UWI Annual Business Meeting considers fourth campus, trust fund, new Visitor and senior leadership changes

The annual business meeting of University Council convened on Friday, April 26 at the Teaching and Learning Complex, The UWI St. Augustine Campus.

This meeting, chaired by Chancellor, Robert Bermudez, was attended by representatives of all of the contributing governments, and dealt with a number of matters including reports on the feasibility of the proposal for a fourth landed campus in Antigua & Barbuda, the establishment of a UWI Trust Fund, the appointment of a new Visitor for The UWI and several new senior executive appointments, endorsement of recommendations for the award of honorary degrees and progress report on year one implementation of the University’s Triple A Strategy (Strategic Plan 2017-2022).

The opening session was one of the major highpoints of this meeting of the University Council. It featured the comprehensive report by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles. Entitled Our Reputation Revolution: Promoting the Post IMF Caribbean Renaissance, the report highlighted some of the key successes and milestone achievements of the University in the reporting year 2017-2018. Among these were the advancement of the University’s global reputation and reach across five continents, and the hemispheric and international validation demonstrated in the recent World Rankings by the Times Higher Education. Vice-Chancellor Beckles also spent some time emphasising The UWI’s next phase and its planning for posterity. He noted, “our stakeholders’ expectation is that the University will intellectually craft the future in a fashion that will impact everyday life across the region. The call is for a precise and intense alignment of public and sectoral desires with our capacity to generate their actualisation.”

The Vice-Chancellor’s presentation aired live on UWItv, making it accessible to all UWI stakeholders—as part of the University’s commitment to transparency, accountability and engagement across all stakeholder groups.

In its closed session, the meeting of Council considered a diverse range of matters. Among them was the decision to replace the Crown as the Visitor. This follows the November 2018 approval by the Privy Council to have this position filled by an eminent jurist from within the Caribbean region. A key role of the Visitor is to settle UWI disputes with staff or students. The University Council accepted the proposal to appoint Justice Rolston Nelson to the position with effect from May 1, 2019.

The Council also considered the recommendation from the University Finance & General Purposes Committee on the Report of the Technical Taskforce—presented by Co-Chairs, Pro Vice-Chancellors Alan Cobley and Densil Williams—on the proposal to establish a fourth landed campus of The UWI in Antigua & Barbuda. The governments of the campus countries were given time to consider the proposal, and their submissions will be heard at the next meeting of the University Finance and General Purposes Committee, scheduled for May 30, 2019 at Cave Hill, Barbados.

Council also approved the establishment of a UWI Trust Fund as a longer term solution to provide a source of revenue to reduce the existing funding gap of roughly US$70 million annually. The intent, as articulated by the University Grants Committee Chair and Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Mia Mottley, is “to use the interest from the Fund to help sustain aspects of its operations with a view of keeping fees at an affordable level for Caribbean students.”

Other matters dealt with by Council included the approval of recommendations for the conferral of honorary doctorates at the graduation exercises to be held in October/November; and several senior executive appointments, with effect from August 1, 2019.  These include the appointment of:

  • Dr Maurice D. Smith as the new University Registrar, to succeed Mr. C. William Iton.
  • Professor Clive Landis to succeed Professor Alan Cobley as the new Pro Vice-Chancellor, Undergraduate Studies.
  • Professor Winston Moore to succeed Professor Clive Landis as new Deputy Principal, The UWI Cave Hill Campus.