New Students Inducted at Matriculation Ceremonies in Belmopan (September 25, 2019) and Belize City (September 26, 2019) with Hon. Tracey Taeger-Panton and Ambassador Joy Grant Respectively
The University held its Third Matriculation Ceremonies in Belmopan and Belize City. Stirring addresses were given by Hon Tracy Taegar-Panton, Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Development, Petroleum, Investment, Trade and Commerce and Ambassador A. Joy Grant, Governor of the Central Bank of Belize at the Jaguar Auditorium, Belmopan Campus and Bliss Center for the Performing Arts, Belize City respectively. Both speakers exhorted students to use their time wisely in their formative years at UB. Their speeches will be published and shared with the community and general public.
The President warmly congratulated the 1, 150 new students and our total student population of 5000+ for their confidence in the University of Belize as their choice for tertiary education.
The President thanks students, their parents/guardians, the Student Government, faculty and staff, the Board of Trustees and the two distinguished speakers for making both ceremonies a resounding success.
Retreat for Senior Managers of the University – A Time to Reflect on Accomplishments for 2018/19 and Plan for the Upcoming Year 2019/20
The President held the Second Annual Retreat for Senior Managers on September 6, 2019 at the former Bookstore at the University’s main campus in Belmopan. All leaders were given an opportunity to speak on accomplishments but more importantly focused on plans for 2019-2020. There was participation from internal stakeholders including students and the UB Faculty and Staff Association. Also present was the Chairman of the UB Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim.
The President noted at the end that this retreat was stimulating as well as inspiring and thanked all participants for their continuing contributions to UB and the Transformational Plan.
Students Celebrate Belize’s Independence
He saluted their creativity on the theme of this year’s Independence celebration, “From Maya Grandeur to Modern Glory, Together let’s Shape the Belizean Story”. In Belize City the BLUE Society (Building Lifelong Utilitarian Experiences) held a flag raising ceremony. He commended the Student Government leaders and the faculty who may have supported their efforts.
The University also celebrated National Service Day at the Belmopan Campus on September 19, 2019. President Sankat paid tribute to the life of service of the late Rt. Hon. George Price. He brought to memory a quote from Belize’s first Prime Minister which says, “I believe that happiness consists in serving others and not oneself”. Mr. Dean Fuller of Fultec Systems Limited, was the keynote speaker, who spoke on “the importance of volunteering, philanthropy and service to others.” The ceremony was followed by a tree planting exercise and once more Dr. Latha Thomas and the Beautification Committee as well as the Environmental Club should be congratulated.
The President also represented UB at a number of Independence Celebrations as seen below.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat and Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Honorable Patrick Faber, meet with Resident and Non-Resident Ambassadors to Discuss Building International Partnerships to Advance the Cause of the University of Belize (UB)
On Friday, September 20th, 2019, the University of Belize’s President, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, along with the University’s Academic Deans and Directors addressed Resident and Non-Resident Ambassadors accredited to Belize on the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Wilfred Elrington at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina in Belize City. Also in attendance was the Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture and Deputy Prime Minister, Honorable Patrick Faber, the CEO Ms. Deborah Domingo and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the University of Belize, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim.
In his presentation entitled, “The Transformation at the University of Belize has begun: Opportunities and Challenges,” Professor Sankat outlined key achievements made by the University since the commencement of its strategic plan, “A Transformational Leap: Vision 2022”, in 2017. However, the thrust of the presentation was focused on building international partnerships and discovering areas of interest for collaboration to achieve the University’s future initiatives, which include staff development programs to the PhD level in selected fields, new program development including joint/dual degrees between institutions, joint research and the application for research grants, infrastructural development for new teaching and learning facilities, new laboratories, staff/student services, residences and increased opportunities for cultural/sporting/academic exchanges so as to enhance student experiences.
Professor Sankat also highlighted the vital need to support its proposed new programs. This included programs in Medicine, Music and Engineering, for example.
The President was grateful for the support of Hon. Patrick Faber, Hon. Wilfred Elrington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for making this presentation possible.
Students Kickoff the Semester
Each year, the University holds its Annual Semester Kickoff/ Opportunities fair, which makes returning to school easier, especially for new students. The event is made to explore student opportunities such as study abroad programs, get involved on campus, and discover how to get involved with student life. The opportunities fair allowed UB students to explore student clubs, organizations and leadership programs.
Companies such as Fultec systems, promoted purchasing academic supplies; There was the opportunity to learn about campus dining options with the food stalls that were available throughout the course of the day. The fair allowed students to access healthy lifestyle options. DFC also presented, educating students on academic loans and payment plans. Insurance Companies such as Atlantic and ICB were on site promoting special insurance policies for our students. Many more displayed their businesses and offered one-day promotions to the University of Belize Students, and staff.
The President thanks Dean Dr. Martin Cuellar for organizing this event.
UB Signs MOU with University of Texas at Tyler
The President of the University of Texas (UT Tyler) at Tyler, Dr. Michael Tidwell, was warmly received by President Sankat and some senior managers, on his first visit to the University of Belize on September 30, 2019. Following a brief welcome ceremony, President Tidwell was invited to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UB and UT Tyler and this was done in the new Conference Centre and in the presence of a cross section of faculty, staff and students particularly from the History Department. It is expected that this MOU will allow for an exchange of students and faculty between our two institutions and support for curriculum development for example in the new program in Archaeology. Other areas of collaboration were clearly identified with building capacity at UB at the fore. The President of UT Tyler announced, to a round of applause, the award of two full scholarships to two new UB graduates to pursue their Master degrees at UT Tyler.
UB and Ecumenical Junior College Meet to Plan Collaboration
President Sankat along with Dr. Bernard Watler, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences (FMSS); Dr. Priscilla Brown-Lopez, Chair of Outreach, Faculty of Education and Arts (FEA); and Mr. Arnulfo Kantun, Business Development Officer journeyed to Ecumenical Junior College (EJC) in Dangriga Town on September 27, 2019 and met with Dean Dr. Karen Martinez and other lecturers of EJC. They were very warmly received by the Dean and her colleagues. Discussions surrounded the delivery of some programs from the FEA and FMSS in Dangriga through EJC.
The outcome of the meeting was that a Memorandum of Agreement will be signed with EJC on October 15, 2019.
President Sankat Meets with Representatives from World Bank
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat met with representatives from the World Bank, Frederico Pedroso, Akshat Chaturvedi and Philip Barutha, on October 2, 2019. They are engaging with the Ministry of Works in Belize with a project on Transport Asset Management. This preliminary meeting was held to explore the possibilities of building capacity at the University of Belize in this area. The focus was on knowledge and information sharing for outreach programs which UB can lead. We look forward to further developments on this matter. The World Bank representatives were accompanied by Mr. Selwyn King from the Social Investment Fund.
UB’s President Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat conferred with ‘Honorary Fellow of the Commonwealth of Learning’
On 11th September 2019, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) conferred the President of University of Belize (UB) with the title of Honorary Fellow during an awards ceremony held at the Ninth Annual Pan-Commonwealth Forum (PCF9) in Edinburgh, Scotland.
COL, an intergovernmental organization created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies within Commonwealth countries, designates its Honorary Fellows by their outstanding contributions to education.
Professor Emeritus Sankat, who has served the Caribbean for the past forty-one (41) years, was awarded this distinction based on his long and distinguished service to the advancement of quality higher education in the Commonwealth, particularly for his contributions in the area of agro-innovation and agribusiness within the Caribbean and for his ability to increase student access to higher education through online learning policies, establishing blended learning initiatives and advocating for the use of ICT and eLearning.
UB Future Pharmacists Celebrate World Pharmacy Day
World Pharmacists Day is celebrated on September 25 each year. This year’s theme was, “Safe and effective medicines for all.” To commemorate the day, Mrs. Thurton (Senior Pharmacy Lecturer) and Mrs. Palacio (Pharmacy technician) along with students in the associate degree program planned activities at FEA campus, Belize City. The activities included, a pharmaceutical display and information booth, “brown bag” activity (individuals take in their medications and the pharmacists provide education regarding the medication), and blood pressure and glucose checks. Brodies Pharmaceutical, Pharmalat, and Biomeds also participated in the display and information booth.
The President congratulates the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Companies that lent their support.
UB Welcomes International Students who will be Pursuing English as a Second Language at the Regional Language Centre (RLC)
The University of Belize welcomed 52 students that came to the Regional Language Center to pursue an English as a Second Language Certificate and experience the Belizean diversity. The students are from Belize, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Republic of China (Taiwan), and South Korea.
President Sankat Launches 3rd President’s Endowment Fund Fete in Orange Walk
President Sankat together with Dr. Nestor Chan, Dean of Faculty of Education and Arts (FEA); Mr. Arnulfo Kantun, Business Development Officer and Ms. Rosalia Lopez, Secretary of FEA in Orange Walk, journeyed to the Mayor’s Office in Orange Walk and launched the Third Annual President’s Endowment Fete – Rossy War in Concert backed by Gilharry 7 together with Super Furia. Mayor Kevin Bernard and his office have offered their full support to the University of Belize to make this event a grand, successful and enjoyable event.
Also the President and his team were able to secure the sponsorship of Cuello’s Distillery and we expect that the famous Caribbean Rum and other beverages will be at the fete. The team was warmly received and supported by Ms. Froila Adelma Cuello Osorio, who is one of the Directors of the organization and a proud UB alumna.
Additionally, President Sankat along with Chairman of Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim met with representatives of Love FM and the General Manager of Dibary Stores, Mr. Walter Campos, and were assured of their support for this event.
Tickets are available at the President’s Office, Belmopan; Cuello’s Office, Orange Walk; UB Accounts Office, FMSS, Belize City; Lands Department (Jamilia Requena), San Ignacio; and Dibary stores nationwide.
We are looking forward to be entertained by the singing star from Peru, Rossy War and her troupe at the Muffles Auditorium on October 26, 2019.
Signing with Students from National Tsing Hua University, ROC (Taiwan)
On August 12th, 2019, the Taiwan National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) Belize Group from National Tsing Hua University of Taiwan met with Student Government members from the University of Belize (UB). They discussed partnering with students from UB to promote and participate in camps in the rural areas and in joining them in their summer camps. They also discussed possible cultural exchanges between the two universities. The Taiwan NTHU Belize Group is a student initiated and self-sustained not-for-profit organized group aimed at improving Belize’s primary and secondary education in rural areas.
The University is pleased with these students and grateful for the service they have provided to deserving Belizean communities over the past nine years. We all look forward to UB Students volunteering to work with their Taiwanese university student counterparts.
President attends 114 Meeting of CSUCA in Managua, Nicaragua
President Sankat attended the 114th Ordinary Session of the Consejo Superior Universitario Centro Americano (CSUCA – Central American Higher Education Council) in Managua, Nicaragua that was held at National Autonomous University of Nicaragua – Managua (UNAN-M) on August 19-20, 2019. At this meeting several important topics were discussed including the ranking of universities in Central America and the research output and impacts from our Central American universities. The President will be sharing these findings at the next meeting of the Academic Council of UB. A partnership agreement was also signed by some of the universities with HUAWEI Technologies to help build ICT capacity in some of our universities.
This was President’s Sankat last meeting as President of CSUCA. The Rector of the University of Salvador, Dr. Roger Armando Arias Alvarado, was appointed as the new CSUCA President and Professor Sankat handed over the mantle of leadership to him.
