Peering into The UWI Meetings

Meetings are some of the archival records that help define UWI Life. They take place at various levels; some being cross-campus while others are campus specific. They are concerned with the operations of The UWI, its future development as well as academic policies.

Cross-campus University Archives and Records Management Committee meeting

The UWI is a multi campus institution distributed across campuses at Mona, Jamaica; St Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; Cave Hill, Barbados; and UWI Open Campus, a campus spread across nearly 50 physical locations in 17 Caribbean countries. Various officers of The UWI are required to attend University meetings held at UWI locations across the Caribbean to participate in decision-making. Ok, that’s what we already know, what many don’t know is the responsibilities of cross-campus University meetings.

So lets take a look at what constitutes cross-campus University meetings at The UWI.

Participants of cross-campus University meetings usually include The UWI Executive Management team, Members of Government, Academic Board, Guild of Graduates, and Guild of Undergraduates. Statutes in the University Charter define university meetings and the governance role in which they play. Interestingly, the first University Meeting was a meeting of the Provisional Council of the University College of the West Indies, which met for the first time in January 1947. The records of this Council are part of the holdings of The UWI Archives.


List of Attendees to the First Provisional Council Meeting, January1947

For The UWI,  The Council is the highest decision-making body, they meet once annually except when specially convened and the UWI Chancellor chairs this body. They receive campus reports and appoint Officers of The UWI such as Pro Vice Chancellors, professors and senior administrative and professional staff, among other matters.


Early UCWI Staff Members with Hon. Sir Philip Sherlock in the front row

Senate meets as necessary and often via video conferencing. They recommend and report to The Council on new ordinances and statutes, create new disciplinary regulations and amendments.

The slate of University meetings also includes:

Finance & General Purposes Committee

University Appointments Committee

Board for Undergraduate Studies Committee

Board for Graduate Studies & Research Committee

University Strategy & Planning Committee

Committee of Deans

University Archives and Records Management Committee

The UWI Press

Now the multi campus UWI has distributed responsibilities at campus level and university level with university level receiving reports on decisions made at campus level. After this mouthful, it may be easier to understand that the Finance and General Purposes committee receives reports from the various Campus Finance and General Purposes Committees.

Cross-campus University meetings occur three times each year rotating across three of the landed campuses each year. Meetings by rotation are October at St Augustine, January –February at Mona, and May –June at Cave Hill. The Office of the University Registrar, UWI Vice Chancellery in the Regional Headquarters building, manages these schedules.

The University Registrar is responsible for University boards and committees and act as secretary for all meetings except UWI Press. For some of these meetings, the Registrar may designate an Assistant Registrar or a Senior Assistant Registrars to represent the Office. The role of the University Registrar is replicated at the Campus level, with the role of the Campus Registrar.

Cross-campus University meetings are an integral part of maintaining the cohesion of The UWI. They are that unique space where colleagues, who work at different UWI locations, meet each other and build work place bonds. These meetings also provide the opportunity for the various arms of the university to combine efforts in achieving unified goals, one of which is the continued growth of The UWI.

Contributions from

Marjorie Rose-Parkes and Christine Moseley-Barrett

Office of Administration, UWI Vice Chancellery




The UWI Valedictory Address

Ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests and colleagues…

Graduation at UWI runs from October to November with several ceremonies held at various campus sites across the Caribbean. Usually UWI Open Campus graduation ceremony starts off the graduation season, then on to Cave Hill, St Augustine and finally Mona. How much fun it must be to wear your Sunday-best, pretty dan-dans and attend that last celebratory event at your university with your family, friends and colleagues. Graduation is a moment of jubilance but it must mean even more for a valedictorian.

The valedictory address is presented by a student candidate selected to represent his/her graduating cohort. Reviewing early graduation programmes held at the UWI Archives dating back as early as 1952, and speaking with a UWI alumnus (an archivist) who graduated in the 70s, the valedictory address appears to be a relatively new addition to the UWI Graduation Ceremony.


During the early UCWI years, students who completed studies awaited degree confirmation from the University of London and graduation was scheduled around senate meetings in January. This ensured firstly that there was enough time for students to receive their degree confirmation but also ensured attendance of the various senate members who were in meetings around this time.

From UWI archival records the earliest notation of a valedictorian appeared on the 1991 graduation programmes.  Can you confirm the first year of the valedictory address and say who were the first valedictorian on each campus?


