New initiatives on the horizon for UB despite challenges

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In the face of adversity resulting from Hurricane Dorian, the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recession, UB is confident that it is prepared to overcome any future challenges that it may face. Today, in its 2020 Media P.A.S.S. (Plan for Achieving Strategic Success) the tertiary institution announced new and ongoing initiatives, achievements, strategic priorities for its academic and administrative affairs, and its operational development. Among the initiatives: a residential facility, the establishment of the Climate Change Adaptation Resiliency Research Centre, the possible addition of a convocation center, and the creation of an economic zone. “Given the success that UB has experienced thus far in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, the rapid adaptation to virtual learning caused by the COVID pandemic, and all of the other achievements that I have already mentioned, the Board of Trustees is confident that UB will be able to overcome any future challenges and will continue to survive and thrive in the future,” said Dr. K. Jonathan Rodgers, Chair, Board of Trustees.

“Apart from dealing with these challenges, UB now has a better understanding of its financial position, has successfully implemented the Banner IT system, has improved its governance infrastructure, filled key administrative positions, worked hard to revamp existing programs, introduced new ones, and has started cutting-edge initiatives, like the Climate Change Adaptation Resiliency Research Centre. And it continues to diligently work towards achieving SACS accreditation that is needed in order to move UB to the next level.

“Also, we are about to break ground on the new residency facility and we are contemplating a possible convocation center to be built on the Clarence Bain Building property. We are also in talks with the government to create an economic zone around the university campus that will provide an income stream needed to support the future growth of the university,” added Dr. Rodgers.

The Chairman, along with Dr. Rodney D. Smith, Pres. and CEO and senior administrators including Dr. Marcella Elliott Ferguson, VP Administrative Services; Dr. Maria Oriakhi, VP Academic Affairs; Dr. Ian Strachan, VP UB-North; Dino Hernandez, VP Institutional Advancement participated in the virtual meeting.

This year’s theme was “Accessing, Adapting and Advancing Higher Education in a New Norm.” Dr. Smith acknowledged the faculty and staff who took on other duties and responsibilities during the pandemic. “I thank them for being innovative in the use of technology, and working so enthusiastically with students, making sure that the high quality education for which UB is renowned, is delivered timely and accurately.”

He recognized the work of the Covid-19 Task Force; Dr. Faith Butler, who heads the University’s Academic Senate; Tameka Lundy of the Office of University Relations; and the Student Government Association led by Mackenson Charles.

“We quickly established a Covid-19 Task Force, Co-Chaired by Dr. Marcella Elliott- Ferguson and Mr. Ronnie Stevenson, to ensure that every aspect of our operations during this pandemic adheres to the Emergency Orders, and allows for safe operations on campus for those who must be on campus. This task force has been instrumental in keeping us operational through the many changes over the last nine months,” he said.

“We owe the Senate a debt of gratitude for their review and approval of several new and/or expanded degree programmes, including a series of new graduate programmes. In addition to new master’s degrees, I believe we will be hearing very soon about the University’s first doctoral degree programme,” added Dr. Smith. The PowerPoint presentations by senior administrators provided an overview of topics including: enrollment, the use of technology, admission policy changes, recruitment, financial AID and scholarships, partnerships, and the future of UB North.

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