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Earth Today | High praise for UWI principal to receive national honours

Published:Thursday | September 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Professor Dale Webber
Eleanor Jones
Emma Lewis

WITH NEWS of his impending national award, Professor Dale Webber, principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, has won the praise of colleagues for his decades-long contribution to conservation.

"It is a joy to see recognition of an outstanding environmental scientist. Professor Webber has a fine record of research, teaching and application of marine sciences. He has also provided sound leadership to the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) through a protracted period of transition and challenge," noted Eleanor Jones, head of Environmental Solutions Limited.

Webber has had an outstanding career in coastal ecology and environmental management, together with years of influencing young minds through his career as an educator and researcher. He will receive the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander for outstanding contribution to environmental conservation next month.

"More recently, his academic and administrative accom-plishments in many spheres have led to his appointment as principal of the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies. I am proud of his work as an environmental professional trying to make a difference to the quality of life," added Jones, who is herself to be honoured next month for developing environmental management and civic development with the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Officer.


Deserves recognition


Independent blogger and environmental advocate Emma Lewis, who, like Jones, serves with Webber on the board of the EFJ, said there is no question of his deserving the recognition.

"Professor Webber's national honour is richly deserved. His leadership, tempered with great kindness and understanding, is deeply appreciated by all at EFJ. I truly respect the tremendous depth of his environmental wisdom, and I warmly congratulate him on his award," she told The Gleaner.

Webber joined the UWI team in 1989 as warden of the Mona campus' Taylor Hall (of residence) before becoming a lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences two years later. He was promoted to senior lecturer in 2003 and then to professor in 2010.

From 1992 to 2001, he was the assistant director for the Centre for Marine Sciences at Mona, and he returned as director from 2005 to 2015. Between 2003 and 2007, he was head of the Department of Life Sciences.

He has, too, held the Grace-Kennedy's James Moss-Solomon Senior. Chair in Environmental Management from 2010 to 2015 and was, during that time, involved in an especially important project to initiate, manage and facilitate a public-consultation process on defining a boundary for the biodiversity-rich and ecologically sensitive Cockpit Country.

In 2015, Webber was appointed pro vice-chancellor for graduate studies, with his portfolio expanding to include research a year later, all the while serving on the boards of several entities, including the EFJ.

Together with having supervised more than 60 graduate students, Webber has produced five book chapters and 35 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has written more than 20 technical reports for Caribbean governments.