Increasing participation in tertiary and higher education for all, ensuring that all offerings such as teaching and learning, student development, consulting, research and public advocacy programmes reach the Caribbean's underserved and diaspora communities and all with an interest in higher education around the world.
As part of The UWI's commitment to developing a new generation of Caribbean leaders in the field of technology, its historic collaboration with the Global Institute of Software Technology in Suzhou, China, met a significant milestone in the reporting year 2017/2018. Twenty-seven software engineering students from The UWI embarked on the second phase of the programme delivered in the area considered the Silicon Valley of China. Upon completing this world-class programme, which offers industry-standard teaching and training, students will be better equipped to compete in the international job market in software engineering fields. The immersion in China's creative entrepreneurial culture, while also being exposed to Mandarin provide a significant competitive advantage and the opportunity for a lucrative career in this burgeoning industry. This partnership lays the foundation for the much-needed digital revolution in the region.
The Faculty of Sport became the newest faculty of The University of the West Indies on August 1, 2017, the first to be established at The UWI in 40 years. It adopts the format of a cross-campus faculty with Academies of Sport (akin to Departments) on each campus. Each academy has sections dealing with academic activities and research, sporting activities and outreach. In the review year, the Mona Academy of Sport also incorporated another section to its structure, the Division of Sports Medicine from the Faculty of Medical Sciences. This section of Sports and Exercise Medicine now runs the Master in Sports Medicine programme for physicians, Master in Sports and Exercise Medicine–Physiotherapy programme as well as the Sports and Exercise Medicine Clinic.
Much of the year focussed on setting up administrative structures, acquiring staff through transfers, advertising new posts, and writing new undergraduate and graduate programme proposals. Faculty regulations were authored and passed by various committees. The Faculty's web presence was also designed and is fully active.
Each campus was asked to migrate two programmes to the Faculty of Sport, but this required some administrative formalities to be completed. As a result, no new students were enrolled in the Faculty for 2017/2018. Nevertheless, the Faculty contributed to the achievement of increased access with the approval of two programmes—BSc Sport Coaching and BSc Sport Kinetics—for delivery at Mona for 2018/2019. Access to graduate sport programmes at the Mona Academy of Sport was also widened with the approval of the UWI/FIFA/CIES diploma in Sports Management for collaborative delivery with the Department of Management Studies, St. Augustine using a “One UWI” platform.
The establishment of the Office of Online Learning (OOL) within the Vice-Chancellery is a key component in the strategy to improve access by delivering UWI courses to regional and international markets. The OOL was operationalised in October 2017 with the appointment of Professor Stafford A. Griffith as Regional Director.
The main responsibilities of the OOL include leading online programme development and facilitating requests for approval of online programmes from all campuses. Online learning is a critical element in achieving the University's goal of at least one university graduate in each household in the Caribbean.
The UWI's regional and global reputation received a boost in 2018, first in July when it was ranked 37th among the best 129 universities in the 2018 Times Higher Education Latin America University Rankings. Then, just a few months later in September, the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed The UWI among the 1,258 top universities in world for 2019. In both ranking tables, The UWI was the only Caribbean institution to make the lists. The institution's overall success in these rankings is attributed in part to the adoption of the Triple A pillars, and the intense and strategic interventions which are consistent with the university ranking's assessment criteria.
In 2018, discussions were held with the government of Antigua and Barbuda with a view to establishing a fourth landed campus there. It marked a significant move, noting that the last landed campus was established in Barbados in the 1960s. With the intention of increasing The UWI's reach into the Eastern Caribbean, a new campus would provide greater access to higher education opportunities. The resulting diversity of human resources at a much higher level could also attract the investment capital necessary to drive economic growth in the region. The proposal made by the government of Antigua and Barbuda is currently under examination. The University Council in 2018 recommended that a technical task force —comprising University officials, students and other stakeholders—be established to examine and evaluate its financial, operational and strategic viability and sustainability.
In February 2018, The UWI launched its Quality Policy, triggering a programme of wide-ranging engagement to ensure the highest quality in its daily interactions with stakeholders. The policy supports the achievement of The UWI's mission and vision and facilitates its continuing institutional and programme accreditation.
Designed to strengthen the quality of its processes, products, and services, the policy responds to the importance of increased attention to quality assurance for administrative processes and the need for better integration with quality assurance for academic programmes. This will allow the University to better serve all stakeholders and represents an important instrument for deepening The UWI's quality culture and developing its Quality Management System.
The improvement and expansion of physical plant/facilities enable the advancement of the Access pillar.
With generous funding from the Government of Canada, progress was made in the reporting year on renovations at the Open Campus site in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The site will soon see larger classrooms, a library, ICT learning centre, administrative facilities, video-conferencing facilities and communal areas for students.
Three years after The UWI's assumption of full responsibility for completing this project, handover of the Debe site in Trinidad and Tobago is scheduled for the end of the first quarter of 2019. Buildings are expected to be ready for occupation shortly thereafter and classes scheduled for the 2019/2020 academic year.
A South Campus Task Force was formed to plan and oversee the phased occupation of the Campus. In the short term, programmes and operations to be offered include the Diploma in Education, ROYTEC and a Public Health Clinic.
In the medium-to-long term, the Faculty of Medical Sciences will be the flagship Faculty at the campus. While it is a change from the original intent of the campus being the centre for the Faculty of Law, it is part of a broader strategy to expand enrolment in Medical Sciences to support more international and full-fee-paying students, all aimed at making the South Campus self-sufficient.
Chinese partners, the Global Institute of Software Technology, financed the repurposing of the Sagicor Mutual Building in Bridgetown, Barbados into a multipurpose training facility and technology hub to enable Fintech start-up companies, student entrepreneurial ventures and retraining and retooling of workers to be conducted in the heart of the city. This is an essential element of the Smart Campus Initiative, through which the Cave Hill Campus is transforming its operations to prepare faculty, staff and students and other stakeholders, for the 21st century digital society. Upon completion of the project, services, content, pedagogical strategies and facilities will utilise digital technology, resulting in a modern environment that enables e-learning.