Dr. Luz a bright light at U.W.I. Open Campus
On Thursday night Doctor Luz Longsworth was inducted as the Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the U.W.I. Open Campus – it is a role she has been acting in since 2015 but it was made official right here in Belize City. Longsworth has spent twenty five years with the U.W.I. and even worked here in Belize for several years, a place she would settle with her family before moving across the Caribbean for work in education. The top management of the U.W.I., as well as local politicians, family and friends joined Doctor Longsworth for the ceremonies at the Biltmore. News Five’s Andrea Polanco covered the event.
“You now have the opportunity to lead the newest of the institutions major centers of learning and research. You will also have the opportunity to put into practice what you have often declared as almost a holy grail improving the lot of Caribbean people through education. And you are being entrusted with responsibility like none other than is greater than this – that is helping to shape and guide the mind and thinking of the young people of the region. And I have absolute confidence in your capacity to discharge that responsibility.”
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
Having received the blessings of the Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Sir George Alleyne, the official induction of Dr Luz Longsworth as the Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the UWI Open Campus followed. Dr. Longsworth received her traditional Pro-Vice Chancellor garb from Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles. A fitting ceremony attended by the Chancellors and senior management of the UWI, as well as local government officials and members of the private and public sectors, as well as family and friends. Having spent twenty five years of her life with the UWI, Dr Longsworth acted in the capacities of pro vice chancellor and principal of the Open Campus since May 2015 and on Thursday night, she was officially installed.She shares what it means to be at the helm.
Dr. Luz Longsworth, Pro Vice Chancellor & Principal, UWI, Open Campus “It certainly is one of the most rewarding things that I have had to do in my career with the university and of course, I know Belizeans will remember me when I was the resident tutor here at the School of Continuing Studies. But it is the University itself that is moving rapidly. It is that the University is responding to the needs; the urgent needs of the region that we have to change the things that we are doing and that the Open Campus is going to be the tool – the conduit through which the university moves its programmes and research into the region and beyond. So, for me it was an honour. I felt very heartened and it was a heartwarming ceremony to have so many of my Belizean friends and family to be present last night, but it is also quite a difficult road ahead. As I called it yesterday, it is like going down the Ruta Maya. You are in your canoe and you have to paddle really fast when you are in the race and you have to paddle really fast ahead of the fast moving waters. So, the possibilities are immense for the University, for Belize and for the region but we all have to work together in the future to make education much more accessible, affordable for more of our people.”
Dr. Longsworth is the third person to be installedwith the title of pro vice chancellor and principal of one of the four schools of the region’s premier tertiary institution – which also makes her only the third female to be installed in these capacities. The UWI Campus is the newest addition to the UWI brand – formalized in 2008. And while still a young institution, Doctor Longsworth says it is the right place to grow – and she hopes to make an impact through online education to reach more students.
Dr. Luz Longsworth
“We have to move the number of students in higher education rapidly; The University has a goal of an additional twenty thousand students in the next five years; a large number of those will have to be online because you just can’t keep building facilities for students but there are other ways too; collaboration with the junior colleges, collaboration with the national university of Belize to jointly offer programmes that will help to drive that enrolment and that is the way we have to work and the Open Campus is perfectly, perfectly positioned because we are in every country; we work in every community; right here in Belize we are already linked into the association of tertiary institutions and we are already working in our communities, so we see it as doable even though it is a stretch target as we say in business, but I think it is something that we in the Open Campus can also lead for the university.”
Having spent several years in Belize with her family and worked here in the field of education, for Doctor Longsworth Belize is not just one of her homes – but it is a place where she sees tremendous potential and opportunities.
Dr. Luz Longsworth
“Just being here, we can see the potential of Belize. Belize is a gold mine in terms particularly of the environment, the coastal zones; those are areas that the University is doing tremendous research in and that other universities are very interested in. And we are working on several projects that we hope will come to fruition in the next year or two for Belize; centering it in Belize with Belize being a sort of centre, catalyst, for the region for those key areas because we know there is nowhere like Belize, right?”
Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.