FAREWELL MY FRIENDS
Good Day my colleagues, Senior Administrators, Faculty, Staff, my dear Students, alumni and our stakeholders in Belize, you would all have seen the statement of yesterday (29th July, 2021) of
the Chairman of the Board of Trustees on changes in the leadership of UB. It is attached. I welcome Dean Dr. Vincent Palacio as Interim President and wish him well to steer the ship and do ask for your full support of his leadership. The transition has been very short for both of us but I could not leave UB, an institution that has been central to me day in and day out, post the University of the West Indies (UWI), for the last four and a half years without saying “farewell” and “thank you”. I wish I was there in person to do so, but the circumstances in this COVID-19 pandemic time make this very difficult. This therefore will be my last communication from the “President’s Desk” which I started when I came to UB.
I want at the outset to thank all of you for the support I received at UB and in Belize in good and in difficult times. Whatever we achieved, and much was done, was due to the teamwork and goodwill shown by many, in and out of UB. I leave the University with a sense that the groundwork has been laid to build a sustainable institution for the immediate future. The transformation began and our Transformational Plan, Vision 2022, done through extensive consultation, is a road map which hopefully will be continued – more programs at the Bachelor’s level and even at the Masters including the MPhil Research degree – all truly making the University live up to its good name and expectations. Our watch words, the 4Rs; relevance, reach, responsiveness and responsibility, will hopefully continue to resonate. Despite all the challenges we experienced in the last eighteen months, UB will graduate once more over 1,100 students in October for the 2020-21 academic year. Graduates who will be able to serve Belize. This is testimony to all our dedicated work in the Faculties with the support of our Administrators particularly in Open Distance Learning, Information & Communications Technologies, the Registry and Finance. Well done and thanks to you for staying focused, being innovative and supportive of our students.
There is much more I could say but let me thank our Ag. Director of Finance, Mr. Ian Sangster and his team, including Mr. Orlando Palma, for working steadily with myself and the Senior management to ensure our financial sustainability, building financial efficiency with the welfare of our students, faculty, staff and stakeholders, steadily kept in focus. Thank you to our Ag. Director of Human Resources, Mrs. Tieola Requena for stepping up to the occasion to lead the human resource function since Ms. Hertha Gentle’s departure. Mrs. Tieola has grown in stature. To our Director of ODL and ICT, Dr. Frieda Palma and Mr. Abdul Sanderson, respectively, you have demonstrated passion for your work on technology usage that has led us out of the difficulties of this pandemic and brought great support to our Students and Faculty in teaching and learning. I wish to recognize Mrs. Rose Pineda, Registrar and Ms. Camilla Barker of Admissions for the stellar work they do, with all the information, data and guidance to the President so as to facilitate decision making. To the Dean of Students, Dr. Martin Cuellar for steadily mentoring and engaging our Student Governments and supporting their causes. I want to make a special mention of our Post Graduate and Research Committee, led by Professor Thippichetty Thiagarajan; thanks for all the great work your committee did to bring our MPhil Research degree to fruition. It will truly advance the cause of research at UB with bright, inquisitive graduate students.
Our Campuses have been secure in a time of criminality around us, and I thank the Chief of Security, Mr. John Salam for leading the effort to keep UB secure with his Public Safety Officers. I must pay a very special tribute to Mr. Francis Burns of the Facilities department and his team for fully assisting the President to transform and uplift the physical facilities of all our Campuses – Belmopan, Belize City and Punta Gorda – our little gem in the deep South. We have paved our roads and parking lots, illuminated our walkways, including solar lighting, maintained our greenery, erected new buildings very cost effectively, efficiently and in harmony with our beautiful green environment. We have painted, some by self-help, and maintained our buildings. Much more needs to be done, and especially at the UB Central Farm, Cayo – I wished I had the time to do this. Let me thank Dr. Elma Kay and Dr. Leandra Ricketts for their stellar work at the ERI, bringing credit to our University in the area of the Environment and Sustainability. Dr. Latha Thomas who is chairing our Beautification Committee, I want to thank you for your undaunted spirit to make our Campuses more beautiful. But without the steady effort of Mr. Burns, Mr. Waight and his team, we would not have achieved what we did. Thank you, Francis.
