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12 recipients named for the 2020 UWI Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence

The work and contribution of 12 high-performing members of staff and units at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) will be recognised at this year’s Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence.

The 2019/2020 Ceremony for the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards, to be presided over by Professor Sir Hilary Beckles will see a record number of recipients; the largest in the Awards’ history. Though traditionally rotated across The UWI’s physical campuses, the ceremony is expected to take place virtually in October 2020. The awardees are:

Excellence in Teaching

Dr Delroy Chevers, Mona School of Business and Management, Mona Campus

Dr Chris Maharaj, Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing, St. Augustine Campus

Excellence in Research Accomplishments

Professor Paulette Ramsay, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Mona Campus

Professor Alina Kaczorowska-Ireland, Faculty of Law, Cave Hill Campus

Excellence in Service to the University Community

Dr Kimberly Robinson-Walcott, Caribbean Quarterly, Vice-Chancellery

Excellence in Contribution to Public Service

Dr Olivene Burke, Faculty of Social Sciences, Mona Campus

Mr Charles Grant, International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences (ICENS), Mona Campus

Dr Floyd Morris, Centre for Disability Studies, Mona Campus

All-round Excellence in two or more areas

Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), Mona Campus

Professor Michelle Mycoo, Department of Geomatics Engineering and Land Management, St. Augustine Campus

Excellence in International Collaboration (Globalisation Award)

UWItv

Excellence in Multi Campus Research Collaboration (One UWI Award)

The Early Childhood Quality Initiative Project, Mona Campus

More about the Awardees

Dr Delroy Chevers

Dr Delroy Chevers is an Associate Dean, Senior Lecturer, researcher, mentor and supervisor who is highly sought after for the value he adds to both his colleagues and students. His passion for teaching has led him to advocate for continuous improvement in teaching and learning at the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) at Mona.

As Chairman of the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) Teaching and Learning Committee; Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research, FSS and acting Head – Decision Sciences and Information Systems Unit, Dr Chevers has developed and delivered training seminars specifically aimed at improving the teaching skills of fellow lecturers. He is also an active member of the FSS Student Enrichment and Engagement Committee where he advocates for initiatives toward the improvement of students’ overall experience.

Dr Chevers believes in continuous improvement as an educator and is deliberate about using current technology and interactive teaching techniques. One such technique is associated learning – the use of life experiences and current events to facilitate understanding, reinforcement and application of difficult concepts.  Throughout his time at the FSS he has served as supervisor for 89 students.  Dr Chevers records consistently high student evaluation scores and received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2010.

He has published 24 peer-reviewed journal articles, two book chapters, three case studies and 27 conference proceedings focusing on information systems, project management and sustainable operations.

In 2012, he was bestowed the prestigious UWI/Guardian Group Premium Teaching Award. He was also the recipient of the Mona Campus Principal’s Research Award for Most Outstanding Researcher in 2019.

Dr Chris Maharaj

Dr Chris Maharaj aims to create happy classrooms where the joy of learning is stimulated. Over the past five years, the Senior Lecturer of the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department at The UWI St. Augustine Campus has introduced a flipped classroom and blended learning environment using one hundred percent original screencasts. Student evaluations of his courses confirm the tremendous success of these student-centric approaches. As a result of personal initiative, Dr Maharaj’s courses are all distance-learning ready.

Dr Maharaj’s success as an educator is in part, attributed to his ability to empathise with the student experience. A Fellow of the IMechE (Institution of Mechanical Engineers), he has since 2014, served as Facilitator for the UWI IMechE Student Chapter. The IMechE awarded Dr Maharaj Volunteer Role Model of the Year in 2016 and honoured him for Outstanding Commitment to Talent Development in 2014.

Among his 39 published journal articles, Dr Maharaj has four focused on innovation in teaching and learning. He co-authored the paper Performance and Perception in the Flipped Classroom, which was published in the journal, Education and Information Technologies in 2016.

Since joining the University in 2012, the UWI alumnus has supervised 53 undergraduate projects and nine master’s projects. He currently supervises two graduate students; one MPhil and one PhD candidate.  He is currently Chair of the Faculty Curriculum Review Committee and a member of the Faculty of Engineering’s Blended Learning Committee. He dedicates himself as a department mentor for students and has created and delivered workshops for students who are desirous of improving their grades. As a result of these initiatives, the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering is actively considering formalising a mentoring function for Dr Maharaj.

In 2016, Dr Maharaj received the UWI/Guardian Group Premium Teaching Award.

Professor Paulette Ramsay

As an academic and a writer, UWI alumna Professor Paulette Ramsay has contributed significantly to Afro-Hispanic studies and Caribbean literature at large.

