The year 2009 marked an era of renaissance for the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI). The campus was still showing scars from Hurricane Ivan, but with the advent of new leadership came possibilities that inspired excitement and renewed commitment from its faculty and staff.
President J.A. Roy Bodden had a vision, one in which the University College became a well-rounded institution, representing more disciplines that broadened students’ academic, personal and professional horizons. New degree programmes were introduced; among them were the Associate of Science in Engineering Technology and the Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. The first Nursing cohort graduated in 2017 and achieved a 100% pass rate at the Regional Examination for Nurse Registration (RENR).
Existing programmes such as Hospitality Studies and Teacher Education were redesigned in collaboration with industry partners to ensure that graduates were equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills their respective professions demanded. Classroom learning was enhanced with overseas immersion programmes, semesters abroad, and with faculty and student exchanges. Students were exposed to extra-curricular activities such as the Performing Arts Programme, International Conferences, Distinguished Lectures, TEDxUCCI, and the STEM Carib Conference.
Quality assurance measures were put in place with UCCI achieving institutional accreditation from UK-based ASIC (Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges and Universities) and programme accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), the Nursing Council of Jamaica (NCJ), City and Guilds and the Joint Board of Teacher Education, among others. Faculty members continued to advance their educational and professional qualifications. More and more students began considering UCCI as their institution of choice, whether to complete their tertiary education or as a springboard for further studies abroad.
Fast forward to almost a decade later and UCCI is showing no signs of slowing down. Guided by a new Strategic Plan, the institution is seeking to implement programmes that empower the people of Cayman to thrive in an ever-changing world.
“Right now UCCI is on the cusp of a learning explosion,” said President Bodden. “Our affiliations with foreign higher education institutions offer our students opportunities and experiences overseas without having to leave the Cayman Islands. We keep adding to the repertoire of programmes to benefit our students and help them obtain a better quality of life through gainful employment and entrepreneurship.”
During the Academic Year 2018-2019, the University College will be launching new initiatives such as the Prior Learning Assessment programme that will provide persons in the workforce with opportunities for vertical and lateral mobility in their careers. Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes will open doors for individuals who are looking for alternatives to traditional academic paths. Young people will continue to be exposed to the latest trends in STEM such as eSports, startup ecosystems, tech design, app development and advanced manufacturing.
“Here at UCCI we are dedicated to the idea that learning is a public good... and we have put this principle into practice in our programmes. We are preparing our graduates to take their places in a rapidly evolving technological age. UCCI will continue to grow and transform itself as the premier tertiary level institution serving the community, including a great expansion of the Cayman Brac Campus and its offerings,” concluded President Bodden.