The University of the West Indies (UWI) Appointments Committee has approved Dr. Francis O. Severin as Director of the Open Campus Country Sites (OCCS) Division of the UWI Open Campus. A national of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Dr. Severin is the new Director of the OCCS, effective October 1, 2013.
He brings extensive knowledge and experience to the position, having commenced his career with The University of the West Indies on January 1, 1999 as Project Officer in the Office of Administration and Special Initiatives (OASIs), Vice Chancellery, based at Mona in Jamaica. In that role, Dr. Severin was responsible for, inter alia, managing the University’s Alumni Relations, conducting research to gather baseline data for the UWI’s science and other initiatives, and writing or co-writing several proposals and special papers/reports, including the Reformulation of UWI’s Alumni Relations, Report on Policy and Procedures on Sexual Harassment and the UNESCO/Commonwealth Chair in Education and HIV/AIDS, among others. That beginning role provided him with an early insight into the operations and governance of the University as he had to relate to all sixteen countries served by the UWI.
He then returned to Dominica in August 2005 to assume the post of Resident Tutor/Head of the School of Continuing Studies (SCS). Consistent with the tenor of his abiding commitment to education and intellectual development/stimulation as a guaranteed avenue to economic development and enhancement of people’s self-esteem, he continued to build on the traditional UWI culture of “beyond the walls” educational appeal in Dominica through the annual distinguished/memorial lecture series that he initiated as Head of Open Campus Dominica Partnering with relevant public and private sector institutions and groups for cultural development purposes has been another highlight of his tenure as Head. The growth and development of the site, increased access to quality higher education and raising the profile of the University in Dominica, are other accomplishments of Dr. Severin as the University’s representative.
He, therefore, brings to the Office of Director a broad perspective that embraces the UWI-3 and UWI-12. In 2010, Dr. Severin became the Public Orator for the Open Campus, succeeding Dr. Lennox Bernard after his retirement. Dr. Severin has acted as the Director, Open Campus Country Sites (OCCS) for an accumulated period of thirteen months.
In the last two of the three formal spells that he served in that capacity (May and June 2012 and August 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, the latter period arising when Dr. Luz Longsworth transferred to Mona’s Western Jamaica Campus to lead operations there), he steered OCCS through a period of challenge, novelty and “restlessness” during the major accreditation visitation processes. He will now assume the post of Director for four years in the first instance, as is the norm for Deans.