The Board of Governors of the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI) made history last week when it announced the appointment of the institution’s first Vice President and Provost, Dr. Livingston Smith.
Dr. Smith has been with UCCI for eighteen years as a professor of Political Science, History, Sociology, Ethics and Research Methodology. He is currently the Director of Research and Publication and of Special Projects.
Mr. Anthony Ritch, Acting Board Chair, said, “I congratulate Dr. Smith on this appointment and wish him every success. I am confident that he will be able to deliver the high level of performance that is required, in particular as it pertains to driving Educational Excellence. As we increase our focus on growth, quality, efficiency, accountability and performance management, it is vital that the structure supports our ambitious plans for tertiary education. I believe we are now better positioned to leverage our external relationships and strengthen our image and I look forward to working with the President, Dr. Smith and the entire faculty and staff as we embark on this new chapter.”
The new Vice President and Provost position was created to align with the direction of UCCI’s new strategic plan in which the President’s role has an external focus. Once he assumes the position on July 1st, Dr. Smith will be responsible for all academic departments, institutional research, academic outreach and key academic areas for the smooth functioning of the University. His overarching responsibility is to ensure that curricula and instructional pedagogy reflect the mission of the University College.
“This is certainly a challenging task, but I look forward to it especially knowing that the University has a dedicated team of faculty members and administrators all committed to the success of our students and the wider Caymanian society,” said Dr. Smith.
Eager to take on this new challenge, Dr. Smith shared some of his priority projects for the new academic year. “President Roy Bodden and the Board of Governors together with faculty and staff and various stakeholders have worked on and completed the University College’s Strategic Plan for 2018- 2023. Its strategy on Educational Excellence speaks to bolstering quality assurance, maintaining and widening accreditation, particularly institutional accreditation, beginning with the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ), which is currently in process, followed by US institutional accreditation. I am keen on beginning the work immediately,” he said.
This strategy, according to Dr. Smith, also entails strengthening of academic programmes to ensure relevance and focus on student needs. “Critically, the University will be in an expansion mode as it seeks to showcase to students and potential students, the seamless educational pathway from testing to certificate, pre-college, TVET, and other programmes to Associate Degrees, Bachelor Degrees, and Graduate Studies offered at UCCI.”
The new VP and Provost also said that as the University seeks to strengthen student enrollment and retention, more focus will be placed on online classes, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), TVET, co-curricular activities and internships, and generally telling the UCCI story and the opportunities that it provides to the media, the churches, work places, schools and the community in general.
“Emphasis will be placed on providing opportunities for the continuous development of UCCI faculty and staff, the enrichment of the STEM experience, the enhancement of the UCCI research agenda and more community activities in the forms of distinguished lectures, conferences and many more,” he added.
President Bodden also offered his congratulations to Dr. Smith, saying, “During my term as President, Dr. Smith has demonstrated the attributes of a meticulous organiser and an energetic, enthused and capable leader. His varied experience in teaching and his insight into the organisational structure of the institution bodes well for the role of VP and Provost. Working closely with Dr. Smith has convinced me that he will bring success to his new post and I look forward to learning of his achievements in this new capacity.”
An honours graduate of Church Teacher’s College, Jamaica, he also has a Bachelor of Science (Social Sciences) and a Master of Philosophy in Government. He won the Jamaica Adult Suffrage Scholarship to pursue his Ph.D. in Government between the University of the West Indies and the Florida International University. He was recently honoured by this University as an outstanding alumnus.
He was a Visiting Professor at Carleton University, Canada, at the Centre for Values and Ethics (COVE) in the CARICOM scholar leadership programme. Dr. Smith was recently invited by Transparency International to attend working sessions for the Americas and is currently working on the first issue of a new academic journal, The International Journal of Accountability, Transparency, and Anticorruption Strategies. He is the main editor of the two-volume text The Caribbean in a Changing World, Surveying the Past, Mapping the Future published by Cambridge Publishers.
He has directed four major conferences held at UCCI: Conference on Caribbean Culture and Globalization, March 2010; Conference on Leadership, Governance and Empowerment, March 2011; Conference- 50/50 – Surveying the Past, Mapping the Future, March 2012; and Toward a Corruption-Free Caribbean: Ethics, Values, Trust and Morality, March 2014.
Dr. Smith is a member of the American Council on Education and the Caribbean Studies Association. He is also a member of the Board of Governors of the Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica.
A practicing Christian, he has served as the First Elder of the Savannah SDA Church and is the Director of the CXC Education Volunteer Programme in the Cayman Islands. Dr. Smith is married with a six year- old son.