UWI/ Guardian Life Stage 10th Annual Premium Teaching Awards

October 10, 2014. Kingston, Jamaica……The tenth staging of the University of the West Indies (UWI)/ Guardian Life Limited Premium Teaching Awards took place on Thursday, October 9, 2014 with UWI lecturer, Dr. Keren Cumberbatch taking home the top prize. Held at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, the evening’s proceedings featured the competition’s main judge, Dr. Elizabeth Barkley, Professor & Faculty Development Specialist at Foothill College, Los Altos, California; who has been named California's Higher Education Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, giving the keynote presentation under the heading ‘Striving for Excellence: Engagement and Today’s University Students’.

Dr. Cumberbatch who is a lecturer in the Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy at UWI, presently coordinates the sign language interpreting programme and her academic interests include deaf studies, sign linguistics, language documentation, endangered languages, patient communication and adult education. She has been a part of the deaf community since childhood.

Mr. Eric Hosin, President of Guardian Life lauded the competition, adding that “at Guardian Life, education is a top priority and a key focus in the company’s corporate social responsibility programme and it is only fitting that we partner and give our full support to initiatives such the UWI Premium Teaching Awards, which seek to honour, recognize and reward outstanding teachers in higher education who have excelled in their field.”

“Guardian Life prides itself in being part of such a noteworthy event, with select team members playing an integral role in the yearly planning and execution of the event. I strongly believe the Teaching Award programme has significantly elevated the status of the teaching profession on the University’s campus and the wider community, as well as providing a platform for which to give due recognition to the educators who work long and hard and who are dedicated to the craft of teaching” he continued.

The competition is held each year, with the finals alternating between an awards ceremony and a lecture. The honour is intended to recognize the outstanding teaching accomplishments of the academic staff and to encourage and reward excellence in teaching on the Mona Campus of The University of the West Indies. It is exclusively for teaching and all relevant aspects of the field such as developing structures and processes that help create an environment in which teaching excellence is valued and fostered, and teaching excellence is linked to concern with effective learning.

Awardees in the competition are selected on the basis of their preparation and submission of a Teaching Portfolio providing evidence of a teaching philosophy which says clearly how they teach and why; demonstration of commitment to teaching and learning by participation in more than one of the workshops and teaching discussions offered by the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning; participation in the Portfolio Workshops; evidence of development of course materials evidence of participation in efforts to improve the quality of instruction to students; demonstration of innovative approaches and/or teaching methodologies and use of technology; commitment to development of independence of students and respect for critical thinking and creativity and evidence of openness to student centred teaching. 

This year’s second place nominee is Dr. Damien King, a senior lecturer and head of the department of Economics at the Mona Campus of UWI. He is also the Director of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute.

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