Over her academic career she has produced five scholarly books, six works of fiction, five textbooks and more than 60 articles including journal essays and reviews. For its embedded thematic and cultural significance Professor Ramsay’s work has been translated into various languages including Chinese, German and Italian.  She has also served as a board member for acclaimed refereed journals including the Unisa Latin American Report (University of South Africa) and the Publication of Afro-Latin American Research (PALARA) (University of Texas, USA).

Professor Ramsay holds a PhD (Spanish) in Afro-Hispanic Literature; an MA in Spanish and a BA Language, Literature and Linguistics from The UWI. She joined the University in 1991, as a Temporary Assistant Lecturer, then in 1998-2000 as Temporary Lecturer, was appointed in 2002 as Lecturer and progressed to Head of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.

In 2008, she was named one of The UWI’s 60 outstanding researchers under 60 and in 2016 received the Principal’s Research Award for the ‘Best Research Essay’ and ‘Best Book’. Her work Afro-Mexican Constructions of Diaspora, Gender, Identity and Nation, which received the award for ‘Best Book’ has been translated to Spanish and recognised by Hispanic Studies critics, as the first academic book to present an in-depth research on Afro-Mexican literary and cultural productions.

Her literature earned Professor Ramsay recognition from the Farquharson Institute of Public Affairs (FIPA) in 2018 with the FIPA Award of the Century for Outstanding Scholarship in Literary and Language Studies and Creative Writing.

Professor Alina Kaczorowska-Ireland

Professor Alina Kaczorowska-Ireland’s expertise is in European Union (EU) Law, Caribbean Integration and Competition Law, and Public International Law. She holds a State Doctorate in International Law with great distinction from the University of Nice in France. She has been Professor of International and EU Law at The UWI since September 2005. Prior to that she was Professor of EU Law at Southampton Institute in England and was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law in June 2004. She has taught at University College Cork in Ireland, at McGill University in Montréal, and at the Grand Ecole de Commerce in Rennes. She is also qualified as a barrister at the Paris Bar.

Professor Kaczorowska-Ireland is the leading writer on EU Law and Public International Law for Routledge of London and New York. She has published 24 books as a sole author and one monograph as a co-author. She has 27 peer-reviewed articles with two more accepted for publication, two book chapters and has presented at more than 15 academic conferences and at several seminars and workshops. Her work has been widely cited not only by her peers, but also by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Professor Kaczorowska-Ireland has been actively involved in Caribbean legal life. She has provided legal advice to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and is the drafter of the CCJ’s Referral Manual Concerning the Initiation of the Referral Proceedings before the CCJ by the National Courts or Tribunals of the Contracting Parties to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. In 2019, Professor Kaczorowska–Ireland was inducted into the Hall of Eminent Caribbean International Jurists. This honour was conferred by the Caribbean Academy for Law and Court Administration in recognition of her contribution to the rule of law in the Caribbean and beyond.

Dr Olivene Burke

Dr Olivene Burke is Executive Director of Mona Social Services (MSS) — the outreach unit of The UWI’s Mona Campus which works with 14 low-income, inner-city communities in Kingston, St. Andrew and Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Dr Burke is personally committed to building the social and intellectual capital of vulnerable, marginalised and at-risk youth particularly through the MSS and the UWI Township Scholarship programme.

As an administrator, Dr Burke grew what was the UWI Township Project to a fully functional unit of the Mona Campus in eight years. The MSS is operationalised as a social service company with a 13-member board; a technical sub-committee; five full time staff members and a database of 400 volunteers and interns. The Unit has impacted the livelihood of over 40,000 residents in the target communities. In 2019, the MSS managed a budget of approximately J$34 million, not including grant funding totalling upwards of J$37 million.

The UWI Township Scholarship is a flagship initiative of the MSS. Dr Burke has championed and contributed to the mentorship and personal development of recipients. The programme has awarded 86 recipients and produced 36 university graduates.

Along with a robust social work portfolio, Dr Burke consistently produces scholarly work; she has co-authored one book; written four book chapters; two journal articles and eight technical reports. She has also presented at over 20 conferences; produced 25 conference papers and posters; and delivered several seminars presentations, workshops and guest lectures.

Dr Burke has provided technical advice leading to the establishment of several small businesses and training for 250 youth entrepreneurs. Her service to the public has included leadership roles in the Lions Club of Mona and as a Justice of the Peace for the parish of St. Andrew.

Dr Burke is a recipient of the Anthony N. Sagba Caribbean Award for Excellence for 2020.

