Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer
PASSLEY GARDENS, Portland:
THE EFFORTS of Dr Mary Nichols have not gone unnoticed as her tenure as acting president of the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) at Passley Gardens in Portland has been extended.
Unlike her predecessor, Dr Victor Watt, whose tenure lasted for only one year after the Ministry of Education did not extend his contract, Nichols has found favour in the eyes of her superiors and will remain at the helm until the post of president of that institution is filled.
"It has been a challenging year. I will not blow my own trumpet," Nichols said. "However, the transformation process at CASE has started and administrators have been supportive. Without their input and support, our achievements would have been stifled. It is good to see all the negative publicity becoming a thing of the past, and the community, residents, stakeholders, civil society groups, and non-government agencies have thrown their support behind us."
The president explained that being decisive and proactive, and with support and commitment from her administrative staff, the process has started, and given time, CASE would become the most sought after institution in the Caribbean, with the reality of achieving university status.
TRAINING YOUTH FOR EXCELLENCE
"My major function and achievement at CASE was to ensure that the core business at the college, which is training young people to become excellent, becomes a reality. We have over 600 applicants and we have assessed 400-plus students. Of that number, 230 were matriculated," Nichols said.
"On the other hand, a significant number have six to eight subjects - and even one student has 10 passes - but they are without mathematics. However, we prefer for them to be here in a structured programme, while they wait to re-sit mathematics in January, and that's the decision that we took."
Nichols' tenure of one year ended in August. However, it was extended as the vacancy which resulted from the resignation of president, Dr Paul Ivey, in 2009, is yet to be filled.
The acting president, although rather reserved about her ambitions, admitted that assuming the top post is something that she has given much thought in light of her success and the overwhelming support from administrators, students, and the community thus far.