Curiously, during the early 90s  the UWI was also transitioning from a three terms teaching year to a semestered academic year and had just installed a new Vice Chancellor; Sir Alister McIntyre. Adding the valedictory address would have been one of a few transitional events. However since these transitional years the valedictory address has grown in strength and is now one of the high points for the graduating ceremonies in recent times. As a point of note The UWI moved it’s graduation ceremonies from January to November in the 1973/74 academic year.


Today each UWI campus boasts its own valedictorian during their graduation ceremony. As for our current valedictorians we say ‘good going’; you are among a select few and congratulation to all graduates across the various campuses and disciplines. You are a light rising in the West.

Pan Africanist Royalty visits UWI Archives



Samia Nkrumah daughter of the late president of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah toured the UWI Archives recently. Samia Nkrumah was one of the keynote speakers at the October 10 one-day seminar titled Post-Independence Cross Roads: Economic Growth, Sustainable Societies and Reparatory Justice. She was also interviewed by Professor Rupert Lewis for the weekly cable programme, Region Talk; aired on Caribvision. The UWI Archives Reading Room was again transformed into a television set. All the Reading Room usual paraphernalia were moved and stacked carefully. Then soft chairs, lights and camera were brought in to record the interview.

Pictures above courtesy of Odane Thompson, UWI TV

Nkrumah was elegant and gracious as she was introduced to various UWI Archives staff members and we took the opportunity to tell her more about the UWI Archives and it holdings. Senior Archives Assistant with responsibility for Audiovisuals, Sean Mockyen was ready and played a treasured piece from the collection that featured her father the late president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. She smiled joyfully as she listened intently. The audiovisual record is a Radio Ghana transcription Service feature titled ‘The Wind of Change’ recalling some of the memorable statements made by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah on Pan Africanism. Dr. Nkrumah was hailed as Osagyefo, which is from the akan language meaning “redeemer”.


Samia Nkrumah has been active in the ongoing reparation discourse, which is alive not only in the Caribbean but also further afield in many different countries across the world. Guyana Chronicle in an article dated July 24, 2017 reports on a meeting hosted by the Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies at the University of Ghana. At this meeting both Samia Nkrumah and UWI Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Chair of the Caribbean Community Reparations Commission were participants. Professor Beckles delivered a keynote address at this event and led the discussions on the reparations bid to seek from Europe various forms of compensation for atrocities caused by the system of African enslavement.


Samia Nkrumah left a record of her visit as she signed the UWI Archives visitors’ log.

Google? No, UWI Archives Maps

Have you been getting lost in google maps? Then check out UWI Archives maps and get another look at the story behind our beloved UWI, its landscape and more.


Mrs Caren Chambers Cox working on the Maps Collection  as part of her internship

UWI Archives holds a number of architectural records and maps. The architectural records include site plans, floor plans, finishing schedules, measurements, elevations and cross sections. The maps show location of various buildings on campus. As you may suspect many of the architectural records and maps detail the development of the Mona campus over the years. These archival records are informative and engaging, they share a fascinating part of the UWI story.

These records are useful in reviewing building designs and identifying building codes and trends across campus. They may also help in sparking design ideas, to communicate concepts and are records of completed work. Some of the earliest records in the collection date from the 1940’s and include dates as recent as 2005.


Mrs Chambers Cox and Dr Griffin discussing the archival processing and value of architectural records

We wonder out loud… could any of the records in our collection of architectural records and maps be useful to students analyzing structural and building systems challenges? Certainly, there is some historical data for consideration. Please feel free to visit the UWI Archives to view our collection of architectural records and maps as well as other resources.

Posted by Caren Chambers Cox (MLIS Candidate-Intern)

Mrs. Simpson-Miller @ UWI

I hear the strains of Shaggy’s song …

She’ll put a smile upon yah face

And take you to that higher place

So don’t you underestimate…

… and I’m reminded not to underestimate the ‘Strength of a woman’.

The Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, first female Prime Minister of Jamaica, was the fifth woman in the Caribbean region to have been elected/ appointed as head of government. Her predecessors include:

Lucina Elena da Costa Gomez-Matheeuws, who served as Prime Minister of the Netherland Antilles in 1977,

Dame Eugenia Charles, Prime Minister of Dominica in 1980,

Ertha Pascal-Trouillot, Acting President of Haiti in 1991 and

Janet Jagan, Prime Minister of Guyana in 1997.