President was thanked for his services to CSUCA and was especially recognized by UNAN-Managua, UNAN-Leon and National University of Engineering (Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria) for his thoughtful Presidency of CSUCA.
The Partnership between UNAN-Managua and UB Deepens
The partnership between National Autonomous University of Nicaragua – Managua (UNAN-Managua) and its Faculty of Medical Sciences together with the University of Belize is deepening. This follows the decision at the last meeting of the UB Board of Trustees to approve the introduction of the Bachelor in Medicine, Bachelor in Surgery (MBBS) at UB effective August 1, 2020. In preparing for this, President Sankat together with Dr. George Gough, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Health and head of the Medical Council of Belize; and Mr. Arnulfo Kantun, Business Development Officer visited and engaged Dr. Freddy Meynard, Dean; Dr. Margarita Pérez, Deputy Dean and faculty members of the Faculty Medical Sciences in UNAN-Managua in deep discussions. It is expected that UNAN-Managua will begin the capacity development at UB by training the potential lecturers in Medicine. This will happen after the official agreement is signed.
The UB Community should note the construction of the Medical School building at the Belmopan Campus has begun. It is being built by IRAH Construction of Belmopan.
The President and Mr. Kantun further engaged the Board of Directors of Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) on a Memorandum of Agreement that has to be signed so as to facilitate the clinical training of our student doctors in the hospital in Belize City. There is much happening as we strive to put the pieces together to make this much anticipated program in Medicine a success.
UB Graduate Carolee Ysaguirre Staine Pays Tribute to Dr. Maxine McKay
On August 8th, 2019, the President of the University, Professor Sankat, received a testimonial from one of its 2019 graduates, Ms. Carolee Ysaguirre on her former lecturer, Dr. Maxine McKay. In her letter to the President, Ms. Ysaguirre said Dr. McKay played “a very instrumental part of [her] educational attainment at the University of Belize,” and it is in this vein, Ms. Ysaguirre wanted to honor Dr. McKay. She requested the President to have her testimonial in this issue of the President’s Desk as a way of thanking Dr. McKay for her contribution to her life as well as countless other students, whose lives she has touched and continue to touch.
The President on behalf of all our Academic and Administrative Staff, appreciates such expressions from our students/graduates.
My name is Carolee Ysaguirre Staine and I am a recent graduate of the University of Belize. I am writing on behalf of the many students who have attained their educational status in the teaching arena under the tutelage of Dr. Maxine McKay. Dr. McKay is a highly professional education veteran. She has been a very instrumental part of my educational attainment from Ladyville Technical High School to the University of Belize. Throughout the years, she has instilled creativity, compassion, and critical thinking in her students. She not only divulges information, but she dedicates her time (on weekends, holidays and long after everyone has gone home), effort and energy to her students, whether in or outside of the classroom. Her passion and drive for success and excellence in her students makes her a truly remarkable human being. She demonstrates resilience, will power, undeniable commitment and professional disposition at all times. She is a committed and dedicated individual who never closes the door of opportunity for her excellence and that of her students. She has always taught us that our successes are created through meaningful relationships, hard work, honesty, respect and the drive to reach our highest potential. She has worn many hats in her professional journey from being an educator in secondary institutions where she touched many lives with educational and life skills necessary for potential and growth, to becoming an Assistant Professor at the University of Belize. Her role as the Internship for the Faculty of Education and Arts has led almost all; if not all of the interns under her guidance to become successful during their theoretical and practical journey. Her flamboyant and colorful career has led her to serve in several other project-based activities within and outside of the University of Belize. For example, the student exchange program from Bridgewater State University has been very successful under her guidance. University of Belize students are granted the opportunity to experience education through a different culture, all because of the backing and leadership from Dr. McKay, she is simply an outstanding educator, and woman. Because of her passion as a student-centered and innovative educator who continually seeks to improve learning and school culture, I am therefore asking you to kindly feature her in your bulletin as a way of thanking her for her contribution to mine as well as the countless other students’ educational path while at the University of Belize and for the many lives that she has touched and continue to touch. She is not boastful, so many will never know the extent of her commitment to others, even when she leaves herself last, if there was ever someone who should be honored for their stellar commitment to others and education in this Century it should be Dr. Maxine McKay.
UB’s Danladi Chiroma Husaini Published Two Research Article in the Latin American Scientific Journal, SciELO
On August 15th and 29th, 2019, UB’s Danladi Chiroma Husaini – lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences, published two research article in SciELO, a scientific journal which provides scientific communication needs of developing countries in Latin America and an efficient way to increase visibility and access to scientific literature.
His first article, entitled ‘Perception of Harm and Benefits of Cannabis Use Among Adolescents from Latin America and Caribbean,’ can be read at
His second article, entitled ‘Perception of Harms, Benefits and Intention to Use Marijuana Within the Context of Regulatory Changes in Belize,’ can be read at
UB awards 45 students with Athletic Scholarships
At this year’s ceremony, forty-five (45) students from across all faculties both at the Associate and Bachelor levels were recipients of Student Athlete Scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year. Of these, seventeen (17) were females and twenty-seven (27) were males, where nineteen (19) were returning students and twenty-five (25) were new students. Scholarships, which were given based on academic and athletic abilities, were in Basketball, Football, Softball, Volleyball, Track and Canoeing.
At the ceremony all scholarship recipients signed their contract agreements which, included stipulations for good behavior, good grades, and community service.
The President thanks the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Martin Cuellar, and the students for their success in this arena of sports.
Mr. Deryck Satchwell Speaks at Sixth Annual Silvaana Udz Lekcha
On Tuesday, September 3rd, students and lecturers in the University of Belize, Faculty of Education and Arts filled the Jaguar Auditorium to capacity for the 6th annual Silvaana Udz Lekcha delivered by preeminent Belizean educator, Deryck Satchwell. Centering his presentation on literacy and discourse in Belize, and drawing upon his own linguistic background and many years of experience as an English language teacher, Mr. Satchwell opined that a more adequate approach to language teaching is needed in the Belizean school system in order to respond to the needs of our multilingual society. In the lively Q&A session that followed the presentation, audience members raised several thought-provoking matters such as the importance of one’s linguistic identity and the relevance of traditional education in this technology driven age.
Named in honour of Dr. Silvaana Udz, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to education and culture in Belize, the annual Silvaana Udz Lekcha Series introduces students to noteworthy authors, poets, educators, and other intellectuals from Belize and abroad, so that they may be inspired to pursue a life of letters and critical reflection.
UQROO Students Visit and Experience UB
On September 9th, Students from the University of Quintana Roo (UQROO) visited the University of Belize for a Week Long Cultural Exchange that ended on September 14, 2019. The purpose of the exchange was to increase the students understanding of Belize’s history, culture, education and nature through interactions which would enhance their English also through a cultural immersion. As part of the Cultural Immersion, students had the opportunity to visit Maya ruins and different tourist locations. The students were accompanied by Ms. Sonia Sansores the Director of the Language and Education Department, UQROO, Mexico.
Belize Anthropologist Launches Book
On the 11th September 2019, Belizean Anthropologist, Dr. Lyra Spang, launched her book “Bite Yu Finga!” and had an engaging discussion about the exploration of how we as Belizeans identify what Belizean food is and the role of tourism in culinary innovation. She also spoke on the research methods she engaged in in order to finish her doctoral dissertation engaging the history and anthropology students of the University of Belize at the George Price Center.
Dr. Spang also donated a copy of her book to the UB library.
Central Farm Campus Hosts Climate Change Workshop
On September 19th 2019, the University of Belize Central Farm Campus hosted a climate change workshop which was sponsored by International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF, Republic of China (Taiwan)). The workshop served to inform Belizean farmers, extension officers and bachelor students on the events of a regional workshop recently held in St. Kitts and Nevis where a delegation of five Belizeans participated.
Workshop facilitators included Dr. Carlos Itza and Mr. Daniel Juan, both lecturers at UBCF, who delivered presentations on current and projected impacts of climate change and its link to food security, regional farmers’ best practices, water harvesting and use efficiency, international organizations’ research and outcomes in tackling climate change and potential solutions for Belizean farmers.
The University thanks ICDF for its continued collaboration in promoting Belizean food security and capacity building.
UB ERI staff are all First Aid Certified
The entire UB ERI staff recently completed training in First Aid by professional instructor and Science Director (Marine), Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts. All staff including several student volunteers were trained in various emergency response training, including Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Automated External Defibrillation (AED) and Diving First Aid. Given the heavy scientific research activities carried out by ERI researchers and student volunteers, the need for emergency response is a priority. Fortunately, there has never been the need to act on any emergency response by any of its staff and if there is the need, everyone is now prepared.
Completion of Students’ Gazebo
The President wishes to salute the contribution of the previous Student Government in Belmopan for collaborating with the Administration in making this project a success. We are witnessing how quickly our students are using these facilities.
Front Entrance Paving – Belmopan
Punta Gorda Campus – Students Beautifying the Campus
The President wishes to congratulate Mr. Roy Polonio, the Campus Administrator, his staff and especially the students of PG for their beautification efforts and lifting the aesthetics of the PG Campus.
Water, Drainage and Sewage – Belmopan Campus
The President wishes to advise that Mr. Francis Burns and his Team from the Department of Physical Plant, continue to work assiduously to treat with water and sewage challenges we have been having on the south side of the Belmopan Campus – buildings like the Jaguar, Scarlet Macaw and Jabiru. New pumps with electrical wiring and plumbing have been installed to connect water tanks that were not in use for several years so as to alleviate water disruption which we have been experiencing. New toilet fixtures etc. are being installed in the Jaguar building, to replace fixtures for which parts were not available. A contractor has been brought in to build new drain fields to treat with effluents. This we hope will alleviate the unpleasant odours around some buildings of the Campus. Over the recent past a contractor was also brought in to treat with the leach field in the centre of the FEA Campus in Belize City.
Sewage – FEA, Belize City
These are all challenging issues which Mr. Burns and his Team are working steadily to address. The President appreciates and thanks them for their work which is in progress – not glamorous but necessary, and thanks all of the University Community for their patience in this matter.
“All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.” Martin Luther King Jr.
On Friday, September 20th, 2019, the University of Belize’s President, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, along with the University’s Academic Deans and Directors addressed Resident and Non-Resident Ambassadors accredited to Belize on the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honorable Wilfred Elrington at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina in Belize City. Also in attendance was the Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture and Deputy Prime Minister, Honorable Patrick Faber and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the University of Belize, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim.
In his presentation entitled, “The Transformation at the University of Belize has begun: Opportunities and Challenges,” Professor Sankat outlined key achievements made by the University since the commencement of its strategic plan, A Transformational Leap: Vision 2022, in 2017. However, the thrust of the presentation was focused on building international partnerships and discovering areas of interest for collaboration to achieve the University’s future initiatives, which include staff development programs to the PhD level in selected fields, new program development including joint/dual degrees between institutions, joint research and the application for research grants, infrastructural development for new teaching and learning facilities, new laboratories, staff/student services, residences and increased opportunities for cultural/sporting/academic exchanges so as to enhance student experiences.
Professor Sankat also highlighted the vital need to support its proposed new programs. This included programs in Medicine, Music and Engineering, for example.
