News Releases

Beyond 75, what’s next? The UWI engages stakeholders on vision, strategy and leadership

For Release Upon Receipt - September 14, 2023


The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica W.I. Thursday, September 14, 2023—A technical paper capturing takeaways from a stakeholder forum on the future of The University of the West Indies and higher education in the Caribbean will be published soon.

As part of its year-long series of events to celebrate its 75th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary, The UWI brought together industry leaders, partner institutions, and students for the forum themed Beyond 75 – Vision, Strategy, and Leadership for Higher Education. The hybrid event was held at the University’s Regional Headquarters in Jamaica and broadcast live via UWItv during its Jubilee Week held in July.

Two panel discussions featured an impressive line-up of panelists representing the student voice and partners from the higher education, development, private, and public sectors addressing sub-topics ranging from quality assurance, partnerships, and financing in higher education.

In his keynote address, The Honourable Dr. Terrance M. Drew, Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis, commended The UWI on bringing together the necessary stakeholders and called for further collaboration. “The theme Beyond 75: Vision, Strategy, and Leadership for Higher Education could not be more relevant and timelier. We must imagine a future for our people and work together to achieve that vision. I am especially concerned with how the education and other sectors evolve and collaborate harmoniously to ensure a better future for our people… a shared vision is an important starting point,” he said.

Reflecting on The UWI’s 75 years of service to the region and looking to the future of higher education, University Registrar Dr. Maurice D. Smith also reiterated that it’s time to “…examine how higher education institutions can remain, reimagine our traditional approach and find innovative strategies to partner with our communities.”

Professor Densil A. Williams, in his capacity (then) as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Five Islands Campus, spoke at the opening session on behalf of UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles. He added his support for the much-needed visioning forum, disclosing that only three out of ten students in the region move into the post-secondary education sector. He shared concerns about the region becoming stuck in a “long time, low growth, low wage trap.” He said, “It is important to have an access revolution for post-secondary education. We must find various pathways to get more people enrolled. That is going to be critical if we are going to allow our people to have the kinds of skill sets that are needed to participate in the new economy that is being shaped by the fifth industrial revolution.”

According to Professor Williams, speaking in the context of the rise of artificial intelligence, the post-secondary curriculum also needs to be expanded to cover new skills “…complex problem solving, emotional intelligence, creativity, innovation, these are new skillsets that we must put into our curriculum and educational offerings so we can get the kind of output that we need.”

The first panel discussion, The Higher Education Future We Want, was moderated by Professor Justin Robinson, (former) Pro Vice-Chancellor Undergraduate Studies, The UWI. Panelists included Ms. Omolora Wilson, Guild President, Mona Campus Guild of Students; Dr. Denise Stoney-James, Deputy Programme Manager, Education, CARICOM Secretariat; Mr. Nigel Scott, Director, St. Vincent & the Grenadines Community College; and Mr. Curtis Floyd, President, Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education (CANQATE).

The second panel themed, The Road to Achieving the Vision: Strategy & Leadership, was moderated by Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee, Pro Vice-Chancellor Graduate Studies & Research, The UWI. The panelists were The Honourable Lisa Morris-Julien, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Trinidad & Tobago; Dr. Patrick Antoine, CEO & Technical Director, CARICOM Private Sector Organization; Dr. Hazel Carter, Associate Professor, Educational Leadership, City College of New York; and Dr. Martin Baptiste, Division Chief, Social Sector Division, Caribbean Development Bank.


About The University of the West Indies

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region for the past 75 years.

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Global Campus, and global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean in the World University Rankings, it is also in the top 25 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

2023 marks The UWI’s 75th anniversary. The Diamond jubilee milestone themed “UWI at 75. Rooted. Ready. Rising.” features initiatives purposely designed and aligned to reflect on the past, confront the present, and articulate plans for the future of the regional University. 

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