Seven new professorships appointed at The University of the West Indies

The Office of Administration of University of The West Indies (The UWI) has announced the promotion of seven Senior Lecturers to the rank of Professor with effect from October 4, 2017.

As the highest academic rank at the University, promotion to Professor is only made after a rigorous assessment process and includes consultation with the Deans of the applicants and the Faculty Assessment Committees as well as endorsements from external assessors who review the candidates’ original works. Such careful scrutiny is in line with The UWI’s focus on the advancement of knowledge through excellence in teaching, research, innovation, intellectual leadership, and outreach. These newly appointed professors are:

Cave Hill Campus, Barbados

  • Alok Kumar
  • T. Alafia Samuels

Mona Campus, Jamaica

  • Roger Gibson
  • Donna P. Hope
  • Clinton Hutton
  • Joseph Plummer

St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago

  • Basil Reid

About the newly appointed professors

Cave Hill Campus, Barbados
Alok Kumar, M.B.B.S., D.M. (Paediatrics), D.CH.
Alok Kumar is Professor, Paediatrics, in the Faculty of Medical Sciences and Associate Consultant, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados.  He teaches the undergraduate (M.B.B.S.) course and the postgraduate (D.M.) course in Paediatrics. He has made a significant research contribution in the field of infectious diseases of public health importance with a high volume of research output. He has over 50 presentations at peer reviewed regional and international conferences and 50 peer reviewed publications. He has received many research grants, totalling to over 100,000 US dollars. In recognition of his research contributions, he was awarded the Principal’s Award of Excellence (2014), Fred L Soper Award for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health Literature from PAHO/WHO (2013) and Jacques Parisot Foundation Fellowship Award from PAHO/WHO (2005) among many others. As Associate Consultant in Paediatrics at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Professor Kumar provides inpatient, outpatient follow-up care, and on-call services to children as well as supervision of the medical team.
The external assessors considered that Professor Kumar’s significant contributions have advanced the field of infectious diseases in the tropics. Specific reference was made to the issue of management of HIV and emerging viral diseases from a public health standpoint.

T. Alafia Samuels, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Ph.D.
T. Alafia Samuels is Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, a unit of The UWI’s Caribbean Institute for Health Research. She is a UWI medical graduate and holds an M.P.H. (Master’s in Public Health) and a Ph.D. in Chronic Disease Epidemiology, both degrees awarded with honours from Johns Hopkins University. She has worked for the Ministry of Health, Jamaica, as Advisor to CARICOM, Advisor at the Pan American Health Organisation/WHO, and in the private and public health sectors.

She is a member of the Barbados National NCD (Non Communicable Diseases) Commission and was the principal author of the Barbados’ Ministry of Health Strategic Plan of Action for NCDs 2015-2019. Her research interests include policy and practice in NCD prevention and control, clinical quality of care and evaluation of NCD programmes.

The depth and range of Professor Samuels’ professional accomplishments, in particular her expertise in the prevention and control of chronic non-communicable disease in the Caribbean, impressed the external assessors. She provides, the report stated, a unique and highly desired combination of academic excellence along with a well-developed understanding of the need to translate research into policy and practice.

Mona Campus, Jamaica
Roger Gibson, M.B.B.S., D.M. M.P.H. (Dist.)
Roger Gibson is Head of Psychiatry as well as Professor in the Department of Community Health and Psychiatry. While pursuing his Doctor of Medicine (MD) Psychiatry at The UWI, Professor Gibson obtained his Master’s of Public Health (M.P.H.) (Research) with Distinction from the University of Leeds.

Assessors remarked on Professor Gibson’s publication on depression in the HIV/AIDS population which spoke to his sense of caring and compassion for helping individuals disadvantaged by prejudice and stigma. They considered him a talented researcher and clinician, who investigates interesting ideas so as to uncover useful knowledge.

Donna P. Hope, B.A., M.Phil. Ph.D.
Donna P. Hope is a Professor at the Institute of Caribbean Studies in the Faculty of Humanities and Education. Her areas of academic specialisation include cultural studies, Caribbean studies, media and communication, popular culture, Jamaican popular culture, creative/cultural industries, gender and sexuality, politics and youth development.

The quantity of her published output is considered impressive, encompassing two monographs, two edited volumes, plus numerous articles. Assessors pointed to her solid theoretical grasp of relevant academic theory combined with an insider’s knowledge of Jamaican society. She is, they said, an impressive scholar who is making a fine contribution to the study of Jamaican music and culture and to related fields of gender studies and popular culture.

Clinton Hutton, B.A. (Hons), Ph.D.
Clinton Hutton is Professor in Political Philosophy and Caribbean and African Diasporic Culture, Art and Aesthetics. His work now constitutes, in terms of quality and quantity, a substantial and impressive body of written and visual scholarship. In addition to his books, book chapters, journal articles and abstracts, refereed and non-refereed publications, Professor Hutton has numerous publications of an artistic nature – painting and photographs.

External assessors agreed that his substantive and well researched body of scholarship makes very important and original contributions to the fields of African Caribbean thought, political philosophy and culture.

Joseph Plummer, M.B.B.S., D.M. (Surgery), F.A.S.C.R.S., F.A.C.S.
Joseph Plummer is Professor and Head of the Department of Surgery, Radiology, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. The recipient of several research grants, two of which are of particular note: the starting of a Colorectal Cancer Registry and a CHASE Fund grant to improve advanced laparoscopic surgery in Jamaica. He has led the introduction of laparoscopic resections for patients with colon cancer and other minimally invasive techniques for diagnosis and treatment of this and other surgical diseases. His research also highlights the challenges of treating diseases of the colon and rectum in a resource-restricted environment.

Academically successful in a challenging clinical environment, assessors noted that Professor Plummer has succeeded at a level to draw the attention of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons- International Scholar 2010 and the American College of Surgeons so as to be selected as one of its guests in Washington in 2016, only the second such Caribbean surgeon to receive this honour.

St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago
Basil Reid, B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
Basil Reid, Professor in Archaeology in the Department of History, was the Lead Archaeologist of the Red House archaeological excavations in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from 2013 to 2015. The excavation resulted from the accidental discoveries of pre-colonial material culture commingled with European material culture in several archaeological strata at that site. The Red House project involved collaborations with local and international scholars. Findings from the project will be published in his forthcoming book: An Archaeological Study of the Red House, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
His research and publication record has earned him an international reputation as an intellectual leader in archaeology, particularly in regard to Caribbean prehistory and cultural heritage. His knowledge of the prehistory of Trinidad and Tobago is particularly impressive and represents the most significant geographic focus of his research. Four of his books – Myths and Realities of Caribbean History, Caribbean Heritage, Archaeology and Geoinformatics: Case Studies from the Caribbean and Encyclopaedia of Caribbean Archaeology have all received international citations.
Feedback from one of his external assessors indicated that Professor Reid has earned a reputation as an international leader in the area of Caribbean archaeology.