In his conclusion, Professor Sankat noted that the UB cannot achieve the transformation on its own as it simply does not have all the resources. To this, Professor stated, “The University of Belize has the vision and determination but capacity must be built through partnerships.” He spoke to the benefit of international partnerships and where assistance from the international community, international universities and funding institutions can play a vital role in advancing Belize’s higher education. President Sankat appealed to the Diplomats and financial institutions present to consider the National University of Belize in their deliberations as the development of the human capital in Belize is a pre-cursor to sustainable development of the Country.
The Minister of Education Youth, Sports and Culture, Honorable Faber, echoed the President’s appeal for assistance with building the educational system of Belize and noted how international partnerships have facilitated this in the past. He also noted that partnerships bring mutual benefits to both parties engaged; and urged the representatives gathered to consider the opportunities to be derived from engaging with the University of Belize and supporting the cause.
On 11th September 2019, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) conferred the President of University of Belize (UB) with the title of Honorary Fellow during an awards ceremony held at the Ninth Pan-Commonwealth Forum (PCF9) in Edinburgh, Scotland, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Open University of the United Kingdom and the 30th Anniversary of COL.
COL, an intergovernmental organization created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies within Commonwealth countries, designates its Honorary Fellows by their outstanding contributions to education in areas such as: leadership and service, published work, mentorship, innovation, improving access to quality education and promoting learning for sustainable development.
Professor Emeritus Sankat, who has served the Caribbean for the past forty-one (41) years – beginning as a full time academic, Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and currently is the President of Belize’s National University, the University of Belize – was awarded this distinction based on his long and distinguished service to the advancement of quality higher education in the Commonwealth, particularly for his contributions in the area of agro-innovation and agribusiness within the Caribbean, administrative leadership and for his ability to increase student access to higher education, as in the citation given by COL attached.
The Board of Trustees, the Senior Management Team and the Students, Faculty and Staff of the University of Belize congratulate Professor Sankat on this remarkable achievement and for his commitment to education and the pursuit of innovation driven by applied research, for the social and economic transformation of the Caribbean.
The University of Belize (UB) Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Student Chapter was officially chartered on September 3rd, 2019. This historic charter makes the UB ACM Student Chapter the second ACM Chapter in Central America.
Founded in 1947, the ACM is the world’s largest scientific and educational computing society, delivering resources that advance computing as a science and a profession. The Association provides its members and the computing profession with leading-edge publications, conferences, and career resources.
The UB ACM Student Chapter provides student members opportunities to play active roles in the association and its activities by organizing technical talks, learning forums, field trips, and programming contests which facilitate communication and collaboration within the university’s computer science community and with Belizean computing communities outside the institution. This enhances the University’s teaching and learning framework via the exchange of ideas among students and between students and established professionals.
Additionally, the UB ACM Student Chapter members will be able to take advantage of ACM activities and services that include the Distinguished Speakers Program, the International Collegiate Programming Contest, the Upsilon Pi Epsilon ACM Student Chapter Scholarship Award, the ACM Student Chapter Excellence Awards, Student Research Competition and get involved in the business world with workshops, resume assistance, and career-building initiatives.
According to I.T. lecturer and Faculty Sponsor –UB ACM Student Chapter, Mr. David Garcia, “Our UB students will now be able to seize the scientific and professional opportunities of this global community to ensure that they stay abreast with the ever-advancing world of technological creations and innovations because achieving and maintaining success in the dynamic field of computing requires that they stay immersed and active in the knowledge of current technological developments.”
Importantly, ACM Student members of the UB ACM Student Chapter are automatic members of the ACM Women’s Committee (ACM‐W) which through professional chapters, work to increase recruitment and retention of women in computing at the university level through professionals’ activities and projects that aim to improve the working and learning environments for women in computing.
Welcome Back from the President
The President extends a warm welcome to all our new UB students and sincerely hopes that our University will facilitate your growth and development as aspiring young professionals in the service of Belize in particular. I also welcome back all returning students, wishing you a great year ahead and hope to see some of you cross the graduation stage in June 2020.
To all our Academics and some of our Administrative staff who took vacation in the recent months, let me extend my welcome back and wish each and every one of you a productive and successful 2019-2020.
Clement Sankat, President
Flag Raising Ceremony, 1st August, 2019 – Marking our Anniversary
At a simple ceremony, Faculty, Staff, Students and Administration gathered at the Gazebo to celebrate UB’s 19th Anniversary. On a beautiful, sunny morning, the ceremony was briefly addressed by – Student Government, UB President and the Vice President. All speakers noted the strides the University has made as one University, with over 5,000 students, and from a somewhat divided beginning in 2000. The President noted that 2020 will be the 20th Anniversary celebrations and a team was being put together to plan the big event. Afterwards all gathered around the flag pole to raise the UB flag.
The Adventure Has Just Begun for our New Students
The University of Belize welcomed our new students with an interactive orientation held during July 29 – August 1, 2019. The new Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Martin Cuellar, along with his staff and the Orientation Group Leaders warmly welcomed the students and ensured they had a good time, to know the UB while learning about the rights and responsibilities of being a UB student. The President welcomed each group of students from our four faculties on the four days of orientation/welcome.
UB Welcomes New Dean of Students, Dr. Martin Cuellar
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Martin Cuellar as our new Dean of Student Affairs, effective July 8, 2019. Dr. Cuellar is no stranger to UB or to Student Development. He worked at the University of Belize in Student Development and then served as the Dean of Student Affairs from its inception in 2000 to 2006. Dr. Cuellar is a communication specialist and innovative team builder. The University welcomes his passion for student-centered culture and looks forward to him continuing our efforts in enhancing our students’ university experience and our commitment to our national University. Dr. Cuellar succeeds Dr. Jean Perriott who served as Dean of Student Affairs.
President Attends 55th Caribbean Food Crops Society (CFCS) Meeting in Dominican Republic
The President attended the 55th Caribbean Food Crops Society (CFCS) Meeting in the Dominican Republic as an invited Keynote Speaker. He addressed the first session of the meeting and delivered a paper on, “Enhancing Agriculture’s Contribution to the Caribbean Economy through Value Addition – Learning from a Belizean Example” (https://www.ub.edu.bz/download/enhancing-agricultures-contribution-to-the-caribbean-economy/). The President used and showcased the work of Ms. Marie Sharp, Belize’s pioneering food processor, innovator and entrepreneur and presented a sample of Belize’s prized pepper sauce to the Hon. Minister of Agriculture of the Dominican Republic, Mr. Osmar Benitez. While at the CFCS, the President attended the meeting of CFCS’s Board of Directors and meeting of Caribbean Council of Higher Education in Agriculture (CACHE). As a precursor to this event, President visited and interviewed Ms. Marie Sharp at her office and factory in Melinda Estate, Hope Creek Village, Stann Creek.
UB and San Pedro Junior College (SPJC) Sign MOA
President Sankat; Dean of the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences Dr. Bernard Watler; Dean of the Faculty of Education and Arts, Dr. Nestor Chan; and Mr. Arnulfo Kantun from the Office of Institutional Advancement visited the San Pedro Junior College (SPJC) and signed an agreement with the Dean of SPJC, Mr. Gustavo Ellis. The aim of the agreement is for UB to work with SPJC to deliver some of its programmes in San Pedro. Among the programs identified for delivery are the Bachelors’ in Primary and Secondary Education, the Bachelors’ in Business Administration and in Tourism Management. It is expected that our first program will be delivered in January 2020. The team also met with a group of enthusiastic students gathered for the event and fielded their questions on admission, progression etc. Through this MOA, the UB re-enters the San Pedro Community.
Five Participate in Online Course Development through University of Mauritius and funded by COL – the Commonwealth of Learning
Five (5) participants were chosen from the University of Belize as recipients for the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) scholarships to be able to fully participate in an online course based on “Developing and Teaching an Online Course (DTOC)” through the University of Mauritius and the Centre for Innovative & Lifelong Learning.
This short course was a self-instructional module that ran through the period April – June 2019 online. The participants had the opportunity to exchange with peers from different countries. The course was designed to integrate coaching and peer support as the participants designed and developed online and blended courses in Moodle.
The course was enriching and interactive, where the participants were engaged in a knowledge construction and sharing process. The course consisted of 5 units and each unit spanned over a two to three-weeks period. Each unit consisted of different kind of activities and discussion fora.
Special congratulations to Ms. Lynmara Rosado, Mrs. Xunan Quetzal, Mr. Gilroy Middleton Jr, Mrs. Thyra Arana, Mr. Yamil Montero, and Dr. Freida Palma on successfully completing the training and President thanks COL for its continued support of UB.
UB Library Helps Young Students “Read to Succeed”
On Friday, July 26th 2019, the University of Belize Library completed its 10th Annual Reading Program under the theme, “Read to Succeed”. The program was held for a period of two weeks. The underlying purpose of the program was to help primary school children between the ages of 6-12 to acquire the skills necessary to read well. Among the many benefits of the program:
• Students gathered in a friendly learning environment;
• Students were encouraged to read and discuss what was read;
• Students were encouraged to check out the children’s literature from the library’s collection; and
• Students practiced to read aloud among their peers.
This year there were seven facilitators, which included professional teachers from the community and student teachers enrolled in the Faculty of Education and Arts program at the University and they were, Mrs. Zoi Marin, Ms. Elizabeth Genus, Ms. Shaijah McNab, Mrs. Kimberely McNab, Mrs. Yonarda Cus, Ms. Alpha Ramos and Ms. Jocelyn Santos.
This community outreach initiative helps to expose students and parents to the UB Community. Thus far, the library has assisted approximately 450 students over the 10 years of the program. The President commended the Library for its community work in the Summer break and the parents/guardians for sending their young ones to the Reading camp.
Students Display Early Childhood Learning Corners
The Early Childhood Education students (Cohort One) who were enrolled in the courses: Instructional Resources for Early Childhood Education and Creative Expressions for Early Childhood Teachers, displayed the preschool learning corners as their final exam for Semester three. Corners such as: Language, Dramatic Play/Housekeeping, Quiet Library, Creative Art, Music, Block, Sand and Water, Science/Discovery and Math were displayed with the relevant and appropriate activities and materials for young children to learn through play. The course instructors, Ms. Sylvia Sabal and Ms. Natasha Mantock were impressed with the excellent work done by the students especially since most of the students, came up with this initiative. Many thanks to everyone who assisted in making this first-time event a huge success!
RENR Preparation Course Spearheaded by ODL
In an effort to boost our Belizean Nursing professionals passing the Regional Nursing Exam, the UB has been championing a preparatory course for interested nurses and prior to the Exams. This year the program is being administered by the Open and Distance Learning Unit, with 16 students registered, and it is expected that the program will grow from strength to strength, creating success for our nurses and the UB. The course is being facilitated by Dr. Marjorie Parks, former Deputy Director of Health Services and the first nurse in Belize to earn a Doctorate degree.
Researcher from the University of Kentucky Visits UB to Discuss Potential Research Collaboration with the FST
Shakira Hobbs, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of
Kentucky and her Master’s student Barbara Astmann met with Vice President Dr. Mariot Simon,
Director of institutional development Mr. Arnulfo Kantun and Assistant Professor Dr. Abel
Carrias on July 16 th 2019, to discuss possible research collaboration between the two institutions.