The UWI conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) on her at a ceremony held at the UWI Mona Campus Assembly Hall. This LLD conferment is in recognition of her outstanding contribution to public life, and of course her phenomenal achievements as a woman from the working class community who, without privileges overcame obstacles and emerged as the first female Prime Minister of Jamaica.


Portia Simpson Miller as the seventh Prime Minister of Jamaica was the recipient of the Jamaican Order of the Nation in 2006. She reprised her role, elected in 2012 and served until 2016. As Prime Minister, she emphasized her commitment to regional integration and cooperation, a mantra she shares with the UWI.

UWI Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles describes Prime Minister Simpson Miller as one in the “long tradition of no-nonsense women who have stood up and led society against the racial and class injustice endemic to our history and still manifested in contemporary Caribbean society. She stands tall within our political pantheon as a citizen and sister, woman and humanist. Much respected for her big heart and spontaneously loving spirit, she consistently gave much more than she asked for. The University of the West Indies is honoured to identify with her generosity and humanity and her triumph over unyielding strictures and structures.”

Mrs. Simpson Miller is also a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, which is an international network of current and former women Presidents and Prime Ministers whose mission is to advance women’s issues. In keeping with the UWI celebrating prime ministerial leaders, Mrs. Simpson Miller has joined the UWI as an Honorary Distinguished Fellow with an affiliation to the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, IGDS. The Institute remains excited at the prospect of learning from Mrs. Simpson Miller, who, over the course of her political career, has been unswerving in her devotion to the education, health and empowerment of girls and women in Jamaica; and globally.

As the first female leader of a major political party, as President of the People’s National Party Women’s Movement, as Cabinet Minister and as Prime Minister, Mrs. Simpson Miller consistently lobbied and fought for social and economic opportunities for women. She lead the Jamaican delegation, as then Minister of Social Services and Welfare, to the Fourth World Conference on women which opened in Beijing on September 4, 1995, under the theme Equality, Development and Peace; and as Prime Minister, she appointed women to decision making positions in Cabinet, the Judiciary and State management.

The Institute looks forward to assisting Most Honourable Simpson Miller with her writing projects, which she announced at the June 12 meeting with the regional IGDS at an event to present her with an award for “breaking the glass ceiling in politics”. The Institute also looks forward to benefiting from Mrs. Simpson Miller’s breadth of knowledge and experience as she continues to contribute to gender discourses nationally, regionally and internationally.

TV @ UWI Archives

It was lights, camera, action, and the UWI Archives EW Reading Room was transformed into a television set for “Region Talk”. This is one of the programmes UWI TV airs via the CaribVision cable channel around the Caribbean and North America, and can be found here: Region Talk with Dr Stanley Griffin


UWI Archives continues its collaborative and supportive role with the UWI TV game changing mega project. UWI Archives also supports other arms and offices of the UWI and is actively aligned with the ‘One UWI’ identity.  A UWI TV post-production suite has been housed within UWI Archives since the Vice Chancellery assumed lead in this project. As such one of the UWI Archives offices has been repurposed for their use. Additionally the EW Reading Room nimbly doubles as a television set. From time to time UWI Archives has been asked to restrict public access to the UWI Archives EW Reading Room so as to facilitate an agile reconfiguration for television productions such as “Region Talk”.


Dr Carolyn Cooper, former professor of literary and cultural studies, hosted the most recent episode of “Region Talk”. She interviewed UWI Archives Assistant Archivist and Officer in Charge, Dr Stanley Griffin and was fascinated by his early years growing up in various countries across the Caribbean. She calls him the poster man for “Region Talk”. Dr. Stanley Griffin also retold his experience working on the Dame Eugenia Charles collection, one of the high value collections, formerly managed by the West Indies Federal Archives Centre, and now accessible at the Sidney Martin Library, UWI Cave Hill Campus.

It was a case of star treatment as the production team patted and brushed, nudged and adjusted to ensure the best look for this shoot.


Dr. Griffin used his star role to talk about the various archives programmes, academic and administrative across the UWI. He also highlighted a new reader being written which will be used in academic programmes at the UWI.


That’s a wrap!

The Class of 67 Tours RHQ


The Class of ’67

It’s a week of …much ado, a golden jubilee spent at the Alma mater. 50 years since these students donned their caps and gowns and said farewell to their beloved UWI, they return to soak it all in once more.


