The Board of Trustees of the University of Belize met on Monday June 4, 2018 and agreed to a recommendation emanating from the Promotions Committee of UB, and which was supported by the President that Dr. Thippichetty Thiagarajan, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Science and Technology be promoted to the rank of Professor in Biology. The Promotions Committee which convened recently and consisted of both internal as well as external reviewers all agreed that Dr Thippi, through his long and distinguished service to UB in Teaching, Research and Service had fulfilled the criteria for promotion.
The President noted that Dr. Thiagarajan was an exemplar at UB in terms of his scholarly research and its output in peer reviewed journals. This together with his contributions to teaching and new programme development in Biology in particular, must be applauded and recognized.
On behalf of all at UB, the Board of Trustees, the President and Senior Managers of UB, its Faculty and Staff we express our congratulations to Professor Dr. Thippi and wish him continued success at UB.
About Dr. Thippi
In August 1993, Dr. Thippi Thiagarajan was recruited from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica as a Biology Lecturer to enhance the Biology Education program offered at the former University College of Belize, a precursor of University of Belize. He came to UCB with a few years of teaching experience at UWI, where he was the first one to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biotechnology in September 1993. Since 1993, he has been involving his undergraduate students in research activities. He was instrumental in establishing the teaching labs for the Biology and Chemistry programs at UCB. In 1997, he along with some key faculty colleagues like Dr. Leopold Perriott and Dr. Eve Aird, upgraded the undergraduate Education Degree programs to a full-fledged undergraduate degree content oriented programs with option of minors to improve the marketability of the graduates and to attract more student population to make the programs more viable. Many of UB’s current undergraduate programs follow similar model in which undergraduate thesis was made mandatory to expose students to research skills relevant for the development of Belize. In 1998 he applied for a promotion for Senior Lecturer and was promoted to that rank in May 1999 by an independent tenure and promotions committee that comprised of external experts. He was elected as a program coordinator of science programs in 1997 and became the chair of the Science, Education Arts and Technology (SEAT) department in 1999. During this period, he worked as a co-investigator for a research project valued at $ 350,000 Canadian, a project executed between then Malaspina University College, now known as Vancouver Island University and the University College of Belize. This research investigated the physical, chemical and biological properties of the entire Belize river from Black Rock to Haulover Creek Bridge. He also conducted water quality research work on the Haulover creek along with Ms. Karen Bautista and underground water quality of Calabash Caye along with Dr. Phillip Morgan and both works were published in the Journal of Belizean Affairs.
During the Establishment of the University of Belize by the amalgamation of the five key educational institutions, Dr. Thippi was chosen as the dean designate for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in June 2000. He worked with a heterogeneous group of faculty and staff coming from the amalgamated institutions and made the transition with little or no glitches and made sure the programs and faculty had a smooth transition in to the new institution. He believed in team work and respecting others views if the outcome is good for all the parties concerned. He headed one of the largest faculty at that time. He continued as dean of that faculty until December 2001 and decided to return his passionate area of teaching and research. He was instrumental in improving the teaching labs at the former Technical College campus and lobbied for establishing the position of “Lab Assistants” to help faculty members in preparing labs. In 2003, UB’s main campus was moved to Belmopan Central Campus and during this time he served in some key committees to make the move easier for faculty, staff and students.
Dr. Thippi also became dean once again and served a full term from August 2007 to July 2012 for the faculty of Science and Technology. During this period many programs were enhanced and some underwent a full review process. He encouraged faculty to involve in research and mentored many of his colleagues in designing experiments and writing proposals and articles. During his tenure as dean, he has initiated many faculty and student exchange programs with North American Universities. He collaborated with Dr. Luke Higgins of West Virginia Wesleyan College and sent two undergraduate students for a summer exchange to conduct research on the medicinal properties of Red Mangrove. He also collaborated with Dr. Martina Koniger of Wellesley College and sent two female students for a full summer research internship. The Thompson River University student exchange program has been benefiting many students from UB over the many years. In 2007 he was promoted as an Associate Professor due to the realignment of academic positions at UB.
He is always passionate about students’ academic progress and has taught over dozen different biology courses to a total of more than 5000 students. He expects students to be prepared to handle their courses but works with them in order for them to understand the content. He believes in perseverance, dedication, hard work and most of all acquiring the knowledge and skills that are critical for academic achievements and social mobility. Over the years he has supervised more than 50 undergraduate students for their thesis and mentored many more. Many of those students have gone for higher studies in various fields and are occupying key positions in Government, Non-government and private sectors. He has authored over 20 articles in regional and international journals and made many presentations in local and regional conferences along with his colleagues and students. He continues to assist the department and the faculty in improving the biology program at the University.
He has served in many external committees of national importance such as the National CITES committee, PACT advisory committee, and Board of CZMAI as well as many in-house committees at UB. He has a passion to promote science related activities among school children in order to stimulate young minds towards scientific thinking. He visits primary schools in rural and sub-urban areas to show some hands on activities related to science for the children to overcome the stigma associated with the difficulties of science learning. He believes that a country’s development depends on the science and mathematical skills of its young population. Dr. Thippi has spent all his academic career in Belize serving UCB and UB and made Belize as his home. He is a committed family person from an uneducated agriculture family whose parents believed that education enables social mobility. He is married to a lovely wife and father of two young men. At personal level he strongly believes in doing one’s duty to his or her best ability and only self-analysis can make improvement in a person. We cannot change the world at once, but we can change one person at time and by doing so we can make this world a better place.