As next steps in this potential collaboration, researchers from both parties participated in a
sample collection campaign to collect water samples from community water systems to test for
the presence of glyphosate. Glyphosate-based herbicides are among the most widely-used crop
protection products in modern agriculture leading to growing concerns about their safety, the
impact they have on our food supply and our health. The preliminary data collected will be used
by the Master’s student in her thesis and will also serve as data that can justify a larger grant that can fund research in Belize.
UQROO, Chetumal and UB Discuss Way Forward on Student Exchange
Students Engage in Archaeological Training in Partnership with UT-Tyler
UB History students engaged in Archaeology training with Dr. Thomas Guderjan of the University of Texas – Tyler at the Tz’unun archaeological site in Orange Walk district. The students had a great experience learning how excavations and archaeological research work are conducted in Belize.
Ms. April Martinez, lecturer in our History program led the students in this exciting initiative, all as a precursor to UB’s new programs in Archaeology and Anthropology.
Physical Development Across our University
The Department of Physical Plant under the leadership of Mr. Francis Burns has been busily working throughout the Summer, engaging on a number of projects across our four campuses. All with a focus on lifting our physical facilities to a new level of maintenance, upkeep, aesthetics and comfort.
The President sincerely thanks the UB teams led by Mr. Burns; the PG Campus Administrator, Mr. Roy Polonio; and the UB Central Farm Administrator (Acting) Mrs. Zoe Zetina and all the small contractors engaged on our various sites.
Conference Center Update
Punta Gorda Campus
Central Farm Campus
UB is Collaborating with National and International Partners in Microplastics Research
The University of Belize and the Department of Environment (DOE) are collaborating in research with the Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) of the UK to execute a multidisciplinary program of fieldwork in Belize that aims at producing data to develop a national litter action plan focusing on reducing plastics and other waste items entering the ocean. This collaboration is made possible through the Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLiP), a program funded by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). DEFRA supports developing countries across the Commonwealth to develop national litter action plans focusing on reducing plastics and other waste items entering the ocean.
As part of the collaboration, a specialized and fully equipped microplastics lab was setup under the direction of the DOE and hosted by UB. CEFAS scientists used the lab to train over fifteen individuals across public and private sector, led by DOE and UB staff.
Upon completion of the training, five UB researchers (Dr. Abel Carrias, Ms. Shareen Arnold, Mr. Eduardo Barrientos, Ms. Cecy Castillo and Dr. Joaquin Urbina) and one researcher from the DOE (Mr. Henry Sanchez) initiated research activities to investigate the presence of and to characterize types of microplastics found in the gastrointestinal tract of finfish. The research work continues and the findings will be disseminated to the public and decision makers.
UB aims to work with the DOE and CEFAS in this and other projects that will lead to meaningful scientific contributions for solving problems of national need and significance.
UB and Love Foundation Strengthen Partnership for the Benefit of the Public Service
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat along with Mr. Arnulfo Kantun from the Office of Institutional Advancement met with Mr. Rene Villanueva Sr., Mr. Rene Villanueva Jr. and Ms. Deborah Sewell from the Love Foundation on August 5, 2019. They discussed a programme of education and training focused on, “Implementing Good Governance, Transparency, and Ethics in the Public Service.”
President, Dean Chan and Mr. Kantun Visit Orange Walk Town – 3rd Annual Endowment Fund Fundraising Fete
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat along with Dr. Nestor Chan, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Arts and Mr. Arnulfo Kantun, Business Development Officer visited Orange Walk Town on August 2, 2019 and paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Mayor of the Town Council, Mr. Ian Cal The UB is planning a major fundraising event, its 3rd Annual Endowment Fund Fete, for this location, and the team was warmly welcomed and had the assurances of support from the Deputy Mayor. The team also visited suitable venues etc that can host the event and was impressed.
A formal announcement will be made soon on the international artist who will be featured at the event. Stay tuned!
Fundraising Glow Party – Welcoming our UB Students
UB Hosts Twenty-Sixth Commencement Ceremony
UB hosted two successful graduation ceremonies in Belize City and in Punta Gorda, featuring commencement speeches by Dr. Richard A. Carvajal – the President of Valdosta State University and Mrs. Marie Sharp – Owner of Marie Sharp Fine Foods, respectively. Not only did the University confer diplomas, certificates and degrees to its largest graduating body but also, it conferred sixteen (16) MBA Degrees to its first cohort of graduate students, its first Honorary Doctoral Degree to Belize’s Governor General, His Excellency, Sir Colville Young, in recognition of his outstanding public service to Belize and it awarded the Oak Foundation of Switzerland with its inaugural Outstanding Philanthropy Award in recognition for their significant contribution to the University. The University also recognized our recently departed students, Kevin, Masaki, Jessica and Dwayne, with posthumous awards.
The President expressed his sincere thank-you to the many staff who contributed to its success and to once again congratulate all our graduates on reaching this milestone. The University is incredibly proud of each of you and we wish you all the best in all your future endeavors!
GOB Increases UB Subvention by 1 Million Dollars
The Government of Belize, in its recent budget, increased its subvention to the National University of Belize by One (1) Million Dollars per annum. The University has not seen an increase in its contribution from the Government in more than a decade and as such, this increase can be seen as a major step towards our advancement.
This increase is greatly appreciated as it will not only assist in our efforts to reduce the University’s budgetary deficits, but also, it will allow us to continue on the journey of our transformational plan.
On behalf of the University of Belize, its Students, Faculty and Staff, the President of the University, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat wishes to thank the Government of Belize, through the Ministry of Education, for their steady support of Belize’s National University and looks forward to their continued partnership.
UB Launches Master in Philosophy (M. Phil) Degree
The University launched its Master of Philosophy (M. Phil) Program. This M. Phil program is a research-based program focused on knowledge creation and application without being limited by disciplinary boundaries and is being offered through all Faculties and Institutes of the University.
It represents a major step forward to enhance research and development work at the University and in its various departments. The President of the University would like to thank Professor Thippi Thiagarajan and the members of the University’s Graduate Research Committee for their excellent effort to bring this program to fruition for the new academic year.
The Master of Philosophy will commence in August 2019 and is geared towards exceptional research-driven individuals who are independent thinkers and highly motivated.
UB Early Childhood Stimulation Centre 14th Moving On Ceremony – 32 Children
UB’s Early Childhood Stimulation Centre held its 14th Graduation Ceremony on Thursday, June 27th, 2019 at the UB Jaguar Auditorium. Like all graduations, the event started with the toddlers marching down the isles in their purple and yellow gowns and caps to take their seats before a colourfully-decorated room filled with parents, guardians, family and friends. The ceremony was hosted by the Cayo District’s Educational Officer within the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Gwen Nunez- Gonzalez, who entertained the audience and allowed for an easy flow of the ceremony.
As expected, the pre-schoolers were excited and throughout the ceremony performed a variety of songs and poems that brought smiles and tears to those who were present. In addition to the graduates receiving their pre-school certificate, parents of the students were also presented with certificates of appreciation for their support, effort and motivation that contributed to the successful completion of their child’s pre-school. A total of 32 students graduated from UB’s Early Childhood Stimulation Centre – fifteen (15) boys and seventeen (17) girls.
On behalf of the University of Belize, Professor Emeritus – Clement Sankat, UB’s President, congratulates the School and the shepherding of the young ones and hopes that each child will continue to be nurtured with knowledge, values and dedication as they continue their education.
President’s Conference Centre
Progress is being made with this lovely building that is expected to be fully ready for new academic year.
UB constructs a new classroom in PG with help from BDF
This new classroom replaces the old barrack building that was demolished. It is being built under the supervision of Mr. Francis Burns of the University’s Physical Plant Department. Through his efforts as the Campus Administrator, Mr. Roy Polonio, the BDF agreed to donate free labour for this effort to enhance our PG campus. It is expected to be completed in time for the new academic year.
Despite the financial challenges, the University continues to make creative efforts to lift the PG campus.
Agreement between UB and SAVEMAR
Complementing its partnership with National Oceanography Centre (NOC), UB partnered with Save- Mar, to facilitate the University in managing its Marine Science Research Facility on Hunting Caye. UB – SAVEMAR lease agreement signing ceremony was held on Friday May 31st, 2019 at UB-PG Campus. Several invited guest from NGO’s and Government departments as well as some members from PG Advisory Council witnessed the signing ceremony.
In this capacity, Save-Mar will develop UB’s outreach facility into a first-class marine research station, where UB students, faculty, local as well as International Researchers will be given access and will be able to gain practical, hands-on training for sustainable marine practices and management; an intimate understanding of the natural marine processes that support our fishers and our economy and propel regional conservation efforts and sustainable use of our natural resources.
UB and Valdosta State University Strengthen ties
President Sankat met with Dr. Richard Carvajal – President of Valdosta State University. The meeting reflected on the long standing relationship between Valdosta and Belize, including the UB through COBEC.
Both Presidents agreed to focus on a few defined areas of collaboration in the immediate future, particularly as they relate to Early Childhood Education and Music Education.
Beautification Committee Continues to Plant Trees at the Belmopan Campus
Through the President’s Advisory University Beautification Committee (PAUBC) efforts this year so far, more than 200 plants were planted in the Belmopan Campus. Fruit trees, hardwoods, spice plants, palms and pine trees were added to the plant diversity of the Belmopan Campus. This would not have been possible without the countless hours of volunteer labor provided by students especially from Biology and Natural Resources Management (NRM) program, students and staff on tuition waiver, student clubs such as UB Environmental Club and IFSA (International Forestry Students Association) and Faculty members from various Depts. These plants were watered and maintained by a zealous crew of volunteers without whose efforts many of the plants would not have survived.
In addition, a special thanks to the first UB Beautification Club (UBBC) whose focus was to promote one of the world’s greatest researched air filter plant – the Sansevieria. Their efforts resulted in UB community obtaining Sansevieria plants for their offices and even for their homes. Our Jaguar Auditorium now hosts and boosts ten (10) potted, flourishing highly, scented Sansevieria plants
The UB Beautification Committee members, Dr. Latha Thomas (Chair), Ms. Isabel Bennett and Ms. Kimberly Stewart would therefore like to sincerely thank all the volunteers for their hard work and passion to transform this campus and our workstations into green havens that UB family and the community can enjoy. A heart-felt thanks is also due to the Physical Plant Dept. for their continued assistance in the beautification efforts. The Committee welcomes everyone who would like to learn, share ideas and be part of the UB beautification efforts. Come join us in the joys of planting to continue transform our next home – our UB campus.
Delegation from Romania Visits UB
A high level delegate from Romania led by the Dean of the College of Rectors visited the University with the view to developing a collaborative partnership with UB in support of Belize’s education thrust. The meeting reviewed the strengths of Romanian universities. Particularly, noteworthy were their programs in Medicine/Health, Energy, Agriculture and the Creative Arts. The Romanians expressed their willingness to receive UB Faculty and Staff so as to upgrade their qualification.
The UB will follow up on building a relationship through our Office of Institutional Advancement.
A New Research Publication – Self-Medication Practices Among College Students in Belize: A Nationwide Cross Sectional Study
Danladi Chiroma Husaini*, David Datiba Mphuthi, Yusuf Abubakar and Augustine Domingo
Background: With increased access to information and advertisements via the internet, college students are likely to be involved in self-medication practices that may result in increased resistance to antibiotics, adverse drug reactions, interactions and or other complications associated with self-medication. A self-reported assessment was conducted on self-medication among college students in Belize with a view to provide a baseline data on the knowledge and practices of self-medication and evaluate the reasons for self-medication among young people in the country of Belize.
