16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook
"From College to University: The Role of Higher Education in
Developing Bahamian Society"
Radisson Cable Beach Resort
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Notes for a presentation by Janyne M Hodder
The College of The Bahamas
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 1
I congratulate The Counsellors on the organization of this event
and thank them for inviting me to join this most distinguished
roster of speakers. The theme of this year's event "Economic
Year 2007: Opportunities, Plans and Outcomes" is particularly
appropriate for us at The College of the Bahamas as we are
deeply engaged in analyzing the opportunities we face, in
making the plans we need to make to lead to the outcomes we
seek not for ourselves, but for the country at large.
Before looking to the future, I wish to pay tribute to those who
laid the foundation from which we are now building The
University of The Bahamas. The University of The Bahamas
was foreshadowed by the government administration that led
this country to independence over thirty years ago. Its
foundations were built by the principals, presidents, faculty,
staff and students who, in the performance of their roles for
three decades, created at The College a passion for excellence
and who built programmes of high quality. Many of our
graduates went on to universities overseas, many others are
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 2
employed here and in all cases, their performance has
contributed to our reputation for excellence.
We can count numbers of College alumni in every sector of our
economy. Indeed, the roster of speakers today includes two
College alumni, Vernice Walkine and Peter Blair.
The contribution of these men and women is also enriched by
that of those who are at the College today. I have a formidable
team- men and women who have a passion for education; men
and women who helped build the College and have fostered its
Today, The College serves 4,615 registered students as of
January 6th 2007. We employ 202 regular teaching faculty and
200 more on a part-time basis, 100 of whom are working this
semester. Close to one quarter of our faculty, including
counsellors and librarians have terminal degrees, most usually
a doctorate. We also employ 396 full and part time staff. We
have a budget of $37 M for operations and anticipate spending
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 3
nearly $11M on capital projects this year. We offer 6
baccalaureate degrees in 59 majors and 3 associate degrees. We
offer, as well, 4 graduate degrees in collaboration with other
This then is the foundation from which we are building The
University of the Bahamas.
Often when I speak about the transformation from College to
University, I am asked two very important questions.
The first is: "Do we need a university "
Those who ask that question often follow it with the statement
that there are good universities elsewhere that Bahamians can
attend. They imply that we cannot achieve excellence here in
the Bahamas in part because of our size.
My answer that question is that no country should "outsource"
the higher education of its citizens. The presence of a national
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 4
university is crucial to ensuring long-term, sustainable
prosperity and a high quality of life.
A national university has a triple mandate; to educate citizens,
to carry out research that creates and disseminates new
knowledge, and to serve the community in ways it is most
capable of doing by virtue of its teaching and research
excellence. The universities of other countries, though a
valuable resource to students and researchers everywhere, have
no mandate to meet our national needs.
We must invest in the talent of this nation, as much the talent
of the students we educate as that of the Bahamian professors
we support and bring home. A country that exports the most
talented citizens is not building a prosperous, peaceful and
sustainable future. The extent to which The College of the
Bahamas has had outstanding success in educating more and
more Bahamians, so that now, for example, most accountants
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 5
are no longer expatriates, should serve as a clear reminder that
educating at home is the best investment a country can make.
And though it is true that much of our economy is based on the
beauty of our natural resources, it is also true that the
sustainable future of these very resources and the extent to
which Bahamians benefit from their development will be a
direct consequence of our national investment in highly-
qualified and talented human resources.
The second answer to this question concerns confidence. It is
the idea that because we are a small country, we cannot have an
excellent university. The evidence does not support this view.
There are a number of relatively small universities that have
established high quality reputations. It is mostly a question of
focus. A relatively small university must be committed to
seeking excellence where it can achieve it.
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 6
For us at The University of the Bahamas, this will of necessity
mean offering a broad range of undergraduate programmes, a
reasonable range of professional graduate programmes, and a
very select number of research graduate programmes where we
can be truly excellent one thinks spontaneously of the marine
sciences, of tourism, of the financial sector, of public policy
research and others
The second question is: "Does the move to University entail
any real change?"
The answer to that question is yes. But though the differences
are profound, they are not always easy to see from the outside.
An analogy might be helpful. There is a huge difference
between a medical clinic and a university hospital yet, if you
are at a clinic to be treated for a routine flu, you will not really
notice much difference. If you are there to have heart surgery,
however, you will.
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 7
A university particularly a comprehensive one such as The
University of the Bahamas will continue to do many of the
things you see us doing today. We will be offering
undergraduate degree programmes to full and part-time
students and this will continue to be where the bulk of our
But we will also be building a stronger outreach programme to
be able to respond to human resources training needs of the
Bahamian economy. We will offer better quality teaching and
learning resources a stronger library, improved access to on-
line knowledge and learning.