UB Publicly Launches its Transformational Plan and New Programs
The University of Belize under the leadership of Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat publicly launched the five-year Transformational Plan at the Radisson Fort George Hotel, Belize City on May 24, 2018. President Sankat thanked the press for being present and providing coverage of the historic day. The occasion was well attended by the Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Hon. Patrick Faber; Chairman of the UB Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim; representatives of the Board of Trustees; several leaders of the University, Faculty and Staff as well as distinguished persons from the private sector and institutions. Both the Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Board of Trustees endorsed the Transformational Plan, Vision 2022 and noted its
focus on transformation and change. The Hon. Minister once again recommended the University to become more efficient at what it does as he strives to seek new funds for the University. Ms. Julianne Pasos, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology presented on the new programs to be launched in the new academic year. The programs were warmly received!
UB Meets with Belize Bank
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, Board member Mr. Lynn Young, Mr. Ewart Robateau, Special Assistant Inter-institutional Collaboration, International Programs, and Administrative Officer, Ms. Denise Robinson met with senior executives from Belize Bank including General Manager for Business and Retail Banking Services Mr. Desmond Austin. The meeting centered around helping UB in different areas including: student loans and scholarships, new income streams from joint products and support for the proposed UB’s steel band. President Sankat thanked Mr. Austin and his team for the time and the interest of the Belize Bank in supporting the University to achieve its transformation.
UB President Presents Transformational Plan to Hon. Patrick Faber
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat had the opportunity to officially present UB’s Transformational Plan to Hon. Patrick Faber, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports in the Conference Room, UB on May 22, 2018. The President was accompanied by his Senior Management Team including all the Deans and some directors. Hon. Patrick Faber says he is very optimistic of UB’s Transformational Plan under its new leadership team and was looking forward to the day when UB will make the leap. He is committed to supporting the University of Belize more in these financially difficult times, but also emphasized the importance of preserving the autonomy of the University.
UB is also part of the GIS Transformation
The University of Belize was also present at the Geographic Information System ESRI Conference held in Belize City during May 23-24, 2018. President Clement Sankat at the opening session of the Conference, presented on the role that UB will be playing in development through GIS. He emphasized the role that GIS can play in a national planning framework as GIS can have positive decision making impacts on various sectors of the society. He also noted that has UB already started contributing, by developing a Professional Certificate in GIS. Dr. Santos Chicas and Mr. Antonio Cano, who led the program development, presented during the Conference more on the new program and the benefits the certification will have. The President congratulated them both.
Love FM’s “Chief” and UB President Discuss Strengthening UB’s Marketing and Communication
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat met with Mr. Rene Villanueva Sr., Chairman, of RSV Media. They discussed on how the UB and Love FM can work together through a Memorandum of Understanding that supports the University’s communication and marketing drive. It is expected that a mutually win: win MOU will be signed shortly.
Dr. Arlenie Rogers of ERI Publishes Two Research Papers
Dr. Arlenie Rogers, Research Fellow at the UB Environmental Research Institute (UBERI), recently published two peer reviewed, journal research papers. Her recent publications were completed in partnership with Dr. Shirley Baker of University of Florida, Dr. Jean-Francois Hamel of the Society for the Exploration and Valuing of the Environment and Dr. Annie Mercier of the Memorial University of Newfoundland. The papers are entitled:
1. The 2009-2016 Belize sea cucumber fishery: Resource use patterns, management strategies and socioeconomic impacts published in Regional Studies in Marine Science and can be viewed at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352485517303225.
2. Pearlfish Carapus bermudensis from the sea cucumber Holothuria mexicana in Belize (Central America) published in SPC Beche-de-mer Information Bulletin and can be viewed at https://goo.gl/YaxPws.
Dr. Rogers would like to encourage UB Faculty and other UBERI colleagues to continue publishing the results of their research efforts in journals for the benefit of the scientific community, decision-makers and the future of Belize and the world. Her research efforts and publications are as a result of hard hours of field work, data analysis & scientific literature review; the encouragement and positive work environment she greatly appreciates from her colleagues at the UBERI and other marine researchers in Belize and abroad and the tremendous support from her husband Patrick Rogers.
Dr. Elma Kay, Administrative Director at ERI, said that they are very proud of Dr. Rogers. President Sankat also congratulated Dr. Rogers on her achievement and encouraged her to continue in the path of research and its publication.
IT Lectures Aim to Improve the Delivery of Computer Science
The Mathematics, Physics and Information Technology Department has seen the need to instill logic, reasoning, and problem-solving skills to students before they enter the University of Belize. The Information Technology lecturers are now conducting a research which aims to improve the delivery of Computer Science at earlier stages. The title of the research is “Computer Science Unplugged and Pair Programming: Overcoming the Lack of Computer Resources in a Developing Country”. First form students from the Belmopan Methodist High School were introduced to Computer Science and Pair Programming at the beginning of the academic year where they took a pretest to have an idea of their computational thinking skills. During the year they participated in online and offline exercises in computer programming. They completed the course on Friday, May 25, by taking a post test which reflected that combining offline activities and pair programming is as effective as having groups of students sharing a computer and learning through online activities only. The coordinator of the Computer Programming course is lecturer Mr. Dalwin Lewis assisted by his colleagues Mr. David Garcia, Mr. Manuel Medina and Dr. Kieran Ryan.
