Author: Dr. Dave Cassie, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
The School of Sciences, Technology & Allied Health (STAH) recently hosted the University’s first ever virtual Science day. In the past, it has usually been the custom to showcase the work of students, faculty and staff of the various departments of STAH around a particular theme during the annual event. However, due to the prevailing pandemic conditions last year the event was cancelled. This year each department thoroughly immersed students of Forms 3 to 6 from a wide cross-section of secondary schools as well as the general public from Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean into a fascinating digital showcase on the evening of March 6 2022.
The theme, “ you, Science & the pandemic” was very aptly chosen and the organizers were congratulated for this by each of the administrators who brought greetings and remarks including Dean Antwi, Provost Chesney and President Wilson during the formal segment of the program. The theme capitalized on the pervasive power of Science to connect the individual and the pandemic and the society as a whole. There were lively and engaging presentations from the Departments of Nursing Education, Biological Sciences, Computing, Mathematics & Technology and Family & Consumer Science. The event lasted over three hours and included dramatizations on COVID-19 respiratory care, virtual lab simulations, cooking competition, mask wearing and making demonstrations, and how technology has changed the workplace. Each department was well represented by faculty, staff and students as well as alumni as there was a ‘STAH VOICE’ feature that highlighted the personal experiences of alumni who were Science and Allied Health program graduates from each department. Certainly there was a mix of excitement, information and entertainment for the audience that joined via Zoom, we look forward to the next instalment of Science Day in 2023!
BCW2022 took place during March 14 – 17 and positioned itself as a university-wide annual event. BCW stands for Business and Career Week and is a period of four days where key individuals in various professions are invited to sensitise and engage students on contemporary issues in the workplace and expected future trends in the world of work. This year the School of Business and Entrepreneurship was pleased to partner with its sister schools within the university to provide an interdisciplinary, value-packed, phenomenal week for students and all attendees.
The Impact of Digitalisation on Career Choices was the theme of BCW2022. We were pleased to be addressed by Senator, Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly during our opening ceremony and were happy to be engaged by over 30 presenters, both local and international across the week. All presenters were professionals in their discipline and provided students with information to increase their anticipation and preparation for a bright future.
Over 1000 attendees benefited from the virtual sessions and feedback gathered indicates that the week was well received and dubbed a success! A link to recorded presentations can be accessed here: https://usc.edu.tt/bcw2022/
The School of Business and Entrepreneurship thanks its sister schools, presenters, and all attendees for participating in BCW2022!
Prepared by Dr. Susan Chand, Director, Office of Research & Innovation
Visit usc.edu.tt/researchday for more!
Research Day is an annual event that showcases the scholarly work of the faculty, staff and students at the University of the Southern Caribbean through oral presentations, poster exhibitions and round table discussions. As we continue to be in the pandemic times, the presentations will be focusing on the dimensionalities and disparities encountered by the people locally and across the globe. Theme of the Research Day 2022 is: “Human Dimensionalities and Disparities: The Impact of COVID-19 on Physical, Social, Economic, Emotional and Spiritual Well Being”.
COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the normal way of life for people world-wide. Rapid changes to adapt to the ‘new normal’ has created a competitive environment that has challenged access to health, resources, food, jobs by many individuals leading to disparities in human dimensions. Human dimension encompasses a wide range of human behaviours, relationships, and dynamics. Countries and regions continue to face threats directed toward exploitation of persons from low socio-economic status, minority groups, women, and migrant populations. This situation under COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to exacerbating rather than alleviating the plights of the vulnerable groups globally as well in the Caribbean region (United Nations Policy Brief COVID LAC, 2020).
The USC Research Day 2022 will address the issues of human dimensionalities and disparities in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the objectives will be to:
1. Address the issues of disparities across human dimensions globally and regionally.
2. Discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the physical, social, economic, emotional, and spiritual well-being of people globally and in the context of the Caribbean region.
3. Discuss the disparities faced by the vulnerable populations globally and in the Caribbean region.
4. Provide innovative solutions/interventions to address human problems and disparities under COVID-19 pandemic.
PUBLIC LECTURE SERIES
Research Day will begin with the Public Lecture Series – VII on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 6:00 – 7:30 pm AST.
Public Lectures are held to address issues that are current and relevant to the University and the wider community. In the past, the topics of these Lectures have ranged from crime prevention, domestic violence, and child authority act, rising trends in diabetes in Trinidad and Tobago, climate change and mental health, education during COVID-19 pandemic, and public science – learning without walls. Public Lectures commenced at USC since 2019. These events are hosted from the Office of Research and Innovation.
