The International Association of Universities (IAU) selected The UWI as its global leader in the mobilisation of research and advocacy for the achievement of a climate-smart world, in recognition of the University's decades of world-class research on climate change and sustainable development. The UWI was selected from a field of distinguished universities that have established a track record of research around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Climate Action.
Given the central role played by universities in helping to advance the 2030 development agenda, the University Office of Development focuses on maximising opportunities to deepen the university's engagement with national and regional development processes. This is in keeping with the Outreach perspective of The UWI Triple A Strategy and our commitment to revitalising Caribbean development.
The Office of Development identifies synergies and seeks to embed The UWI in the programmatic work of multilateral development agencies for enhanced coordination and development impact. The ambitious, inter-sectoral 2030 sustainable development agenda has underscored the need for greater alignment between academia, industry and development partners to effectively tackle a broad range of social and economic development issues. The UWI is committed to the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Office of Development plays a catalytic role in strengthening the university's partnerships for development, in keeping with SDG-17.
During the period 2017/2018, the Office of Development led a range of initiatives to advance the execution of the Office's mandate under the following thematic lines of action:
Together these initiatives support The UWI's strategic pillars of increased Access, Alignment and Agility by contributing to promoting greater activism and public advocacy; increasing and improving academic/industry/development partnerships; and strengthening The UWI's global presence.
Some highlights in the review year include:
The Office of Development played a vital role in securing CDB grant funding to support 'The Preparation of a Comprehensive Sport for Development Initiative for the New Faculty of Sport of The UWI', and 'the Enhancement of the UWItv Regional Project'; DFID support for research consultancy 'Essential Data on the Development Status of the Caribbean' executed by The UWI Cave Hill Campus Department of Economics; and Technical assistance from UNDP, CDB and PEMANDU Associates for content development of an online Course on Transformational Leadership to Achieve the SDGs.
As part of a joint UWI-IDB workplan of activities, an IDB-funded study tour was arranged from July 9-10, 2018 for UWI representatives to the MIT Media Lab and The Engine in Boston. The UWI team benefited from presentations, live demonstrations of technological innovations and insights into the operational model used by The Engine of MIT to promote research commercialisation, all of which are directly relevant to The UWI's strategic imperative to establish technology parks, support spin off companies and create an ecosystem for matching private capital to new products that can be brought to the market.
An MOU signed with the Inter-American Development Bank and IDB Invest formalised IDB-UWI collaborations to promote evidence-based decision-making on economic and social policy issues in the Caribbean through a range of activities including sharing academic and educational content; developing joint research and innovation initiatives; development of joint MOOCs (massive open online courses) with the UWI Open Campus; participation in the IDB's Sustainable Islands and Power Caribbean initiatives, and others. The execution of agreed activities will be guided by a joint workplan.
The Office of Development, in collaboration with PEMANDU Associates and the CDB, contributed to the inaugural Caribbean Leadership and Transformation Forum organised by the CDB in Barbados in September 2017. Technical input was provided for the Conference document entitled Implementation: Delivering Results to Transform Caribbean Society. Capacity building to strengthen implementation capacity across the region is ongoing through the UWI Open Campus online course on Transformational Leadership to Achieve the SDGs and through CDB-supported interventions in member countries in collaboration with PEMANDU Associates.
The Office of Development led the UWI interface with a coalition of public and private sector partners committed to climate action and resilience to launch the Caribbean Climate Smart Accelerator (CCSA) at its UWI Mona Campus on August 9, 2018. The CCSA aims to leverage significant public and private sector investments in support of clean energy, resilience strengthening, climate-smart cities and healthy oceans. Other institutional partners include the IDB, World Bank, The Virgin Group, PwC and TIDES Foundation etc. The CCSA will seek to fast-track public and private investment opportunities that support climate action and economic growth. The Office of Development is in discussions with the Accelerator to deepen collaborations with The University of the West Indies as it operationalises its workplan.
