Pro Vice-Chancellor's Report - Undergraduate Studies

Professor Alan Cobley

Professor Alan Cobley

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Board for Undergraduate Studies

Teaching, Learning and Student Development

Academic Quality

The Quality Assurance Unit (QAU) organised 16 quality assurance reviews during 2016/2017:

  • Cave Hill - The Foundation Language Programme Fundamentals of Written English; The School of Education; Linguistics
  • Mona - Sociology, Social Policy, Demography, Anthropology and HRD Psychology; Social Work
  • Open Campus - Master of Adult and Continuing Education
  • St. Augustine - Department of Pre-Clinical Sciences; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of Food Production; Cultural Studies; Faculty of Law; Centre for Language Learning; Communication Studies
  • Graduate Studies & Research - Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit (Vice Chancellery)

In addition to the full Quality Assurance Reviews, the QAU conducted a number of Quality Evaluations of several Teachers' Colleges in Jamaica, and of the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College in St Kitts and Nevis.

Other Initiatives on Quality

In February 2017, the University Task Force on Quality, chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Board of Undergraduate Studies (BUS), submitted its report to the University Finance and General Purposes Committee, which approved the major recommendations, including the adoption of a UWI Quality Policy and the establishment of a UWI Quality Management Team.

The University-wide Centre-Funded Centres and Institutes Quality Assurance Review Follow-Up Committee met for the first time during the year, chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Graduate Studies and Research.

Quality Assurance Unit Senior Programme Officers Dr. Pamela Dottin (Open Campus) and Dr. Sandra Gift (St. Augustine) were invited to lead preparation for institutional accreditation exercises on their respective campuses.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor BUS chaired the cross-campus Faculty of Medical Sciences Accreditation Compliance Committee to oversee the development and implementation of the Faculty's Action Plan to address issues raised in CAAM-HP's Accreditation Report of 2016. The follow-up report on the implementation of the Action Plan was submitted to CAAM-HP in June 2017.

Student Engagement and Experience

Report on Student Performance
Campuses are now required to report on student performance to the Board on an annual basis, highlighting trends and detailing efforts to improve student performance.

Adjustment to Failing Bands in the GPA Policy
An adjustment to Failing Bands in the GPA Policy was implemented at the beginning of the year to afford students a better opportunity to recover from failures. Office of the Board for Undergraduate Studies (OBUS) worked with the Campus Registrars and Deans to monitor its implementation.

Matriculation Policy
At the request of the Board, the Open Campus piloted the use of Prior Learning Assessment Recognition (PLAR) during the year with a view to making recommendations for the introduction of the policy university-wide in 2018/2019.

Co-Curricular Programme
BUS approved the use of a co-curricular transcript for all students on the model used by the Mona Campus.

Assessment [Examination] Regulations
The revised regulations were due to be introduced with effect from August 1, 2017.

Policy Framework on Continuing Professional Education
A framework for the award of credits for CPE programmes developed by the Open Campus was approved for university-wide use.

FOUN1101 Caribbean Civilisation
This course became the first University Foundation course to be delivered cross-campus, using a blended teaching modality. Plans are in train to deliver two other Foundation courses using a similar modality in 2018/2019.

Undergraduate Programme Approvals
21 new or revised undergraduate degree programmes were approved. Many of these were a product of continuing efforts at harmonisation of academic programming sponsored by the Board.

Strategic Plan
During the year several initiatives associated with the University's Strategic Plan for 2012–2017 were completed, and plans were put in place for several new initiatives under the new Triple A Strategic Plan for 2017–2022.


The mission of OBUS to support and enhance student engagement and success is exemplified by its administration of regional scholarships, which give support to some of our brightest and best students from across the region attending any campus of The UWI. In 2016/2017 UGC- funded regional scholarships awarded included 160 UWI Open Scholarships, 17 UWI/CXC CSEC Scholarships, and 5 Caribbean Integration Programme Scholarships. In addition, OBUS administered a growing list of donor-funded regional scholarships:

  • UWI Regional Endowment Fund (UWIREF) (12)
  • American Foundation for The UWI (AFUWI) (31)
  • UWI Toronto Gala Scholarships (46)
  • Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) (7)
  • Mill Reef Fund Education Grant (1)
  • CB Group/UWI 5K Scholarships (33)
  • Wolmer's Alumni Association Toronto Scholarships (11)
  • Insurance Association of the Caribbean Scholarship (1)
  • 1948 Medical Society Scholarship (1)
  • Denis Cohen Scholarship (1)
  • Tekla Hyacinth Hylton Scholarship (1)
  • Minna Israel Family and Friends Scholarship (2)
  • Patsy Latchman-Atterbury Scholarship (1)
  • Allison Peart Scholarship (1)
  • Anya Schnoor Scholarship (1)
  • Jackie Sharp Scholarship (1)

The scholarship was named in honour of the late Professor Barry Chevennes (Faculty of Social Sciences, Mona), who pioneered the engagement of The University of the West Indies with the people of August Town, and whose example has inspired the University to build a special and enduring relationship with the community. The first awardee will take up the scholarship in the academic year 2017/2018.

The total number of regional scholarship holders administered by OBUS in 2016/2017 was 332. The value of donor-sponsored scholarships was approximately BDS$766,000, while the total value of scholarships managed by OBUS was in excess of BDS$5.5 million. Seventy-six regional scholarship holders were included in the graduating class for 2016, with 43 achieving first class honours or distinctions.

The UWI Open Scholarship Awardees 2016/2017. The UWI Open Scholarship Awardees 2016/2017.


National and Regional Development

During the year under review, the Pro Vice- Chancellor BUS continued to serve as a member of the Caribbean Examinations Council, as a Commissioner on the CARICOM Human Resource Development Commission (the Commission's Report and associated CARICOM HRD 2030 Strategy were approved by CARICOM Heads of Government in July 2017), and as Deputy Chair of a CARICOM Technical Working Group on External Quality Assurance and Accreditation. He was also a member of a Committee of Experts convened by the Association of Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean (UDUAL) to create an accreditation and evaluation body for Latin America and Caribbean, and represented The UWI on the Trans-Sectorial Board of the EULAC Focus Project. During the course of the year, he was invited by CXC to chair a Task Force to investigate the regional decline in enrolments in History CSEC and CAPE Examinations.

Dr. Sandra Gift, QAU Senior Programme Officer, continued to serve as a member of the Committee to revise the UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Members of the QAU were active participants in the work of the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education (CANQATE), working to promote a culture of quality assurance in partner TLIs.

Marketing and Communication

Volume 17 of The UWI Quality Circle, the newsletter of the QAU, was published on the theme of Student Engagement. It was co-edited by Dr. Sandra Gift and Dr. Anna Kasafi Perkins.

Quality Assurance Revie7. Quality Assurance Review.