The complete research publication can be found at – http://www.wjpr.net/dashboard/abstract_id/12388
FST Lecturer Dr. Latha Thomas Publishes Articles on Dung Beetles
Dr. Latha Thomas, Assistant Professor in FST published seven articles for the International Peer Reviewed Journals and contributed to a book chapter this academic year. Dr. Thomas has been working on dung beetles of Belize since 2010 and has collected beetles from nine sites including seven protected areas. Dung beetles are widely used as biological indicators to study effects of habitat modifications on mammal abundance and diversity as they feed on mammalian dung. The study contributes to biodiversity inventory of Belize and new species list for the country, and assists in understanding the consequence of landscape modification on abundance and diversity of mammals in a habitat. Such biodiversity inventory studies are very significant, in the light of the new Global Assessment Report released in May 2019 which stated that around 1 million animal and plant species may face extinction in the coming years; some of the species may even become extinct before they are discovered.
Bachelor Biology students actively participates in the research as part of the Independent Research course work and thesis. She has also worked on dung beetles in the global biodiversity hotspot, the South Western Ghats in the Indian Subcontinent and has discovered three new species in the course of her research.
The President congratulates Dr. Thomas on her research efforts as well as her stellar contribution to the beautification of our campus.
UB meets with San Pedro Junior College
The President met with the Dean of the San Pedro Junior College. In welcoming them, the President restated his desire for UB to have a presence in San Pedro through this College. The meeting heard on past engagements of FMSS in San Pedro and agreed to a new beginning starting this new academic year. Areas of collaboration would be delivering programs in general management, tourism management and in education so as to upgrade the skills for current school teachers in San Pedro.
RF&G Insurance Wins the Tender for Providing Coverage for our Physical Assets
After a complete re-evaluation of the assets of UB, the University embarked on a rigorous process to select an approved insurance company to provide insurance coverage for the University’s assets – with this managed by the Director of Finance.
The University is pleased to report the completion of this process, and the President welcomed the successful company, RF&G, to the Campus.
MOU with National Oceanography Centre
The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and University of Belize (UB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the 30th of May, 2019. This partnership will see the two institutions develop joint training, research projects and technical programs to enable knowledge transfer and research collaboration focused on marine science.
Marine Science plays a critical role in delivering improved outcomes in terms of the sustainable use of clean energy, minerals and other resources, protecting people and property from natural disasters, wealth creation, environmental protection and sustainability, and enhancing the quality of life for the people. Therefore, the collaboration between the NOC and UB will focus on both marine technologies and expertise, as well as scientific knowledge on coastal protection, water quality, sustainable environmental practices and will address some of Belize’s current marine challenges, including sustainable management of marine resources and marine pollution.
Robotics Short Course for High School Students
As a part of the on-going outreach of Information Technology faculty to primary and secondary school students, to increase students’ computing competencies and interest in information technology; a short course entitled “Robotics: Starting from Scratch” was held from May 20 to May 29, 2019, at the Belmopan Methodist High School. The objective of the course was to enhance the computational thinking skills and capture the imagination, of the high school students through interactive sessions where the students learnt to build and program the mBot Land Raider robot. Using the mBlock coding interface which is specially designed to support STEAM education, the Visual Programming Language (VPL), SCRATCH, was used by the students to create blocked-based programs that allowed them to control the: movement, lights, sounds, and sensors of their robots. The participants of the course were fourteen students selected from the three first form classes of the High School, and the sessions facilitators were seven Information Technology lecturers and one Physics lecturer from the Department of Mathematics, Physics, and Information Technology. Teams of two were formed from the selected students, and each team was assigned a faculty facilitator who provided dedicated guidance and support with the building and programming of the team robot. Overall, the short course was a success, evident not only by the successful completion of each session by the student teams but also by the numerous questions, and eager and excited participation, of the young explorers.
As in similar short courses previously delivered by the Information Technology faculty, upon completion of the course, the fourteen students were thrilled to receive their completion certificates from the University of Belize.
The Algorithms students of the Bachelor in Information Technology program also experimented with Robotics. They applied the knowledge learned in the classroom and programmed the Robot so that it can find its way in a maze without human aid.
UB-FST Study Abroad Program
The University of Belize through its Faculty of Science and Technology conducted a study abroad program in Tropical Field Ecology on May 23rd –June 4th 2019 for visiting students from abroad. The study abroad cohort hosted was from Louis Strokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and their visit to the University of Belize was made possible through a grant received from the National Science Foundation. During their visit to Belize, the students were immersed in research projects at the University of Belize in various areas of interest such as:
1. Taxonomy and ecology of Scarabaeinae dung beetles
2. Using GIS technologies to Assess anthropogenic impacts of Mount Pleasant Creek
3. Identifying wells within 66 feet of the Mount Pleasant Creek and assessing its microbial quality.
4. Assessing chemical, physical and microbial water quality at the Billy Barquedier National Park.
At the end of their program, visiting students presented their research findings and demonstrated their understanding of the scientific process. We congratulate the various faculty members that worked along with the students namely: Dr. Santos Chicas, Dr. Latha Thomas, Ms. Cecy Castillo, Ms. Karen Bautista, Mr. Josue Ake, and Mr. Eduardo Barrientos.
2018-2 Natural Resource Management Program partners with the CCCCC
The Natural Resource Management Program is pleased to have partnered with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in the planning and delivery of this semester’s Environmental Seminar course. A special recognition is given to the CCCCC for not only accepting our invite into the classroom but for offering to plan and deliver seven (7) lecture series this semester. Students were introduced to national, regional and international topics being discussed in the realm of climate change. This year’s session ended with a debate session hosted by the CCCCC. The Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Ms. Juliane Pasos, along with the lecturer, Ms. Cecy Castillo thanked the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre for being enthusiastically involved in the education of our young Belizeans.
UNICEF and UB Meeting – Be part of U Report
Representatives from UNICEF and the Department of Youth Services met with University Faculty and Staff on May 31st, 2019 to discuss partnership for UNICEF’s mobile based platform, U-Report. U-report is a free SMS social monitoring tool for community participation, designed to address issues and challenges affecting the community and to give young people, especially, a space to voice their opinions on issues that pertain to them. The data gathered via this medium will then be used to influence program designs, policy making and advocacy in Belize.
Therefore, not only will UB students be able to participate in the various initiatives of the U-Report, once registered, the University will also benefit from this partnership as the platform will be used to gather data and conduct surveys and polls from the platform’s members on various research initiatives being conducted by University Faculty and staff.
UB Hosts High School Students as Interns
The University of Belize hosted 5 students from Sacred Heart College to gain work experience from June 17th to 28th, 2019. The students were oriented to the operations of the University and based on their areas of interest were placed in the various departments where they were involved in filing, scanning documents, answering phone calls, and interacting with clients. The experience and exposure provided the opportunity for each student to gain skills such as interpersonal communication, time-management, and team-work.
The students were placed at the Faculty of Management & Social Sciences, Faculty of Education and Education, The Admissions Office and Records Department.
UB Hosts Music Workshop
The University of Belize hosted the Jacob Kelberman Quartet on the 12th of June for an evening of jazz in the Jaguar Auditorium. This first event (of a two-part music program recruitment series) was made possible in part by a grant from the Juilliard George J. Jakab Global Enrichment Grants Program. Prospective music students, music teachers, instrumentalists, and other music enthusiasts attended the workshop featuring musicians out of the Julliard Jazz School.
The Jacob Kelberman quartet performed some jazz standards as well as original compositions after holding an “open rehearsal” in which the audience was able to view the process of preparing material for performance. They demonstrated practical approaches to jazz, and jazz appreciation, and graciously entertained questions from the audience.
Attendees to the performance and the workshop were invited to respond to a short survey documenting interest in UB’s forthcoming Music Program. The enthusiastic audience, who described the quartet’s performance as “breath-taking” and “amazing”, asked for more such public performances at the University of Belize.
The second event in the series is slated for January 2020 and will feature concert performances, lectures, and master-classes by visiting professors of music.
President meets with BELTRAIDE Executive Director
President Sankat met with Dr. Leroy Almendarez and Ms. Monique Usher of BELTRAIDE on June 19, 2019. They discussed the partnership already established between the two organizations, through FMSS. Of particular importance was the proposed building to be erected at the FMSS campus by BELTRAIDE – one that will support the training of students in innovation and entrepreneurship.
Workplace Safety and Security
The University’s Office of Public Safety, as part of its Campus Safety Awareness Campaign, which seeks to raise awareness and promote safety for our staff member and students on campus, conducted a presentation on Workplace Safety and Security at the Jaguar Auditorium in Belmopan on Friday, June 28th, 2019.
This presentation focused primarily on preventative information and useful tools that provides guidance and encourage personal responsibility for UB Faculty and staff. Its aim was to ensure all faculty and staff have the necessary information, and consciousness that will enable them to make safe choices with regards to their security on and off the campus. The presentation included topics that dealt with:
1. Understand your campus’s crime and surrounding.
2. Familiarize yourself with your Campus’s Public Safety office.
3. Learn how to defend yourself.
4. Know where you’re going
5. Workplace Violence.
The President reminded everyone – safety is everyone’s business.
UNCHR ESL Level 2 Closing Ceremony
The Regional Language Center conducted an awarding ceremony on Monday, July 1st, 2019 in honour of 23 students who completed the first UNHCR/ UB English as a Second Language Certificate program. This course aimed to offer English as a Second Language classes to newly arrived migrants to Belize giving them an opportunity to demolish the language barrier that hinders non-English speaking migrants under refugee status to incorporate with greater ease as productive members of Belizean Society.
Attending the Ceremony were Mr. Emad Daoud, UNHCR Protection Officer, The UNHCR Director and representatives from Help For Progress LTD and along with the student’s family members that came to witness the ceremony. The ceremony was led by the students, with the highest ranking student giving the welcome address and two second highest marking students giving the vote of thanks and closing remarks. The ceremony was held in high spirits and a resounding genuine interest for a continued partnership between UNHCR and the RLC as expressed by the UNHCR Protection officer. We congratulate all the awarded students and wish them well in their future endeavours.
Belizean government to protect wildlife species and people in declaration to conserve the critical Maya Forest Corridor
Leading conservation organizations, including Global Wildlife Conservation, Panthera, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and World Wildlife Fund, alongside The Belize Zoo, Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and Field School, and the University of Belize and its Environmental Research Institute, have joined together to applaud the government of Belize for declaring new plans to protect the Maya Forest Corridor – a critical link in Central America’s largest forest and a vital wildlife pathway.
Official legal protection of Belize’s Maya Forest Corridor is expected in the near future as the government and conservation partners work with key stakeholders, including communities and the private sector, to secure the corridor’s future.
Dr. Omar Figueroa, Belize Minister of State within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration, stated, “We recognize that the window of opportunity for us to secure connectivity in the Maya Forest Corridor is closing fast. A team of local and international conservation biologists and professionals recognize the importance of this, and shoulder-to-shoulder are providing valuable support to secure the integrity of this area.”
