The UWI, Mona Campus_Annual Report 2021-2022

did not have the ready cash, we could generate the goodwill and respect and thus gain resources for those we had under our care. This reinforces my view of the University as being a cradle for those who come here for an education. This is an important philosophy to internalise in our rebuilding of futures. The University of the West Indies has become an anchor in the floating tide of our fortunes as a nation and as a region. The anchor that is there is embodied in the theme of the Strategic Plan, it is captured in our vision of constantly Revitalising Caribbean Development, referring not just to financial development but to cultural, social, and spiritual development. It means giving windows of opportunities to those who want to make that upward mobility and want to revitalise where they are

coming from to where they can take their families and communities. The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, by its longevity of service, its staying power, and its capacity to respond over many decades of rising and falling fortunes, is a key piston in the societal engine that is necessary for revolutions of further change. I am happy to end this message by saying that despite the many challenges experienced, the staff support on the Campus and the sound partnerships that we rekindled or forged, have left us in a more confident financial and mental space to continue the rebuilding of a University fit to take on the present and deal with the future.

almost 88% two days after the first run, and we have continued to use this method. Our potential students found that they could revisit the information and share it, so this has now become a fixture in our continuous advertising engagement. This is but one example of how we completely changed our admissions exercise to facilitate ACCESS, and that is what kept our numbers from falling more dramatically. Before COVID we had approximately 19,000 students now we have 15,500, but the decrease was gradual, from 19K to 17K to 16K to 15K over four challenging years. The Orange Economy was less impacted from where we stood, but it was obvious in the wider community that public events were prohibited. This impact was felt on a more societal plain, and directly hit the pockets of those who made a living through entertainment and culture. Because of this, we decided to put some focus on the Orange Economy as a new dimension in our academic and outreach portfolio, expanding partnerships with film and entertainment companies and stimulating student participation, additional course content, and internships in this sphere. We maintained our track record in supporting Sustainable Development projects and goals, as the concept of sustainability has long seeped into our veins. We changed our Health Centre processes to serve not only the Campus but the wider community of Jamaica. There is no going back on some of the innovations we have put into place, like increasing counselling through telepsychology or training more counsellors for active interventions during crises. As a Campus, we collectively “pivoted”, a word that has become synonymous with the COVID experience, like a new dance step we have all come to learn. The wisdom that I gained from this second full year of COVID, was that the University has to make itself continuously relevant to the circumstances in which it finds itself. As Principal, one is literally charting a course in the unknown, a bit like the blind leading the blind, but with the faith that we are taking ourselves to a better place. We are also assured that we have a storehouse of sound partnerships, capabilities, and knowledge to do so. One example serves to illustrate this point of relevance and circumstance; the challenge of feeding students under our watch in Halls of Residence during COVID. This was something we had never budgeted for, but we were able to find partners in the private sector who ran bakeries and chicken companies and the like, who provided us with donations. While we

reduced rent to keep commercial operations in the space open, while at the same time tapping into other sources of funding to try and make things work. We were cutting our expenses while tailoring the income that was still forthcoming. I think that the greatest success, was the reduction in our expenditure while continuing to offer services. We had to reallocate within the University, and within the Campus setting, while keeping as our yardstick our priority of the safety of our population. Second, we had to be able to teach the way we used to teach, or teach in a way that we could still maintain our primary focus. This meant ensuring access of courses, material, and lecturers for our students wherever they were. Research actually came after, when it dawned on us that we could get some research mileage out of COVID, as this offered a research platform for us to share globally, as well as regionally and at home. We responded to this by researching not only health issues, but social and economic implications; this research is now being published internationally. Yet, in all of this, I consider it one of our greatest successes that we did not have to layoff fulltime staff or send anyone home for lack of funds to pay them. This is not to say that we were not definitely impacted financially by COVID both in terms of what we had to spend as well as what we could collect. We had to rethink how we used the existing resources and redeploy these differently. As a result, we found that we actually did better under the two COVID years than the two years before, as the Financial Statements in this Report show. The area of Education is typically affected by social crises. In periods of high unemployment, interestingly, more persons seek to improve their educational qualification. With COVID, the impact by 2021 was due to an unprecedented economic downturn, psychological fears of an uncertain future, and a declining admission trend. We put on our thinking caps and came up with new ideas of how to attract students. In a pre-COVID era we used to go from school to school, drive around in buses and carry all types of paraphernalia trying to promote the University. With an easily spreading virus this was not possible, so we created a completely online advertisement for our educational product. Each Faculty presented itself in 15 minutes on “The UWI For YOU Expo” YouTube social media platform. We have the data which show that our applications went up

Despite the many challenges experienced, the staff support on the Campus and the sound partnerships that we rekindled or forged, have left us in a more confident financial and mental space to continue the rebuilding of a University fit to take on the present and deal with the future. “



UWI Mona Annual Report 2021 - 2022

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