New Students are Welcomed at UB’s Belmopan & Belize City Matriculation Ceremonies
The University of Belize held its matriculation ceremonies for its Belmopan and Belize City students on August 22 and 29th, respectively. The Matriculation Ceremony is to officially acknowledge and formally welcome new students to the University and provide them an opportunity to meet the leadership team of the University.
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat assured the students that, “everyone at the University is keen to guide and support [them] and provide… all the encouragement that [they] will need to successfully complete [their] studies.” He concluded his message by wishing students his very best wishes for a great and productive year and assures same, they will enjoy their time at UB.
The keynote speakers were Ms. Jacklyn Burns and Mr. Bernard Wagner, graduates of the University and members of the Belmopan and Belize City Council respectively. Ms. Burns reminisced of her first experience at UB and encouraged all including the President, Faculty and Students to do their best to make their experience a good one.
Dr. Mariot Simon, Vice President, then led the students in the Matriculation Oath, where subsequently two students from each of the four faculties signed the Matriculation Register. The rest of the students had the opportunity to sign the register after the ceremony.
This year the University welcomed 1, 295 new students, and together with the 3, 812 returning students, it has a record number of 5, 107 students.
President Sankat Visits Punta Gorda Campus and Meets with Students, Faculty and Staff
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat visited the Punta Gorda Campus on September 3, 2018, where he took the opportunity to meet with Faculty and Staff. He commended and lauded the campus’s well-organized graduation ceremony in June and engaged in discussions to maximize classroom space and revise existing programs. He also encouraged the Faculty and Staff to work together to continue the fundraising efforts initiated last year.
He also met with news students and oversaw the matriculation oath taking for new students. He encouraged them to make the most of their experience, building both their technical and non-technical skills. At the end of the ceremony, Mrs. Gillian Flowers, Lecturer and Student Government Assistant Coordinator, led the students in the Matriculation Oath taking. The singing of the UB Song was led by students of the campus’s Composing Process class, while the Student Government President for the PG Campus delivered the Vote of Thanks.
International Belizean-American Journalist Lennox Samuels Presents at Fifth Silvaana Udz Lekcha
The Fifth Silvaana Udz Lekcha was held on September 4, 2018 at the University of Belize’s Jaguar Auditorium. The Lecture Series is hosted by the Faculty of Education and Arts (FEA) in honor of Dr. Silvaana Udz, a former Assistant Professor at UB and one of Belize’s preeminent Kriol activists. The main objective of the Silvaana Udz Lekcha series is to introduce students to noteworthy Belizean authors, poets and intellectuals, so that students may be inspired to pursue a life of writing and critical reflection.
In the welcome remarks, Dr. Virginia Hampton, Chair of the Language and Arts Department in FEA, set the tone for the presentation as she spoke on journalism and the importance of being accurate and objective.
The highlight of the day was the key note speaker, Mr. Lennox Samuels, renowned Belizean journalist. His presentation was entitled, ” ‘Enemies of the People’ and ‘Fake News’: How the Assault on the Media by Demagogues Like Trump Threatens Democracy and Makes the World More Dangerous.” Mr. Samuels spoke on the trend of discrediting the media press as a way to silence it. He shared his extensive experience in countries such as Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Philippines, Uganda and Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic and Slovakia), particularly as it relates to freedom of press within tyrannical regimes.
Among the audience there was the notable presence of Robin Schaffer, daughter of Dr. Udz. Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, President, and Dr. Mariot Simon, Vice President.
Lennox Samuels is a reporter, writer, editor and media consultant based in Bangkok, Thailand. His 40-year career includes stints as an education writer, investigative reporter, fashion editor, city editor, news executive, and foreign correspondent. He has travelled to scores of countries on every continent except Antarctica, and reported from many of them. His international assignments have included covering the long-running conflict in Somalia and the war in Iraq, and serving as chief of correspondents in Mexico.
Engineering Department Establishes New Advisory Councils
By Mr. Leonard Mortis
The Engineering Department from the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) convened the first meeting of joint Advisory Councils on August 28, 2018 at its campus on Freetown Road, Belize City. Three Advisory Councils were formed to assist in the strengthening of existing programs and the development of new ones, which will prepare students to enter into industry and further studies.
The Advisory Councils consist of representatives from industry and other stakeholders from outside the institution, who have special knowledge and expertise and who will assist in the planning, development and evaluation of proposed Bachelor of Technology Degree programs in Engineering.
