Sun | May 19, 2019

Gleaner Editors’ Forum | UWI confident of institutional re-accreditation

Published:Tuesday | November 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue/Senior Gleaner Writer
Dr Camille Bell-Hutchinson

Campus Registrar at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Dr Camille Bell-Hutchinson, is confident that the institution will be approved for institutional re-accreditation despite the rigorous systems and standards of the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ).

Speaking at a Gleaner Editors' Forum last Thursday, Bell-Hutchinson declared that the university is ready to meet the standards required by the UCJ for institutional re-accreditation.

"They have eight standards, and those standards include teaching and learning, infrastructure, security, and IT (information technology)," said Bell-Hutchinson.

"Essentially, it is how we meet those standards. We were accredited in 2012, and when we had that accreditation, there were some recommendations made by UCJ as to how we maintain it. You have to submit a document which speaks to how you have been working on the areas of concern that it raised," she added.

Bell-Hutchinson noted that the UCJ will probe those areas of concern, examining upgrades that have been done, and UWI has been doing that once every year since 2012.

She said that the mid-cycle review in 2016 was like a full-cycle review as on each visit, the team from the UCJ reviews how recommendations and past review issues were handled.




"This one (February 2019) will measure us anew to see how we have managed over the seven years to meet their standards. I think they introduced one new standard, integrity, that we had to speak to. So it is very clearly defined, and they ask specific questions. Under each standard, there is a line item to which we have to respond," said Bell-Hutchinson.

She told the forum that the UCJ accreditation was less about the 'ticks' the institution gets and more about how The UWI deals with the questions raised.

"We had to be very open and very transparent about what our weaknesses are, what our strengths are, what we believe our challenges are, and how we plan to meet those. And that's what it's all about. So, we submitted our self-study in September, and the team is to visit us in February, and these are all external to the university," noted Bell-Hutchinson.

"We feel ready for the task, and we think it will be OK. So I don't think there is anything that concerns us because we have had to be very open in our self-study. We have talked about our security challenges, our financial challenges, where we could do better in teaching and learning, and our students' assessment of learning. We feel that with respect to the standards that we have been asked to respond to, we are in a good position to be re-accredited, and that is what we look forward to."