UWI's Yin Yang

Dawn-Marie De Four-Gill


Hello World

In a 2004 policy briefing paper – Internationalisation in Higher Education the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) stated that higher education had become increasingly international in the past decade with more and more students seeking out study abroad opportunities, enrolling in foreign educational programmes and institutions in their home country, or simply leveraging the internet for  distance education, taking courses at universities in other countries.” Fast forward eight years to present day and higher education landscape that is progressively more borderless and transnational in character.

But what is internationalisation? Admittedly, its definition in a higher education context is still evolving; with internationalisation taking on different meanings to different stakeholders groups. It’s these kinds of questions that will be asked and more importantly, answers sought when University heads from India, Africa, Canada, the UK and the rest of the Commonwealth converge at UWI from November 9 to 11 2012 for the Association of Commonwealth Universities’ (ACU) to consider key issues relating to the future of international higher education.

We are delighted in this issue to join with Professor E. Nigel  Harris, our Vice Chancellor, who also serves as Chair of the ACU Council, to warmly welcome our colleagues from across the Commonwealth to our University for this landmark event which kicks off the ACU’s centenary celebrations.

As we mull over this year’s Conference theme: “University Rankings and Benchmarking: do they really matter?” we bring some introspection to our Pelican pages, looking within our region and our regional institution. This issue examines some of the actions and initiatives driven by the University to help us effectively position the Caribbean and UWI in the global environment and build sustainable competitive advantage.

It may be said that from its inception as an external College of the University of London in 1948, the University has possessed that character of internationalisation. In its lead story, told through the lenses of UWI’s newly appointed Executive Director of the Office of Regionalisation and Internationalisation and each Campus International Offices we spotlight UWI’s strategic approach to internationalisation and advancing our institutional objectives in the global arena as part of its new strategic plan 2012-17.

We turn the focus on UWI’s unique contributions to the region and the world, honing in on our ground-breaking research and innovations in such areas as Cardiac Surgery, Fertility Management, and Cocoa Research. We highlight UWI researchers who have repurposed the pig’s heart to develop the US patented cardiovascular surgery simulator used in several of the world’s leading medical schools such as Johns Hopkins, Stanford and Mayo Clinic to name a few. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cocoa Research Unit (CRU), we present a mouth-watering taste of the international contributions of the CRU and its critical role in rejuvenating the Caribbean’s cocoa industry, and helping people like Cocoa farmer and Master Chocolatier Lesley-Ann Jurawan, go from bean-to-bar and create a commercially viable and sustainable business ventures even in the trying economic climate that besets us.

Taking the concepts of innovation, entrepreneurship and Caribbean competitiveness further, in this edition, President of the Caribbean  Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Wm.Warren Smith, underscores UWI’s responsibility to provide the evidence-based solutions, through first-world education and training to enable our region to compete in a global environment. We continue the dialogue with Indera Sagewan- Alli, Director of UWI’s Caribbean Centre for Competitiveness as the Centre prepares to host its first Competitiveness Forum in November, and delve deeper into the role of this University Centre in helping the Caribbean region to leverage the entrepreneurship, competitiveness and innovation needed for sustainable economic prosperity.

Staying on the topic of sustainable and transformative change, in our Faculty Focus, Principal of the UWI St Augustine Campus, Professor  Clement K. Sankat, speaks about his campus’ commitment through the establishment of new faculties of Food and Agriculture and Science and Technology, to re-focusing research and training on the critical areas of agriculture and food production to address the region’s crisis in food security and re-engineer the agricultural sector through technology as a lucrative and attractive industry for the next generations.

Basking in the recent news about the UWI Mona’s success in achieving national accreditation (joining its sister-campus St Augustine that received national accreditation last year), this issue culminates with the quiet transformations and strategic upgrades taking place at the UWI Mona Campus to deliver a better quality medical education experience. We turn attention as well to the new agenda of UWI Mona’s longstanding Advanced Training and Research in Fertility Management Unit (now renamed the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit) as it seeks to  increase its income potential through market-driven service offerings like its new Assisted Conception programme.

But in true Pelican style, our exclusive stories continue to unfold on Pelican Online, so remember to check into www. uwi.edu/pelican. And be sure to tell us what you think of our publication. Send us an email at pelican@sta.uwi.edu, and let’s keep the conversations going.