Dr Kimberly Robinson-Walcott

Dr Kimberly Robinson-Walcott is known for revitalising the Caribbean Quarterly (CQ) — The UWI’s flagship journal.

Dr Robinson-Walcott was appointed Editor of the journal in 2010 and has since negotiated a publishing partnership with Routledge/Taylor and Francis. Effective 2016, the partnership has exponentially increased the Caribbean Quarterly’s global reach while preserving editorial and design autonomy. It has yielded a 23 percent increase in institutional access; a 164 percent increase in downloads and a 79 percent increase in total revenue.

Dr Robinson-Walcott has up to July 2020, produced 33 single and double issues of the Caribbean Quarterly. Her work with the publication has also included strategic administrative transformation; a redesign of the journal; a website redesign; and targeted marketing including regional and international displays.

Dr Robinson-Walcott continues to publish individual scholarly work. In the last five years, along with four issues of the CQ annually, she has published a book chapter; two book reviews; and two peer-reviewed extended journal articles.  Dr Robinson-Walcott is a writer of short fiction and children’s stories; most recently, three of her short stories have been published or accepted for publication in 2019-2020. She also wrote and illustrated her second children’s book Pat the Cat which was published in 2018.

Her expertise has led her to serve as an adjudicator for writing and publishing competitions across the region including the Bocas Literature Festival (Trinidad) and the Lignum Vitae National Literature Award (Jamaica). She has served as the Editor of the Institute of Jamaica’s Jamaica Journal since 2004, producing 21 single and double issues.

Dr Floyd Morris

An outstanding public servant, educator and researcher, Dr Floyd Morris has made his mark advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. He is a recognised Caribbean expert on disability and is a sought-after conference speaker and media contributor.

Senator Dr Morris was the first person with a visual disability appointed to the Parliament of Jamaica. He led Jamaica’s negotiation on the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), seeing Jamaica become the first country in the world to sign and ratify the global treaty. His service to the public has included his tenure as President of the Senate of Jamaica (2013-2016). He was instrumental in the passing of the Disabilities Act (2014) and introduced sign language to the parliament and is currently an Opposition Senator.

As Director of the Centre for Disability Studies at The UWI’s Mona Campus, Dr Morris has mobilised upward of J$90 million in grant funding for projects under the Centre which was his brainchild. In 2018, Dr Morris served as Conference Chair for the inaugural Regional Disability Studies Conference and launched the Regional Disability Index. He has consistently contributed to making The UWI Mona an environment that is accommodating to persons with disabilities. Significant advancements on the Campus include a progressive policy on physical access to persons with disabilities; modern equipment to aid students with disabilities; special facilities for student accommodation; employment for persons with disabilities including students through a Summer employment programme and the work of the Centre for Disability Studies in driving research, training, public education and advocacy for persons with disabilities.

Dr Morris has engaged approximately 900 persons in cross-industry training on relating with persons with disabilities. He was the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Disability Policy and Legislative Reform in Jamaica in 2012. In 2017, he published By Faith, Not by Sight — The Autobiography of Jamaica’s First Blind Senator. His latest publication is a 2020 book entitled Political Communication Strategies in Post-Independence Jamaica 1972-2006.

Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee

The first female University Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), Professor Aldrie Henry-Lee is a Sociologist who has researched and published on social policy issues in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Her considerable research portfolio focuses on public policy, poverty, gender, human rights and childhood and her work has been funded by several notable agencies. These include the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Department for International Development (DFID), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank. Over the last five years, she has been involved in seven commissioned research projects.

Professor Henry-Lee received the Principal’s Distinguished Researcher Award (2003) and in 2017, she led the two teams that received the awards for the project with the most developmental impact and the Project with the most funds in the Faculty of Social Sciences.  She has published eight books and short monographs; ten book chapters; over 20 peer-reviewed articles; made more than 60 conference presentations and completed several technical reports.   She has also maintained her excellence in teaching since winning the UWI/Guardian Group Premium Teaching Award in 2010.

For 14 years, Professor Henry-Lee has organised the regional Caribbean Child Research conference which facilitates equal voice to adult and child researchers. In 2015, the conference produced a policy document with recommendations for the Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Much of Professor Henry-Lee’s research has influenced the public policy process and she has served on several committees and boards including the Advisory Board of the Child Development Agency (now the Child Protection and Family Services Agency). She is also a Director, Kiwanis Club of New Kingston and a Sunday School Teacher at the Sts. Peter and Paul Church.