We will be supporting faculty who want to develop research
programmes, and our priority focus will be supporting multi-
disciplinary teams working on broad thematic areas of
importance to the nation. We will be more present on the
international scene, joining international associations of
Universities as a full member, representing the Bahamas and
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 8
learning and sharing with these universities from across the
We will be seeking to offer our own graduate programmes in
those areas where we know we can build excellence nationally.
The key difference between now and then will be in the depth
and in breadth of our scholarly work and reach.
2007 is a pivotal year for us. Our internal plans are well
underway. These plans include generating broad and deep
public support, of the kind which crosses all differences in our
society political differences, religious differences, class
differences. All these must pale in the face of the awesome
opportunity of building the University of the Bahamas the
university to shape our future.
We are confident of this support but we never take it for
granted. We require major investment and we know that
investors need to be confident before they invest.
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas
Why then should you invest in us and what is our role in developing
We have three distinct roles to play in the development of
1. Contribution through education: Access of Bahamians to high
quality university programmes.
The first role is the one we have already been playing as The
College of The Bahamas. We provide high quality and
accessible undergraduate education to Bahamians, many of
whom would not have such access without us. It is important
to remember, for example, that over half of our students study
on a part-time basis. Many of these combine work and study
and we serve in helping them improve their skills and thereby
increase their capacity to aspire to more demanding work.
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 10
The University of the Bahamas will build on this foundation to
increase access by developing new delivery models across the
archipelago. We will also be increasing accessibility to
graduate programmes. This again is of great benefit to the
nation and to the pool of talented human resources.
In addition, as we build the University of the Bahamas, we will
also be building international links which will allow Bahamians
students to study abroad with partner universities. This is
again of great benefit to our students and to the nation. This
will allow Bahamian students to have the benefit of
international exposure which so many want (and so many
parents want for their children) while not having to spend 4
years abroad. Already, two students from The College will be
on an exchange at The University of Rhode Island this semester,
and in December, we signed an agreement with The University
of Johannesburg which will allow for such exchanges. In
identifying international partners, we are always looking for
those who offer programmes which can enrich those we offer
ourselves The University of Johannesburg is well-known, for
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 11
example, for its tourism programme and we believe both our
faculty and our students would have an enriched experience
through an exchange.
This first contribution we make then is in the education and
development of Bahamian citizens directly through the
education we offer.
As we build our programmes, review them for quality, monitor
their evolution and ensure that they meet international
standards of excellence, we also have a need to stay close to all
sectors of the Bahamian economy which will employ our
graduates. I am pleased to report that we are doing so more
For example, we are currently working very closely with the
Bahamas Hotel Association to make sure our tourism,
hospitality and culinary programmes respond to industry
needs. We are grateful for the collaboration of industry both
as financial supporters and advisors. We are also pleased to
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 12
welcome Dr Lincoln Marshall as our new Executive Director.
Dr. Marshall has extensive experience and brings back to the
Bahamas his great talent.
Academic activity will also occur in the context of lifelong
learning programmes, which offer to adults not only the chance
to complete an interrupted education but also opportunities to
explore areas that can represent an interest quite outside their
professional life. I have asked my colleagues to seek out ways
of increasing the general level of public offerings and I draw
your attention to the wonderful Anatol Rodgers Lecture series
first held in 2006 when a talented Caribbean-born writer and
academic Fred D'Aguiar came to deliver a lecture and stayed
to offer writing workshops to the public at large. This too
demonstrates the kind of contribution The University of the
Bahamas can make to the quality of life in our country.
2. Contribution through Research
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 13
For thirty years now, The College of the Bahamas has educated
students, passing on the combined skills, knowledge and
attitudes which form the current best in each discipline or
professional programme. The exciting time ahead for us is that
we are now going to be expected to create new knowledge -
which is in fact what good research does.
The University of the Bahamas will take its place in the world
as a place where new knowledge is created, discovered and
shared. This is a major step for us. And it represents a
significant challenge. For example, there is the tension between
research driven entirely by the personal interest of an
individual researcher and research driven by national interests
of one kind or another. We see The University of The Bahamas
as a place where this tension is resolved creatively with a focus
We see research as having practical applications for the course
of our national future. And we see the possibility of research
carried out here which has an impact internationally. And in
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 14
the international sphere, we see our research as built on
productive partnerships -with the universities of other small
island developing states in some cases, with countries that have
strong marine research programmes in others, and indeed with
any who seek to answer questions similar to those that occupy
us in education, in the marine and environmental sciences, in
cultural areas, in economics, in business, in tourism, in
development studies or any other field of interest.
