Three New Appointments in the Open Campus Country Sites Division

Dr. Francis O. Severin
Dr. Francis O. Severin

The University of the West Indies (UWI) Appointments Committee has approved Dr. Francis O. Severin as Director of the Open Campus Country Sites (OCCS) Division of the UWI Open Campus. A national of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Dr. Severin is the new Director of the OCCS, effective October 1, 2013.

He brings extensive knowledge and experience to the position, having commenced his career with The University of the West Indies on January 1, 1999 as Project Officer in the Office of Administration and Special Initiatives (OASIs), Vice Chancellery, based at Mona in Jamaica. In that role, Dr. Severin was responsible for, inter alia, managing the University’s Alumni Relations, conducting research to gather baseline data for the UWI’s science and other initiatives, and writing or co-writing several proposals and special papers/reports, including the Reformulation of UWI’s Alumni Relations, Report on Policy and Procedures on Sexual Harassment and the UNESCO/Commonwealth Chair in Education and HIV/AIDS, among others. That beginning role provided him with an early insight into the operations and governance of the University as he had to relate to all sixteen countries served by the UWI.

He then returned to Dominica in August 2005 to assume the post of Resident Tutor/Head of the School of Continuing Studies (SCS). Consistent with the tenor of his abiding commitment to education and intellectual development/stimulation as a guaranteed avenue to economic development and enhancement of people’s self-esteem, he continued to build on the traditional UWI culture of “beyond the walls” educational appeal in Dominica through the annual distinguished/memorial lecture series that he initiated as Head of Open Campus Dominica Partnering with relevant public and private sector institutions and groups for cultural development purposes has been another highlight of his tenure as Head. The growth and development of the site, increased access to quality higher education and raising the profile of the University in Dominica, are other accomplishments of Dr. Severin as the University’s representative. He, therefore, brings to the Office of Director a broad perspective that embraces the UWI-3 and UWI-12. In 2010,

Dr. Severin became the Public Orator for the Open Campus, succeeding Dr. Lennox Bernard after his retirement. Dr. Severin has acted as the Director, Open Campus Country Sites (OCCS) for an accumulated period of thirteen months.

In the last two of the three formal spells that he served in that capacity (May and June 2012 and August 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, the latter period arising when Dr. Luz Longsworth transferred to Mona’s Western Jamaica Campus to lead operations there), he steered OCCS through a period of challenge, novelty and “restlessness” during the major accreditation visitation processes. He will now assume the post of Director for four years in the first instance, as is the norm for Deans.

Two Deputy Directors have been appointed to assume responsibility for key areas of the division, grounded in the current strategic and operational plans of the University and the Campus. The Deputy Director positions are for three years in the first instance.

Dr. Ian Austin
Dr. Ian Austin

Dr. Ian Austin, Head of Open Campus Barbados, will assume duties as Deputy Director, Continuing and Professional Education, OCCS, on November 1, 2013. Dr. Austin has been employed by the University since 1994. During this time, he served as the Resident Tutor/Head in the British Virgin Islands and in Antigua and Barbuda before assuming headship of the SCS in Barbados in 2006. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto.

Dr. Austin holds a doctorate in Higher Education (with a specific focus on management and administrative studies) from Virginia Tech. Currently, his academic work is two-fold: (a) studying colleges and universities as organizations; and (b) higher education governance systems. He is currently co-authoring a book on higher education governance entitled: Governance of Higher Education: Theories, Global Perspectives & Practices to be published by Routledge Publishing.

Until his appointment as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto from August 1, 2012, Dr. Austin was the Course Coordinator for Management and Administration in Adult and Continuing Education and an E-Tutor for the Professional Seminar Course – Issue and trends in Adult and Continuing Education. Both of these courses are in the MA in Adult and Continuing Education Programme offered by the Open Campus. He also co-authored the manual for the Management and Administration in Adult and Continuing Education course.

Dr. Austin brings a wealth of experience to and a passion for Continuing Education and Workforce Development. In 2007, he successfully launched the Workforce Development Programme at theOpen Campus Barbados site.

Mrs. Cheryl Sloley
Mrs. Cheryl Sloley

Mrs. Cheryl Sloley, Regional Coordinator for the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados, has been appointed Deputy Director, Commercial Operations, and she assumed duties on August 1, 2013. Mrs. Sloley commenced her career with the UWI in 1991 and has served in several capacities since. She served initially as Project Officer in the UWI’s Project Office and was later seconded to the UWI/CIDA Institutional Strengthening Project as Finance Officer. She later on assumed the position of Administrative Officer at the UWI Centre for Environment and Development (UWICED) before moving on to the then SCS in April 2001.

By 2002 she was asked by then SCS Director Professor Lawrence Carrington to assume her most challenging position yet as Acting Resident Tutor/Head of one of the largest SCS Centres, Camp Road (known to many as ‘Extra Mural’). In that capacity she was mandated to spearhead a comprehensive administrative and financial restructuring of the Centre.

Given the successes reported during her Camp Road stint, Mrs. Sloley was later appointed in the Office of the Director of OCCS as Regional Coordinator for the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados region with overall responsibility for coordinating the administrative and financial operations of the ten sites in that region. Since October 2012 Mrs. Sloley assumed an additional responsibility as Project Manager of the Government of Jamaica’s (GOJ) Universal Service Fund (USF) Project which contributed over J$100 million to the Open Campus Jamaica Sites to enhance the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure of local Sites.

Mrs. Sloley recently submitted her PhD dissertation with the UWI and is currently awaiting its final examination. The primary focus of her research is the review of the use of ICT in the early adoption and diffusion of electronic commerce (online businesses) among Jamaica’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Mrs. Sloley’s doctoral studies were conducted in collaboration with the University of Surrey through the award of a split-site residential scholarship. She brings a wealth of training and experience to the position of Deputy Director of Commercial Operations, spearheading the income-generating arm of the Division.


About the OCCS

The OCCS Division comprises over 40 physical sites spread throughout 16 English-speaking countries in the Caribbean. The OCCS extends the reach of the UWI across the region, especially to the under-served areas, increasing access to higher education via online regional programmes and local face-to-face programmes or courses. Additionally, the OCCS affords students academic and administrative support and engages its respective communities in cultural and non-formal educational activities within the context of its outreach remit. The foregoing is true for the UWI-12 (formerly referred to as Non-Campus Countries) as well as Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, the countries where the UWI has had its traditional brick and mortar campuses.

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