Since 2012, the faculty has been working with the Belmopan High schools and, through the help of the Sacred Heart Junior College, with select primary schools in the Cayo district to help students improve their computational thinking skill set.
In the following year, the IT faculty plans to help the remaining schools in the Cayo district to deliver Computation Thinking lessons to their students using the same material that has been developed for the past three years.
MIS Students Present Research Papers for National Development
The Mathematics, Physics and Information Technology Department held its second Annual Research for National Development Conference on May 4, 2018. The Research Conference was held under the theme “Fostering Development through Systematic Study”. The students in the Management Information Systems course presented on the different topics they researched on. The Keynote Speaker was Dominique Fabro, Senior ITC Officer at the Central Information Technology Office. The presentations were done in breakout sessions and a total of 29 peer-reviewed research papers were presented by 116 students. The research papers are available at ojs.ub.edu.bz.
President Clement Sankat Meets with H.E. Alexis Rosado
H.E. Alexis Rosado, Ambassador of Belize to Guatemala, paid a courtesy visit to Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat on May 25, 2018. The meeting centered around the education campaign to be launched on the Belize/Guatemala issue and the role UB can play in the educational/outreach matter. H.E. Rosado was accompanied by Director of International Affairs (Cooperation) Mrs. Orla Kantun-Coleman.
Mr. Noe Agreda is appointed RLC Acting Director
President Sankat commended Mr. Noe Agreda on his appointment as Acting Director for the Regional Language Center.
Noe Efrain Agreda, has an Associate degree in Music and another one in French Education. He also has a Bachelors in Education, and another one in Teaching French as a Second Language (FLE). He then completed two Master degrees; the first one is in Social Sciences, with emphasis in FLE and the other in Andragogy.
His vision for RLC is to align it to the Transformational Plan. He plans to restructure the Certificate in English as a Second Language (ESL) to respond to international standards and to be internationally transferable, all in meeting the demands of the marketplace. Additionally, the Center is developing a Mandarin Program for open courses and UB Elective courses, a Spanish for Public Officers program, a Spanish Language, Culture and Civilization program; One-on-One courses for different languages; ESL Program for United Nations; Open Courses in ESL, SSL, FLE and other languages. There are also plans of opening satellite sites of RLC in Belize; developing a beautification program, and exploring opportunities beyond our borders, among other ideas to be developed. He concedes it is an ambitious plan but he is confident the RLC will do well.
• FST Promotes Science Education through Research at its Fifth Research Symposium
• UB Presents Transformational Plan to Mayor Bernard Wagner and Belize City Council
• Strengthening the Relationship with India
• President Welcomes Students from the College of Agriculture, Texas A & M University
• UB President and Human Resource Director meet with staff from Physical Plant and Public Safety
UB Launches Accreditation Initiative
Dr. Mariot Simon, Vice President, fittingly brought to memory the Chinese proverb, “the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step” at the Launch of UB’s Accreditation Initiative. As part of its Transformational Plan the University of Belize will be seeking accreditation by the year 2022. A launch was held on May 7, 2018 where Board Members, Senior Managers, Directors, Deans, Chairs and representatives of students, faculty and staff were present. Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat encouraged the participants to seize the opportunity to take this University forward. “Its attainment will not only enhance our respectability in this national, regional and global community of Universities in which we operate, but most importantly the mobility and transfer of credits of our graduates – to graduate school for example; the employability of our graduates and the potential of our graduates for enhanced financial support; the licensing process for graduates from our professional programs and very importantly our ability to attract prospective students not only from Belize, but from the Caribbean and Central America and the world over,” expounded President Sankat. Mr. Deryck Satchwell, member of the Board of Trustees, encouraged the UB team to not see accreditation as meeting a checklist of standards but developing a culture of quality. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mr. Harrison Pilgrim congratulated the leadership team of the University for their hard work in advancing the University and assured those present of the support from the Board.
The Chairman and the President congratulated the Faculty of Nursing, Allied Health and Social Work on the news that it’s Bachelor in Social Work program meets the standards for its students to move seamlessly into US Universities to pursue their Master Degree in Social Work.
The accreditation launch was facilitated by Dr. Carlise Wynne, Professor at the University of North Georgia (UNG) and Dr. Chaudron Gille, Associate Provost, UNG. They presented on the value of accreditation, the types of accreditation and the different regional and international accrediting bodies. They then went over the standards including candidacy, documentation and quality assurance and requirements.
In the afternoon Faculty and Staff formed workgroups and brainstormed on the seven principal pillars on which the accreditation decision will be based. There was also a group that was principally focused on the Marketing and Communication to support this accreditation drive. During the presentations the ideas and enthusiasm were very evident.
President Sankat thanked Dr. Wynne and Dr. Gille for sharing their knowledge and experience with UB especially since it was in a voluntary manner. He also encouraged the UB team to continue with the enthusiasm and drive in developing quality at UB. The participants at the workshop unanimously agreed that UB should pursue accreditation. The University of Belize will be following up on this with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This will be a process where all will be further engaged.
NRM Students Teach Students About the Nature of Water
The World Water Day (WWD) 2018 Planning Committee in Belize conducted roaming presentations to some primary and secondary schools across the country. UB-FST, a partner in the WWD 2018 Planning Committee; participated in these roaming presentations visiting six schools, including two high schools and four primary schools in the Corozal, Stann Creek, Toledo districts and the City of Belmopan. The Bachelor in Natural Resource Management students in the Watershed Ecology & Management Course did oral presentations and class activities on the importance of water and description of selected watersheds in Belize. The presentations focused on this year’s World Water Day 2018 Theme, “Nature for Water: The answer is in Nature.” The school visits took place from April 21-23, 2018.