Dr Suzanne Francis-Brown welcomes the Class of ’67 to the UWI Museum

A week at Mona, a week down memory lane, stirring up thoughts of ole times, and digging in  bridging some gaps while becoming reacquainted with the Mona campus. The class of 67 provided some enriching stories that linked much of our past as a growing institution. Many were enraptured relived their first year experience attending Martin Luther King’s presentation here on the Mona campus as they listened to a recording of the event.



Dr Stanley Griffin tells the class of ’67 about the UWI Archives

They began their UWI journey in 1964 (interestingly the year my uncle Jack graduated), and they completed their journey in 1967.  2017 marks their golden jubilee and this group does it in style. A Merritone Fete, a forum on building stronger ties, a gala evening and a morning chapel service, highlights the week of celebration.


Dr Stanley Griffin and Dr Suzanne Francis-Brown regaling the Class of ’67

The campus has changed, the UWI has grown and the class of ’67 wears their pelican pride proudly. 50 years is a big deal, let’s celebrate.




Chancellor’s New Robe

On Saturday, 16th of September, Chancellor Robert Bermudez was formally installed during a ceremony at St Augustine. It is an amazing order of events to have a new Chancellor ready to help mark the celebration of the university’s platinum jubilee.

The Saturday affair also marks an interesting new chapter at this regional university. Robert Bermudez with his distinguished business career joins a distinguished list of previous Chancellors among which are state heads, public policymakers and academicians. However he is the first entrepreneur and captain of industry to assume this role. Chancellor Bermudez has been said to be the right man for the right time. He assumes this leadership role at a time when Caribbean integration, innovation, enterprise, and international competitiveness are all critical elements in revitalizing Caribbean development. Chancellor Bermudez’ vision for the University as it approaches its 70th anniversary, encompasses a keen sense of the effectiveness of collaboration and relevance of the interdependence of academia and the economy. His business acumen will also serve The UWI as the institution seeks to grow into a more economically independent funding model for tertiary education in our region.

The Chancellor exercises powers and responsibilities laid down in The UWI Charter, Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations. He is respected as the highest office-holder in The UWI. The ceremonial installation incorporates academic regalia, an academic procession and other traditions of the early university. The order of proceedings has retained much of the original ceremony over the years, with a few minor changes. The Chancellor’s robe is one tradition that has retained its prominence in these proceedings. The original has been part of the Chancellor’s presentation since February 1950 worn by the very first Chancellor, Princess Alice of Athlone. All subsequent Chancellors including Sir George Alleyne, installed in 2003, have worn this Chancellor’s robe.


The first Chancellor’s Robe and Mortarboard on display in The UWI Museum. Chancellor Bermudez will be robed ceremoniously at his Installation as the 6th Chancellor of The UWI.

In 2004, An Ede and Ravenscroft (E&R) representative visiting Mona inspected the robe. It was sent off to E&R for repairs in 2006, as recommended and it was noted “the handmade gold ornaments date from the original robe made for Princess Alice in 1949. E&R also discovered that the robe was in poorer condition than originally anticipated: “…the amount of work that would be required to bring it up to scratch would have been extensive. I therefore decided that we should make you a new robe, and I am delighted to let you know that E&R will donate this to the University”. (Letters from Christopher Allan, E&R Specialist Operations Coordinator to Gloria Barrett-Sobers, UR, 20 Sept 2006 1 Dec, 2004 and 20 Sept 2006). Chancellor Robert Bermudez will be the first to be robed at installation ceremony in this new robe.

Representatives of governments, universities, businesses and other organizations and members of civic society at the regional and international levels, along with members of the University staff from across the region attended this special event. The public is invited to view the installation ceremony on UWI TV via:

The 1st  Installation

The First Installation Ceremony of Her Royal Highness, Princess of Athlone as Chancellor of the then University College of the West Indies, in the open air at Mona, February, 1950. (UWI Archives)


SOUND MEMORY: “…UWI is unlocking the potential of the West Indies…”

Celebrating the life of Dr Knox Hagley one of the early UCWI graduates. Dr Hagley has been a passionate West Indian man and song writer. This UWI Museum blog highlights one of his songs…

UWI Museum

We have to thank Sean MockYen of the rich & diverse Media Lab at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Archive for pulling out this recollection in sound.

It is an excerpt of a song that was written in 1997 by Dr Knox Hagley, then Director for Community Health & Psychiatry at the UWI Mona Campus in Jamaica, where Dr Hagley had literally come of age decades before – a member of one of the early cohorts of medical students at the then single-campus University College of the West Indies.

