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Record number of UWI PhD graduates in 2009 - Figures attributed to more stringent measures at the university

Published:Friday | January 29, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Philip Hamilton, Gleaner Writer

The Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is reporting that last year it graduated its largest batch of doctoral candidates in any one year.

Forty-eight persons collected PhD degrees at the institution's last graduation exercise, 44 of them Jamaicans. The others came from St Lucia, St Kitts-Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago.

Data from the UWI Office of Graduate Studies and Research show that the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences accounted for the largest number of PhD graduates, followed by the Faculty of Humanities and Education with 14.

The Mona campus has graduated 167 PhD candidates over the last six years. In 2006-2007, a total of 30 students graduated, surpassing the previous record in any one year.

The majority of PhD graduates are generally employed in tertiary education, while others are employed in industry, government agencies, as well as various areas of research or the administration of tertiary institutions. Of the recent batch of graduates, about 80 per cent is employed at institutions of higher learning, with 38 of these in tertiary institutions.

Checks by The Gleaner to ascertain the factors behind last year's record number of PhD graduates showed that the University had undertaken several measures to increase its output of doctoral graduates. These measures included aggressive follow-up with examiners for reports on theses, and with faculties for the arrangement of oral exams, reminding students about deadlines for submitting theses, improved communication with supervisors, and closer involvement with the supervision process.

Additionally, during the past year, the campus undertook major work to re-tool the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. One significant measure involved the expansion of its staff complement and structure, thus allowing greater attention to be paid to qualitative areas of operation.

philip.hamilton@gleanerjm.com

The Mona campus has graduated 167 PhD candidates over the last six years. In 2006-2007, a total of 30 students graduated, surpassing the previous record in any one year.