The presentations were coordinated by Mr. Josue Ake from Faculty of Science and Technology.
Tourism Marketing Students Enhance Lobby Area in Belize City
Every year the Introduction to Tourism Marketing Class guided by their lecturer Ms. Eda Chang-Arzu takes on initiatives to beautify the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences site in Belize City so as to make it more welcoming for everyone. This year was no different and at the beginning of the semester the class decided to embark on a project to enhance the lobby area of the Faculty, as partial fulfilment of this course. The lobby now has a Smart TV to share information regarding current and upcoming events, four security cameras to ensure safety of students, faculty and staff as well as of the equipment. The students also created a beautiful and comfortable seating arrangement that brings a “home-like” feeling to the workplace.
The Introduction to Tourism Marketing course entails the need to incorporate business consciousness, sustainable and project development. The students developed their knowledge and skills in these areas and they all shared the sentiment that “hard work pays off” which they are very proud to be a part of. Initiatives as this, are sure to mould, foster ownership and leadership in our students.
Ms. Eda Arzu thanks Dr. Bernard Watler, Dr. Jean Perriott, Mr. Francis Burns and Mr. Javier Rosado for supporting the students. The President on hearing of this project indicated his pleasure at this transformation that is occurring at the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences and congratulated Ms. Eda Arzu and her students. He further indicated that this should be best practice in all our Faculties.
UB Meets with Ambassador to Mexico H.E. Oliver Del Cid
H.E. Oliver Del Cid, Ambassador of Belize to Mexico, engaged the President, Vice President and Acting Director of the Regional Language Center (RLC) Mr. Noe Agreda and indicated the need for the RLC to develop professional courses, some of a short, intensive nature to train Spanish speakers in the English Language. He indicated, from his experience in Mexico City, the demand is there and urged the RLC to move in this direction.
Mr. Agreda indicated that he was already working on this matter and shared some proposals with those present at the meeting. It was agreed that these programs should be marketed via the social media and H.E. Del Cid promised to do his part in this.
UB President Delivers Distinguished Lecture on Leadership at John Paul II Junior College
Professor Sankat was invited by the leadership of John Paul II Junior College in Benque to deliver a Distinguished Lecture on May 2, 2018 to Faculty and students of the Junior College. The President spoke on “My Journey of Leadership and Service: Innovating, Transforming, Reflecting and Learning” and this was well received by the audience. The President complimented John Paul II on its lovely, distinctive infrastructure and location in Benque.
Fulbright Scholar Dr. Carla Fry
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat along with Dr. Mariot Simon met with Fulbright Scholar Dr. Carla Fry and representatives of the US Embassy. Dr. Fry concluded her program at the Faculty of Nursing, Allied Health and Social Work, University of Belize and made a presentation on her proposals for revamping the nursing curriculum with more emphasis on nursing practice.
Dr. Fry also agreed to continue to assist the University of Belize in developing its nursing programs even at the graduate level.
New Building for the Faculty of Science and Technology
The Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) is expanding in student numbers and programs; the President, at the request of Dean Ms. Julianne Pasos, saw fit to acquire a wooden building to support the expansion. The Chemistry Laboratory is being expanded to house both laboratory and offices for the Faculty and Staff. This work is expected to be completed in time for the new academic year. President Sankat complimented Mr. Francis Burns and his staff for the steady work they are doing on this project.
Proposed Master’s in Educational Leadership Consultation in Belize City
The President also congratulated Dean of the Faculty of Education and Arts (FEA) Dr. Nestor Chan and Assistant Professor Dr. Priscilla Brown-Lopez on a very successful stakeholder meeting with potential students for the proposed Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership (MEDL). The MEDL is scheduled to be finally approved by the Board of Trustees and commence very soon. The meeting was held on May 5, 2018 at the FEA Campus in Belize City and the room was filled to capacity. This is a very good signal with respect to the future success of this program.
UB President Appears on Krem TV Morning Show
The President, was on Krem TV, and Radio Morning Show “Wake Up Belize” on May 2, 2018. He was there specifically to speak on the Transformational Plan, on how it is progressing at the University of Belize. He was interviewed by Mr. Mose Hyde, who suggested to the President that more time was needed for an extensive interview both with Professor Sankat and the leaders of the University.
Professor Sankat Makes Regular Rounds to Central Farm Campus
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat has been making regular rounds to Central Farm Campus as the transition has to occur to treat with the retirement of Campus Administrator, Dr. Gordon Holder. Further, he is also reviewing the progress of the EU Banana Belt project which is a very important initiative for the Central Farm Campus, the University and Belize’s Agriculture. Professor Sankat was accompanied by Vice President Dr. Mariot Simon and Dr. Dion Daniels from the Faculty of Science and Technology. It is clear that much work is required at the Central Farm Campus as it prepares for a new intake of students in August 2018.
Calabash Caye Field Station: Making it More Sustainable
The leaders of the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) met with the University’s Senior Management to review the current business model of the Calabash Caye Field Station (CCFS) operations, with a view to making the necessary changes, so as to make this operation sustainable. All agreed that the CCFS was an important living laboratory for the current Natural Resource Management program and also the new Bachelor’s program in Marine Biology that will be launched very soon. President Sankat commended the ERI team on the proposals they presented and their approach to the initiative.
