longsworth said that she was truly humbled by this signal acknowledgement, especially since she has always had an abiding admiration for the work of COL throughout the Commonwealth in supporting online, flexible and distance learning.  She was honoured to accept the award, not just on her own behalf but “as part of a unique and outstanding institution, The University of the West Indies.” She went on to say, “I am so pleased that the work of The UWI and in particular the UWI Open Campus in Distance Learning is being acknowledged and honoured by this prestigious organisation.” 

Dr Longsworth is the third person from The UWI in the last 13 years to be conferred this award. Dr Olabisi Kuboni  (2011) and Professor Badri Koul (2003), both of the Open Campus and the former UWI Distance Education Centre (UWIDEC), are earlier recipients. “This is a testimony to our sustained impact,” Dr Longsworth concluded.

The UWI Open Campus has a long history of collaboration with COL, most recently the development of the BSc in Youth Development Work, offered through COL as an Open Educational Resource to a consortium of universities throughout the Commonwealth.  

In offering his congratulations, The UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles counted it “a great honour for our colleague and recognition of the Open Campus and The UWI.”



About the Commonwealth of Learning

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is an intergovernmental organisation created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. Hosted by the Government of Canada and headquartered in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is the world’s only intergovernmental organisation solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning. COL is helping developing nations improve access to quality education and training. Website:


About The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 52 independent and equal sovereign states. It is home to 2.2 billion citizens, of which more than 60 per cent are under the age of 30. The Commonwealth includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries, spanning five regions. Thirty-one of its members are small states, many of them island nations. For more information, visit


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 BarbadosJamaicaTrinidad 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. For more information, visit

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