Mon | May 21, 2018

University bulletin

Published:Sunday | July 18, 2010 | 12:00 AM

  • NCU Bulletin - Faculty member receives Fulbright Scholarship

Charlene Lee Sharpe, chair of the Department of History, Geography and the Social Sciences at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), is a recipient of the Latin America Scholarship Program of American Universities (LASPAU) Fulbright Scholarship 2010-12.

In the next academic year, she will pursue her doctoral studies at the state university of New Jersey - Rutgers. Sharpe's PhD thesis in natural resource management, which focuses on food security disaster management and sustainable agriculture, may help to address the challenges associated with deteriorating natural and socio-economic resources.

Sharpe's academic record boasts a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and the Social Sciences, a Master of Science degree in Natural Sciences (to be conferred later this year) and a Master of Science in Government (international relations and public administration).

Sharpe is involved in environmental matters that pertain to communities and the country. "I am particularly interested in the policy development and implementation process as this seems to be the area of greatest frustration and need within my society. Professionally, I aim at becoming a university professor and researcher with practical expertise in cutting-edge disaster risk-management competence and skills which will benefit not just my university but my country," she said.

The Fulbright Academic Exchange Program was established by Congress in 1946 to foster cultural unity between the United States and other countries. The programme is sponsored by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

  • UTech Focus - Faculty of Science and Sport launched

The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) on Wednesday, June on 23, held the official launch of its Faculty of Science and Sport and the graduation exercise for the first cohort of the Master of Science in Physical Education and Sport offered jointly with the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport. The dual event was held at the university's Papine campus.

Edward Shakes, principal, G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, in his remarks noted that "raw talent is not enough to guarantee success", adding that "the application of science and technology and the training of recreational professionals is, therefore, welcome for the sustainable development of sport for national development in Jamaica at this time".

Dr Colin Gyles, acting dean, provided a detailed overview of the vision and structure of the faculty. He said that "our vision is to foster science and sport as drivers of national development", noting that "through science we hope to create new knowledge that will spawn innovation and result in the development of new industries to create employment and a better way of life for our people".

To achieve this vision, the faculty has established three schools and a centre :

  • School of Natural and Applied Sciences which offers the Bachelor of Science in Science and Education with majors in biology and chemistry, biology and mathematics, biology and physics, mathematics and chemistry, mathematics and physics and physics and chemistry. The school also offers a new Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Science with majors in industrial and analytical chemistry, environmental science and forensic chemistry.
  • School of Mathematics and Statistics which offers the new Bachelor of Science in Applied Statistics with majors in social and economic statistics and environmental statistics. The school will continue to offer science and mathematics modules in all courses of study in all faculties across the university.
  • The Caribbean School of Sport Sciences offers the Bachelor of Science in Sports Science specialising in sport coaching, sports management, sports psychology and athletic training, making it the Caribbean's hub for high quality sports education and training and the Master of Science in Physical Education and Sport. The school will also have responsibility for the management and delivery of the more than 20 sports electives offered to UTech students.
  • The Centre for Science-based Research, Entrepreneurship and Continuing Studies will consolidate activities in research, entrepreneurship, continuing studies and delivery of specialised multidisciplinary science-based service modules.

The highlight of the evening's ceremony was the keynote presentation by Prof Yannis Pitsiladis, lecturer and researcher in the Faculty of Biomedical Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom, who presented the findings of his ongoing collaborative research examining why Jamaicans and East Africans run so fast. He said that the research which began a decade ago set out to determine whether genetics can explain the phenomenon. He disclosed that to date the genetic data gathered from the sample of East African and Jamaican world-class athletes has found "no direct genetic evidence" to explain their superior athletic prowess.

What has been found, however, among the research sample, are a number of socio-economic and environmental factors which contribute to the sprinting phenomenon. Among them are:

  • Established traditions and role models
  • Cultural practices
  • Economic and financial reasons
  • Geographical advantages (for example all the East Africans in the sample lived at high altitudes)
  • Anatomical advantages (low body mass)

Prof Pitsiladis concluded, however, that genes are important, emphasising that the combination of "nature and nurture" are important factors in understanding dominance in athleticism. Prof Pitsiladis continues to do collaborative research with UTech and the University of the West Indies on the subject, in an attempt to get closer to understanding what makes the perfect athlete.