Celebrating the Five- Year Anniversary of The University of the West Indies Open Campus
|(l-r) The UWI Chancellor, the Open Campus Principal, the Open Campus Chairman, and the UWI Vice Chancellor, at the official launch of the UWI Open Campus launch in 2008|
University of The West Indies [UWI] [July 11 2013]—On July 4, 2013, the newest campus of the University West Indies (UWI), the Open Campus, turns five. It started off in 2008 with a dream to ensure that all the original outreach and social development departments of the UWI would consolidate to take further advantage of developing technologies and advances in pedagogy and andragogy to become one UWI entity that better served more rural and underserved areas of the Caribbean community, especially in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, the Bahamas, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
The UWI has focus on serving all member states of the Caribbean Community since its 1948 formation. In its quest for the ongoing development and empowerment of its people, it has consistently sought to reduce the ad hoc offering of adult, continuing and professional education, distance education and community research and development to the countries and communities within the Caribbean region beyond the boundaries of the residential campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago between 1948 and 1963.
As the twenty-first century approached, and after considerable research and policy developments throughout the University in preparation for its institution-wide five-year strategic plan 2007-2012, the UWI Open Campus was conceptualised and launched in 2008 as a merger of the former outreach departments. A key driver of the initiative was that high-quality and technology-driven university education should be open and available to all people who wish to reach their full potential both inside and outside of the Caribbean region.
The formal launch of the UWI Open Campus on July 4, 2008 at the Council of the Caribbean Heads of Government annual meeting in Antigua & Barbuda, was one of the highlights of a year dedicated to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the UWI in the Caribbean region.
|Professor E. Nigel Harris, UWI Vice Chancellor and Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald at the official news conference to launch the UWI Open Campus in Antigua & Barbuda on July 4, 2008|
At the 2008 launch, the UWI Vice Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris spoke to the development of the Open Campus as an essential strategic element of the University’s then ongoing five-year strategic plan to transform its curricula and education systems, as well as to enhance the postgraduate programmes and research productivity. He stated that, “the Open Campus will insist on quality education relevant to the region, student-centredness, student-friendly services, and the creation of the knowledge and outreach to the Caribbean Community outside the walls of the University, particularly in the Eastern Caribbean, Belize, the Cayman Islands and in rural areas in the campus countries.”
Also speaking at the official launch was Professor Hazel Simmons- McDonald, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the UWI Open Campus, who dubbed the new entity as “a campus for the times and a campus for the future” and noted that “it is positioned to enable the University and its traditional campuses to meet the demands for education and provide for the delivery of programmes in more effective and efficient ways. As such, it seeks to continue to contribute to the development of human capital of the region and to the positive transformation and enhancement of Caribbean societies.”
The year 2012 saw a number of new online undergraduate degree and graduate programmes developed to respond to Caribbean needs, including community policing, early childhood development and family studies, youth development studies, climate change, and health and family life education.
In 2013, the campus for the times and the future has been realised by the collective efforts and support of many persons within and outside of the UWI Open Campus, including our academic and administrative staff, alumni and students; our sister UWI campuses at Cave Hill, Mona and St. Augustine; our national and regional stakeholders in governments, private sectors, non- governmental organizations and media; our international partners and sponsors; and the general Caribbean public. To each of you, the UWI Open Campus expresses heartfelt thanks for supporting the idea of an Open Campus for the region, and helping to shape it and make it the success it is today.
|Sir Dwight Venner, UWI Open Campus Chairman (l) at the launch of the UWI Open Campus in Antigua with the late Professor, the Hon. Rex Nettleford (m) and Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald (r), Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the UWI Open Campus|
The future of the UWI Open Campus is now firmly rooted in the vision, mission and core values of the wider University of the West Indies and in future Caribbean development and growth. Two very recent events have made this even more viable: the first was the receipt of a first grant of Cdn$20 million from the Caribbean International Development Agency [CIDA] for institutional strengthening , online programme development and site technological and physical upgrades of the campus over the next five years. This may be interpreted as very strong international endorsement of the campus’s significant work and results over the past five year under extremely difficult circumstances.
The second was the UWI Open Campus, being granted institutional accreditation by the Barbados Accreditation Council for six year for the period June 18, 2013 to June 17, 2019. Coming out the 2012 Self- Study report, this accreditation is a significant achievement for the campus, a mere five years after its formal establishment. Securing its institutional accreditation means that the internal quality assurance processes are approved and our systems and process to develop offerings both in the online and face-to-face modalities and our delivery of these offerings are of a high standard.
So, on this our fifth anniversary, July 4 , 2013, we celebrate all the significant developments and contributions of UWI Open Campus to the University, to Caribbean countries that support the UWI, and the people who access its programmes, courses and services. We acknowledge the outstanding contribution of its leaders and diverse communities of policy- makers, administrators, scholars, students and other key stakeholders.
It is in this spirit of commemoration and celebration that we thank our Caribbean and international friends and supporters and call upon them to continue striving with us to create a better Caribbean region through higher and continuing education based on our tagline- online, on site, on demand. Thank you for letting us be a part of your lives!
For more information on the UWI Open Campus, please visit our website at www.open.uwi.edu.