Mr. Roy Polonio and Mrs. Zoe Zetina of our PG Campus and UBCF have remained committed to enhancing their Campuses and their academic works and my gratitude goes out to them.
We have forged many new partnerships both locally and internationally during my term in Office and I do thank Mr. Arnulfo Kantun for working side by side with me to make such partnerships bear fruit – with India (IBCE Project), Mexico, with the ROC (Taiwan), with Japan, with Cuba, with UNAN-Managua (for our Medical Program), with Canada (the SAGE project for e.g. which is yielding new successes for UBCF in Climate Smart Agriculture, that was just approved), the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the EU, the FAO, IICA, the OAK Foundation and more. Thanks to all our international partners for supporting UB and I expect these partnerships will continue.
The tremendous support I have received for the President’s Fete in September of each year, from the Ramada Princess Hotel, Bowen and Bowen, Traveller’s Liquors and Cuello’s Distillery, Belize Bank Limited, and the public and private sectors of Belize, are praiseworthy. For our wonderful end-of-year get-togethers and the President’s fete, the infectious Belizean music of the Gilharry 7 Band and Super Furia, will continue to reverberate with me. The support of Mr. Cornelius Cacho for the scholarships to our students and to PACT are gratefully acknowledged, as is our partnership with the DFC. The significant endowment of the Gian Gandhi family is acknowledged and hopefully more will come to UB’s support in the near future. Mr. Kantun has steadily assisted me in many of these arrangements, including the Glow parties we had with our students in Belmopan. But there are others I must thank for supporting my work as President – the City Councils of Belize City, Belmopan, PG and Orange Walk and the steady support of the Ministries of Education, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Agriculture in particular. There are many more that can be mentioned – those who expressed good will and support, and I can assure them, Ambassadors and all of my friends, you will always be remembered for making my work in Belize much easier.
I want to especially thank Zayri and Sheena, our young professionals of our Marketing and Communications team for working steadily with me to do much for enhancing UB’s communication – From the President’s Desk, UB Imprint (I fondly recognize Mr. Nectaly Vela and the Guardian Newspaper), Reports to the Board of Trustees, Press Releases and so much more for all of us to engage our constituents. Thank you and keep up your good work – grow with UB!
To our Vice President, Dr. Mariot Simon, who leads the academic effort at UB, thanks for your creativity, steadfastness and leadership. Much has been achieved under your watch. To those in the President’s Office, Ms. Denise Robinson, Senior Administrative Officer, thank you for your 24/7 steady, thoughtful support. It is difficult to imagine my Presidency at UB without your shoulders on the wheel. The UB and its Board of Trustees recognize your special commitment and knowledge. To my former Secretary, Ms. Gina, and Mrs Dez, Ms. Sabela, our Housekeeper and one of our Drivers, Mr. Eric Gongora and my personal housekeeper, Ms. Felicita, all a special thank you.
To all our Deans, Chairs and Faculty, I have always said that our work is in the Faculties, the engine room of the University. Thank you for keeping us mission-focused, despite all the challenges of change.
To my dear Students, our Student Government Leaders, past and present, it was a pleasure working with you so as to keep the UB student-centered. There will be no University without you, as I have always said.
To the past Board of Trustees, led by Chairman Mr. G.A. Harrison Pilgrim (and its Search Committee) for giving me the opportunity to lead this young University since February 2017 and expressing confidence in my leadership, thank you. It would not have begun without your leadership. To the current Board of Trustees and its Chairman, Mr. Anthony Sylvestre and its Vice Chairman, Major Jones, thanks for your support and overseeing the final six months of my UB journey to a successful close.