Professor Michelle Mycoo

Professor Michelle Mycoo is an Urban Planner whose work is relevant to tackling Caribbean and planetary complexities that relate to people, their impact on the environment, and the socio-economic consequences for achieving sustainable development. Her work is dedicated to pivotal inter-related issues such as land use planning, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, water management and integrated coastal zone planning. Her expertise and contributions in addressing real world developmental challenges have been recognised by the European Union; the Canadian International Development Research Centre; and the UK Department for International Development. Such recognition has led to career research grants totalling approximately US$4 million (TT$28 million).

As a Professor in the Department of Geomatics Engineering and Land Management in the Faculty of Engineering at The UWI St. Augustine Campus, she has received numerous awards for her outstanding work. These include The UWI/Guardian Group Premium Teaching Award for Teaching Excellence and The UWI/National Gas Company Award for Most Outstanding Researcher in the Faculty of Engineering in 2014.

In addition to her internationally acclaimed co-authored book, A Blue Urban Agenda: Adapting to Climate Change in the Coastal Cities of Caribbean and Pacific Small Island Developing States written in 2017, Professor Mycoo has published four others; 12 book chapters and 21 peer-reviewed journal articles.  Additionally, her portfolio includes seven refereed conference proceedings and 40 technical reports. She has reviewed numerous scholarly publications, presented papers at 19 international conferences and delivered 43 invited presentations, lectures and panel discussion contributions globally.

Professor Mycoo’s impactful inter-disciplinary research has led to her selection to serve as a Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report: Working Group II and as a member of the International Science Council, UNESCO’s Scientific Advisory Committee for the Management of Social Transformations, Future Earth Coasts and the Caribbean Resilience and Recovery Knowledge Network.

UWItv

Established in 2016 to expand The UWI’s public engagement and outreach initiatives, UWItv provides public information services and education and training programmes to the region, the Caribbean diaspora and the international community at large.

Since its broadcast debut in 2016, UWItv has made significant strides to underscore the University’s critical role in public education which strengthens democracy and promotes regional development, integration and cooperation. A partnership with FLOW EVO allows UWItv to deliver 24/7 UWI and Caribbean focused programming to millions of viewers across 15 nations in the region. Strategically embracing a multi-media approach, UWItv’s robust online platforms, including www.uwitv.org and its growing social media followings, complement the UWItv channel with additional Caribbean-generated content.

Over the last five years, UWItv has demonstrated its ability to secure partnerships with key international players. These include a UWItv/United Nations broadcast agreement that provides UWItv with free-to-air content in the Caribbean region, the United States of America and Canada. UWItv is also a media partner of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and has accessed CDB grant funding. Other collaborations have delivered reports such as the Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children (OOSC); a joint initiative of the School of Education, UNICEF, UNESCO, the Institute of Statistics and the OECS Education Development Management Unit. CARICOM, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) have all found a strategic media partner in UWItv.

UWItv’s commitment to underserved communities has driven its partnership with the Mona Campus’ Centre for Tourism and Policy Research and the Mona Social Services (MSS) for The UWI Community Film Project. The project, funded by the World Bank, offers youth from troubled communities the opportunity to train in the technical and artistic elements of filmmaking, producing content around important community and national issues. The graduates of the project are now members of the UWItv team and continue to contribute to its success.

The Early Childhood Quality Initiative

A cross-campus early childhood development project; the Early Childhood Quality Initiative (ECQI) is the brainchild of Dr Zoyah Kinkead-Clark (Mona), Dr Sabeerah Abdul-Majied (St. Augustine) and Dr Sheron Burns (Cave Hill). The three are Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) lecturers at The UWI with a commitment to seeing advancements in early childhood development in the Caribbean through teacher education.

The researchers seek to understand the needs of Caribbean early childhood teachers, proposing that improvements in ECCE must begin with highly trained staff. On this basis, the ECQI, launched in 2015, has trained approximately 1,500 teachers across the region. The collaboration has also yielded 19 conference presentations, 36 workshops and three joint articles of which one is already published. Additionally, it has produced three individually authored articles and three individually authored book chapters including publications edited by Principal Investigator, Dr Kinkead-Clark.

The ECQI has overseen three medium-sized projects; the Mona Campus’ Early Interactions Project; Gender Socialisation Project at Cave Hill and The Early Childhood Caravan at the St. Augustine Campus. The unique design of the projects allowed researchers to address immediate local needs while assessing teachers’ needs in territories in the northern and southern Caribbean as well as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

The collaborative research team through the ECQI have offered answers to questions concerning the strengths and weaknesses of ECCE teacher training; professional development of teachers and national policy and gender equity in ECCE teaching and learning.

Data from the projects is at publication stage and the ECQI promises to yield an additional eight joint publications, 12 individual pieces and a joint symposium targeting early childhood practitioners across the region.

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