From the President’s Desk – Volume 37 – August – December 2021

Interim VP | Interim Dean FST | Interim FST Chair

The University of Belize made the following interim appointments on October 20, 2021:

  • Sherlene Enriquez Savery, as Interim Vice President;
  • Apolonio Aguilar as Interim Dean, FST, and;
  • Karen Bautista as Interim Chair of the Science Department, FST.

We wish them all the best in these capacities.



UB Receives Donation of Books from Dr. Carla Barnett

The University of Belize is the recipient of a generous book donation from Dr. Carla Barnett, recently appointed Secretary General for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Dr. Barnett is widely known in Belize and the Caribbean, having held leadership positions in various regional institutions throughout the Caribbean. These books are from her personal collection and represent the scope and breadth of Dr. Barnett’s scholarship and interests. They are a showcase of the profound dedication and quest for knowledge that no doubt has propelled her to some of the highest leadership positions in the region. These books will serve as an invaluable source of reference for students and researchers and will be a great addition to the University of Belize’s Library.

Interim President, Dr. Vincent Palacio and Chair of the Faculty of Management & Social Sciences, Dr. Bernard Watler, received the donation on behalf of the University.


Release of the 2021 Issue of ComePose

ComePose, the English Department’s creative writing blog for University of Belize students, 2021 issue was released Friday, August 27th in a virtual launch party via Google Meet.  The issue included 11 new writers from all four Faculties.

Here’s the link to the ComePose website, which also contains the 8 previously published works from our inaugural, 2019 issue:



UB and UT Tyler Re-defined Partnership

On August 12, 2021, the University of Belize met with Dr. Wesley Hickey, University of Texas at Tyler Representative, to discuss how UB and Tyler can redefine their partnership and what areas of focus would be beneficial for both students and lecturers at UB. In attendance and representing the University of Belize was Interim President, Dr. Vincent Palacio, along with Faculty of Education and Arts Internship Coordinator, Dr. Maxine McKay.


The University of Belize and Tyler University signed a memorandum of understanding in 2019 and through that MOU, partnerships have been accessible since Tyler has funds allocated to assist with education. The funds have been made available through the CARSI grant which was designed to support the improvement of pre-service and early service teaching in schools in Belize through better instructional coaching by field supervisors and principals. There is an emphasis on Stann Creek and Toledo, but we hope the rubric and trainings will be adopted countrywide.


There were discussions on how the University of Texas at Tyler can assist the University of Belize with improving teacher preparation, to assist teachers who are struggling in areas of instruction, planning, and assessment. The possibility of improving field supervisors was also discussed, along with placing more focus on mentorship and coaching rather than just evaluation of the interns. One of the items of discussion also included the development of partnership in research between Tyler and UB, as well as the introduction of a Masters in Curriculum. Tyler will continue support training needed in areas of education and it looks forward to making student and teachers exchange possible and to bringing in more Masters Programs that can aid in Belize’s development.


Lecturer and Students Participate in the Round Table Talk

Ms. April Martinez and her History students participated in the Round Table Talk hosted by the Heritage Education Network Belize on August 4, 2021.

The discussion was entitled, “Let’s Talk Emancipation – Future Generations, Changing Perspectives” and was held in collaboration with the Institute for Social & Cultural Research and the National Institute of Culture and History as part of the Emancipation Day celebrations. UB is proud of our History Students.


UB Holds 2nd COVID-19 Forum

On August 20, 2021, the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences hosted the 2nd Forum in the COVID-19 series: entitled “The Social Dimension”. The Forum included presentations from: Shahira Muschamp – “How is COVID-19 Impacting Education”; Javier Sabido – “The Rural Experience”; Christopher Tapia – “COVID and Lockdowns: The Youth Perspective”; and Arnold Guy – “Navigating the Pandemic While Living with a Long-term Condition”. Ms. Melanie Smith, FMSS Sociologist moderated the session.





UB President Meets with Staff

On August 18, 2021 the President had a meet and greet with the Staff on the Belmopan Campus and thanked them for the services they provide on behalf of the University. The staff voiced their concerns and questions. It was well received; refreshment was provided courtesy of the President’s Office.


UB President Tours Central Farm Campus

On August 18, 2021, the President visited the Central Farm Campus and had a meet and greet with the Faculty and Staff during their lunch break. Thereafter, the President toured the Central Farm campus with the Campus Director, Mrs. Zoe Zetina.