Figueroa continued, “One thing that has identified us as a country, as a people, is a desire to maintain and to protect the natural beauty of this country. The government, and my ministry in particular, stands committed to enshrine in legislation whatever we need to do to maintain the integrity of the Maya Forest Corridor well into the foreseeable future.”
The Maya Forest Corridor, which is in central Belize, serves as a gateway connecting and ensuring the survival of many wildlife species. As highlighted in the recent United Nations global biodiversity report, wild habitat and its protection, including that of the Maya Forest Corridor, is crucial for the well-being of people, providing sustainable livelihoods and ecosystem services, including clean air and water security, healthy soil for agriculture, and drought and flood control for local communities.
Yet, without protection, the Maya Forest Corridor is critically imperiled, having already been reduced by more than 65 percent over the past decade due largely to deforestation for large-scale agricultural developments, including sugarcane. Since 2011, the Maya Forest Corridor has faced deforestation rates almost four times the national average, and major clearings in the last few months indicate that without action like that announced this week, Central America’s largest forest block will be severed from its nearest forest block to the south, the Maya Mountain Massif.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, the University of Belize’s President, stated, “With a shrinking environment for Belize’s wildlife, I applaud this initiative by the Government of Belize for giving our diverse and native wildlife, our environment and our people an opportunity to thrive. This is a significant and vital step in Belize’s development for generations to come.” He went on to note, “I particularly want to applaud the University’s Environmental Research Institute, who has been at the forefront of educating, researching and promoting sustainable use, management and protection of Belize’s environment and natural resources.”
The Maya Forest Corridor is home to the iconic jaguar; the critically endangered and culturally significant Central American river turtle, known locally as hicatee; the critically endangered Central American spider monkey; and the endangered Baird’s tapir, among many other animals that require connected forest to move across their habitat in search of food and breeding opportunities.
Cut down to a mere 5-6 mile stretch, the corridor is one of the last remaining squeeze points for jaguars to enter the Selva Maya to the north and to move south to the rest of Central and South America. It is also the only area connecting Belize’s two Jaguar Conservation Units: The Maya Mountain Massif in Southwest Belize and the rest of the Selva Maya to the north, which extends into Mexico and Guatemala. Losing the genetic connectivity of the Maya Forest Corridor would be a step toward extinction for the jaguar and many other terrestrial wildlife species with cultural significance in Belize.
The wetlands of the Maya Forest Corridor also have an important role to play as a climate change refuge and flood retention zone. Unlike some Central American countries that have opened their doors to drastic deforestation, by securing this corridor, Belize is maintaining climate resilience for its people and animal species and securing a position as a climate leader in the region.
On the tailwinds of the government’s declaration, this coalition of non-governmental partners is committed to the protection of the Maya Forest Corridor and is continuing to secure resources needed to protect the critical 10,000 hectares of corridor in perpetuity.
Elma Kay, science director and co-founder of the University of Belize Environmental Research Institute, stated, “There’s never been a threat so imminent to an area that is so elemental to the long-term persistence and health of generations of wildlife and people in Belize and the Selva Maya. Protecting the Maya Forest Corridor is urgent but still within reach if we work together, and the government has taken the important first step to do so this week.”
The University of Belize, Belize’s national and premier degree-granting University, conducted its Twenty-Sixth Commencement Ceremony on June 15th, 2019 at a colorful and packed Belize Civic Center. It conferred degrees with pomp and ceremony on 1041 students at the Associates, Bachelor and Master levels from the following faculties:
Faculty of Education and Arts (FEA): 289
Faculty of Nursing, Allied health & Social Work (FNAHSW): 182
Faculty of Science and Technology (FST): 236
Faculty of Management and Social Science (FMSS): 334
This weekend’s commencement exercise was also historic as the University conferred sixteen (16) MBA Degrees to its first cohort of graduate students. This Master’s program was launched eighteen (18) months ago through the University’s Faculty of Management and Social Science (FMSS).
In his Presidential Address, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat reminded the grandaunts to “continue to equip yourself to follow your dreams. Graduation is not the end but the beginning!” He further added, “the road ahead is long and winding, but with the preparations [UB has] given you… you are positioned to make the right decisions and navigate your journey so that it is easier and successful bringing you to the destination of your dreams.”
Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, President of Valdosta State University, was the Commencement speaker for this year’s ceremony. Dr. Carvajal started his address by recognizing UB as a first rate institution of higher learning in Belize, capable of educating a new generation of Belizean leaders. He went on to encourage the graduates stating, “You are the outcome of all that has been done to turn Belize and its national university into the leaders that they are today; and because you have done your part to earn your degree… there is no limit to what you can be.” Concluding, he noted “As was said earlier, graduation is not a finish line. It is a starting line… Therefore, work hard; become leaders in your career and help Belize to take its next leap into a prosperous country for your children and future generations to come. Strive to become not only the class that changed UB or even Belize, strive to become the class the changed the world.”
A momentous moment at the ceremony saw Mr. Harrison Pilgrim, Chairman of UB’s Board of Trustees, bestowing its first Honorary Doctoral Degree to His Excellency, Sir Colville Young, Governor General of Belize. He was recognized for his leadership in Belize’s educational, public service and cultural spheres. As noted by the President, “I am delighted that the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, was chosen for this well-deserved honor and that he accepted.”
The University also awarded the Oak Foundation of Switzerland with its inaugural Outstanding Philanthropy Award in recognition for their significant contribution to the University. The Vice President of the University, Dr. Mariot Simon, noted that the Oak Foundation was selected for their significant financial contributions to UB, namely its Environmental Research Institute (ERI), and because they “share in UB’s mission to build capacity and dignity for Belizeans and for research and service to national development.”
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the administration, staff and faculty of the University of Belize, the President of the University of Belize, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat would like to once again congratulate all graduates on reaching this milestone. The University is incredibly proud of each of you and we wish you all the best in everything you do!
The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and University of Belize (UB) formalised their relationship by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the 30th of May, 2019. This partnership will see the two institutions develop joint training, research projects and technical programs to enable knowledge transfer and research collaboration focused on delivering world-class marine science for the benefit of local, regional and global communities.
The signing of the MoU formalises an already positive and productive partnership. The two institutions have been working in close partnership for the last 18 months under the UK government-funded Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme (CMEP), which has seen extensive habitat mapping and river sampling, with the objective of developing a greater understanding of the complex relationship between changing uses of land and how these changes affect the coastal ocean, from which the country derives a significant proportion of its income.
Both the NOC and UB recognise the crucial role of marine science in delivering improved outcomes in terms of the sustainable use of clean energy, minerals and other resources, protecting people and property from natural disasters, wealth creation, environmental protection and sustainability, and enhancing the quality of life for the people of the country.
Professor Kevin Horsburgh, the NOC’s Chief Scientist for International Development, commented: “The NOC is committed to forging mutually beneficial international partnerships with other forward-thinking institutes. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our already positive relationship with the University of Belize, to assist them in achieving their ambition to develop Belize into a centre of excellence for the region, to advance marine science for the benefit of the region, and ultimately for society at large.”
According to UB’s President, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, “A partnership such as this is a powerful and necessary one for both UB and Belize. As the national university, this partnership will enable the UB to build its marine research capacity and will assist in providing a supportive learning environment such as laboratories and technology transfer, including training for students, faculty and staff. More importantly, it will enable the University to build on its intellectual stature as a repository for the country’s knowledge so as to improve policymaking that treats with our country’s natural resources, especially our natural environment.”
Collaboration will focus on both marine technologies and expertise, as well as scientific knowledge on coastal protection, water quality and sustainable environmental practices. Outcomes from collaborative multidisciplinary research will address some of Belize’s current marine challenges, including sustainable management of marine resources and marine pollution.
Students Present Their Research Findings at Sixth Biology and Chemistry Symposium
The Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) hosted its sixth Annual Biology and Chemistry Symposium on May 17, 2019. Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat complimented the students, faculty and staff of the FST for the excellent work in their projects and noted that most of them fit within the context of climate change, environmental science and waste management issues. He further stated that this is the century for the green revolution and graduates from Biology and Chemistry programs in particular would become the leaders to help treat with matters relating to the green environment and the sustainability of our development. He further advised that they should continue to pursue their studies at the Master and even at the Doctoral level and to publish the results of their research with their academic Supervisors. He reminded them that UB will be launching the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) by Research for the new academic year, and some who are so motivated, may wish to apply for admission.
The keynote address at the symposium was delivered by UB alumnus Ms. Ruth Gutierrez. There was also a research poster competition where Clinton Cho, Wilmer Guerra and Sabrina Blanco were awarded first, second and third place respectively. The prizes were sponsored by Belize Vector and Ecology Center. Congratulations to all!
UB Attends Closing Ceremony for EU Project on Productivity Enhancement of Banana Farms
The President, represented the University of Belize at this impressive closing ceremony of the project entitled “Productivity enhancement of Banana farms through integrated soil fertility management in the Banana Belt of Belize”, held in Independence Village at the Banana Growers Association (BGA) on May 16, 2019.
The closing ceremony was meant to celebrate the successful completion of this 18-month project funded by the European Union (EU) and managed by Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and executed by partners like the University of Belize and the BGA. The ceremony was addressed by Mr. Nicolaus Hansmann from the European Union, Mr. Elroy Foreman spoke on behalf of BGA, and Mr. Jose Novelo represented the Government of Belize. Dr. Gabriel Rodríguez Marques, Dr. Abimbola Abiola, and Mr. Derek Charles, Dr. Chaney St. Martin and Mr. Lloyd Day represented IICA. In preparation for the ceremony President also met with Dr. Gabriel Rodríguez Marques, representative of the IICA delegation in Belize at the UB.
The University of Belize came in for considerable commendation because of its work in the refurbishment of the Micropropagation Laboratory at the Central Farm campus and most importantly for delivering 3, 500 plantlets last year to two farms in Independence. The bananas from these plants have been harvested. They are Cavendish bananas (Williams variety) and have been well accepted by BGA. President Sankat raised in his speech the matter on the sustainability of this project from UB’s perspective and challenged the BGA to enter into a contractual arrangement with UB to supply approximately 75, 000 plantlets next year at an agreed price. He also commended the UB Central Farm staff especially those from the Micropropagation Laboratory lead by Mr. Marco Cordova for their dedication to this Banana project – another success story for UB.
H.E. Remus Chen, Ambassador of Republic of China (Taiwan), Delivers Presidential Lecture at UB
H.E. Remus Chen presented his lecture entitled “Friendship of 30 Years and Beyond” to students, faculty and staff on May 3, 2019. He elaborated on the past, present and future of the strong relationships between ROC (Taiwan) and Belize.
UB Lady Black Jaguars Are ATLIB Football Champions for the Fourth Time
On Friday morning of March 6th the Lady Black Jaguars left Belmopan en route for the Island of San Pedro to play in their 4th straight ATLIB female Football Nationals. Four teams had qualified to play in the Nationals. Saint John’s Junior College (SJJC) from the Central Belize City, Centro Escolar Mexico Junior College (CEMJC) from the North, Independence Junior College (IJC) from the South and University of Belize (UB) from the West.
UB played their first match against EMJC Friday evening at 4:00 pm which they won by a score of 3 goals to 0 with 1 goal coming from Camryn Howard and 2 goals from Sabrina Eiley. This game put the Lady Black Jaguars in the finals. The second female game was between SJJC and IJC in which IJC came out with the 1 to 0 victory over SJJC and were going to match up against the UB lady Black Jaguars at 1:00 pm on Saturday afternoon for the championship match.
