Following its 2020 strategic planning exercise, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has invited the distinguished Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell to lead a team of technical experts to review the academic and administrative operations of the University Centre. Integral to this review effort is maintaining The UWI as one regional enterprise with five campuses, while demonstrating its efficiency.
Prime Minister Mitchell, who also holds the portfolios of National Security, Public Administration, Youth Development, Home Affairs, ICT and Disaster Management, is a celebrated UWI graduate, and former professor of mathematics. He has considerable knowledge and understanding of the University, and will bring his known expertise to bear upon the scope of work identified for this much-needed review of the University’s central administration.
Dr. Mitchell said, “It is an honour for me to accept this invitation to chair this Special Committee. I view our mandate as one which is critical to improving the operational efficiency of this premier regional institution. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has placed increasing pressure on regional leaders, including myself, I embrace the opportunity to contribute to the future success of this noble institution, of which I am also a proud graduate.”
The recommendation of Prime Minister Mitchell to chair the Special Committee of the University Grants Committee (UGC) was made by Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, to the Chairman of the UGC, Finance Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, the Honourable Colm Imbert, who gave his endorsement.
The University Centre, commonly known as the Vice-Chancellery, was established 25 years ago under the Chancellorship of Sir Shridath Ramphal and Vice-Chancellor Sir Alister McIntyre. Among the roles of the Vice-Chancellery over the years have been to: coordinate the strategic activities of the multi-campus university; promote development research of a regional nature; coordinate the quality assurance and accreditation functions of the university system; promote the university’s international relations, advocacy, and programmes; enhance the regional and international reputation of the integrated university; and maintain the regional character and identity of the university in an era when campuses were granted greater autonomy. The Vice-Chancellery also consists of specialized centres and units that serve the region, including the Caribbean Institute for Health Research, Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, Seismic Research Centre, and the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies, to name a few.
Welcoming the initiative, Sir Hilary noted, “The University Centre expanded commensurately over the decades as the regional university grew from an academy of 25,000 to 50,000 students. It’s a good idea to lift the hood and examine the engine.”
The six-member review committee comprises leaders in Caribbean development and government representatives. Resource participants from The UWI include Vice-Chancellor Beckles, Pro Vice-Chancellor Planning, University Registrar and University Bursar.
Following its review, the Special Committee will submit a report containing recommendations to the UGC for approval and implementation.