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UWI Recognises Excellence with Vice-Chancellor’s Awards

For Release Upon Receipt - Monday, October 10, 2016

Seven awards for excellence will be presented at The UWI's 2015/2016 Vice Chancellor's Awards for Excellence. A University tradition for more than 20 years, the awards recognise excellence in teaching, administration and research accomplishments, service to the community, contributions to public service, and all-round excellence in a combination of two or more of these core areas. A departmental award is also given for service and operational excellence. The presentation ceremony which is rotated annually among The University's four campuses take place on 19 October, 2016 at The UWI St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago.

The 2015/2016 awardees are as follows:

  • Dr Farid Youssef, Department of Pre-Clinical Sciences, St Augustine Campus | Excellence Award for Teaching

  • Professor Jayaraj Jayaraman, Department of Life Sciences, St Augustine Campus | Excellence Award for Research Accomplishments

  • Professor Jennifer Knight-Madden, Caribbean Institute for Health Research (formerly Tropical Medicine Research Institute), Regional Headquarters | Excellence Award for Research Accomplishments

  • Professor Verene Shepherd, Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Regional Coordinating Unit | Excellence Award for Contribution to Public Service

  • Mr Jessel Murray, Department of Creative and Festival Arts, St Augustine Campus | All-round excellence in University Service and Public Service

  • Mr Floyd Reifer, The Academy of Sport, Cave Hill Campus | Excellence Award for Outstanding Service to the University Community

  • The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, St Augustine Campus | Departmental Award for Excellence

VCA webspot cavehill-10-13-2016.jpg

About the awardees:

Dr Farid Youssef, Department of Pre-Clinical Sciences, St Augustine Campus

Excellence Award for Teaching

A neuroscientist and psychologist with a deep concern for ethics, Dr Farid Youssef utilises his teaching and research initiatives to activate a new generation of values-based global citizens. His teaching style has been described as passionate, phenomenal and pro-student. He combines his devotion to helping students understand the complexity of the nervous system with his enthusiasm for technology, creating a teaching environment that students find both stimulating and engaging, enabling them to bridge the gap between basic sciences and real world applications. Dr Youssef passionately believes that learning must be founded upon a platform of values. He was integral to the development of a new programme in professionalism which seeks to anchor students’ gifts in a culture of service to society and wider Caribbean development. His work in this area has gone beyond the University’s walls where he serves as a Global Director of Congress WBN, a faith-based charity focused on human development. Dr Youssef consistently seeks to enhance the learning and life experience of his students and the communities they are being trained to serve.

Professor Jayaraj Jayaraman, Department of Life Sciences, St Augustine Campus

Excellence Award for Research Accomplishments

Leading the field of biotechnology at The UWI, St Augustine Professor Jayaraj Jayaraman has facilitated the development of an undergraduate biotechnology specialisation programme, as well as an MSc in Biotechnology. A strong advocate of sustainable farming, with a total of 99 refereed research publications under his belt, Professor Jayaraman’s research has impacted agricultural systems regionally and internationally. Due to his extensive research, Professor Jayaraman and his Plant-microbiology and Biotechnology team have been able to train a core group of farmers within the region on sustainable methods involving minimal use of chemicals. A life member of theAsian PGPR Society for Sustainable Agriculture and advisor for the Society for Scientific Advancement, Professor Jayaraman is committed to developing and uplifting the visibility of biotechnology research at The UWI to world class standard.

Professor Jennifer Knight-Madden, Caribbean Institute for Health Research (formerly Tropical Medicine Research Institute), Regional Headquarters

Excellence Award for Research Accomplishments

Professor Jennifer Knight-Madden is an international authority on pulmonary complications of sickle cell disease and asthma. Her research at the Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR), including the pursuit of her PhD on ‘Lung Disease in Sickle Cell Disease’ has led to the production and publication of many manuscripts and book chapters. Her work has impacted the understanding of sickle cell disease (SCD) and has been cited over 700 times in literature and discussed at numerous fora. Her collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Sickle Cell Support Foundation led to the disease being added to the list of diseases subsidised by the National Health Fund of Jamaica since June 2015 and island wide new-born screening for SCD.

