A Smart Campus for the 21st Century
The Cave Hill Campus administration is pushing ahead with plans to reposition the university to meet the needs of the 21st century.
 
On Wednesday 13 September 2017, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI, Cave Hill, Professor Eudine Barriteau engaged the campus community at her third Town Hall-styled meeting in which faculty and staff were apprised of a reconceptualization of the campus’ strategic development and how it conforms to the UWI’s Triple A Strategic Plan 2017-22 to promote Access, Alignment and Agility. She outlined Cave Hill’s Smart Campus Initiative as the underpinning of efforts to adhere to the new strategy being pursued during the university’s current five year academic cycle.
 
Alluding to previously defined campus objectives of creating a graduate in each household and, subsequently, creating knowledge households, Barriteau said the Smart Campus initiative built on these. She noted that changing times necessitated adjustments given that information technology would and should not only create knowledge households, but be harnessed to transform all services, facilities, administrative procedures and most importantly pedagogical strategies.
 
She explained: “The Smart Campus initiative is a major reorientation of the campus’ model of delivering higher education goods (ie, degrees and certificates and services (such as) research, expert advice and consultancies) in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. From 1963 to 2016, we have not substantially rethought the model by which we deliver our goods and services to meet human resource needs in Barbados and the region.
 
“Positive and challenging changes in our external and internal environments have forced us to confront the lesson of these changes, to embrace them and to undertake a radical restructuring of the campus’ approach to ensure our relevance and survival deep into the 21st century.”
 
She highlighted reduced financial support, increased competition and declining intake among the current challenges and noted that the Smart Campus initiative emphasizes innovation in facilities design and management, curriculum reform and the continuous enhancement of learning environment and administrative processes. Also earmarked is the pursuit of revenue-earning strategies, such as technology-based initiatives that target nearby Warrens as a Smart City for the roll-out of entrepreneurial activities.
 
Professor Barriteau explained that the overall reconceptualization plan would be implemented on a phased basis, with focus in the short term on creating visibility and securing campus and national and regional buy-in.
 
She stressed that the Campus needed to be agile, responsive, offer cutting edge programming and services across all faculties, centres and units, and employ a variety of modalities of delivery.
 
“The main focus is revolutionizing the education system. We will do so through diversification of content and widespread application of information technology while maintaining vigilance over investment, quality assurance and student centredness. We will further emphasize smart learning, using technology to enhance the student experience, to reach a wider audience, and to achieve better communication,” she noted.
 
The principal stated that many of the processes that are currently underway would act as building blocks for the Smart Campus initiative, such as greater emphasis on energy efficiency, the redesign and infrastructural development of the Faculty of Science and Technology and the recently introduced BSc in Software Engineering.
 
She also pointed to the ongoing emphasis on e-learning and seeking to deliver and expand online learning to students, outfitting the Campus to create smart classrooms, and the transformation of learning spaces in the Sydney Martin library to create learning commons in recognition of the evolution of the use of libraries and the student centred styles of learning.
 
A Smart Campus coordinator has already been appointed and a task force will also be established to move the process forward.

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