New UCC President Davies now professor
Professor Haldane Davies (left) is congratulated on being installed as the new president of University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) by Dr Winston Adams, UCC founder and group executive chairman, on March 27, 2023. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

Professor Haldane Floyd Davies was officially installed as the third president of the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC) at its main campus in St Andrew on March 27, 2023 and was also conferred by the UCC board of directors with the rank of professor of practice in higher education strategies.

Describing the ceremony a historic event for UCC as well as a moment of reflection and thoughtful consideration for the future of higher education in Jamaica and across the Caribbean, Professor Davies said he was "heartened and humbled by the kind words and expressions of congratulations and words of wisdom and encouragement" extended to him.

Declaring that "it is not a job for the faint-hearted", he noted that it is a challenging time for higher education when leaders are being called upon even more to "navigate challenging waters of enrolment, finances, faculty, staff and student unrest, no-confidence votes and political and governance interference, just to name a few".

Referencing the theme for the March 20-27 Inauguration Week 'Igniting, Discovering, Impacting our World' Davies spoke to a number of initiatives already undertaken since assuming the UCC presidency six months ago, including strengthening the governance structure and the provision of tuition remission to allow faculty, staff, spouses and dependents to attend UCC free of cost.

Board representation has also been expanded to include representatives from the alumni, faculty and students with full voting rights.

Additionally, the institution has received reaffirmation of accreditation from the Accreditation Services for Independent Colleges and Schools and has submitted documents to the University Council of Jamaica as part of its reaffirmation of accreditation process, he reported.

The UCC, Davies noted, "is igniting our world by working with industry partners to ensure that our graduates are workforce-ready to the extent possible and capable of ensuring effectiveness in organisations".

Further, he said, "we are discovering our world through multiple forms of research, innovation, entrepreneurship, partnerships and collaborations on topics of importance to our country and region" and the expansion of programmes and partnerships across the region, in Africa, Asia and the European Union, North, Central and South America."

Pointing to the planned launch of the UCC Ignite Community Impact Fund to "ensure ongoing collective responsiveness to community engagement and economic advancement by providing increased access to higher education and improved opportunities for all our communities", Davies also committed the UCC to working with national, regional and international institutions of higher education, the business community, and Government "to support economic advancement and promote resilience to address some of the most vexing socio-economic issues plaguing our communities".

"I am committed to the mission of this institution to prepare students to become exceptional business and community leaders, innovators and scholars in a caring and intellectually stimulating academic environment where all community members are valued, respected and challenged to embrace excellence, integrity and social responsibility," Davies declared.

In his welcoming remarks, Dr Winston Adams, UCC founder and group executive chairman, described the installation ceremony as "a celebration of a love of learning and discovery, a commitment to educating and developing the intellect and skills of people across our region and, by extension, the strengthening of our economies the underpinnings of a great university".

Proclaiming that the UCC is excellent, relevant, innovative and contributing to the betterment of our societies, Dr Adams declared, "We have a great deal to be proud of in our academic programmes and student outcomes. Our faculty are respected scholars and leaders in their disciplines and our students are blazing a trail of excellence in a range of sectors. Add to that our partnerships with other academic institutions, local and global businesses, our nimbleness and receptivity to new ideas we know that we are delivering higher education with a higher purpose."

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