The Zacharias Palacio-Mira – UB Scholarship

 On August 18, 2021 the University of Belize (UB) and the Belmopan City Council (BMPCITCO) established a Financial Aid Program named the Zacharias Palacio-Mira – UB Scholarship.

The UB and the BMPCITCO are committed to the education of young Belizeans at the highest center of learning to achieve their greatest potential and contribute to the growing demands and needs of Belize.

A total of 58 students were awarded under this scholarship program.


Meeting with Minister Anthony Mahler, C.E.O. Mrs. Nicole Solano and BTB Director Evan Tillett

Discussions at the meeting were focused on UB’s involvement in the process for updating the Sustainable Tourism Development Master Plan.   Also discussed was the development of a Tourism Training Institute.    The President and Mr. Kantun from the Institutional Advancement Office continue to engage with the BTB representatives on these two projects.


Meeting with Mrs. Cecilia Smith from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science & Technology and Dr. Frieda Palma from UB’s ODL

The discussion at this meeting highlighted the key E-Learning Professional Development Courses offered at the University of Belize to build capacity in the E-Learning environment using a tiered approach:

  • Developing A Web-Enhanced Course
  • Developing A Blended Course
  • Developing an online Course


Meeting with C.E.O. Rolando Zetina  – Ministry of Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform

The issues discussed at this meeting focussed on the following:

  • Conduct a Training Needs Assessment for the Public Service
  • Support for the Public Sector Management Program, and the Associate Degree in Business Studies for Working people
  • Need for a Database of expertise that exist at the University to provide training to public officers when needed.


Meeting with CEO Dr. Osmond Martinez – Ministry of Economic Development

 Discussions held focused on the following areas:

  • Climate Change Financing Unit
  • Digitization
  • Science and Technology
    • Engineering Programs
    • Data Science
    • Research and Development


 Virginia Commonwealth University

Meeting with Dr. Jill Blondin, Global Education Office

This meeting was initiated by Ambassador Lynn Young and the areas of discussions were:

  • Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • Social Work
  • Education (teacher training)
  • Biological Sciences
  • Sociology
  • Psychology

Coming out of the discussions, a draft MOU is being considered for signing which will engage the two Universities in collaboration in the above mentioned areas.


8th Silvaana Udz Lecture

On October 5, 2021, the University of Belize, in collaboration with the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), hosted the 8th Annual Silvaana Udz Lekcha. This year, the Lecturer was UB’s own, Mr. Ubaldimir Guerra. The lecture was held virtually via Zoom and Facebook live.

The event was co-hosted by Ms. Karla Pinelo and Mr. Rolando Cocom.






UB Hosts Its Second Virtual Graduation

The University of Belize hosted its twenty-eight Commencement Ceremony on October 23, 2021, where it certified 1,000 graduates at the certificate, diploma, associates, bachelors and masters levels: Bachelor’s 445 | Associate’s 491 | Certificate 24 | Diploma 7 | Master’s 33

The University celebrated this milestone, with the keynote address delivered by the Hon. Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology.

Graduates in the undergraduate programs were recognized with the following academic honors:

8 Summa Cum Laude | 54 Magna Cum Laude | 72 Cum Laude


Interim President as Keynote Speaker for Garifuna Settlement Day Celebrations

The Interim President of the University of Belize was the Keynote Speaker at the Garifuna Settlement Day Ceremony held in Dangriga Town on November 19, 2021.


14th Marketing Expo

The 14th Annual Marketing Expo and 2nd Virtual Expo was held on Friday, November 26, 2021 under the theme “Innovative, Interactive, Breakthrough Initiatives” featuring 36 marketing groups.

The virtual Expo can be viewed on the UB Facebook Page.




Senior Managers Retreat

The University of Belize hosted a virtual retreat for Senior Managers on 18th November.

The facilitator of this event was Dr. Martin Cuellar, Dean of Student Affairs.




Launch of UB’s Climate Smart Agriculture Program

On October 21, 2021, the University of Belize hosted a Virtual Program Launch for its Associate Degree in Climate Smart Agriculture.

This venture was supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology, as well as the SAGE Partnership.




Engineering Building Update

The first phase of the Engineering Project has started with the tender process where a total of seven Contractors have been selected using selective tendering. Once a Contractor has been selected, the work should commence in the second week of January 2022. All works are scheduled to be completed by the end of June 2022, given that there are no delays.