Dr Hagley, who died in August 2017, was well known then, and since, as the mellow voice singing the iconic song ‘Mona Moon’, an anthem for campus couples written by one of their number. This later song, which Dr Hagley himself wrote and sang to accompaniment by Dr Douglas Welds, expresses the writer’s feeling about the special role that…

View original post 7 more words

“What goes up doesn’t have to come down”

This 2017 IAAF World Championship, a spectacle of sporting glory, hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for many Caribbean fan favourites. This championship marks a significant transition in athletics with Usain Bolt’s departure from the competitive world stage. We congratulate our regional athletes as they gave their very best and celebrate our medallists.

It’s finally over and many are still dumbfounded at their unrealized predictions. Many pundits, sports analysts and commentators such as Hubert Lawrence and Patrick Anderson from Jamaica have noted that this year represents a ‘changing of the guard’. It has come with new athletes across the world staking their claim in a number of events that Caribbean athletes have dominated in more recent times.

How does the region ensure a seamless transition between the various outgoing and upcoming athletes? How do we also unearth new talent in our region to continue to view athletics with pride atop the medal podiums?


Earlier this year, 2017 the UWI embarked on adding to the research and development (R&D) in Sports in the Caribbean with the launch of its first new faculty in 40 years.

“The launch of this new faculty will not only aid in formally legitimizing sports education, training and research in the higher learning industry for the Caribbean, but it will also aid in driving development and economic growth prospects for our region.”  Professor Archibald McDonald

At championships and other sporting events, athletes battle and push themselves to win against odds. It is these competitive activities, the space and other elements; all that shape sports and the arena that will fill the academic pursuit.

“The launch of this faculty facilitates The UWI’s goal of laying the necessary foundations in moving the sport initiative in the Caribbean in a right and positive direction.” Principal Archibald McDonald

As feared by many, we have lost a bit of our air of dominance in the sprint events during this recent IAAF World Championship. The results this year, below what is normally expected of this our small island states, has played this out.

“Sport is at the heart of our regional identity. We must begin to formally invest in this industry if we expect to see greater returns for the future.” Principal Archibald McDonald.

With the launch of the Faculty of Sport we begin in earnest to research and learn from our strengths and weaknesses. We will also develop the science gleaned through the excellent work of our regional coaches in athletics and other sporting disciplines achieving amazing results over the years.

…we must invest in a centre of excellence here that explores the research behind sport, which will engage in state-of-the-art teaching and learning about the complexities of sport, whilst providing the facilities and tools that will facilitate training excellence in all fields of sport. Here we are bringing the teaching, learning and research experience in a unique field to the doorsteps of our Caribbean people, opening an immense pathway for sport higher education and regional development.”  Professor Archibald McDonald

Sports is entwined with the development of our region, the Caribbean has bonded and grown through our common pursuits and exploits but there is also an economic benefit that hasn’t been fully realized.


The UWI is celebrating 70 years as a regional institution and has launched a campaign focused on funding the infrastructural development of it newest faculty, the Faculty of Sport. It is “70 in 70” with the goal of 70 million in the 70th year.

“If there’s one industry that we can develop right now to diversify our economies and make our economies competitive, it is to build a sporting industry in our region” UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.


The faculty of Sport is regional in outlook and practice as it aims to establish footholds across the Caribbean engaging regional institutions. There are also a number of programmes already in train that will be delivered jointly with institutions with established Sport programmes based outside the region.


Contributors: Sean MockYen, Adrian Green, Kwasi Tinglin

There’s a new Chancellor in town


Chancellor Bermudez arrived for his first day in office at the Vice Chancellery Regional Headquarters UWI today, July 18. He was appointed by the University Council on April 27 at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados in succession of Sir George Alleyne.   Chancellor Bermudez assumes duties as the 6th Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, following in a line of celebrated Chancellors:

Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone (1948-1971);

Sir Hugh Wooding (1971-1974);

Sir Allen Montgomery Lewis (1975-1989);

Sir Shridath Ramphal (1989-2003);

and Sir George Alleyne (2003-2017).



Photography courtesy of UWI Archives Media Lab

On reaching the Regional Headquarters, Chancellor Bermudez was warmly greeted by Vice Chancellor Hilary Beckles and University Registrar C Will Iton as he prepared to assume duties at the UWI. The UWI’s senior executive management team and extended community of faculty and staff, students, alumni and council members warmly welcome Chancellor Bermudez to the university. The institution also takes this opportunity to thank Sir George Alleyne for his remarkable tenure of 23 years working at the regional University, including 14 years of service as Chancellor.

