UB Imprint Vol 28: The University of Belize transforming itself in a changing world of higher education – Vision 2022



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The University of Belize transforming itself in a changing world of higher education – Vision 2022

Deputy Prime Minister of Belize Hon. Patrick Faber

The University of Belize officially launched its Transformational Plan 2022 on May 24th, 2018 at the Radisson Fort George Hotel. This is a proud moment for the University which has taken a step in transforming itself to become a more student centered institution, more efficient in what it does and reaching out to young Belizeans to get a quality education in many more disciplines.

During the launch the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim commended President Sankat and his colleagues for their hard work and dedication to the university and leading it through this positive change. He also praised the Board of Trustees and Faculty who approved and prepared the four new programs that the University will offer for the upcoming semester. Mr. Pilgrim feels that this change is “A transformation - a quantum leap - it’s not just doing a few things right, everything changes, nothing remains the same that should have been fixed.” He remarked that this “transformational initiative is intended to do the same. It will go beyond our geographical reach; it will place Belize on the global stage that is recognized for providing a quality education. “
President Sankat echoed that

“The University of Belize must be a student centered institution and it is not only about the quality education they will get but also the friendships that they will create and the experiences gained. The best times in our lives were at the University.” The transformational plan will be implemented within the next five years. Universities today are businesses some that are driven for profit and some that are not for profit like UB but driven to also ensure that they run themselves in an efficient manner.
This is a moment of change at the University of Belize. A time to leap to another level. This Institution, as the National University, must fulfill its promise and with this the hopes and aspirations of thousands of young Belizeans, now and in the future, for a better quality of life through a University education and an experience that is fulfilling as it is memorable.

Successful Universities today are like many businesslike, winning enterprises – reaching out and responding, connecting with their stakeholders, being relevant as well as being responsible to their societies. Our “4 Rs” as I have dubbed it.

As we present this SMART Plan, in the near future, I hope you will discern the major elements of this leap – moving our taught programmes from Associate Degrees to Bachelors and Masters; creating new ones in the areas of the Sciences, Engineering, Health, Agriculture, Education, the Creative Arts, as in Business and Entrepreneurship. We will be interrogating Belizean research questions through the initiation of Masters and Doctoral Degrees for exceptional students. Putting research and publication as a cornerstone of this University, thereby fostering a more scholarly and impacting University is a priority. We will tell Belize and the world what we do so that they will invest in our future. Maximizing the potential of technological usage to reach out to Belize while creating efficiency is an important thrust. Our ecosystem at UB, including our infrastructure, will be “student and faculty/staff centered” as it is inspiring.”

The Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Patrick Faber congratulated the University and is enthusiastic to be a part of the change. He advised that he was looking forward to the day when UB will rise to the level it has now proposed and thus supports the efforts of the University. He once again advised the University to become efficient at what it does, was pleased to see the move towards Institutional Accreditation and would look to providing a larger subvention for the University. He noted that students at UB were paying some of the lowest tuition in Belize and the Caribbean.

(L-R) Dr. Mariot Simon, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim, Hon. Patrick Faber and Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat

As part of its Transformational Plan the University of Belize will be seeking institutional accreditation by the year 2022. 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 required for accreditation including candidacy, documentation and quality assurance and requirements.

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.