We do not see research as esoteric, disconnected from our daily
lives. In fact over the past twenty to thirty years, research in
universities has been at the source of an extraordinary number
of innovations. We see research at The University of The
Bahamas as linked in a fundamental way to our identity and to
For example, we know of the major anchor investment projects
that are planned across the archipelago. It is obvious to me that
The University of the Bahamas can be a research partner as well
as a human resources development partner. The kinds of
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 15
research needed include not only impact assessment on the
physical environment. We should also be studying how to plan
and manage social, cultural and other impacts. This is the kind
of multi-disciplinary integrated work a modern university can
do that is very difficult to do when you do not have a university
The University of the Bahamas can also play a key role in
making sure that research carried out by others in this country
also serves the needs of this country and is respectful of
national concerns. This is particularly important as we learn of
discoveries of previously unknown fossils in Abaco, or of rare
life forms off the coast of Andros. The University of the
Bahamas can make sure there is a national research framework
designed in service to the nation.
3. Contribution through Service.
The idea that a university contributes through direct service is
not new and the College and its members have been prominent
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 16
in all kinds of community endeavours in every sector of
activity. My colleagues are all leaders in community service and
you will know them as such.
But as the University of the Bahamas, we will be seeking to
formalize this service component somewhat and this will be
through various forms of Outreach, through Institutes, through
Walking out by Clifton over the Christmas break and seeing
once again the beautiful the carvings of Antonius Roberts, I
wondered how the University of the Bahamas might increase
its partnership with heritage and cultural groups to involve
students in understanding and protecting the public spaces we
wish to honour.
Service must also mean direct engagement with community
issues and concerns. For example, the University of the
Bahamas will see as part of its mission:
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 17
To facilitate social justice through enhanced access to
higher education to disadvantaged and excluded
constituencies. We must do more to rescue our young men
and provide greater access to the disabled.
To make it possible to pursue knowledge in ways that
could extend the horizon of human understanding
without always being constrained by considerations of
immediate relevance or returns on investment.
To ensure that the function of higher education as the
'critic and conscience of society' is upheld as fundamental
to the role of a critical citizenry in keeping democracy
vibrant and substantive.
Service can also be found in the myriad activities which do not
fit neatly within the academic programmes or research areas
but which are the life and breath of university life.
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 18
For example, our plans include making the University of The
Bahamas a significant centre for cultural development. The
College has long been an incubator for many of the gifted
students of art and music, who have not only benefited from
our academic programmes but also had the wonderful
opportunity to gain public exposure for their talents through
our well-patronised Colour of Harmony event. A listing of the
prominent talents in Bahamian art today reads like a who's who
of our alumni.
Last year we held a major jazz concert and our first Band
Festival. The latter gave community musicians an opportunity
to hone their skills under the guidance of master musicians.
The College has invested heavily in creating a state-of-the-art
performing arts centre from the bones of the old auditorium
which, in the days of The Government High School, functioned
as an axis for exciting cultural productions. We have targeted
the month of April for a grand opening.
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 19
All of this speaks to the breadth of activity a University expects
to be engaged in.
The University of The Bahamas is very much part of this year's
Outlook. Our plans are underway and we will shortly be
sharing with the public at large a calendar and timeline for the
We have the talent and drive to contribute significantly to our
country's prosperity, to the sustainability of our resources, and
to the overall quality of life of Bahamians. We have the
expertise to do what we are mandated to do. We need however
to have champions and supporters like you across the country.
I invite you then to:
SStay tuned for further announcements about our calendar
of transformation, and give us feedback on areas where
you or your business interacts with us.
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 20
SJoin our Advisory Boards, which are designed to bring
together university officials and major employers for two
main purposes: 1) to discuss the needs of local business
and industry, including research, product innovation, and
workforce training and 2) to contribute expertise to the
development of new programmes and curriculum where a
need is demonstrated.
Respond when we seek your financial support. We will be
launching a major funding campaign and hope to have
partners to build The University of the Bahamas with us.
Contribute directly and promote the University's case to
Sponsor scholarships, faculty and student internships and
research, as well as incubator programmes.
Sponsor and participate in our networking events and
Recruit our alumni and let us know how well prepared
you believe they are.
16th Annual Bahamas Business Outlook, Tuesday, January 9, 2007, Janyne M Hodder, The C .. of The Bahamas 21
Provide university artists and musicians opportunities and
places in which to showcase their talents.
Promote university events through your website, your
newsletters and notice boards, so that our alumni in your
organization, other members of your staff and your clients
can learn of them.
Communicate available job opportunities to us so that our
Offices of Communication and Student
promote them to our students and alumni.
* Patronise our sporting
We are in the nation-building business and we need a nation of
nation-builders to help us do what we are poised to do.