I have made many new friends in Belize, in Mango Street, Belmopan, with the Anglican Church in Belize, Bishop Wright of St John’s Cathedral in Belize City, where I was installed on July 27, 2017 as the 7th President of UB; and with Rev. Liz Tulloch of St. Ann’s Anglican Church in Belmopan. In PACT, TASA, CZMAI, where I served on their Boards; you will always be remembered for your welcome, kindness and generosity as well as the learnings that I have achieved in Belize, especially on environmental matters. One of my special moments at UB and in Belize was the award of the Honorary Doctoral degree to Former Governor General, Sir Colville Young, at our Graduation ceremony in Belize City on June 16, 2019. And I do appreciate the service that he has given to UB and to Belize.
As I leave, my colleagues, thanks for the moments of happiness and joy that we shared together. The pandemic has hurt us all but the UB ship is well-poised to navigate these difficult times that are still there. The sacrifices all made should not be forgotten and as I leave, I hope the rewards for this will come your way as the pandemic eases.
From my entire family and especially my daughter, Katyana, a proud alumna of UB, thanks for welcoming us and supporting us in good and difficult times. It has been a memorable journey in Belize. May you all and our University continue to be blessed.
Professor Clement Sankat
7th President, UB
July 30, 2021
Leadership Change at the University of Belize
July 29, 2021
The Board of Trustees of the University of Belize (UB) wishes to announce the following change at the helm of the institution:
After serving for the past four and a half years, the current President, Professor Emeritus, Clement Sankat will demit Office on July 31, 2021.
Dr. Vincent Palacio, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences will take up the mantle as Interim President as of August 1, 2021 to guide the institution while the Search Committee of the Board recruits a new President.
The Board of Trustees and the University community thanks President Sankat, a regionally-renowned academic, for the implementation of the Transformational Plan and his leadership, dedication and contribution to the development of Belize’s National University during his term in Office. Professor Sankat also expresses his appreciation in being given the opportunity to lead and serve the National University.
The Board of Trustees congratulates Dr. Vincent Palacio on being selected to take up leadership of our flagship institution of higher learning. Dr. Palacio is a life-long educator with strong ties to the private and public sector. The University looks forward to his kind and reflective leadership to lead the University into its next chapter of development.
Teaching Modality for the New Academic Year
A Release was Issued Today, July 30, 2021 Updating this Information
The Management of the University of Belize informs the student population and the community that we have been continually monitoring the evolving health situation in the country. The current situation remains fluid and while we have been anxious to return to a state of normalcy we must do so with the utmost caution.
After extensive consultations, it was decided that for Semester I of the new academic year, the University will continue to deliver teaching and learning online. Only laboratory sessions and internships/field experience will be conducted face to face at the University. These sessions will be conducted in strict observance of all health protocols as directed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness of the Government of Belize.
We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves and make changes as necessary. The health and welfare of our students, faculty and staff are of paramount importance to us. We implore students, faculty and staff to protect themselves by getting vaccinated.
The University of Belize Urges Students to take the Vaccine
On Friday, July 30, 2021, the Faculty of Health Sciences hosted a virtual discussion on COVID-19 where they focused on the scientific and clinical basis of the Vaccination. Presenters included Dr. Eric Bradley, Dr. Cecilia Eck and Dr Yenisey Cruz.
Three Deans Appointed Effective August 1, 2021
The President is pleased to announce the appointment of the three Deans of the following Faculties: Faculty of Management and Social Sciences (FMSS), Faculty of Education and Arts (FEA) and Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) – Dr. Vincent Palacio, Dr. Nadine Tun and Dr. Sherlene Enriquez Savery, respectively.
The appointments were confirmed by the UB Board of Trustees on the 1st of July, 2021 and came from recommendations of the Acting Human Resources Director, the relevant search committees chaired by the Vice President and the President. The Deans will serve for a period of five years, effective 1st of August, 2021. All come with significant experiences as each served as Interim Deans in the last academic year 2019-2020.
I ask you to join with me in wishing our three Deans a very successful term in Office and as they provide transformational leadership to take their Faculties and the University to the next level.