The game was a very exciting game to watch as both teams had numerous squandered opportunities at goal without any luck in regulation time. The game was then going to be decided by penalty kicks where 5 players from each team were selected by their coaches and would get a chance at scoring a goal to put their team closer to a victory.
UB won the toss and selected to go first and put the pressure on the opponents by scoring the first goal. The UB goal keeper Delta Flores increased that pressure by stopping the first penalty shot that went her way. At the end of the penalty shootout, UB had scored 3 goals and IJC 2 which gave UB the victory and their 4th straight ATLIB Female National Title. The 3 penalty goals came from Ada Cordova, Sabrina Eiley and Libney Mojica. Ada Cordoba was named the National’s Most Valuable Player (MVP).
The President, Vice President, Dean of Student Affairs and the Sports & Recreation Department congratulate our Lady Black Jaguars and their coach, Mr. Joseph Waight on their fine win.
Meet our Lady Black Jaguars:
Isolene Bailey, Ada Cordova, Camryn Howard, Libni Mojica, Kathian Juan, Delta Flores, Ruth Pinedo, Julia Puerto, Jasmin Andrades, Esmeralda Ramirez, Sabrina Eiley, Myra Sibrian, Leydi Pagoada, Mildred Calderon, Nayeli Waight, Yvette Garcia and Yazmin Mena.
Males Win Relathon and Look Forward to 20-20
Prizes were presented at the ceremony held at the ITVET Compound in Belize City, where there was also entertainment and refreshments available.
The President commended all the athletes who participated in the long distance racing event, the sponsors who supported and of course the many staff who volunteered and worked to make the annual event a success.
UB Joins in International Day of Forests Celebration
The University of Belize (UB) joined the global community on March 21st, 2019 to celebrate the International Day of Forests. Under the theme “Learn to Love Forests,” the University held its 7th inaugural and tree planting ceremony with the Minister of State with responsibility for Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Dr. Omar Figueroa, as the Key note speaker.
As noted by its theme, this year’s celebration emphasized forestry education to achieve the goal of sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation; and at UB, also this is particularly important as it relates to embedding our young people with a sense of responsibility and love for our country’s forests and natural environment.
The Faculty of Science and Technology held events to commemorate Earth Day and Earth Hour
Earth Hour is a global movement aimed at increasing awareness about the importance of natural resources to our daily activities. It highlights the issue of climate change, its causes and effects and what we as individuals can do to decrease our carbon footprint. On March 30th at 8:30pm – 9:30pm, the University of Belize along with the residents of the City of Belmopan joined the global community in commemorating Earth Hour 2019.
The night was filled with reflections about the goods and services we receive from our natural resources as well as how anthropogenic activities are degrading our ecosystems. Speakers including the University President reminded students and community residents that our country, Belize, also depends on its natural wealth as an income earner through the tourism sector. The President congratulated the students from Faculty of Science and Technology and the faculty and staff who supported the event including Ms. Cecy Castillo and Dr. Pio Saqui.
Then, on April 12, UB held an early Earth Day where environmentalists spoke to the students on the importance of action. The speakers included Janelle Chanona from OCEANA Belize, Photographer Tony Rath and Jamal Galves who has been instrumental in manatee conservation.
Mexican Team Visits UB to Speak about Partnering in Agriculture
The Belizean Ambassador to Mexico, H.E. Oliver Del Cid, based in City of Mexico, Mexico brought a delegation of Mexican personnel as well as some representatives from the Belizean agricultural sector including Mr. Andrew Harrison, Chief Agriculture Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture to a meeting with UB including the Central Farm Campus to enquire on the training needs for agriculture in Belize that may be delivered by Central Farm and the Faculty of Science and Technology. There was consensus that one of the pressing needs for Belize is to create new value addition to our primary agricultural production through the use of food science and technology. Urgent assistance for training of small scale food processors was one area that was highlighted.
President attends Travellers’ Launch of Don Omario’s
The President congratulated Travellers for putting another fine Caribbean rum on the global map and thanked them for their steady support to the University of Belize.
Preparations are Underway for the Fifth Binational Research Seminar
The Fifth Binational Seminar Mexico-Belize will be held in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico on October 23-25, 2019. The theme will be “Water as a strategic resource: multidisciplinary perspectives for a shared region”. The planning team met on March 25, 2019 in ECOSUR, Chetumal to finalize the Call for Papers and other logistics. Those interested in presenting papers should send an abstract as soon as possible to Mr. Arnulfo Kantun of the Office of Institution Advancement at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President meets with Dr. Ismael Hoare
President Sankat met with Dr. Ismael Hoare, former Provost of the University and now Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida, USA. They spoke on collaborative prospects between the two universities in areas of mutual research.
Safety and Security Forum with Commissioner of Police
Students from the History Club organized a Safety and Security Forum at the Belmopan Campus to sensitize students on the importance of security on March 28, 2019. The Keynote Speaker was Commissioner of Police Mr. Chester Williams who emphasized to students the role everyone has to play in safety and security. He also assured students that he will do his part in ensuring that the laws are enforced so as to lessen the risk factors that lead violence.
Presentations were also made by Mr. John Salam, Ms. Tanya Santos, Ms. Michelle Carrasco, and Ms. Lynmara Rosado.
UB Lecturer Honored: 2019 Outstanding Woman Awardee, Ms. Raisa Pipersburgh!
UB’s President – Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, Vice President – Dr. Mariot Simon and Dr. Bernard Watler – Dean of the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences join the entire UB Community in extending our congratulations to Ms. Pipersburgh on her remarkable recognition.
Divergent Discussion on ICJ
The National Student Union invited different speakers to UB where each one presented on their views of Belize going to the International Court of Justice that was held on March 27, at the Jaguar Auditorium.
UB student Kevin Berganza is the current President of the National Student Union.
Belizeans Present Researches on Belize’s Security
The University of Belize hosted the Second Belize National Research Conference on April 3-4, 2019. The conference was held under the theme “Belize’s Security: Strengths, Opportunities, and Threats”. The Keynote Address was delivered by Dr. Pedro Pablo Rodriguez of the Jose Marti Institute in Cuba.
The University of Belize was represented by Dr. Christopher DeShield, Dr. Philip Castillo, Dr. Priscilla Brown-Lopez, Ms. Ivory Kelly, Osvaldo Cantun and Viola Tuyud.
Applying Mathematics in the Real World
The fourth Math Symposium entitled “Mathematics in the Real World” was held on April 2, 2019 at the Jaguar Auditorium. The objectives of the Symposium were to:
(a) Emphasize the fact that Mathematics is applicable to so many facets of our lives.
(b) Highlight current Mathematical research being done in Belize and elsewhere.
(c) Inspire faculty, students and the general community to engage in Mathematics-related research/careers.
The President explained in his address the importance of knowing mathematics in every day life and congratulated the Chair, Mr. Steven Lewis and the Faculty for the their efforts.
Spanish Students Celebrate Hispanic Day
Students in the different Spanish level courses commemorated Hispanic Day with songs, dances, music, food and art on March 28, 2019.
The Psychology of Learning Exhibition
The Psychology of Learning class of the University of Belize hosted its Symposium on Thursday, April 25, 2019 on UB’s Bookstore Verandah. The key organizer of the event was Lecturer Douglas Morrison.
The symposium is an outreach community activity where students create presentations and displays on various learning theories and strategies used in classrooms. Topics that were displayed included: Classical Conditioning, Instrumental/Operant Conditioning, Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, Edward Thorndike’s Theory of Connectionism, Gestalt’s Theory, Benjamin Bloom’s Types of Learning and Retention in Learning.
International Students Host Cultural Fair
The Regional Language Center helds its annual international Multicultural fair on April 4, 2019. The students of the many Central American countries and Colombia, Mexico, Haiti and Republic of China (Taiwan). provided the audience with a taste of their home countries’ food, music, dress and dances.
Chemistry Students visit UQROO
The University of Belize (UB) has close ties with the University of Quintana Roo (UQROO) through collaborative efforts via the UB RLC center and through various activities such as the Mexico-Belize Binational Seminar. On March 29th, UQROO opened up its doors to provide a tour to UB’s first Bachelor’s in Chemistry (BCHM) cohort of students. As part of their programme, the BCHM students are being taught courses of various specialties to expose them to the vast array of possibilities available in applied chemistry. Students take courses such as Food, Soil and Forensics Chemistry. The visit was arranged to give the students a peek at what is going on in their neighbouring country, and UQROO in this field.
After arriving at the University, UB students were first given a tour of the library and laboratory facilities on the main campus.
Dra Patricia Fragoso, a professor at UQROO, then spoke at length to students about the work she is doing on soils. She is particularly interested in the biodiversity of edaphic organisms in the Mesoamerican (Mexico, Belize and Guatemala) Biological Corridor. Students were given a tour of her labs and a glimpse of the work she and her students are involved in.
Students were then escorted to Forensics Lab at UQROO’s Health Science Division. There, they were given a tour of the facilities as well as demonstrations of some of the tests done on samples. Students were also shown the various instruments used in the lab including an IR spectrometer and a GC-Mass Spectrometer.
It is hoped that in the future, we will be able to have closer ties between the science departments of the two Universities so that our students have greater access to the opportunities in research and career building available in this field.
UB, NICH and Cuba Meet on Forging a Partnership
UB was pleased to partner with the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) in Dr. Pedro Pablo Rodriguez of the Jose Marti Institute in Cuba at the second Belize National Research Conference. They also welcomed Dr. Rodriguez together with the Ambassador of Cuba, H.E. Lissette Perez Perez to a meeting along with members of the History department so as to forge collaboration links with Cuban universities especially in the area of Belizean, Cuban and Central American History.
UB and NSCC International Explore Partnership in GIS and Coastal Management
Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), which was represented by Mr. Michael Purcell, Academic Chair, School of Trades and Technology and Mr. Zoran Kondali, Manager, NSCC International, visited the University of Belize to explore partnership opportunities primarily related to GIS and coastal management. NSCC has extensive research and teaching experience and expertise in GIS that will be valuable in the implementation of the Professional Certificate in Geographic Information Systems.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat was joined by Dr. Santos Chicas and Mr. Jair Valladarez from the Faculty of Science and Technology.
UB Conducted Workshop on Multispectral Remote Sensing
The University of Belize conducted a 3-day workshop in collaboration with the Forest Department and Vancouver Island University on LIDAR and Multispectral Remote Sensing that train 16 persons from Government, Non-Government and Education institutions in an effort to build national capacity in the utilization of these technologies.
President meets with Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)and Attends the SAGE Workshop
Dr. Linda Cooke and her colleague Ms. Milica Njegovan from College and Institutes Canada met with Professor Sankat on April 9, 2019. Dr. Cooke presented to the President the draft proposals for supporting Belize in terms of Skills to Access the Green Economy (SAGE).
The President was subsequently invited to a validation workshop in Barbados to help prepare proposals with the collaboration of the Institutes for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ITVET) through the Ministry of Education (MOE). Dr. Margarita Gomez from the MOE also attended. The President noted that the workshop was very focused and hopefully will bring new opportunities to Belize, UB and Central Farm Campus in particular. UB would be able to benefit in preparing skills training to support climate smart agriculture and food processing for example.
