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Meet the Faculty

Connecting Cave Hill to the Spanish-Speaking World

After finishing a doctoral degree in Hispanic Studies in 1997, UK born Dr. Ian Craig felt an overwhelming drive to move to Spain. Several study abroad experiences to the neighbouring country during his time as a university student had only served to whet his appetite for full immersion into the Spanish language and culture.

Having specialised in translation studies for his Masters degree, the move to Spain solidified Dr. Craig’s expertise as it opened the opportunity to serve as in-house translator for both a Spanish advertising agency and a law firm.

By the time Dr. Craig came to the Cave Hill Campus in the year 1999, his desire to ensure that his students had the opportunity to be enriched by a semester/year abroad and his love for translation were firmly cemented.
Not surprisingly therefore, he, along with several colleagues in the Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature sought about establishing the Cave Hill Campus Translation Bureau in 2015.  By then, foreign language instruction had fully come of age at the Cave Hill Campus, and the translation bureau benefitted from in-house expertise in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Mandarin Chinese, with ready access to translators for other languages should the need arise.  Today, the Department of Language and Linguistics at Cave Hill possesses the widest translation capability in Barbados and the OECS, and is one of only two entities authorised to translate documents on the behalf of the Corporate Affairs and Immigration Departments of Barbados.

From Cave Hill to the World
Cave Hill Campus through its growing study abroad programme, is the premier global gateway for students in the Eastern Caribbean.  Exchange agreements with tertiary institutions across United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa ensure that all students have the opportunity to explore and establish their global citizenship through a semester or year abroad. Facilitating an ever greater number of Caribbean students to take these opportunities – by overcoming obstacles such as funding, bureaucracy or anxiety that the experience will be too difficult – is one of Dr. Craig’s most cherished career goals.

Cave Hill has a deep and multifaceted Hispanic connection, of which Dr. Craig is extremely proud. Most recently, he was responsible for spearheading the establishment of language immersion programmes to Spain and Mexico, where Cave Hill staff and students alike can spend up to six weeks learning the language and culture during the summer semester.  He is also quick to report on the success of the UWI-Colombia linkage and on the excellent English as Second Language programme offered by the campus. Over the past fourteen years, hundreds of Spanish language graduates from the three UWI campuses have spent 9 months as English Language Teaching Assistants in Columbian universities while Colombian university graduates have served as Spanish Teaching Assistants in the UWI system.   

Through the tireless efforts of Dr. Stacy Denny from the English as a Second Language Programme and Ms. Sonia Johnson from the Business Development Office, the campus has made great strides as a Centre for the Teaching of English as a Second Language. Successive cohorts of professionals, teachers and students from Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador are not only impressed with the quality of language instruction at Cave Hill, but delight in the warmth of the Barbadian people, and in the beauty and safety of the campus and the island in general. 

Left to Right: Brendon J. Duncan, Adiel Alleyne, Paula Gonzales (UWI H&E Lecturer). Olvine D.Holas, Annika K. Bellot, Mikaila Walcott. Taken on July 27, 2018 at the UMP Campus, Santander, Spain

Researching What He Loves
Dr. Craig has made a point of undertaking academic research in just what he is passionate about: translation and the study abroad experience.  Having published several papers and a manual for translation, he is now exploring institutional relations between The UWI and Cuban institutions, including centres of translation such as Casa de las Américas in Havana. Since the 1970s, the works of several English-speaking Caribbean writers have been extensively translated into Spanish as a consequence of winning the coveted Casa de las Américas prize.

Dr. Craig is also researching the study abroad experience of Caribbean students.  Theirs is a unique experience since the opportunity to take a semester overseas has, for many years, been afforded primarily to students from advanced economies such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Caribbean students bring different expectations and desires to overseas study and their testimonies are shedding valuable light on how such experiences can positively orient the lives of young people, often in ways which favour national and regional development (in contrast to the “brain-drain” narrative that has been prevalent in the region).

The Value of a Humanities Degree
Dr. Craig nevers misses a chance to encourage prospective university students to give serious consideration to embarking on a degree in the humanities.  He points to the trend of major corporations, and other high level organisations deliberately seeking to hire philosophy and linguistics majors since these disciplines develop skills in logic, reasoning and innovative ‘out of the box’ thinking – the so-called ‘soft skills’ that are set to become ever more valued as automation becomes ever more sophisticated.  He also advocates for foreign languages and cultural studies since these develop the empathy, interpersonal skills and diplomacy that are demanded by international, regional and multilateral agencies.

A Caribbean Odyssey
Dr. Craig has no regrets about coming to the Cave Hill Campus at the dawn of this new century. What was meant to be a three-year stint has now become a 19 year Caribbean odyssey, which, to his mind, has been fruitful and has caused him to grow as a person.

Though he can boast of being promoted to Senior Lecturer in Spanish Language and of his current post as Head of the Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature at Cave Hill, Dr. Craig gains greater fulfilment from seeing students blossom as a consequence of the study abroad experience.

He is also thankful to have met his wife and soulmate, Jamaican born Dr. Latoya Lazarus,  a sociologist attached to the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Research, and is especially delighted to talk about their wonderful son, Rafael.  Dr. Craig looks forward to seeing more of Cave Hill’s students develop through cultural and language immersion, and together with Dr. Lazarus to raising their little boy to become a true citizen of the world.

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