The UWI was nominated SDG-13 Cluster Lead in the International Association of Universities' (IAU) Thematic Cluster on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD), which comprises 17 SDG higher education teams that will work together to advance the 2030 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Cluster is intended to foster new collaborative projects among universities working on SDG issues. The first global HESD cluster workshop is scheduled for January 2019 at UNESCO's Headquarters and The UWI is the only university from the Caribbean to be invited to participate.
In the area of industry/academic partnerships, the University Office of Planning presented a concept note for a policy to guide engagements between The UWI and the private sector. The University also began talks with the University of Coventry, UK, which has the reputation as Britain's top university for industry-academic partnership and the commercialisation of university research. The creation of a UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry and Academic Partnerships is anticipated to be finalised in the new academic year.
Formalising a relationship that has spanned almost 50 years, The UWI and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2018. The MoU will support a stronger partnership between the Bank and the University on programmes and projects, and is focused on promoting institutional strengthening and evidence-based decision-making for economic and social policy issues relevant to the Caribbean region.
The MoU covers shared priorities such as promoting youth development and community inclusion through sport, improving implementation capacity and developing joint training and educational programmes. It builds upon ongoing partnerships that support the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, including projects in areas such as climate adaptation and mitigation, gender equality, and education and training.
UWItv, the multimedia public information and education service of The UWI, continues to focus on globalising the University through the production and distribution of content. This content presents critical analysis of common issues, concerns and socio-economic priorities in our region and the wider Caribbean diaspora. UWItv's content also promotes the University's objective of the advancement of education and knowledge creation, and allows student voices to be heard.
As the University continues to leverage 21st century technologies to reach a 21st century population, the service has become more involved at all university activities. Over the year in review, major events have been live-streamed and archived online for easy retrieval. The service continued to broadcast three hours of programming per day across 22 Caribbean country markets, and diaspora communities in New York/New Jersey, Toronto, Montreal and London.
In the period under review, UWItv focused on four key areas:
UWItv collaborated with the School of Education (Cave Hill Campus) UNICEF, UNESCO, the Institute of Statistics and the OECS Education Development Management Unit to deliver the report on The Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children (OOSC). The global initiative was launched in 2010 to help countries develop evidence-based strategies to reduce the number of out-of-school children and adolescents. This first OOSCI study in the Eastern Caribbean sub-region included seven countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
In its continued efforts to shed light on issues surrounding education in the region, UWItv collaborated with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) to discuss the launch of their E-platform for marking and testing. It also hosted various discourses on the decline in CXC History and Arts Education in the Caribbean.
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) partnered with UWItv to host a series entitled ECCB Connects, an outreach initiative for the group of eight island economies, namely Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
UWItv continued to collaborate with several partners, including the Caribbean Development Bank, UN Caribbean – FAO, UN Women, and UNICEF to secure footage of conferences, symposiums, public lectures, panel discussions, speeches and workshops to create an even greater diversity in its repository. In the period under review, UWItv served as the official media partner for the livestream of the following regional events:
In August 2017, UWItv, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, Barbados, showcased CARIFESTA 13th symposium under the theme "The Caribbean, the Arts and the Cultural Industries: Negotiating Tradition, Aesthetics, Economics and Legacy."” The symposium presented an opportunity for the exploration of the myriad identities arising from artistic and cultural expressions, as well as intellectual endeavours, within the Caribbean region and its diaspora. Barbados Cultural Ambassador, Mr. Stedson 'Red Plastic Bag' Wiltshire, also embarked on a long-term project with UWItv entitled 'Work of Art', which showcases the region's artists and attempts to open the discussion on issues relating to various aspects of the creative and cultural industries.
UWItv regards community involvement and social responsibility as an integral part of its mission. In the review year, it continued to provide numerous NGOs and other civil society organisations, with a platform to advocate on behalf of the underserved and vulnerable populations in our society.
Regional catastrophes such as Hurricanes Irma and Maria and ongoing seismic activity prompted UWItv to lead conversations, in the form of livestream forums, which provided stakeholders with access to relevant research to inform decision making in the areas of resilience and sustainability. Likewise, UWI acknowledged the global impact of the UK's pending exit from the European Union and created an environment for dialogue on its impact on CARICOM.