Females Continue to Lead in Relathon
The University of Belize held its annual Relathon on Sunday, 22nd of April 2018. The males had a total of 22 runners and the females had 24 runners. This year the Relathon began at 8:15am and a strong showing by the males had them arriving at the Belmopan junction by 10:00am. This strong start from the men slashed the females’ 20 mile lead in half with 48 miles to go for the males and 38 miles for the females remaining. Both teams became enthusiastic upon hearing of the other team’s location. Despite the best efforts by the males, the females won the Relathon this year. The males finished a minute behind the females.
The best runner for the females was Ansella Rodriguez, a 2017 UB graduate and Varsity athlete, who ran a mile in 6:43 minutes. Tivi Ramos distinguished himself as the best runner for the males after running a mile in 4:43 minutes. Ansella and Tivi received a trophy donated by the founder of the Relathon, Mr. Dudley Marshall, a UB alumnus. The females now have 20 wins and the males 18 wins. Kudos to both teams. Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim and President Clement Sankat presented the medals to the Teams at the ITVET Compound in Belize City.
The University thanks the students and alumni who participated and kept the longest UB tradition alive. Many thanks to the faculty, staff and members of the community who contributed tremendously to the event’s success especially Dean Perriott and her Team along with Mr. Francis Burns and his Team.
Say NO to Cyberbullying
The Faculty of Education and Arts held its second forum on Cyberbullying on April 23, 2018 at the Jaguar Auditorium. This year the focus was on sexting. Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs or images, primarily between mobile phones. It may also include the use of a computer or any digital device.
UB students and high school students were informed on the dangers and consequences of cyberbullying. The presenters included Sole Meighan, President of Child Advisory Board (CAB), Councillor Jacklyn Burns, Mr. Kyle Miller from the Department of Youth Services, a representative from the US Embassy and Mr. Chester Williams, Deputy Commissioner of Police.
FEA Holds their Third Research Symposium with the aim of Breaking Barriers
The Faculty of Education and Arts Third Annual Symposium held on April 23, 2018 provided opportunities to share scholarly work promoting a culture of research and discourse in education. The theme of this year’s symposium was Breaking Barriers: Building on Success! Highlights included research by students on factors influencing students’ performance in mathematics, impact of attrition among secondary students in South Side Belize City. Students’ ability to clearly articulate ideas and use inferential statistics to present research findings illustrated that they are poised to critically analyse national challenges. In addition to presentation by students, the European Union Project Results were presented by Dr. Nestor Chan.
In the poster presentation section, Dr. Nicté Fuller Medina, Erson Moreira, and Kennion Moreira shared their findings on Building research capacity through service learning: notes from the Language, Culture and History project, Dr. Priscilla Brown Lopez presented the findings of the use of Problem Based Learning in Teacher Educational Institutions in Belize. Dr. Angel Cal shared joint research findings entitled, From the Eyes of Spanish Yucatan: The Battle of St. George’s Cay, 1798.
UB Promotions Committee Convenes
The UB Appointments Committee met for the first time on April 24, 2018. The Committee appointed by the President is considering the applications of Faculty for Senior promotion. The Committee is chaired by Vice President Dr. Mariot Simon and is constituted of several leaders of our University and external professors. The work of the Committee continues.
Dr. Romaldo Lewis Presents His Thesis
Dr. Romaldo Lewis, Lecturer in the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, recently completed his Doctoral Degree in Business Administration. His thesis was on ‘Statistical Clustering of the Micro, Small, Medium & Large Enterprise (MSMEL’s) in Belize, and Identification of the major constraints that the limits their creation, promotion and growth. He presented the results of the research on April 25, 2018.
His colleagues and family were also present to congratulate him. Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat and Vice President Dr. Mariot Simon attended the presentation and also commended Dr. Lewis on this achievement.
UB Holds Open Day, Earth Day and Multicultural Fair
The University of Belize had a plethora of activities for students and prospective students at its Central Campus on April 26, 2018. It was held under the theme “Embracing Higher Education, Sustainability and Purpose”. The day started with the ceremony for the Open Day where Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat welcomed everyone to the event and spoke of the importance of investing in a university education. The Deans also took the opportunity to speak on the new programs their faculties are launching. Dr. Gordon Holder, Campus Administrator of the Central Farm Campus spoke on the Bachelor of Agriculture that will commence in August and the importance of agriculture for the sustainability of Belize. Mr. Gilberto Magaña, a UB alumnus and now Aftercare Specialist at Belize INVEST, a unit of BELTRAIDE, spoke of his time at UB which he says was, “everything that I expected and more”. Dr. Santos Chicas, lecturer in the Faculty of Science and Technology, said that his education foundation at UB prepared him to excel when he went to study in the Republic of China (Taiwan). Prospective students then had the opportunity to learn more about the different programs, meet their future lecturers and Deans, and experience campus life for a day.
The Faculty of Science and Technology also simultaneously held its Earth Day celebration where it sought to create awareness of the importance of avoiding single-use plastics. The science students also had displays on the effects of pollution as well as exciting demonstrations that science can be fun. The Information Technology students also spoke on the parts of a computer and shared the knowledge they had gained thus far in the technological field. The Faculty of Education and Arts also had a Psychology of Learning Symposium as well. Students were able to view displays and presentations on the various learning theories and strategies used in the classrooms. FNAHSW faculty, staff and students also opened up the Med lab to students and visitors and also did some medical test. The Regional Language Center also treated the visitors to a multicultural fair where the international students showcased the culture, music, dance and food of their home countries. RLC currently has students from Cuba, Colombia Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Republic of China and Republic of China (Taiwan). The Medical Laboratory students in the Faculty of Nursing, Allied Health and Social Work were also celebrating Medical Laboratory Professionals Week and were providing free test with results available on the same day.
