New head of UWI economics department vows to make great impact in research
When the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, opens its gates tomorrow, Professor David Tennant will be the new person sitting in the big chair in the Department of Economics, housed at the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Tennant's appointment as head of the department took effect on August 1. He replaces Dr Damien King.
"I am honoured and humbled to lead the department. I am also excited for the opportunity to work with the potential that we have there," Tennant told The Sunday Gleaner.
"I want to work with my colleagues and build on the strong foundation. I want to ensure that the department remains a source of sound information to guide policy discourse and also extend the frontier of knowledge."
The academic, who has been lecturing at UWI since 2002, said the department will have a four-pronged vision which will guide how it operates over the next few years.
"Our key objectives in the department are to be research driven, student-centred, visible and impactful, and be highly motivated," he stated.
Recognising the concerted efforts in the government to advance growth for the country, Tennant revealed that research will be done on issues that both facilitate and impede economic growth.
He stated, "We are going to examine both the economic causes and impacts of things such as crime, financial and health crises, among other things."
He noted that he recognised the role of the department he leads in informing public discourse and debate on matters relating to the economy.
"Moving forward, we intend to be proactive in our engagement with the public and media. Our interventions will be meaningful and ensure that they are informed by the research we have conducted and the experience that we have," Tennant stated.
The new head said the department will organise public lectures and seminars at timely junctures to facilitate this engagement.
PASSION FOR RESEARCH
Tennant is passionate about research and hopes to use it as the basis to work with governments across the region, and also with regional and international development partners.
The development economics specialist noted that it was through research that the department will have the greatest impact on Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region.
The professor, who hails from St Ann, said the research done by the department will also help to bolster engagements with students.
He shared that his department will be looking into other issues such sports, and the potential economic implications of the marijuana industry.
Tennant noted that the economic meltdown in the 1996, while he was employed in the financial regulations division at the Ministry of Finance, led him to develop a personal interest in economic growth and poverty alleviation, with a special passion for financial institutions and how they can be used to spur economic growth and development.