University programs, students and employers exist in a rapidly changing world and this pace dictates that UB’s curriculum and practices must be relevant to national needs as well as assuring that graduates will be capable of performing entry-level skills needed by employers. Simultaneously, programs must have international currency and provide an easy path for matriculation into advance studies. One way to gauge if these expectations are being met is through the Advisory Councils.
Department Chair Mr. Leonard Mortis along with the faculty and staff of the Engineering Department and members of the councils were honoured by the presence of the President of the University of Belize, Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat who gave the meeting’s keynote address. Professor Sankat is a Chartered Engineer (CEng.) and a Fellow of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (FIAgrE) of the UK as well as a Fellow of the Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago (FAPETT).
The President’s presentation titled, “An Opportunity to Rethink our Engineering Programs at UB to meet National Development and Global Standards” was well received and gave the impetus needed to go forward on the right path. In his presentation, the President expressed that this is an opportune time despite all the challenges to take a look at UB as a whole and to make it serve the national development needs and to meet global standards.
He continued by saying that “there is a need for market surveys to hear from the industries like those present, and the response should look at both the national development needs and to meet global standards. The University needs to produce graduates that have the ability to be internationally and regionally mobile and with the Advisory Council this can certainly be looked at”. He ended by challenging the Advisory Councils to … “rethink our programs with external benchmarks of quality and international/regional accreditation as paramount”.
The Engineering Department aims to fulfill its mission of providing specialized higher educational experience that forms the basis of quality training of Technicians and Engineers to meet the developmental needs of the students and country. The formation of these new Advisory Councils is a positive step toward achieving this mission.
UB Holds its Second Successful Endowment Fund Fete
The President of the University of Belize, Professor Clement Sankat wishes to thank the many staff, students, alumni and our many friend and well-wishers from the Public & Private Sectors who came together to this our second fundraising event. Proceeds from this event will go to making scholarships/bursaries available to deserving students to pursue higher education at UB.
Our President wishes to pay particular tribute to our many sponsors of this event, without whose generous support success would not have been achieved. The feedback from our guests, who were all VIPS, was that the food, the music and the environment allowed all to have a very good time. We were pleased to have Belize’s own ELJAI backed by Gilhary 7 together with the singers Oscar B from Trinidad and Pluto Shervington from Jamaica performing. The event was graced with the presence of the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar and the Chairman of the UB Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim.
The President wishes to thank all his faculty, staff and students who worked tirelessly to make this event a success.
Thanks to all who purchased tickets for this worthy cause and we look forward to seeing you again in September 2019!
UB Faculty Participates in Training Course on Microplastic Analysis Using Mirs Technique
Dr. Abel Carrias of the faculty of Science and Technology participated in a Training Course on Microplastic Analysis by using MIRS Technique carried out at the Laboratório de Radioecologia e Alterações Ambientais, Instituto de Fisica, Universidade Federal Fluminense – UFF, between 13 August 2018 and 17 August 2018, in Niteroi – RJ – Brazil. The participation of Dr. Carrias in this meeting arises from his involvement in IAEA TCP project Regional project RLA7022 “Strengthening Regional Monitoring and Response for Sustainable Marine and Coastal Environments (ARCAL CXLV)”.
The training is part of the efforts to build human and laboratory capacity at UB through participation in national, regional and inter regional projects funded by the Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Currently, the University of Belize is executing National Project BZ7002 “Strengthening National Capacity for Measuring and Monitoring Marine Pollution and Studying the Effects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Ecosystems”.
The participation of Dr. Carrias in this meeting will contribute to the development of UB’s capacity to perform studies on microplastics and to assess its impact on marine ecosystems. During the meeting, Dr. Carrias learned sampling protocols and methodologies for determining abundance, distribution and to perform physical and chemical characterization of microplastics. Significant outcomes of the training course include:
- The development of a standardized sampling protocol that will be used regionally to perform microplastic studies.
- Commitment from the project to fund the chemical characterization of 20 microplastic samples from Belize to be carried out at the Laboratório de Radioecologia e Alterações Ambientais, Instituto de Fisica, Universidade Federal Fluminense, using MIRS technique.
- Submission of a list of sampling equipment valued at $6,000 euros for funding consideration under project RLA7022.
UB aims to work alongside the TCP to establish a long and fruitful relationship for building capacity at UB and of its stakeholders that will lead to meaningful scientific contributions for solving problems of national interest and significance.
UB Lecturers Publish Chapters in Bioelectricity Book
Lecturers in the Faculty of Science and Technology Dr. Santos Chicas and Mr. Jair Valladarez recently published chapters in the book entitled Microbial Fuel Cells Technology for Bioelectricity. They also take the opportunity acknowledged Ms. Justine Myvett for the graphic image 3.1 Cross section of a plant microbial fuel cell system.
