The UWI Climbs to Top 4%

October 22, 2019 - 337 views

At a media conference hosted at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Cave Hill Campus on
October 17, Vice-Chancellor, of The UWI, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles announced that the regional
University had climbed the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings, following its debut last year.
The UWI, which is a public university system established to serve the higher education needs of the
residents of 17 English-speaking countries and territories in the Caribbean: Dominica, Anguilla, Antigua
and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Grenada,
Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad, and Tobago,
and Turks and Caicos Islands; appears in the World University Rankings 2020 which includes almost
1,400 universities across 92 countries and is still the only Caribbean University on the prestigious list.

In 2016, the university rolled out its five-year strategic plan (2017-2022) built upon three pillars —
Access to tertiary education, Alignment with partners and stakeholders, and Agility in effort. Themed
Revitalizing Caribbean Development, this plan mobilizes the University to “rekindle and sustain
Caribbean Development.”

Vice-Chancellor Beckles, in conceiving and rolling out this plan, which is known as the “Triple A
Strategy”, declared an immediate objective to “radically upgrade and globalize the university’s
performance reputation, and enhance its international visibility and competitiveness.”
To achieve this strategic objective, The UWI system prepared for its first exposure and participation in
comparative international rankings, last year. It chose professional engagement with Times Higher
Education (THE), the most prestigious ranking agency and moved with agility to become fully conversant
with THE’s scientific methodology — pillars of assessments, criteria for categorizing performance, and
the tabulation of scores. Critically, it called for a purposeful effort to strengthen areas of weakness and
enhance traditional strengths.

The UWI’s debut THE ranking results showcased the tremendous accumulated success of the University
as a legacy institution. With over 200 registered universities in the Caribbean region, The UWI was
ranked number one. Among more than 2000 registered universities in Latin America and the Caribbean,
it ranked in the top 3%; and in the top 5% among the 28,000 registered universities globally.
With these excellent results in last year’s ranking scheme, the institution did not rest on its laurels or
muse upon its legacy. Rather, it moved to strengthen its competitive position in key areas, particularly in
enhancing the international recognition of its published research. This achievement is reflected in
recognized global research citation indices. The evidence of The UWI’s enhanced global visibility is found

in key areas such as its leadership and participation in international projects. Additionally, its concerted
efforts to expand and deepen Industry-Academic partnerships were noted.
Collectively, these outputs showed that the University had made significant strategic strides, with
enhanced excellence, reflected in a surge in reputation recognition.

Within the context of these developments, the just released THE 2020 results are even more impressive.
The enhanced respect the University gained for its academic output and its alignment of effort with the
development objectives of the region was rewarded.
Not only has The UWI retained its position as the number one ranked university in the region, in the
Latin America and Caribbean region, it moved from the top 3% to the top 2%. The scores for its global
rankings show that it moved from the top 5% to the top 4% of ranked universities.
“This upward trajectory into the top 4% of the world’s best universities reflects the extraordinary effort
of the management team and The UWI family to honour the pledge within the strategic plan to be an
excellent global university rooted in the Caribbean”, says Vice-Chancellor Beckles. Specifically, the Vice-
Chancellor added, “it is the intention of the University to be located in the top 3% of ranked universities
by the end of the current strategic planning cycle in 2023.”

Vice-Chancellor Beckles concluded, “The University has experienced a considerable rise in self-
confidence since participating in these global rankings. The UWI has an excellent Executive Management
Team, and is focused on sustaining its reputation revolution, while demonstrating daily proof of greater
efficiency and public accountability.”

Recently appointed University Registrar, Dr. Maurice Smith, who served as Chair of the media
conference, commented that the THE’s rankings have “placed us alongside the wealthiest and the best
in some of the biggest countries across the globe”. He added, “The rankings show how we have been
aligning ourselves with our strategic mission to radically transform and improve The UWI’s regional and
international academic standing as an excellent global university that is rooted in the Caribbean.”