The Bounty: the future of UWI

From its beginnings as the University College of the West Indies on October 3 rd 1948, when 33 students from across the region attended the Faculty of Medicine at the Mona Campus, Jamaica; The University of the West Indies has grown into a landmark regional institution of higher learning. Today, UWI offers over 800 accredited programmes to its 38,000 students. There are nine faculties, three campuses and 12 centres spread across the English speaking Caribbean.


Over the past 60 years, UWI has produced a legacy of innovative research in the arts and sciences. Graduates have been pioneers in a myriad of professions including law, business, nursing, engineering, medical sciences and the arts. This regional institution boasts seven Prime Ministers, countless regional and international icons and a myriad of intellectuals, including two Nobel Prize winners: Derek Walcott a graduate and lecturer; and Sir Arthur Lewis, a visionary Vice Chancellor .


Many of the more than 82,000 graduates may claim that the University has already attained its goal of being the First Choice for Caribbean people seeking high quality education.  However, this remains a priority for this student-centred institution. Being First in the development of knowledge unique to the Caribbeanand Small Island States through research, is another goal; as is being the F irst port of call for Caribbean governments seeking technical expertise and experience in the development of policies, strategic planning and implementation.


Key in the future development of the UWI is to build on this tradition of excellence by enhancing quality while increasing the quantity of programmes and outreach services provided. These changes will become more and more apparent over the next five years as the objectives of the strategic plan (2007-2012) become a reality. For instance, broadening access for Caribbean people to gain a first rate University education is apparent in the on-going modernisation of teaching and learning technologies. The objective is to produce graduates who are critical thinkers, reflective and yet proactive; committed to life long learning and inbred with a sense of good citizenship and ethical behaviour.


Secondly, there is a focus on the expansion of the institution’s contribution to global knowledge. Specific emphasis is placed in areas in which the UWI has expertise, for instance, sustainable development of small island states, poverty reduction, climate change, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Management of the Caribbean Seas, Health (emphasizing areas such as Early Childhood, the development and chronic disease management) and presentation and growth of our unique Caribbean Culture.


The University’s third goal is to link more effectively with stakeholders in the region and the diaspora. There is a drive to develop policies, intellectual growth and development, while fostering partnerships that will expand education and research activities. For these goals to become a reality, the support of mentorship and internship programmes as well as donations from alumni, corporations and philanthropists are imperative.


Many of our alumni have “given back” to the institution through monetary donations which are placed into a regional development fund. These funds are imperative to our continued growth as we strive to maintain quality as well as enhance our programme offerings, expand our outreach activities and enhance our facilities. For this we thank you and look forward to your continued generosity.

The UWI is committed to the development of the Caribbean, an archipelago rich in mineral and human resources. We are also focused on making our graduates consistently proud of their alma mater- “a light rising from the West” – rich with the dedication to higher learning.