UWI St Augustine sees need to reach underserved students

The University of the West Indies’ St Augustine campus in Trinidad says it is focused on creating value to strengthen its sustainability and contribute towards the development of the Caribbean and the wider world.

Principal and pro vice-chancellor Professor Brian Copeland told a virtual annual campus council meeting on Tuesday that recent reports on the ranking of the university revealed that the mandate has been achieved, to a large extent, but there are still some gaps to be covered.

“We will be moving towards a stronger culture at our UWI,” Copeland said, ading that the combined output of the academic enterprise, supported by the administrative networks, will create strong value for society.

“Universities of today have the operational characteristics of a modern commercial enterprise. The administrative network that supports the key functions must be subject to occasional review to ensure maximum efficiency,” he said.

Pointing out that there are now 16,126 students enrolled at St Augustine, Copeland said the university has seen a decline by one per cent.

“We are going through a rough patch and it seems as if all the rough patches are converging on us — from COVID-19 to economic circumstances and the population demographic over time,” said Copeland.

However, he said the university has been trying to mitigate the decline through operational improvements, product offerings, greater marketing focus, alumni engagement and market expansion.

On the issue of response time for applications, Copeland pointed out that the university has performed poorly, but promised that the issue will be addressed shortly.

“It is not good. We are the slowest of the three campuses to respond when it comes on to applications. We are looking at implementing a tool that was decided upon based on customer relation management for the recruitment phase, and we will be implementing that solution in short order,” said the professor.

Copeland said, too, that there is a need to seek underserved students and provide them with funding to maximise their academic potential.

“I look at how I can maximally develop each citizen regardless of where they come from. We need to be able to pull those who are academically qualified, which means that when they are given the chance, they will succeed. It is extremely important,” he argued.

The UWI plans to establish a global school of medicine within the Faculty of Medical Sciences. The institution is seeking to raise a bond of TT$335,000,000 to finance the development of the school.

– Brittny Hutchinson

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