News Releases

UWI Open Campus reports enrolment near 10,000

For Release Upon Receipt - April 26, 2018


For Continuing Professional Education Courses at annual business meeting

In an historic first, Ambassador Dr. June Soomer presided over The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Open Campus Council meeting as its first female Chair on March 27, 2018. Ambassador Soomer along with Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Open Campus, Dr. Luz Longsworth led the annual meeting of the Campus Council which was held at the Starfish Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua and Barbuda. 

The meeting’s highlight was Dr. Longsworth’s report to the Campus Council, themed, Opening Doors to Life Changing Learning and covered all the activities and accomplishments of the campus during the 2016/2017 academic year.  In other firsts, the Campus Council welcomed The UWI Chancellor, Robert Bermudez, who attended the meeting for the first time as well as specially invited guests, Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Rodney Williams and his wife, Lady Williams.

During her presentation, Dr. Longsworth took the opportunity to reflect on the Campus’ ten-year anniversary. She thanked those who laid the foundation for its growth and success over the past decade, including former Principals, Professor V. Eudine Barriteau and Professor Emerita Dr. Hazel Simmons McDonald, former Deputy Principal, Professor Emerita Vivienne Roberts and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, Professor E. Nigel Harris.  Recently retired, Chancellor Emeritus Sir George Alleyne was recognised as well as the late Sir Dwight Venner, who served as Campus Council Chair from inception until his death in December 2016. 

The highpoint of Dr. Longsworth’s presentation was the report of doubled enrolment figures in online programmes over the past decade (from 3674 in 2008 to 6733 in 2017); with Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) course numbers for the 2016/2017 academic year, peaking at a total of 9685 students. In an era of reduced government contributions to The UWI, this has allowed for 56% of the Campus’ budget to be generated from tuition fees, providing support in a tight fiscal space, as well as a degree of self-sustainability. Much of the growth recorded was attributed to the support provided by the Canadian Government funded programme, Strengthening Distance Education in the Caribbean (SDEC), which provided a much needed injection of capital into the Open Campus (CND 31 million dollars) allowing for the development of 155 new and revised online courses, 44 new CPE programmes, upgraded technology, staff training, upgraded sites, and an agile Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System.  

Among the future plans of the Open Campus is the strategic effort to drive a new era of online education in the Caribbean in collaboration with sister campuses and The UWI’s new Office of Online Learning (OOL).  Also high on the agenda is the offering of courses specifically tailored towards revitalising Caribbean development such as the transformational leadership and NGO professional management certificates. In the first instance, a BSc in Youth Development Work and an MSc in Instructional Design and Technology will be offered.  Internationalisation efforts are also well underway with plans to deliver the online courses: Values Based Cultural Heritage Management, Culture of Rastafari, and Transformational Leadership to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals as early as the 2018/2019 academic year.

Global partnerships such as the landmark collaboration with the State University of New York (SUNY) to offer a Certificate and MSc in Leadership and Sustainable Development, as well as a joint Early Childhood programme were also noted in the Principal’s presentation.  The report to the Campus Council received an endorsement from Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles who congratulated Dr. Longsworth and noted that while it could be argued that the landed campuses are fast approaching their maximum capacity in terms of carrying ability, the outer parameter of the Open Campus is far beyond the horizon. He said, “We support wholeheartedly the Open Campus as our vehicle to the future. The Open Campus is the one that will bring equity to the region, justice to the most remote communities, justice to persons who as youth could not participate in higher education but who, as adults would wish to circle and return, to build their own futures and to have that life changing experience.”

Contributions at the meeting also came from the Deputy Principal Professor, Julie Meeks; Campus Librarian, Mrs. Karen Lequay; Director of Academic Programming and Development (APAD); Dr. Denise Gaspard-Richards; Director of the Consortium for Social Development and Research (CSDR), Mr. Lincoln Williams and Director of the Open Campus Country Sites (OCCS), Dr. Francis Severin, reporting on the academic and operational performance of the offices under their purview.

Click here to view the recorded stream of the 2016/ 2017 Open Campus Council Meeting

Click here to access the full text .pdf  version of the Annual Report to Council




Photo caption: Seated (l-r) at the Council Meeting head table are: Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles; Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Open Campus, Dr. Luz Longsworth; Open Campus Council Chair, Ambassador Dr. June Soomer; Campus Registrar, Open Campus, Mrs. Karen Ford-Warner and Deputy Principal, Open Campus, Professor Julie Meeks.