DESERVED RECOGNITION

Jamaica 2019 | EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

Through international collaboration and a spirit of service, NCU is raising the region's medicinal bar.

Dr. Lincoln P. Edwards
BIOGRAPHY
A graduate of the University of the West Indies and Loma Linda University, Dr. Lincoln P. Edwards holds a bachelor’s in chemistry and a PhD in pharmacology and Dental Surgery. President of the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Jamaica, he serves on three American Dental Association Test Construction Committees and is chair of the American Dental Education Association’s section on oral diagnosis and oral medicine. Previously an assistant professor in the school of medicine and an associate professor in the school of dentistry at Loma Linda University, he also served as associate professor at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center and School of Dentistry in Houston.

How did your expectations developed in 2018?

The NCU administration formed several new partnerships in support of the growth and development of the university. For example, we are currently developing an MoU with Inova Pharmaceutical, a major pharmaceutical in the US, for a project on medicinal plants in Jamaica. This kind of collaboration is vital, as it allows us to combine Jamaican raw materials with Inova's technology. It will assist us in isolating active ingredients from the raw materials so that the finished products can go quickly to the market. We also are partnering with a company from Texas to bring business process outsourcing (BPO) to NCU. Equally important, we have formed local partnerships with some of the companies that handle water harvesting, as well as with the government, to assist in increased agricultural production.

What makes the university stand out from the competition?

We are a Christ-centered, value-based educational community underpinned by a strong work ethic, an emphasis on service, and a culture of innovation. Thus, the people who make up the university, and the core values to which we subscribe, are of utmost importance. The emphasis on values and giving back to the region also helps make us unique. NCU has been in operation for 111 years, and when people look at the history of the Jamaican landscape, they find NCU graduates who chose to help build Jamaica. The same applies regionally, as while visiting Haiti for the first time in 2017, I found that many of the workers at the Adventist University of Haiti had received their training from NCU. Overall, our commitment to excellence makes us stand out.

What role will your relationships in the US play for your overall growth strategy?

In the 21st century, universities and other businesses work together on many initiatives, as it is difficult to accomplish greatness in isolation. For example, Loma Linda University in the US is a sister institution well known for its accomplishments in health sciences and medicine. And we are interested in collaborating with them to establish a medical school at NCU in the near future. We also took a similar path with dental hygiene, as Loma Linda University agreed to assist in the upgrading of the facilities in that department. We are also seeking similar arrangements with Howard University. Meanwhile, the University of Texas has also agreed to collaborate with NCU on several initiatives.

What other relationships are you establishing with international universities?

We continue to pursue our relationship with Andrews University in Michigan and are building links to expand our academic programs. In addition, some of our researchers were recently engaged in an important collaborative research project involving nanotechnology at the State University of New York.

How would you describe the added value that NCU provides its students?

We take students and nurture them to become world champions; the commitment to excellence that we stand for challenges students to constantly give their best. Our professors are committed to the development of young people, and the mission of the university is to transform students into worthwhile citizens and champions. The National Business Model competition is a crowning achievement in this regard, and we have won it every year since its inauguration; the top four positions in last year's competition were won by teams from NCU. After claiming third place nationally, team Pneulyfe went on to win the National Science and Technology competition.

What are your goals for 2019?

We are excited about the future and want to develop centers of excellence at Northern Caribbean University. We want to increase our enrolment and have a three-pronged strategy that involves building new student housing, securing authorization from the United States Department of Housing to allow US residents to use their financial aid to attend NCU, and achieve institutional accreditation from the University Council of Jamaica.