6th Binational Seminar Mexico-Belize
The President attended and represented the University of Belize at this virtual meeting of rectors of Central American Universities and the Dominican Republic. The 6th Binational Seminar (Mexico – Belize), was held virtually from June 15 – 17, 2021. The focus of this year’s seminar was on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, education, health and environment in Mexico and Belize. Due to the relevance of this subject, the purpose was to evaluate the impact/consequences of the phenomenon on the various fields in both countries.
CXCIV CSUCA Meeting
The Consejo Superior Universitario Centroamericano (CSUCA) held its 194th business meeting virtually on June 16 and 17, 2021.
The President attended and represented the University of Belize.
UB Hosts a Handing Over Ceremony
On June 28, 2021 the University of Belize hosted a handing over ceremony at the Doctoral Room, FMSS building in Belize City for the donation of books provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The Vice President, Dr. Mariot Simon and Chairman of the UB Board of Trustees, Mr. Anthony Sylvestre, were in attendance and gave their remarks and thank you on behalf of the University. The Chairman of the Board also presented JICA with a certificate of appreciation.
The Importance of Mind Education
On June 18, 2021, the International Youth Fellowship, in collaboration with the University of Belize, hosted “The Importance of Mind Education” virtually.
A Special Presentation was given by Revd Dr. Ock Soo Park – Seoul, South Korea, Founder of the International Youth Fellowship.
The President gave introductory remarks and sincerely hopes that this education continues.
UB Hosts Live Virtual Recruitment
On June 30, 2021, the University of Belize hosted a live virtual recruitment event on Facebook where various representatives from the different departments and Faculties gave brief presentations to prospective students. A presentation was also given by the Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
The President gave his remarks at the beginning of this event as we need to focus on our enrollment for the new academic year.
TASA/Blue Finance Proposes to UB on Leasing the Calabash Caye Facilities
This is a work in progress and will be addressed by our Board of Trustees.
Paying Attention to Our Student Application Numbers for the New Academic Year
I urge all to be great Ambassadors for UB in this process of encouraging student applications.
Vacancies at the University of Belize
Academic Calendar 2021-22 from the Registrar
The 2021-22 Academic Calendar can be viewed and downloaded now at: https://registration.ub.edu.bz/search.cfm
The Board of Trustees Approved (July 23, 2021) a Restructured ERI as Shown in the Organogram Below
Faculty Workload Policy Follow Up that Went to the Board of Trustees on July 14, 2021
UB Senior Managers Bid Professor Sankat a Farewell Today
Thank you, Vince, Denise, Mariot, Deans, Directors, for the touching words expressed from all of you, my friends.
Thank you, once more!
(Extracts from my last Board Meeting)
We live in a time of great unpredictability and the National University must navigate this on a daily basis, as we have done, ensuring our students are receiving the Education and Training that they have enrolled for, that our income and expenditure are closely monitored and we maintain a positive balance, that our employees continue to deliver on the priorities of our mission, and that they may be encouraged, rewarded and recognized as our circumstances allow us in these unprecedented times. We must continue to summon the will to lead and manage the institution in the wholesomeness of its parts, putting UB first.
My thanks once more to the former Chairman and the Board of Trustees for giving me such a unique opportunity to have served the University of Belize. I thank the Chairman and the current Board for their continued support of the President and his Senior Management, the latter in whom I have built considerable confidence and trust – Vice President, Directors of Finance and Human Resources. Nothing that was achieved during my tenure would have been accomplished without the steadfast support of all our Directors, Deans, Chairs, Faculty and Staff. I pay a special thank you to the Vice President, my Administrative Officer for her devotion to duty and full support as I do for the Director of Physical Plant and Facilities and those in Institutional Advancement and Marketing and Communications. To the many new friends in Belize far and wide, these friendships will remain despite the distance. Belize has been an experience that cannot be erased and thanks to the many who supported me.
‘Til we meet again!
Professor Clement Sankat
July 30, 2021