According to the University’s Statutes and Ordinances, “the Chancellor shall preside at meetings of the Council [the highest governing body of the regional university] and any Convocation and shall have such powers and perform such duties as may be conferred upon the holder of the office of Chancellor by The UWI Charter or any Statute, Ordinance or Regulation.” The official installation ceremony for Chancellor Bermudez is expected to be held in September 2017, at The UWI, St. Augustine Campus.

Chancellor Bermudez, a national of Trinidad and Tobago, has been an entrepreneur for over 40 years. He has led the growth of his family-owned business, to a regional business throughout the Caribbean and Latin America and has enjoyed a distinguished career in business, serving as either Chairman or Board Director for several other corporate bodies in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean. His vision for the University outlines a keen sense of the mission, effectiveness, relevance and interdependence of academia and the economy. His professional experience as a Caribbean-wide entrepreneur with business acumen garnered from across the region suggests that he will continue the distinguished tradition of Chancellorship that this University has maintained throughout its history.


Photography courtesy of UWI Archives Media Lab

With his many years of experience in business, Chancellor Bermudez is well placed to help the UWI exploit entrepreneurial and enterprise opportunities.

According to Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, “Our new Chancellor has demonstrated through his many roles as a man conscious of his Caribbean identity and responsibility, and willingness to provide leadership to our people at home and beyond, in the entrepreneurial arena and elsewhere, that he is amply energized for the role of Chancellor of our beloved UWI. He comes to office on the eve of our 70th anniversary during which the university community will be reflecting upon 70 years of service and leadership. It will be an honour for us to have him presiding over these activities.”

Adapted from:

The University Marketing and Communications Office articles

  1. New UWI Chancellor takes office: Robert Bermudez begins term as The UWI’s 6th Chancellor
  2. Robert Bermudez Confirmed as The UWI’s 6th Chancellor

Do More with Records

June 9 is International Archives day, celebrated annually all over the world but don’t take my word for it, click on International Council on Archives IAD Map.,-62.03851758008875,1.643856076407539

The UWI Archives team jumped out of the blocks a little early but logistics dictated that International Archives Day (#IAD17) Do More with Records workshop would be scheduled for June 6 and 7. So we reached inward and engaged staff at the Regional Headquarters that create records for our institution, our secretarial staff.

University Registrar; C Will Iton, the principal custodian for all records of the University of the West Indies, was moved to contribute to the DO More with Records workshop and congratulated the move to focus inward. The participants were engaged and lively as they discussed the role of records management in their daily tasks. University Archivist Mrs Alexander-Gooding had her audience thinking on ways to update and improve their work flow as she shared a number of considerations and complimentary strategies. Her presentation invoked some serious queries and some were posted on the UWI Archives Facebook page during the ongoing session.

UWI Archives Do More with Records Workshop is in full flight. #IAD17
Participants ask some interesting questions:
Suzie: Is our university going paperless?
UA: Going paperless is inaccurate, we can reduce paper in certain instances but paper continues to be preferred for permanent records and record with legal standing

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UWI Archives Do More Workshop heats up as Ms Rose-Parkes asks “What steps have UWI taken to safeguard our institution in light of the cyber security threats and breaches affecting other countries and institutions?
Kemar (CIO rep): Staff members are being educated on steps to manage data within their purview. Our CIO continues to manage the security of our network closely, and we ensure continued back up of electronic files for quick restoration.

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Dr Cherri-Ann Beckles was the next presenter and her presentation drilled down into the various standards and processes involved in creating, managing and caring for records as well as disaster preparedness in day to day activities. Now I must apologize to Cherri Ann because in case that description sounds rather bland, the truth is actually in the tasting or lets just say her participants were spellbound. Many regularly remarked on how much they learnt and were eager for more.

Dr Beckles did not mince words when she revisited the question of a paperless system.

Dr Cherri-Ann Beckles presenting Active Records Management.
Dr Beckles insists Paperless systems cannot be supported without greater evidential proof that electronic records can stand the test of time. [She also reports that] Our earliest paper record is from the 1400s.