This chapter summarizes the general architecture of plant microbial fuel cells with a focus on the utilized anodic and cathodic materials. An elaborate discussion on the potential of various plants and significance of microbial communities toward the generation of power has been provided. In addition, the recent improvements and limitations in plant MFCs and also the futuristic explorations have been discussed. The book is available for purchase at https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-92904-0.
UB Meets with Ambassador Alexis Rosado and Senators Lizarraga and Salas on Public Awareness Seminars for ICJ Referendum
Dr. Mariot Simon, Vice President, accompanied by Dean of the Faculty of Education and Arts, Dr. Nestor Chan, met with Ambassador of Belize to Guatemala, H.E. Alexis Rosado; Hon. Mark Lizarraga, Senator for the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Belize Business Bureau; and Hon. Osmany Salas, Senator for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). They discussed ways to increase awareness on the upcoming referendum where the people decide on referring the dispute to the International Court of Justice.
The UB will partner with the Business Community, NGOs and Civil Society to present a public awareness program designed to inform the general public on the Belize-Guatemala territorial dispute.
It is anticipated that this program will provide a forum for dissemination of information on the dispute so that the people of Belize will have a greater understanding and be more informed going into the referendum on April 10, 2019.
Learning More about the Roots and Routes of Guatemala’s Dispute
The Belize History Association with support of the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and the University of Belize held its Fifth Annual September Lecture entitled “Belize Disputes Guatemala’s Claim – Roots and Routes” on September 13, 2018 in the Belmopan Campus. Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, UB President, welcomed the audience and spoke on the importance of History Education and rethinking the way history is taught so as to make it more exciting to students and so that it can assist with developing critical thinking skills and an appreciation of where we have come from and where we are going as societies.
The presenters were David Gomez , who presented on Canals and Borders: Economic Diplomacy and the Territorial Claim to Belize, c. 1820-1870; Ambassador David Gibson, who presented on Key Considerations for a Juridical Resolution of the Belize-Guatemala Territorial Dispute by the International Court of Justice (ICJ); and Carlos Clarke, who presented A Comparative Analysis of the Guatemala-Belize Dispute and Three IJC Cases: Cambodia v. Thailand (1962), El Salvador v. Honduras (1992) and Libya v. Chad (1994). The moderator of the lecture was prominent Historian Dr. Angel Cal.
UB President and President of CSUCA Professor Sankat Attends Meeting in Costa Rica
Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat, as President of CSUCA and also of the UB, attended CSUCA meetings in San Jose, Costa Rica on September 5-7, 2018. The meetings treated with (i) The Final Report on the HICA Project (Harmonisation and Innovation in Central American Higher Education Curricula: Enhancing and Implementing a Regional Qualifications Framework). Also present at this meeting was Ms. Lynnette Pascascio – student in the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences (ii) A meeting of the Board of the Central American Accreditation Council (CCA) on which CSUCA is represented by its President and Secretary General (iii) The IX Foro del Consejo Centroamericano de Accreditacion de la Educacion Superior (Ninth Forum of the Central American Accreditation Council of Higher Education). The President was advised that UB was a signatory to the Central American Accreditation Council, but not participated in recent times. As a follow up to these meetings the President met with UB’s Academic Council.
The President also took the time to make a brief visit to Earth University on the invitation of the Costa Rican Ambassador to Belize. He met with the Provost there Dr. Daniel Sherrard and a few Belizean students pursuing their degrees in Agriculture. Earth is a very impressive agricultural University.
UB President Presents on Central American Framework of Qualifications for Higher Education to Academic Council Meeting
The Academic Council, composed of the academic leaders of the University and chaired by the Vice President, convened on September 12, 2018 and Professor Emeritus Clement Sankat took the opportunity to share a presentation developed by CSUCA (the Central American University Superior Council) on the HICA Project. The Framework of Qualifications for Higher Education in Central America which has three main objectives:
a) promote curricular innovation by defining and focusing on the key expected learning outcomes for each level of higher education of the region.
b) promote regional academic harmonization by defining common regional standards.
c) promote clarity and understanding of diplomas and degree qualifications offered in the region
The framework seeks to focus on learning outcomes rather than content so as to better prepare well-rounded students with the necessary technical and soft skills for the world of work.
The Framework document is now completed and academics are invited to view it at http://hica.csuca.org/.
The Central American University Superior Council with the support of the University of Barcelona established an alliance with six different universities in the region and Europe, undertaking two projects funded by the European Commission (Alfa PUENTES, Erasmus Plus HICA).