Training for the Ministry of National Defence & Border Security

The University of Belize upon a request from the Ministry of National Defence & Border Security developed a program proposal for a Professional Development Certificate in Writing and Communication Skills for Security Forces. This program proposal was developed by Mrs. Lisa Ramirez and Ms. Lisa Kile in the Faculty of Education & Arts. The course is scheduled as two 8-week sessions and will be delivered virtually. UB is anticipating enrollment of 50 participants.


APAMO Agreement Signing

On Thursday, December 2, 2021, the University of Belize and the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) signed an MOU for the strengthening of inter-institutional relationships between the two organizations.


APAMO, the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations, is Belize’s leading network of non-governmental conservation organizations that seeks to influence and encourage the Belizean society to safeguard the integrity and diversity of Belize’s protected areas system and to ensure that any use of Belize’s natural resources is sustainable.


Partnership with Autism Belize and Therapy Adventures

The University of Belize and Mrs. Christy Almeida from the Autism Belize in partnership with Therapy Adventures met regarding possible collaboration with UB.  Possible opportunities identified to benefit both entities are as follows:

  • UB to provide the use of three rooms where UB students can work with Certified Therapists to earn practical Internship hours for Social work students.
  • Service hours accumulated for nurses on scholarships
  • Student-teacher exposure to different careers in special education
  • Collaboration with universities affiliated with Therapy Adventures for scholarships
  • Capacity building for faculty members – Special Education Development of Special education programs


Signing of the Following Erasmus Agreements for Student and Staff Mobility

The University of Valladolid and the University of Belize re-established partnerships for Students, Staff and Faculty exchanges for the year 2020-2023.

The University College Copenhagen, Denmark and the University of Belize signed an Erasmus+ Agreement for the years 2020-2023 for exchanges with Students and/or Staff between the two universities to start in the coming Academic Year.


Development of Climate Risk Information System for IDB

UB was single sourced for this project which comes out of the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing’s Climate Vulnerability Reduction Program, because of its unique position as a higher education institution with a cadre of specialized faculty members and student researchers.  The Office of Institutional Advancement is working closely with the Lead Consultant, Dr. Kieran Ryan from the Faculty of Science & Technology in carrying out this project.


The FMSS Women Empowerment Initiative

On Friday, November 26, 2021 the Convention & Events Management Class hosted a “Women Rise, You Are Worthy” event at the UB Audio/ Visual Room

The topics presented were:

  1. Woman, rise above low self-esteem!
  2. Woman, rise above lack of formal education!
  3. Woman, rise above emotional trauma and grief!


Congratulations Dr. Thisbe Lucas-Usher!

Dr. Thisbe Lucas-Usher has earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Education Degree from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados.


The title of her dissertation was “Mixed Methods Inquiry into Belizean Teachers’ and Principals’ Perceptions of Teacher Supervision and The Influence of an Adapted Teacher Supervision Model on Primary Teachers’ Instructional Practices.”


Recent Faculty Research Publications

Deserie Avila

  1. Opportunities and Challenges at The Margins of Seaborne Tourism by: Deserie Avila and Michael J. Pisani – Opportunities and Challenges at the Margins of Seaborne Tourism | Emerald Insight

Cindy Thompson 

  1. The University of Belize Strategy for Coping with COVID-19 by Cindy Thompson – MCR – The University of Belize Strategy for Coping with COVID-19 (
  2. Investigating the Effect of Diplomatic Representation on Trade: A Case Study of Croatia by: Danijel Mlinaric (University of Zagreb, Croatia), Hrvoje Josic (University of Zagreb, Croatia), and Cindy Thompson (University of Belize, Belize) –   Investigating the Effect of Diplomatic Representation on Trade: A Case Study of Croatia: Business & Management Book Chapter | IGI Global (

Jair Valladarez

  1. Tropical Subterranean Ecosystems in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize: A Review of Aquatic Biodiversity and Their Ecological Aspects by: Luis M. Mejía-Ortíz, Peter Sprouse, Juan C. Tejeda-Mazariegos, Jair Valladarez, Oscar Frausto-Martínez, Alejandro L. Collantes-Chavez-Costa, Guillermo Ruíz-Cancino and German Yáñez-  Tropical Subterranean Ecosystems in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize: A Review of Aquatic Biodiversity and Their Ecological Aspects | IntechOpen

2.  Management of POPs: A Caribbean Perspective by Santos D. Chicas, Jair G. Valladarez, Abel A. Carrias, Kiyoshi Omine, and V. Sivasankar –  Management of POPs: A Caribbean Perspective |



Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

My warmest wishes to you and your family as we enter 2022!


Dr. Vincent Palacio
Interim President



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