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As part of the push to update the Management of Active Records both Dr Cherri-Ann Beckles and Mrs Sharon Alexander-Gooding reiterated for our participants that correspondence as records needed to be arranged in the order they were received with corresponding date stamp.

Dr Stanley Griffin focused on the life of the record, as it transitioned from active to archival preservation. Archival records are accessioned into the archives once once they have been appraised as having enduring value which simply put is long term value to the workings of the institution. He also reminded participants of the appropriate process and guidelines to access archival records

The Do More with Records workshop was a success based on participants feedback, thanking all our participants for the lively and stimulating discussion. Also our presenters Dr Cherri-Ann Beckles, Dr Stanley Griffin and Mrs Sharon Alexander-Gooding for condensing and making palatable Records Management Principles, Disaster Management for Records and Active to Archival Records and their value, these represent chunks from the UWI taught Records Management programme, hats off well done. To our Facebook participants thank you and keep the conversation strong and on record.

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Organizing our new records

UWI Archives recently accessioned over 200 boxes of records in one month. The hard task of organizing these records is now ongoing. This is primarily focused on arranging and describing these new items in order to make them searchable.

Now, you might ask shouldn’t the record be kept in its original state with its original detail? You are correct, we must preserve the record in their original state. However arranging and describing records new to our archives helps create clear and logical pathways from your research questions to useful answers that maybe contained among the records in our collection. This ensures a far better user experience because a well-organized collection of records determines how quickly and how much of the relevant information is unearthed by a researcher. It is a case of extracting key details and refining into a useful but concise summaries that help users find information quickly while also preserving context.

As part of our move to organize our new records expeditiously, UWI Archives enlisted an energetic young man, Delano Brown. This isn’t the first time Delano has joined our team and we are always happy to welcome him. When he is not working at UWI Archives, Delano works with The Mona Records Centre. His regular posting places him at the center of records retrieval. At UWI Archives, Delano also appears to be submerged in a sea records and files. He is now preoccupied with listing and tracking a specific subset of the records that were recently accessioned at UWI Archives.

Delano 2017-05-29 at 1.39.49 PM.png

He is completing studies in Computer Science and Entrepreneurship and shares that his role at UWI Archive has given him new insights and challenges. These have sparked Delano’s inner entrepreneur. He is now in the early stages of combining both his passions, Computer Science and Entrepreneurship to exploit an opportunity in management of the records in the custody of Records Centres and Archives.

Records Management Training Held in Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda, a twin island state known for its 365 beaches and pink-coloured sand, among other things, was recently visited by Mrs Sharon Alexander-Gooding (acting University Archivist) and Dr Stanley H. Griffin (Asst. Archivist/Officer-in-Charge at Mona) to conduct a week of training on Records Management.

This training course was arranged and hosted by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda’s Training Division with participants from across the Public Service. The aim of the workshop was to ensure participants learn about the international standards and best practices in managing the active, semi-active and archival records.  Held in St John’s, the state capital, at the Division’s Training Room, some 43 participants covered the fundamentals of records management theory, the influential factors and traditions  in Caribbean record-keeping, active and inactive records management, managing records centres and elements of archives management as well as care and handling of records.

On the final day of the week, the Chief Training Officer, Mrs Miguelle Christopher, noted that the purpose of this week of training was to renew the professionalism of staff involved in processing records or ministry registry offices.  Participants were expected to return to their offices and implement the best practices taught. Mr Joseph Prosper, Director of the National Archives, encouraged participants to fulfil their roles in order to safeguard the documentary heritage of the nation and assist the National Archives in fulfilling its legislated role.

In addition to training staff members, Mrs Alexander-Gooding and Dr Griffin led a morning Records Management Awareness Session at the Cabinet Office with executive members of the Public Service, which included the Cabinet Secretary,  Permanent Secretaries and senior officers of the security forces and government agencies. The aim for this session was to inform the leaders represented about the training course, and to encourage them to support their direct reports in implementing new procedures and practices that were taught.

Outreach and training are key activities for members of staff in The UWI’s Archives and Records Management Programme. It is not uncommon for our Records Managers and Archivists to provide consultancies to organisations, and conduct staff training and community workshops.  This is in addition to the six (6) week summer Certificate Course in Records and Information Management at Cave Hill Campus, Barbados and Mona Campus, Jamaica.  Members also teach in the BA (Information Studies) and MA (Archives and Records Management) Programmes in the Department of Library and Information Studies (DLIS).

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Blog post by Stanley H. Griffin, PhD