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
This meeting was held with Vice President Dr. Mariot Simon and representatives of UQROO of Chetumal, to reinvigorate the student exchange program between our institutions.
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!