August 19, 2014
UWI to present 5 awards to outstanding academic and administrative staff

The University of the West Indies will recognise an entire department, as well as four faculty members at its Vice-Chancel­lor’s Awards for Excellence Ceremony this October.{{more}}

The Department of Life Sciences in the Faculty of Science and Technology at the St Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago is the first recipient of the newly implemented Vice-Chancellor’s Departmen­tal Award for Excellence.

Professor Jonas Addae from the Department of Preclinical Sciences at the St Augustine Campus will be recognised for his accomplishments in teaching. Professor Simon Mitchell, head of the Department of Geography and Geology, and Professor Marvin Reid, director of the Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, will receive the honour for their research accomplishments, while Professor Hopeton Dunn, director of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communi­cation, will be honoured for his contributions to public service. All three are at the Mona Campus in Jamaica.

Since 1994, The UWI’s Vice-Chancellor has been recognising and rewarding outstanding performance by academic and senior administrative staff. In the 2012 to 2013 academic year, a departmental award for excellence was added, allowing for one annual award, valued at US$10,000, to be made to any department, institute, section, site, research unit, or centre that clearly demonstrates the highest commitment to quality, to service and operational excellence.

The Department of Life Sciences will be awarded for Quality, Service and Operational Excellence. The history of the Department of Life Sciences dates back to 1922. Among its exemplary accomplishments, the award recognises its well managed processes and procedures, data driven decision-making, student and stakeholder centred development, innovation and demonstration of a results-oriented focus. In the last four years, the Department of Life Sciences has earned external funding in excess of 4.3 million US dollars, won The University’s 2012 award for the most productive research department and a campus award for the most successful project for its work on the Caroni Swamp Research and Development Impact Fund. In the last decade, its teaching accomplishments have been reflected in an estimated 46 per cent increase in the year-one student pass rate and transition to the advanced part of the degree.

Professor Jonas Addae will receive the award for Teaching. Professor Addae, who is professor of Physiology in the Department of Preclinical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences at the St Augustine Campus, has made a stellar contribution to teaching at The University.

He has served as the head and principal of the Preclinical Sciences Department and, since 2008, has occasionally acted as dean of the faculty. He was one of the winners of the first UWI/Guardian Life Premium Teaching Awards held in 2000. Professor Addae describes his teaching methodology as intended to generate in students the passion to learn new information using an inquiry based teaching method, in which students generate most of the relevant questions rather than being given the questions by the lecturer. He is an advocate of contextual learning, as well as learning outside of the classroom and believes in the importance of students understanding their learning skills. As such, for more than a decade, Professor Addae has been conducting learning skills sessions for first-year students in all schools of the faculty.

Professor Simon Mitchell will receive the award for Research. Professor Mitchell is professor of Sedimentary Geology and Head of Department of Geography and Geology at The University’s Mona campus and has also been involved in teaching, research and consultancies in the fields of Geology Mapping and Petroleum Geology around the Caribbean for the past 20 years. He co-authored volume two of the Catalogue of Cretaceous Corals and has authored over 100 journal articles and book chapters, along with several of other publications. Professor Mitchell has taught 10 courses during his tenure at The UWI; these include extensive field courses including sedimentology and residential geological mapping courses, since he is a proponent of backing up theoretical concepts with laboratory and field based experience.

Another award for Research will go to Professor Marvin Reid. Professor Reid’s current positions include professor of Tropical Medicine Research Institute (TMRI) at The UWI, director of Tropical Metabolism Research Unit at TMRI and an associate lecturer in the Depart­ment of Commu­nity Health and Psychiatry at The University’s Mona campus. This well respect­ed academic has earned regional and international recognition for his work, especially those related to stable isotope based metabolic research. He has published in excess of 100 peer reviewed articles, two book chapters and 23 abstracts, as well as several other papers and reports. Professor Reid is currently the principal investigator/project coordinator on a research project funded by the National Institutes of Health of the US Depart­ment of Health and Human Services. The research aims to re-establish nuclear medicine diagnostic service in the public health system in Jamaica.

Professor Hopeton Dunn is being awarded for Public Service. Professor Dunn has had an outstanding career, with accomplishments in research, publication and teaching; however, his Vice-Chancellor’s Award is for his enviable record of excellence in public service, locally, regionally and internationally. This public service has been evident in the areas of media and communications, policy making, telecommunications, ICT reforms in institution building and capacity development in education and leadership in the cultural and creative industries. He continues to serve on public boards and other civic organisations while currently chair of the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica and a Justice of the Peace for the past 15 years. At The University’s Mona campus, Professor Dunn is director of the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communi­cation (CARIMAC), as

well as a professor of Communications Policy and Digital Media and director of the Mona ICT Policy Centre. In addition to his university responsibilities, he has also served on several committees at The UWI; among them the Finance and General Purposes Committee and The UWI Senate’s Disciplinary Committee.

On the announcement of this year’s awardees, Vice-Chancellor E. Nigel Harris stated: “My heartfelt congratulations to this year’s recipients of the Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence. Together they represent the best that our university offers to our students, to new knowledge formation in diverse fields and to the communities in which we live. Their achievement is a reflection not only of what is best about our University, but of what is possible in our West Indian societies as a whole.”

The 2014 Vice-Chan­cellor’s Awards for Excel­lence will take place on October 27 at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge and Con­fer­ence Centre at The UWI in Jamaica from 6 p.m. EST Eastern Standard time.