UB holds Faculty and Staff Day
“All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy” goes the saying, The University of Belize held a day for faculty and staff to have fun together at the Belmopan Campus. The day started with a social ride from Mile 31 George Price Highway to the Belmopan Campus. Then there was a brief ceremony where Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat invited all faculty and staff to join the fun and to build UB together, as there was much to be achieved in the exciting times.
There were competitions in lime and spoon, futsal, needle and thread, volleyball, and races. There was a special treat where employees could ‘pamper’ themselves with manicure, pedicure, and eyebrow shaping and tinting at special prices. Faculty and Staff were also gifted a special token for their service to UB and the President thanks the Director and Staff of the Human Resource Department for organizing the special event.
President meets with Student Leaders
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat met with students’ representatives on April 27, 2018. The students considered matters pertaining to students’ projects for the Summer. They also spoke on students who have not met their financial obligations. They also provided their input for the 2018-2019 Academic Calendar. Student evaluation of teaching and the bookstore going electronic were also discussed. The students provided feedback on Sports Day. The possibility of student representation at CSUCA meetings was also considered. Also in attendance was Vice President, Dean of Student Affairs and Mr. Francis Burns, Director of Physical Plant, Projects and Facilities.
UB is Present at the NATS
The University of Belize participated in the National Agriculture and Trade Show where prospective students had the opportunity to learn about the new programs that will be offered for 2018-1 and took the opportunity to apply to the University of Belize for free. The UB Central Farm was present on both days selling their produce and engaging with students about the new BSc. In Agriculture. The other Faculty were present showcasing the different services that are available at UB and highlighting their respective faculties. The President represented the UB at the opening ceremony at the Ministry of Agriculture. The Minister congratulated UB on its development of the new BSc. Applied Agriculture Program.
UB Promotes New Programs and Events on Love FM’s Morning Show
Dr. Bernard Watler, Dr. Nestor Chan, Ms. Juliane Pasos, Dr. Jean Perriott, Ms. Ava Pennill, Mrs. Camilla Barker, Justine Myvett, Jamal Witty and Eniza Orellana appeared on Love FM’s Morning Show on Monday, April 16, 2018. The Deans and Ms. Ava Pennill spoke on the new programs that their respective faculties are launching. Mrs. Barker spoke on the upcoming Open Day to be held on April 26, 2018. Dr. Perriott took the opportunity to invite students to the annual Relathon that will be held on Sunday. Justine, Jamal and Eniza spoke on Earth Day that will be held alongside Open Day and also spoke on plastic pollution and the importance of finding alternatives.
UB President Meets with UB Alumnus Jillian Morrison
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat met with UB alumnus Jillian Morrison. Jillian graduated from the University of Belize with a Bachelor in Mathematics. Jillian Morrison is currently a 4th year PhD Statistics Student at Washington State University (WSU) where she is also pursuing a Master’s Degree in Computational Finance. Professor Sankat congratulated Ms. Morrison on her achievements to date and said that she is a wonderful ambassador for the University. He also urged her to complete her studies and return to the UB. Mr. Douglas Morrison, Jillian’s father and also lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Arts, was also present at the meeting.
FST Holds Third Annual Math Symposium
The Math, Physics and Information Technology Department (MPIT) held its Third Annual Math Symposium under the theme “Mathematics – The Key to Infinite Possibilities”. Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat delivered the opening remarks where he commended the organizers, the Faculty, the Math Club, and the MPIT department. He also spoke on the importance of having a good foundation in Mathematics. The presenters were Ms. Jillian Morrison, Ms. Annia Mejia, Ms. Vanessa Diaz, Dr. Aaron Lewis and Dr. David Aguilar.
President Presents Transformational Plan to BCCI
President Sankat met with the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) on April 19, 2018 presented UB’s Transformational Plan Vision 2022 to them. Present were the President of BCCI Mr. Nikita Usher, CEO Ms. Kim Aikman and members of the Board. President Sankat appealed to the business community to support the University of Belize through scholarships and bursaries to students and other private/University partnerships for example, residences and buildings on campus. Members commended the University on its direction and urged that our graduates become more entrepreneurial.
The Faculty of Management and Social Sciences (FMSS) holds its Eight Research Conference
The FMSS held its Annual Research Conference in Belmopan on April 19, 2018. Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Bernard Watler, welcomed the audience and reminded them that, “knowledge only becomes valuable when it is disseminated and applied to benefit humankind”. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Phillip Castillo, Assistant Professor and 2017 Researcher of the Year. Dr. Castillo challenged the students to, “to undertake localized research that can benefit your immediate community.” The President’s Award for Researcher of the Year was awarded to Dr. Romaldo Lewis, lecturer in FMSS. Professor Sankat presented the award to Dr. Lewis and congratulated him for his research as he congratulated the students also. Dr. Lewis also presented his research entitled “Statistical Clustering of the Micro, Small, Medium and Large Enterprise in Belize and Constraints on their creation, promotion and growth”.
The President also congratulated the Dean and Faculty of FMSS for the good work being done in terms of fostering a culture of applied research in the Faculty and especially through the Senior Students. He advised students that the opportunity for more advanced research at UB will be announced soon, for those outstanding students who wish to pursue MPhil Research Degrees.
