What were some highlights for CMU in 2018?
There have been so many significant developments over the last year that it is hard to choose only a few, though three stand out. First, the launch of the Festo Authorized and Certified Training (FACT) Centre, the largest and most sophisticated facility of its kind in the world with the greatest ability to transform lives. It consists of laboratories with modernized equipment that are driving the integrated way we train current and future engineers. Locals no longer have to travel overseas for training, and overseas trainees can now receive international certification right here in Jamaica. CMU's work has been recognized globally with the 2018 Marine Environment. A second highlight was when CMU won the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA) award, the Protection Education Award, following a long line of distinguished institutions that have demonstrated leadership in their efforts to “save our seas." Third, we have signed a number of important partnership agreements with like-minded universities across the world, namely in Israel, the US, Nigeria, and Taiwan. These partnerships are geared toward joint research, student and faculty exchange, and capacity development.
What programs, courses or initiatives captained by CMU are you particularly proud of?
I am particularly proud of the impact that CMU is having on the country through the Caribbean Cadet Marine Corp, an initiative executed by the CMU in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information to develop a maritime conscience among high school students and a sense of discipline among the youth. We now have over 1,000 students involved in the program and are looking to increase that in 2019.
What are CMU's main strengths, and how does it retain its leading position in the Caribbean?
CMU is a university like no other. It is known for its flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness to global issues such as aviation security, counter terrorism, digital forensics, industrial automation, mechatronics, marine biotechnology, AI, international shipping, and naval architecture, all of which are areas of training offered by CMU. In addition to this, we have established centers of excellence relevant to today's global needs. These include the Maritime Training Center, which offers courses compliant to Standards in Training, Certification, and Watch Keeping of Seafarers (STCW); a Centre for Security, Counterterrorism and Non-Proliferation that offers training in security at all levels; the Center for Sustainable Supply Chains, which offers consultancy to improve operational efficiency of industry partners; the Center for Blue Economy and Innovation, which advances the university's mandate to reduce waste and boost environmentally conscious practices; the Festo Authorized and Training Centre; and the Dr. Andrew Wheatley Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing, which hosts the largest suite of 3D printers in the Caribbean.
How can CMU prevent brain drain?
We do not think of the movement of people and skills from Jamaica to the rest of the world as a brain drain, because we do not consider the traditional concept of brain drain to be our reality. When people leave to share their knowledge and skills with the rest of the world, we train more people. With the capacity of CMU, we can now train not just for Jamaica, but for the world. That is one of our greatest assets as a university, to train to international standards.
What is CMU doing in terms of improving access to education for Jamaicans?
CMU is driven by the need to increase access to all. We are actively doing this through our online distance learning platform, which provides students with the opportunity to access pre-university courses, application resources, class material, and a host of other electronic educational resources. We are opening up access to higher learning, especially in postgraduate studies and through our micro masters, a better fit than a traditional masters for many students.