Professor Verene Shepherd, Institute for Gender and Development Studies,

Regional Coordinating Unit

Excellence Award for Contribution to Public Service

As Professor of Social History and University Director of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), Verene Shepherd has effectively integrated the disciplines of history and gender studies into her research (individual and institutional), publication, teaching and public service, championing gender, mainstreaming and history education inside and outside of the University. She has led the IGDS’ research teams on a variety of topics central to gender and development and heads the team charged with developing The UWI’s Gender Policy. A scholar-activist, she uses a diverse range of platforms, including radio, to popularise history and gender studies, to lecture to diverse audiences (including maroon communities in Jamaica), to become involved in the reparatory justice movement and to contribute to human rights work at the UN. For her work she has received many honours, such as the (Jamaica) Order of Distinction, Commander Class from the Government of Jamaica (2013), the Africana Studies distinguished Award from Florida International University (2007), the 9th Marcus Garvey (UNIA) award (2014), and was added to the Wall of Honour at the Liverpool Slavery Museum in 2013.

Mr Jessel Murray, Department of Creative and Festival Arts, St Augustine Campus

All-round Excellence in University Service and Public Service

Head of the Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA) for the past five years, Mr Jessel Murray is also a senior lecturer in music. Under his directorship the UWI Arts Chorale and UWI Arts Steel have both given impressive concerts to the campus community and general public in Trinidad and Tobago. During his tenure, Must Come See Productions (MCSP) was formed to offer musical theatre productions which have received close to twenty local Cacique awards. Mr Murray is also involved in cultural activity within the wider campus community, holding the role of convenor of all performances at the six St Augustine Campus graduation ceremonies; as well as acting as music consultant for signature events including the 50th anniversary celebrations and the Rex Nettleford and Norman Girvan memorials. Outside The UWI, he served for almost nine years as the Artistic Director/Conductor of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra, Chief consultant in the setup of the National Philharmonic Orchestra (2014) and is currently serving on the Board of the Arts Registry at the Division of Culture in Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr Floyd Reifer, The Academy of Sport, Cave Hill Campus

Excellence Award for Outstanding Service to the University Community

Former Barbados cricketer and West Indies captain, Mr Floyd Reifer joined the Cave Hill Campus in 2007 and currently serves as the Head Cricket Coach for the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) team and The UWI Cave Hill Campus team. Using his regional and international experience as both an accomplished athlete and certified coach, Mr Reifer led the University’s cricket team from a developing side to the most dominant team in the elite division. The Sagicor UWI Blackbirds created history by becoming the only cricket team in 120 years, to capture three Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) cup titles in one season, twice. Mr Reifer also led the CCC to its first regional four-day and 50-over final. Under Mr Reifer’s strategic planning and tactical leadership, the Cave Hill Campus has evolved as a best-practice model producing more cricketers who have graduated to national and franchise teams, West Indies A teams, and senior teams, than any other cricket development programme within the Caribbean region. The CCC and The UWI Cave Hill Cricket teams have the respect and recognition of the region and the world for producing leaders capable of competing at the highest level, because of his stewardship.

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (DECE), St Augustine Campus

Departmental Award for Excellence

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s (DECE) vision is to produce competent, bold, articulate engineering graduates and to conduct relevant and innovative research and development for the social, economic and intellectual growth of the Caribbean region. The Department is driven by high standards and its BSc in Electrical and Computer Engineering programme has been accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) for over 25 continuous years. The MASc programme has recently been accredited for the 2015 to 2019 intakes and its accreditation has been back-dated to 2012. The Department has also introduced many innovative ideas to promote learning and thinking outside the traditional curriculum. The introduction of annual summer internships with IBM, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Boeing in the USA, as well as involvement in robotics group activities and software competitions, have all been “life changing” events according to students. One of the most successful learning initiatives has been the Community Service Learning Project which challenges students to identify and solve issues in a local community. DECE's graduates are often described as eloquent, proficient, and knowledgeable with a sound ability to lead and apply new technologies and provide solutions; a testimony to the Department’s quality.

More about Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence

Formerly known as the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Meritorious Performance, the awards scheme was re-established as the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in 1993 by then Vice-Chancellor, Sir Alister Mc Intyre. It arose from a desire on the part of Sir Alister, to recognise and reward outstanding performance of academic and senior administrative staff, above and beyond annual merit increases paid to employees. Up to eight awards may be given in recognition of accomplishments and/or as an incentive for continued excellent performance. In the 2012/2013 academic year, a departmental award for excellence was added, allowing for one annual award to be made to any department, institute, section, site, research unit, or centre demonstrating the highest commitment to quality, to service and operational excellence.










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