We expect to hear more about SAGE and the final proposals for Belize in the months ahead.
Dr. Enriquez Participated in the International Dean’s Course
Dr. Sherlene Enriquez-Savery of the Faculty of Science and Technology participated in the International Dean’s Course, Latin America 2018/2019. The training course is part of the DIES programme (Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies) which is jointly coordinated by The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and the Universities of Saarland (Germany) and Alicante (Spain) for Latin America since 2001. The course consisted of three modules and a series of webinars.
Module 1 (35 hours): 24 to 28 September 2018 in Saarbrücken, Germany
Module 2 (37.5 hours): 01 to 05 October 2018 in Alicante, Spain
Module 3 (35 hours): 25 to 29 March 2019 in Lima, Peru
Module I and 2 covered the issues Strategic Planning, Financial Management, University-Industry Cooperation, Internationalization, Quality Management, Research Management, and Human Resources Management. Module 3 focused more on soft skills such as Communication Skills and Networking, Media Strategy, Leadership and Diversity Management.
Participants were required to submit and defend a Strategic Action Plan for their respective Faculties at the end of the course.
FMSS Holds Ninth Research Conference
On April 25th, 2019, the University of Belize’s Faculty of Management and Social Sciences (FMSS) once again demonstrated research as the imperative to foster innovation, growth and social progress when it held its 9th Annual Research Conference, under the theme ‘Engaging Mind, Empowering Success.’ Notable research presentations included:
• Impact of Microfinance on entrepreneurial development in Belize
• Alcoholism at the University of Belize in Punta Gorda
• Social Security and Belmopan market day vendors
• Relevance of B. Sc in Hotels and Resorts
• The enemy within: Selective governance practices, Belize Greatest Security Threat
Students and faculty members presented practical and policy oriented research on a range of issues and topics of national importance, revealing just how deeply contextualized development is; that is, how it is largely based in particular sectors, in particular geographies, in particular skillsets and capacities, in particular networks and in particular industries. In other words, the University demonstrated, through its Research Symposium, that development isn’t simply about investing in education and leaving it to the markets. Instead, development in its broader context is focusing on how to build capability in particular spaces to achieve desired outcomes.
Dr. Castillo Analyses GOB’s Budget for 2019-2020
Dr. Philip Castillo, Asssistant Professor in the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, presented an analyses of the Government’s budget for fiscal year 2019-2020. The students also had an opportunity to ask questions and suggestions on where the budget could be balanced.
Marketing Students in Belmopan Hold Expo
The Marketing Students of the Belmopan Campus demonstrated their creativity, packaging, and marketing skills when they sold their products at the Belmopan market on April 25, 2019. The students were guided by their lecturer Ms. Gayle Ozaeta.
UB Monument – Tourism Marketing class project
Introduction to Tourism Marketing class project of “a UB monument” at the Belize City campus is now completed. The students definitely gained knowledge and hands-on experience in the areas of: teamwork, strategic planning, budgeting, leadership, civic pride, marketing, social duties and responsibility to name a few in building this monument. The students were guided by their lecturer Ms. Eda Chang-Arzu.
We look forward to having our UB community and visitors enjoy our new monument and President Sankat expressed his warm congratulations to Ms. Arzu on this excellent initiative and fine achievement at the Belize City Campus.
Overseas Academic Training Supports Belize Scientists Studying The Aquatic Environment
Two University of Belize scientists have recently completed an intensive two-week programme of training in the UK, to enhance the capability of the University of Belize to study the aquatic environment.
This training forms part of the Commonwealth Marine Economies (CME) Programme, which aims to help Commonwealth Small Island Developing States make the most of their natural maritime advantages, to enable sustainable economic growth and alleviate poverty.
Some of the intended outcomes of this training include supporting Dr Joaquin Urbina and Ms Esthersita Hernandez from the National University of Belize, as they investigate the impact of land management on water quality in the Belize River watershed.
Hosted by the UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), this intensive programme involved laboratory-based training around ocean acidification, water quality, and microplastics, as well as training in land cover mapping and statistical programming.
When asked about their Fellowship experience, Dr Urbina said “This is a powerful relationship for Belize’s National University. The training I received in state of the art instrumentation and research skills will allow me to better inform policy at the highest level in Belize, and strengthen the research capacity of the nation”.
Ms Hernandez commented “Working with the CEH and NOC teams has not only allowed me to see the scientific process come to life, but has also provided essential laboratory instrumentation experience to execute my thesis project, and advance further research at UB [The University of Belize]. A partnership such as this between the University of Belize and NOC/CEH is a powerful and necessary one for Belize, a young nation in the research field at a time when research is desperately needed for improving policymaking concerning our natural resources”.
IT Students Prove their Knowledge and Skills During Internship
The Department of Mathematics, Physics and Information Technology carried out its internship program this semester and saw 23 Associates students (CMPS2992-Project) and 14 Bachelor students (CMPS4992-Professional Practice) successfully complete the courses. The associate’s course offers students a chance to gain real world working experience in various IT related areas, some of which included, junior developer, network administrator, and computer technicians among others. The students were placed at various host organizations for work over 9 weeks; every Tuesday and Thursdays.
The professional practice course at the bachelor level is more rigid and requires students to perform full time jobs, as would a regular employee of the host organization. Students work over 12 weeks (Mon-Fri) in positions such as Software Developer, System Administrator and Database Administrator among others.
Since its inception this internship has enabled our students to perform at the highest level, and show case to our stakeholders the type of skills they are gaining here at UB through our IT program. Every year students are held in high regards based on performance during the internship period and at the end of the course they are sought after by host and other organizations for permanent employment. The MPIT department, FST and UB wishes to thank all the host organizations for their continued collaboration with us and our internship program.
Students and Faculty Appear on Open Your Eyes Morning Show
On Tuesday – April 2nd, our esteemed UB Lecturers Dr. Priscilla Lopez, Dr. Christopher De Shield and Ms. Ivory Kelly along with UB student, Osvaldo Cantun and Mr. Gerardo Polanco – Lecturer at Sacred Heart College appeared on OYE to discuss their most recent research, which was presented at the 2nd Annual Belize National Research Conference on 3-4th April 2019.
The following day, UB students from Faculty of Science and Technology, Britney Hulse, Gianne Vasquez, Roberto Ramirez and Jaime Mejia went on OYE to share their views, as first time participants in the electoral process, on everything from the effectiveness of the campaign messaging, publications and signage and spoke of how it impacted their decisions for the ICJ Referendum.
CEO of SAGICOR Mr. Donald Austin Learns about UB’s Transformational Plan
The CEO of Sagicor Life Inc. Eastern Caribbean and Belize, Mr. Donald Austin, Ms. Karen Godfrey, Branch Manager, accompanied by Mr. G.A. Harrison Pilgrim, Chairman of the UB Board of Trustees, visited the University of Belize on May 3, 2019 and heard from the President on our Transformational Plan. Mr. Austin noted Sagicor’s support for tertiary education in the Caribbean and would consider UB’s proposals for support to transform the University and immediately pledged a number of internships for students from the Faculty of Management and Social Science for example to work with Sagicor.
UB Meets with Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre
President Sankat paid a courtesy call to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC) and met with Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director, and his team on May 2, 2019. The meeting explored mutual collaboration in the areas of teaching and research and it was agreed that a larger meeting especially with colleagues from the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Office of Institutional Advancement will be convened.
Public Safety Department Conducts Fire Drill and Central Farm Campus Raise Awareness on Safety and Security
The Public Safety Department under the leadership of Mr. John Salam has been raising awareness on the importance of safety and security at UB. The department and the Early Childhood Stimulation Center coordinated a fire drill where the students had the opportunity to learn hands-on how to react in case of a fire.
Mr. Salam also visited the Central Farm Campus where he presented to students, faculty and staff on “How safe is your campus”.
HR Trains Faculty and Staff
The Human Resource Department held training workshops on Self-Management for leaders of the University and on Stress Management for secretaries. The Self-Management training was facilitated by Ms. Dionne Chamberlain from Chamberlain Consulting and Staff Counselor Ms. Anna Sambula conducted the stress management training.
Faculty and Staff Enjoy a Day of Fun, Games and Massages – Faculty and Staff Day
The faculty and staff of the University from the different campus came together at the Belmopan Campus to rest from their regular work and have fun on April 26, 2019. The day started with a fun ride from Mile 31, George Price Highway, to the Belmopan Campus. It was then followed with games like lime and spoon, needle and thread, sack race, balloon toss, track and field and volleyball. Staff were also able access treatments of manicure, pedicure, and massages.
The President congratulated the Human Resource Department and all who participated and attended to make this day a success.
Update on the IBCE
Indian High Commissioner, Ambassador Muktesh Pardeshi, accompanied by H.E. Arun Hotchandani – Honorary Consul of India in Belize and Mr. Aliawati Longkumer, First Secretary, visited the University of Belize and toured the India Belize Centre for Engineering (IBCE). The Ambassador who was on a farewell visit commended the University of Belize for seizing the opportunity presented by this IBCE project to build the capacity for the department of Engineering and for Belize
The work on installing and commissioning equipment for the Centre continues. This will be followed by the training of suitable personnel.
The President congratulated and thanked Ambassador Pardeshi for the deep interest showed in advancing the cause of the IBCE Project and the development of UB. He wished him well on his new diplomatic posting to New Zealand.
Construction of Conference Centre Building has started
We are witnessing the construction of the Conference Center Building at Belmopan, under the watchful eye of Mr. Francis Burns of Physical Plant and the President. The work is being done by GRun Construction, and progress since they very recent start has been very satisfactory. We expect a finished lovely facility, ready for the new academic year 2019/2020.
The New Faculty of Health Sciences – Medical Program and Building Coming Soon
The work continues on the planning for the new Faculty of Health Sciences and its proposed new Medical program. UB received bids from seven contractors to build new facilities for FHS to house the medical program. From these bids a successful contractor has been approved by the Board of Trustees. The next step is to secure adequate funding through a loan to support this project.
UB Student Zayna Flowers Joins Citizen Science GIS
Zayna Flowers is currently an undergraduate student of the University of Belize pursuing her degree in Natural Resource Management. She is so excited to be spending the summer with the University of Central’s Florida Citizen Science GIS team in Belize. She was introduced to GIS in her first semester as an undergrad student and she mentioned that it was quite a challenge at first but turned out to be rewarding in the end. She said ‘I am constantly pushing myself and challenging myself with new things because I believe that the greatest lessons and outcomes come from challenging experiences.’ She is seeking to gain additional experience in GIS and research while incorporating what she knows to positively impact her country through this community- based research opportunity. Zayna will work with the National Science Foundation (NSU, USA) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) team on the Open Reef drone mapping work (funded outside of the NSF grant).
Courtesy of Citizen Science GIS
Commemoration for Kevin Frutos
Kevin Frutos is the third student we, as a UB family, have lost in such a short period of time due to violence. The President had remarked
His death is a loss to our University; the matter of criminality continues to create grief for our University and for our society, particularly our young people. I must reiterate these killings of our young people must stop and this matter must be addressed. As well, as a UB community, we must also be mindful to our own personal security and have the necessary consciousness and information to make safe choices with respect to our own security on and off the campuses.
The University held a commemoration ceremony on April 24, 2019 for Kevin where his family and friends gathered to share memories they shared with Kevin.