Sat | May 25, 2024

Student enrolment dips by six per cent at UWI, Mona

Published:Saturday | March 4, 2023 | 1:11 AMAsha Wilks/Gleaner Writer

More than 50 per cent of the professors appointed at The University of the West Indies (UWI) over the five-year period 2018 to 2023 are women.

Professor Dale Webber, pro-vice-chancellor and principal of The UWI, Mona campus, said that of the 27 professors appointed over the period 14 are females.

He acknowledged that it had been challenging to encourage more women to apply for professorships over the years and expressed the hope that an increased number would eventually do so.

Webber also highlighted that four women are among the administration’s faculty deans complementing the other three male deans.

Addressing the university’s council meeting on Friday, Webber said that most of The UWI’s 11 strategic plans over the period under review are almost completed.

He said that academic training, staff development and the elevation of the “Mona experience” have already been accomplished. Graduate access and digital transformation are both at 97 per cent completion.

The research engine has a completion rate of 96 per cent; the energy management, improvement of health education, and the improvement of library services initiatives have a completion rate of 95 per cent, and the operational effectiveness and financial health have a completion rate of 75 per cent.

The council meeting was held under the theme ‘Rebuilding Foundations for the Post-COVID Era’, and was broadcast live via UWItv.

Redesigned recruitment strategy

In the section titled ‘Rebuilding Foundations that Secure the Future of High Education’, Webber pointed to how the university redesigned its recruitment strategy by utilising online video platforms like TikTok and YouTube.

The objective of the UWI Metaverse was to inform prospective students about the campus’ programme offerings and to facilitate academic counselling between them and faculty.

He noted that this initiative caused undergraduate applications to improve from 4,596 two weeks prior to implementation to 5,924 in just a few days after its staging. In addition, postgraduate applications over the same period increased from 2,103 to 2,370.

Through the investment in technology and The Metaverse, the university aims to deploy digital technologies to not only recruit students but for the purpose of teaching and learning, to deliver seminars, and, among other things, to disseminate information to the wider public.

However, it did not go unnoticed that the overall enrolment at the institution was decreasing.

While the nation continued to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021-2022, The UWI suffered a six per cent decline in student enrolment from 19,052 in the academic year 2020-2021 to 17,865.

In the academic period 2019-2020, there were 19,170 students enrolled. Webber noted that since 2023 the institution has experienced an additional decline of students by 10 per cent with a current standing of 16,222.

“We are confident in how we will regain a lot of the numbers that we may have lost,” he said of the campus which has a 96 per cent full-time enrolment with the bulk of students registered to first-degree programmes.

The majority of students enrolled at the university remain predominantly local making up 90 per cent of the population with the remaining 273 enrolled as international students.

As the institution celebrates its 75th anniversary with the theme ‘Rooted, Ready, Rising’, it looks forward to revolutionising its revenue between the period of 2022 to 2027, expanding The UWI school of nursing (UWISON) programme, increasing selected teaching programmes and encouraging corporate consolidation of commercial activities.

asha.wilks@gleanerjm.com