A key element of The UWI's strategic plan is the provision of access to information and knowledge. As such, UWItv facilitated the live broadcast of annual Council meetings, graduations and other pertinent university events and activities. It enjoyed increased viewership through the leveraging of its social media platforms.
UWItv prides itself as a platform of empowerment for student leaders through the coverage and promotion of student lead events and activities. In February, UWItv partnered with the Cave Hill Association of Postgraduate Students (CHAPS) to host the 2018 Postgraduate Intercampus Debating competition staged at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. Contingents from the four campuses Mona, Cave Hill, St. Augustine and the Open Campus—debated topics such as Climate Change, The Effects of Structural Adjustment Programmes, The Rise of Women in the Workplace, The Economic Value of a University Degree, Gonorrhoea = HIV/AIDS and Reparations for CARICOM.
In the period of review, UWItv programming consistently added new episodes of 'Research Room', a segment highlighting the research output from all four UWI campuses. The discussions focused on areas such as Climate Change, Seismic Research, Windrush, Brexit and Cancer.
During the period under review, the work agenda of the University Marketing and Communications Office (U-M&C) centred on supporting a number of key projects related to strategic planning; stakeholder engagement; enhancing the University's visibility, reputation and branding and streamlining internal and external communication, all of which have a direct impact on the Triple A Strategy.
Among these efforts, the U-M&C team conceptualised and led the communication campaign to support the University's strategic planning process, including the rollout of the Triple A Strategy 2017-2022, utilising a mix of traditional and digital communication components.
For all major initiatives launched in the review period, the team was responsible for conceptualising, directing and implementing strategic public relations and marketing linked to the institution's strategic bids under the pillars of access, alignment and agility. These initiatives include, but are not limited to, the launch of the Faculty of Sport, the UWI China Institute of Information Technology (UWICIIT) and continued support for the development of both UWItv and the SUNY-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development.
Of notable mention, one of the major marketing activities undertaken was the campaign to raise awareness about the UWICIIT's BSc Software Engineering programme. This programme set a novel standard of adopting a 'One UWI' marketing approach. It incorporated a mix of internal and external promotional activities using traditional and new media channels including a social media campaign. Efforts reached in excess of 130,735 persons in the targeted demographic, and combined with programmatic, video, display, SMS and traditional advertising resulted in over 10,587 programme inquiries in the campaign period.
In its focus on establishing a 'One UWI' brand consciousness, U-M&C coordinated and led a streamlined approach for the engagement around governance meetings such as University and campus councils, the round of graduation ceremonies as well as several other regional activities with broader public access and engagement over the year in review. Among these were the installation of Pro Vice-Chancellor and Mona Campus Principal, Professor Dale Webber; the Rally Round Dominica Hurricane Relief undertakings; the launch of the University's Gender and Quality policies, and MOUs with development partners like CDB and IDB, and other special projects such as the Climate Smart Accelerator.
The reporting period also saw several U-M&C collaborations with key internal stakeholders on a tactical level, aimed at positioning The UWI, regionally and globally as the Caribbean's leading higher education institution. As it relates to raising the University's global profile, media relations underpinned key messaging around the Times Higher Education (THE) Rankings and similarly, strategic undertakings related to advancing the University's global agenda.
On the matter of the commemoration of the University's 70th anniversary year, U-M&C spearheaded outreach efforts alongside the Office of Administration. In particular, the team coordinated the logo competition framework and its promotion, content for supplements in the Jamaica Gleaner, The Voice and a special feature by the UK's St James House. U-M&C also steered the publicity and activation of the anniversary calendar of events, including both the launch and finale, helping to build and maintain awareness and support for The UWI's anniversary milestone and its robust year-long calendar of events and initiatives spread across the region and among the Caribbean diaspora.
Daily news analysis conducted by U-M&C showed that during the review period, the University enjoyed significant dominance in traditional and social media mentions, with positive sentiment exceeding negative or neutral coverage. Analysis showed that the global footprint of these media mentions was distributed not just across the Caribbean region, but extended to territories such as the US, Venezuela, and as far as China and India.