FEA Holds Leadership Panel Discussion
The Faculty of Education and Arts through the Educational Leadership and Administration class held a leadership panel under the theme: “Empowering Others, Building the Future Pathway to Success.” The panelists were Mrs. Joan Sanchez, Principal of St. Michael’s R.C. School in Las Fores Belmopan; Mr. Louis M. Wade Jr., Managing Director of Shamax Productions LTD; Dr. Judith Florita Diego, District Education Manager for the Cayo District; and Pastor Jerry Stephen Roberts, ordained minister and principal of Belmopan Baptist High School.
The panel discussion is an outreach activity where leaders from the various levels of the education system as well as leaders from the business community are invited to share their philosophies along with some of their successes and challenges they face as leaders. The event was organized by the students of the course guided by lecturer Mr. Douglas Morrison.
Ambassador of Belize to Guatemala Discusses the Special Agreement
The Belize-Guatemala Relations class hosted Ambassador of Belize to Guatemala, H.E. Alexis Rosado, on April 19, 2018. Ambassador Rosado gave a brief history of the territorial claim Guatemala has on Belize. He then went on to the details of “Negotiating the Special Agreement and the Referendum.” Dr. Mariot Simon, Vice President, was also present at the presentation.
History Lecturer Mr. Cesar Ross noted the importance of this presentation, “considering the ‘excitement’ Sunday’s referendum in Guatemala has stimulated; it is important that we bring focus and understanding to the challenge of the Territorial Dispute and THIS proposal as a final means of settling the Issue. It is important we understand this proposed process and its implications in its ‘entirety’.”
President Meets with SAI Info-Tech to Discuss Certified ICT Courses
Professor Sankat along with Open and Distance Learning Department Dr. Frieda Palma met with Dr. Kiran Vanjani and Kamal Vanjani of SAI Info-Tech and Mr. Luis Alvarez from ETC Iberoamerica. The intention is to develop professional certificate courses in the ICT and that can enhance the competitiveness of our students in the world of work.
President Met with Former Dean of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture of the University of West Indies, St. Augustine
Professor Sankat warmly received his former colleague Professor Carlisle Pemberton, an Agriculture Economist by training, and former Chair of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Dean of the Faculty. Professor Pemberton is engaged in a consultancy in Belize, on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization, and looking at the linkages between School Feeding Programme here in Belize and the local Food and Agriculture Sector.
President Visits Central Farm Campus
Professor Sankat visited the UB Central Farm Campus and met with students and some faculty and staff on April 18. The students showed the President the state of the dorm buildings and non-functional student cafeteria. The President was saddened as he was concerned about the state of these facilities. On a brighter note however, he saw the ongoing work being done to repair and refurbish the Micro-propagation Lab that was essential to support the EU funded project for the Banana Belt.
Ambassador of Guatemala Visits UB
Ambassador of Guatemala in Belize, H.E. Georges de La Roche, paid a courtesy visit to the University of Belize and discussed with the President, matters of mutual interest.
ICT Steering Committee Convenes its First Meeting
The Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Steering Committee covened its first meeting on Thursday, April 12, 2018. The objective of the committee is to provide overall oversight, guidance and direction of ICT policies, ensuring that the Department operates with the direction of the University of Belize. This high-level oversight body will be guided at all times, by the principles of transparency, accountability and fairness in the discharge of its responsibilities. The Committee is composed of representatives from ICT Department, the four faculties, students, Finance, ODL, Registrar and Human Resources. Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat thanked everyone for their support and in turn assured them of his support to the work of the committee. The Committee is chaired by ICT Director, Mr. Abdulaziz Sanderson.
An Evening of Cultural Extravaganza
It was really a Cultural Extravaganza last night at the fifth edition of Evening of the Arts. The Faculty of Education and Arts held it’s Evening of the Arts under the theme “Celebrating Our Belizean Identity: A Multicultural Extravaganza” at the Jaguar Auditorium. The Evening started with a display on the different cultures in Belize. The students dressed in cultural attire explained different aspects of the culture they represented and shared samples of the traditional food.
After the display there was a ceremony that treated the audience to cultural performances. Lecturer, Tracey Sangster welcomed everyone. The big announcement came from Dr. Virginia Hampton, Chair of the Language and Literature Department, who said that this edition was being held in honour of Mrs. Sangster who is retiring. The directors of the ceremony were two former students of Mrs. Sangster, Courtney Weatherburne and Kadijah Marin.
There was presentation on a history of the Maya by Mr. Ryne Carillo and “Cultural Woman” Ms. Felicita Cantun spoke on the traditional Maya ball game ‘Pok-A-Tok’ and shared the news that the Belizean team are the current champions after playing in a tournament against Mexico and Central American countries. Two members of the team gave a demonstration of the game and lecturer Mr. Steven Lewis also gave it a try. Eniza Orellano performed a Mestizo Dance while Kenny Toribio and Nedelca Mariscal from the Regional Language Center shared a Panamian Mestizo Dance. The iconic Garifuna drums were also present when Preston Parchue and John Howard took the stage.
