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Meet the Faculty

A League of Her Own

Dr. Halimah DeShong came into this world with a literal burst of energy.  She was born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the same day that the La Soufriere volcano last erupted. It is therefore no surprise that passion and enthusiasm characterise everything that Dr. DeShong is and does. She describes herself as being a spirited individual who has a strong love for family, friends and students and an unswerving commitment to social consciousness and social justice.

For us at the UWI, Dr. DeShong is the epitome of a Cave Hill Blackbird.  She is both an accomplished academic and sportswoman, who can clearly articulate the role that netball played in making her who she is today.

Dr. DeShong comes from a sporting family; a father who played football for the national Vincentian team, a netballing mother and sisters, and a body building aunt who won national and regional acclaim.

A combination of natural talent, intellect, discipline and love for the game made Dr. DeShong an almost instant success on the netball court.  In her early twenties she was selected for the St. Vincent and the Grenadine National Under-23 team and the National Senior team at the same time!

The following year, she was appointed as Captain of both teams and in 2000 was given the honour of being Sportswoman of the Year for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  In 2001, her dedication to the sport paid great dividends when she became the first Vincentian to be awarded a national sports scholarship to pursue tertiary education.

Dr. DeShong continued to play netball throughout her time at university. She played for the UWI Eagles, now the UWI Blackbirds, and headlined for the University of Manchester. She later played in the English Netball Super League for the Northern Thunders while completing her doctoral studies.  Her crowning glory came when she was named a Sports Ambassador for St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the Independence Ceremony in 2014, and was featured on a national stamp!

What UWI Means to Dr. DeShong
To explain what UWI Cave Hill means to Dr. DeShong, it is simply best to use her own words.  “I have a deep love, commitment, admiration and pride for the Cave Hill Campus and the larger University of the West Indies. Whenever I talk about my experience in academia, the UWI is primary.”

 “At Cave Hill I was able to pursue a very rigorous undergraduate programme in the Humanities - History with Literatures in English, and an equally strong postgraduate programme in Sociology/Social Policy at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES).   This meant that by the time I was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to do a PhD at the University of Manchester, I had cultivated the requisite critical thinking and analytical skills. Cave Hill provided for me a very strong foundation on which I could pursue an academic career and in large part my academic success was honed in significant ways here.”  

"“There is so much talent across the different disciplines in the UWI. We have experts who are leaders in their field. I think about CERMES, the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre (GA-CDRC) and our very own Institute for Gender and Development Studies, which continue to produce cutting-edge work and research. "

Research Interests and Accomplishments
Dr. DeShong has quickly made her mark in academia as evidenced by her winning of the Most Outstanding Researcher Award during the Campus’ 2015 Research Week celebrations. She is now the Head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies: Nita Barrow Unit and has been involved in several successful bids for grant funded research and outreach projects
Having developed a National Gender-Based Violence Action Plan for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. DeShong is frequently called upon to share her expertise on gender-based violence. In light of an already notable contribution to Caribbean action and policy making, she has now been tasked with designing a Health and Family Life/Gender-based Violence curriculum for Technical Institutes.
Evidence of global impact lies in Dr. Deshong’s recent appointment to the post of Project Director for the Templeton World Charity funded, “Path to Character: Promoting Agency, Trust and Hope Among Incarcerated Barbadian Youth;” an action research collaboration involving the UWI, the University of Oxford and Tulane University.
Widely published in the areas of feminist methodologies and gender-based violence, Dr. DeShong has just completed the edited book (with Professor Kamala Kempadoo) Methodologies in Caribbean Research on Gender and Sexuality. Her work is also featured in several scholarly journals and edited collections, including Journal of Gender Studies, Global Public Health, Social and Economic Studies, Journal of Eastern Caribbean Studies, Caribbean Review of Gender Studies as well as several other refereed books.
Eager to share her expertise, Dr. DeShong is quite open to working with research students on gender-based violence, Caribbean girlhood and childhood, feminist methodologies and anti-/de-colonial feminism.

The Blackbird Legacy 
A secondary school teacher once told Dr. DeShong that individuals should never have to choose between pursuing academics and taking part in sportsIt is a belief that she still holds dear.

“A path should always be made for willing athletes to pursue both their education and sporting aspirations and the Cave Hill Campus has succeeded in accomplishing just that…” she stated proudly.  

The athletic enthusiast made several references to the campus' sporting facilities, namely the world renowned 3Ws Oval and the Usain Bolt Sports Complex, which boasts a FIFA certified football field and an IAAF certified track. She credits a well-balanced combination of state-of-the-art equipment, experienced coaching and internationally accredited academic programmes, as the winning formula for the continuous success of the Blackbird teams across several sporting disciplines. She noted that “Cave Hill has consistently played a pivotal role in developing athletes who are able to excel regionally and internationally.” 
The Cave Hill Faculty of Sport was further commended for its commitment to the development of academic expertise with its undergraduate degree in Sports Science and and an MSc. Sports Science which culminates in the granting of a double degree from the UWI and the University of New Brunswick – the first degree of its kind in the Caribbean region.

Dr. DeShong's Summary of UWI:

"The University of the West Indies offers the globe a tremendous wealth of intellectual leadership, and the Cave Hill Campus is a beautiful place to study. It has provided a one-of-a-kind environment for our athletes to feel comfortable, knowing that we can accommodate their combined ambitions in education and sport. It is a legacy for which all members of the campus community past and present, should be proud.” 

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