UWI Principal to receive Commonwealth of Learning Award

The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. 11 July 2016. The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) will confer the title of Honorary Fellow on Dr Luz Longsworth, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Open Campus of The University of the West Indies during the 8th Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 27-30, 2016.

COL is an intergovernmental organisation created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. It awards honorary fellowships every three years at its triennial Pan-Commonwealth forums. These Fellowships honour carefully selected individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the growth and development of open, distance and technology enabled learning in their own country and internationally and/or to the advancements of education and development in the Commonwealth generally. The Open Campus has a long history of collaboration with COL, most recently the development of the BSc in Youth Development Work which will now be offered through COL as an Open Educational Resource to a consortium of universities throughout the Commonwealth. 

The designation of COL Honorary Fellow, which is a designation for life,  recognises impact in areas such as: leadership and service, published works including courseware, lectures and presentations and mentorship. Since 1998, the award has been bestowed on several distinguished educators/administrators across the Commonwealth.

Professor Asha Kanwar, COL’s President and Chief Executive Officer, indicated her personal delight that, through this conferment, COL would be able to acknowledge a great contributor to education and skills development in the Commonwealth. She drew particular reference to Dr Longsworth’s exceptional service and leadership to learning for development, change management, and organisational transformation.

Dr Longsworth has more than 30 years’ experience in academia and business in Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, and Belize where she was the Resident Tutor and Head of the then School of Continuing Studies. She was officially appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Open Campus in 2016. Prior to that, as a senior administrator at The UWI, she served in various posts at the Mona and Open Campuses, including Director of The UWI Open Campus Country Sites, and Director of The UWI Mona Western Jamaica campus in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Responding to news of the award, Dr Longsworth indicated that she was truly humbled by this signal acknowledgement, especially since she has always had an abiding admiration for the work of COL throughout the Commonwealth in supporting online, flexible and distance learning.  She was honoured to accept the award, not just on her own behalf but “as part of a unique and outstanding institution, The University of the West Indies.” She went on to say, “I am so pleased that the work of The UWI and in particular the UWI Open Campus in Distance Learning is being acknowledged and honoured by this prestigious organisation.”  

Dr Longsworth is the third person from The UWI in the last 13 years to be conferred this award. Dr Olabisi Kuboni  (2011) and Professor Badri Koul (2003), both of the Open Campus and the former UWI Distance Education Centre (UWIDEC), are earlier recipients. “This is a testimony to our sustained impact,” Dr Longsworth concluded.

In offering his congratulations, The UWI Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles counted it “a great honour for our colleague and recognition of the Open Campus and The UWI.”

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