Ms. Abbby Godoy, Ms. Edice Hua and Ms. Jacklyn Burns presented poems they had penned. There was also an East Indian dance by Dwayne Murillo. The Flores brothers, Aniki and Lynford, once again shared their rapping skills with the audience. To the surprise of everyone Ms. Ivory Kelly performed an outstanding rap. Serah and Shalom Lewis, daughters of the UB lecturers Steven and Sarita, also sang a song.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat took time to enjoy the great work of UB’s students and learned more about Belize’s cultures. He also commended Mrs. Sangster for an excellent job in guiding the students.
UB President along with BCCI Appear on Morning Show
The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) invited Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat to join them on their weekly segment on Love FM’s Morning Show on April 10, 2018. The representatives from BCCI were Ms. Kay Menzies and Mr. Dyon Elliott. President Sankat spoke on how University education can enhance productivity and competiveness. He was also given an opportunity to speak on the challenges and opportunities for the University of Belize at this time on its thrust for enhancing human development in the country.
The President expects to meet with the BCCI shortly to share with them elements of our Transformational Plan Vision 2022.
On a related note, Admissions Coordinator, Mrs. Camilla Allen-Barker, and UB Field Technician in the Faculty of Science and Technology, Justine Myvett, appeared on Krem Radio’s Wake Up Belize Morning Show on April 12 to promote the UB Open Day and Earth Day which will both be held on April 26, 2018.
UB Belmopan Now Has a Scooter Patrol
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat took the opportunity today to meet two Public Safety Officers, Mr. Josiah Santos and Mr. Benedicto Cho, and their new “Scooter Patrol”. The University of Belize recently acquired two Honda Wave 110 Scooters that will be utilized to patrol the Belmopan Campus.
Professor Sankat’s hope is that this mobility will facilitate a safer and more secure environment for students, faculty and staff.
Analysing GOB’s Budget for the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year
Dr. Philip Castillo, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, presented a comprehensive overview of the Government of Belize’s 18/19 budget to faculty, staff and students. Dr. Castillo provided a summary of the projected Expenditures and Revenues. He also provided recommendations that can be pursued to balance the budget. He fielded many questions especially from the students for example, on funding the deficit in the budget and the pension liability.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat was also present and encouraged students to be innovative and entrepreneurial when they graduate so as to generate new wealth for themselves and the country.
The Campus thanks Dr. Castillo for his presentation and analysis.
Chairman of Board of Trustees Visits PG Campus
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees Mr. Harrison Pilgrim visited the Punta Gorda Campus on April 5, 2018. He was received by the Campus Administrator Mr. Roy Polonio and they discussed key issues affecting the PG Campus.
Animal Diversity Signage in UB Belmopan Campus
The UB community in the Belmopan Campus can now learn more about animals on campus after eight colourful information signage on invertebrates of the campus were placed along the walkway leading from Library towards RLC and Administration building. The signs provide information on Africanized Honey Bee, Blue Morpho Butterfly, Birding Grasshopper, Cicada, Florida Bark Scorpion, Elephant Beetle, Earthworm and Mosquitos. These are as a result of class projects done by Bachelor Biology students for the course, Natural History of Invertebrates taught by Dr. Latha Thomas. This is part of the University beautification initiative aimed at educating the community on the animal biodiversity of the campus and their importance.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat commends Dr. Thomas and her students for this educational and creative initiative.
Let’s Build UB Together.
The Board of Trustees (BOT) of the University of Belize on March 27, 2018, approved four new Undergraduate programs effective for the new academic year 2018-2019. These four programs under the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) are in alignment with UB’s Transformational Plan: Vision 2022.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat attended the 111th Meeting of Consejo Superior Universitario Centroamericano (CSUCA – Central American Higher Education Council) from March 13 to March 15, 2018 in Antigua, Guatemala. The President attended in his capacity as Vice President of CSUCA. While there, he attended a joint meeting between Presidents/Rectors of Universities from France and Central America. One of the major areas of information sharing and discussion was the engagement of France with institutions in Central America and the possibilities for even wider and deeper collaboration. French Universities and Institutions have partnered with Central American universities especially in Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Honduras and are developing double degrees at the Master’s and Doctoral levels, training of faculty members of these universities and institutional accreditation of Universities. The standards of accreditation of the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES) of France were shared and discussed at the meeting. The Rector of Tecnologico de Costa Rica (TEC), Julio Calvo Alvarado, spoke on how their University has advanced its institutional accreditation application. Mutual recognition of degrees between France and Central American Universities was also discussed. The meeting also heard on opportunities for France’s support for programs in Engineering for Central American universities at the Bachelor’s level of four years and an additional two years for the Master’s degree. There are opportunities for the University of Belize to engage with French authorities to build capacity, especially human development in Sciences, Engineering, Health and the Humanities.
At the CSUCA meeting, a new Secretary General (SG) was elected. Dr. Carlos Alvarado Cerezo, the current Rector of the University of San Carlos was appointed by acclamation, as he has an outstanding record as an academic and an administrator at the tricentennial University. Dr. Alvarado will replace the current SG, Dr. Alfonso Fuentes Soria who served two terms as SG and did so with distinction as through his leadership more Central American Universities joined the CSUCA network for example. He also advanced the cause of CSUCA internationally, especially in Europe. The Secretary General will be recognized at a later date for his outstanding work.
A mutual issue identified in Central American Universities was tuition. A proposal was made for Central American University students to pay the same tuition as nationals pay in their Universities. This approach will facilitate mobility among Central American students. Each University has been asked to consider this matter.
The President is grateful to CSUCA officials and Rectors for the warm reception he received.
Professor Sankat will be assuming the Presidency of CSUCA in July for the 2018-2019 academic year.