Presentation Ceremony of The Certificate of Institutional Accreditation to The UWI Open Campus

l-r Ms. Yvonne Walkes, Chairman, Barbados Accreditation Council presenting the Certificate of Institutional Accreditation to Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Simmons-McDonald while Deputy Principal, Professor Vivienne Roberts looks on

University of The West Indies [UWI] [July 12 2013]—History was created in Barbados for the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus and the Barbados Accreditation Council (BAC) when the UWI Open Campus was bestowed institutional accreditation status.The ceremony was held on Monday, July 8, 2013 at the BAC’s headquarters in St. Michael, Barbados and was streamed live across the Caribbean to the various locations of the Open Campus in 16 countries.

In her opening remarks, the Chairperson of the (BAC), Ms. Yvonne Walkes, stated that “institutional accreditation by an authorisedagency such as the BAC will give learners and the wider national community greater confidence in the quality of the overall operations of your Open Campus. International accreditation further signals to the international tertiary education and training community Barbados’ commitment as a nation to the provision of high quality post-secondary/tertiary education and that our country’s training provides value for money.”

She stated that in order to achieve this status, all aspects of the educational institution have to be reviewed and examined including their visionand mission, the standards of their educational provisions, their goals and objectives and the effectiveness of their administrative process and other areas. In doing so, they have established that the educational institution is operating at a high level.

l-r Ms. Valda Alleyne, Chairman of the Barbados Accreditation Council (BAC), Ms. Yvonne Walkes, Executive Director of BAC, Executive Director of BAC, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Simmons-McDonald and Deputy Principal, Professor Vivienne Roberts displaying Certificate of Institutional Accreditation

Ms. Walkes further said that this accreditation that the BAC offers also provides an opportunity for educational institutions such as the Open Campus to aim to improve the quality of their operations on a regular basis and the process to get there requires a lot of dedication and evaluation of the various processes and services involved.

“Accreditation bodies such as the BAC seek to engage the services of competent independent evaluators to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of providers. The preparation for accreditation, including the self-evaluation process and the site visit, calls for substantial investment of time and effort by tertiary educational providers, accreditation bodies and persons who serve on evaluation teams. As you know the cost of the visit of the evaluator team is borne by the provider.”

At the close of her remarks, Ms. Walkes presented the Certificate of Institutional Accreditation to Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald. In expressing her deep appreciation to the BAC for the signal honour of being the first institution to achieve accreditation from the BAC, the Principal stated that the “accreditation process for the Open Campus was not an accident, but began as a result of careful consideration and deliberations by the Vice Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris, and members of the Executive Management Committee of the UWI”. She also revealed that the road to achieving accreditation was not clear-cut, because of the regional spread of the UWI Open Campus. She, however, gave much credit to the staff and students of the UWI Open Campus who worked assiduously to ensure that the self-study process and the accreditation visit were successful.

l-r Ms. Valda Alleyne, Ms. Sharon Alleyne, Mr. Laurie King, Mr. Kenneth Walters, Ms. Yvonne Walkes, Professor Simmons-McDonald, Professor Vivienne Roberts and Miss Pamela Dottin

Quoting from Philip Crosby that “quality has to be the fabric of the organization, not part of the fabric”, the Principal opined that the accreditation exercise brought about the realisationthat quality is indeed the fabric of the Open Campus. She added that the Open Campus “… used the institutional accreditation standards of the Barbados Accreditation Council as a catalyst for self-evaluation. It did not hide from the truths that the evaluation revealed but genuinely looked at how it could address them – at how it could turn weaknesses into strengths.”

Professor Simmons-McDonald emphasised thatthe achievement of institutional accreditation for six years after only five years of existence was “a ‘major endorsement of the quality of our programme offerings and services to our students and it validates the University’s decision in 2007 to establish an Open Campus. Ours is indeed a Campus for the times, a Campus for the Future!”

The ceremony was chaired by Ms. Valda Alleyne, Executive Director of the Barbados Accreditation Council. In attendance were Mr. Kenneth Walters, Deputy Chairperson, Barbados Accreditation Council, Chief Education Officer, Mr. Laurie King, Board member of the Barbados Accreditation Council; Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the UWI Open Campus, Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald; Deputy Principal, Professor Vivienne Roberts, staff of the BAC, and staff and alumni of the University of the West Indies Open Campus and other University personnel.

ABOUT THE UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with physical campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Open Campus sites in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. The UWI Open Campus operates from over 45 site locations across the region, serving over 16 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. The UWI is a university with an international reach, with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, the UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture,
Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences.

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