MONTEGO BAY – Another campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) will be established in Montego Bay, St. James within another year.
With plans for the institution still being finalized, the exact location is not yet known but according to Principal of the Mona Campus of the UWI, Professor Gordon Shirley, the current thought is that it will be situated in an area across from the Sangster International Airport.
In a recent address at the third annual Regional Conference on Investments and Capital Markets, at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club in Montego Bay, Professor Shirley said that the establishment of the Montego Bay campus forms part of a new five-year development plan for the university.
He explained that this plan has come about in recognition of the emerging opportunities in the business environment for professionals and graduates, and the implications for institutions such as the university, and their involvement in positioning and producing graduates for emerging and existing business opportunities.
“In recognition of some of these realities the UWI has developed a new five-year strategic plan, which calls for among other things: the review and reform of all academic programs with a view to ensuring that international best practice is realized, and where the review process would involve members of the international community and the local private sector.
Secondly it calls for a much more heightened emphasis on teaching and the use of pedagogical techniques, designed to produce problem solvers with an orientation to continuous life long learning,” he outlined.
Professor Shirley further said that the plan will see a re-intensification of the focus on creating new knowledge through programs of research and innovation, and through an expansion in graduate programs, which are researched based. “It (the strategic plan) calls for the production of graduates with advanced problem solving skills, capable of competing in job markets locally, regionally and internationally. It calls for the implementation of a new campus, to provide online programming across the region and beyond. This is known as the fourth campus or the open campus,” he told the audience.
Additionally, he explained that a new university-wide consulting company will be established, to provide analytic and advisory services to firms and Governments in the region and beyond.
“For its part, Mona (campus) will be launching a campus right here in the western end of the island to position its graduates for the job opportunities associated with the large investments which are being made here, as well as with those associated with the growing international gateway facilitated by the international Airport hub,” the UWI Principal stated.
He said that the plan is to expand and deepen the university’s association with international schools and organizations, also increasing the international character of the institution’s student body.
In an interview with JIS News, Professor Shirley expressed the view that there should not be a shortage of students for the Montego Bay Campus of the university, as the number of potential students now in the western end of the island is even more that the number in all of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries and Barbados combined.
Furthermore, he said persons in the other parts of the island who would like to attend the institution, could also benefit from the Montego Bay campus.
“We expect to start fairly slowly this year, but expand the facility quite substantially within a year and to have all stand alone programs or mostly stand alone programs here to cater to these needs,” he explained.
He said that when fully operational the institution should offer both full-time and part-time programs, as well as some specially designed short-term programs for specific industries and establishments. He emphasized, however that the focus of the institution will be on academic programs for both full and part-time students.