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UWI leadership sound and strategic” – Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

Culminating with recent presentation by the Five Islands Campus, over the past few weeks the Councils that govern the campuses of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) heard how the regional University has fared favourably over the 2019-2020 academic year.

In the face of increasing challenges crippling Caribbean economies and the global higher education sector, intensified by COVID-19, the regional University has responded to support emergency online learning across its territories, helped Caribbean governments fight the pandemic, increased access to education, built strategic partnerships and overall created value for the region.

The UWI’s resilience and continued success is testament to its sound strategic plan that provides the framework for its service and leadership to the Caribbean through teaching, leaning, research and innovation.

According to Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, “University leadership is not an ad hoc business. It begins with the finest intellectual reading of the situation, intellectual projections of the future and the mobilisations of policies and programmes into that future imagining, and this is why the implementation of our Triple A Strategic Plan has efficaciously steered our campuses.”

Led by Densil A. Williams, Professor of International Business and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Academic-Industry Partnerships and Planning, The UWI’s Triple A Strategy (2017-2022) is supported by a modern system of reporting and measuring. From inception, the strategic framework was supported by a University-wide electronic balanced scorecard using Kaplan & Norton's Balanced Scorecard framework.

Strategic objectives are interlinked to help the University achieve its overall vision and mission to become more accessible, aligned and agile by the end of the strategic planning cycle. The electronic scorecard is used to monitor, evaluate and report on the plan, on quarterly and annual intervals at the University Council and Finance & General Purposes meetings. Scorecards were built with an accountability framework in place at both the campus and wider university levels to monitor progress on initiatives, risks and outcomes.

At the campus levels, although the Principals are responsible for the overall scorecards, Deans have direct responsibility for Faculty scorecards and Heads of Departments have responsibility for departmental scorecards which are aggregated to produce the campus scorecard. Similarly, administrators such as Registrars, Bursars and Pro Vice-Chancellors have scorecards that feed into the Campuses and University’s Regional Headquarters along the lines of their reporting relationships.

In addition to these strategic monitoring tools, The UWI, through the University’s Office of Planning has routinely facilitated metrics workshops—the latest was held earlier this month—with the aim of advancing a set of common, core operational metrics to be implemented across the University system at the start of the upcoming new academic year. This overall accountability and ownership is key to the continued efficient management of The UWI.

On Friday, April 30, 2021, the University Council will hear from Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, an account of the overall University system and its Centre operations—how the strategic plan has progressed since its implementation and more specifically, accomplishments during the last academic year. He will also outline the vision, leadership philosophy and road map to solidify the future for The UWI and the Caribbean that it is committed to serve.

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