May 12, 2015
UWI Open Campus elects new Principal and Pro Vice-chancellor

A new principal and pro vice-chancellor for the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campuses within the region, has been appointed.

Dr Luz Longsworth addressed all Open Campuses via teleconference last Friday, to speak about the developments and the quality of service that the Open Campuses provide to persons across the region.{{more}}

The principal, who has also served in various posts at the Mona and Open Campus sites, expressed pride in being appointed principal and shared her intention to work closely with sister campuses, colleagues and partners in the tertiary education sector, businesses and other industries.

“I am now eight days into the job as principal and pro vice-chancellor of the Open Campus. That is perhaps a very short time to come and make any definitive statements. However, I must confess that the exciting future ahead for our region’s educational development through capacity building of our human resources cannot remain a secret,” the Belizean native said on Friday.

The new principal noted that the Open Campuses were formed in 2008 as a way of increasing access to countries that did not have a physical campus, to provide a UWI education to persons in communities that were underserved and to expand access to Caribbean people through the provision of learning opportunities in flexible ways, whether online, on site or on demand.

She added that since the introduction of Open Campuses, UWI has been able to cater to a whole new demographic of individuals.

“While we know that our young high school graduates may benefit from the collegial environment of a physical campus, we are proud that the UWI, through our Open campus, has created a mechanism for new populations to access higher education. For example, our student demographic shows that our average students range in ages between 35 to 44. That person is usually employed and has a family.

This is someone who would not necessarily be able to attend physical university, given the fact that they have other obligations,” she said.

While Longsworth acknowledged that there were still doubts within the region about the university’s online delivery, she took the opportunity to assure that the degree programmes that are offered online through the UWI Open Campus have been through a rigorous quality assurance process, which is infused in the development and delivery of its programmes.

In fact, the pro vice-chancellor revealed that while the international online education retention rate tends to be about 30 per cent, the UWI boasts an 80 per cent retention rate.

“Our vision of increased access to the region is one that is being enabled through partnerships and collaboration. We are extremely excited about our collaboration with the Canadian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development in the production of 80 new online programmes and 44 new continuing professional education programmes,” Longsworth said, in reference to the partnerships that the UWI has made as a means of offering quality courses to their students.

“The world is not waiting for us and we feel the important imperative to respond to the needs of our countries, our business community and our governments through flexible and accessible programmes that will help to create not just graduates who are workplace ready, but workplaces that are ready for our graduates.”