This prestigious lecture will be delivered by Dr. Wayne L. Greaves, Distinguished Scientist in the biopharmaceutical field, physician and a specialist in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, USA. His primary focus is on research and development of drugs for infectious diseases. Dr. Greaves is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the author of numerous scientific articles.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic much of his time has been devoted to addressing myths about the Covid vaccines and separating fact from fiction.
USC RESEARCH DAY ONE – MARCH 9, 2022: OPENING CEREMONY
Research Day Opening Ceremony will commence on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 from 8:30 am – 9:45 am.
The Keynote Speaker is Dr. Dillon Alleyne, Deputy Director, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Sub regional Headquarters for the Caribbean, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
Topic: “The impact of the Covid19 on the Economic and Social Sectors and peoples of the Caribbean and Opportunities for Resilience Building”
Session – 1: Featured Panel Presentations: 9:55 – 11:00 am
Overarching Theme: “Evidential and Collaborative Approaches for Addressing Health Disparities and Equity”
Presenter # 1: Noel Brathwaite, PhD, MSPH, Director, Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Maryland Department of Health, Baltimore, USA.
Topic: Data Driven policy Formulation and Implementation
Presenter # 2: David A. Mann, MD, PhD, Epidemiologist, Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Maryland Department of Health, Baltimore, USA
Topic: COVID-19: A Causal Model Approach to Health Equity Data
Presenter # 3: Arif J. Vega, PhD, Director of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion – Engagement and Outreach, LUNGevity Foundation, Washington, USA
Topic: Priority Intervention Models
Presenter # 4: Diane Walker, MDH, Executive Assistant, Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Maryland Department of Health, Baltimore, USA
Topic: Funding, Capacity Building and Drivers of Sustainability
Session – 2: USC Students’ Oral Presentations – 11:00 – 11:40 am
Session – 3: USC Faculty Featured Presentations – 11:45 am – 12:25 pm
Presenter # 1: Ms. Fayola St. Bernard, Chair, Department of Computing, Mathematics and Technology School of Sciences, Technology and Allied Health, University of the Southern Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago.
Topic: “The Impact of Gamification on Student Engagement and Performance”
Presenter # 2: Dr. Gersha Pierre, Director, Quality Assurance, University of the Southern Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago.
Topic: “Using the Mixed Method Research Design for Scale Development and Inferential Analysis of Student Satisfaction in Higher Education”
Session – 4: USC Students’ Oral Presentations – 12:25 – 1:00 pm
Session – 5: ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION – 4:45 – 6:00 pm
Topic: “Three years in and counting: Navigating the interdisciplinary implications of Covid 19″.
Moderator – Dr. Amanda Thomas, Research Assistant Professor, School of Graduate Studies and Research, USC
1. Dr. Cerise Hunt: Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Director for the Center for Public Health Practice, Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health at Colorado School of Public Health University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
2. Dr. Apryl Alexander: Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver (DU).
3. Dr. Godfrey St. Bernard: Senior Fellow, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.
4. Dr. Lois George: Programme Coordinator for Undergraduate and Graduate Mathematics Education programmes and co-chairperson for the SOE Academic Quality Assurance Committee (SOEAQAC).
5. Dr. Claudette Mitchell: Chair, Department of Consumer Sciences, School of Science, Technology and Allied Health, USC
Session – 6: USC Faculty & Students’ Oral Presentations – 6:00 – 7:30 pm
USC RESEARCH DAY TWO – MARCH 10, 2022
Session – 1 – Featured Presentation – 8:30 – 9:10 am
Featured Speaker: Mr. Charles D. Jean-Pierre Collier, President, T&T Association of Psychologists
Topic: “When the Proposal Pleases the Whole Group – Participatory Action Research”
Session – 2 – USC Faculty and Students’ Presentations – 9:10 – 9:50 am
Session – 3: Featured Presentation – 9:50 – 10:30 am
Presenter: Dr. Walter Murray, Managing Director/Founder – Strategic Business Analysts, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Topic: “Human Dimensionality, Covid19 and Opportunities to Implement Genesis Leadership Principles”
Session – 3 – USC Faculty and Students’ Presentations – 10:30 – 11:15 am
SESSION – 4: ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION – 11:20 AM – 12:30 PM
MODERATOR: Mr. Paul Richards, Independent Senator, Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Adjunct Faculty, USC
Overarching Theme: “Human Dimensionalities and Disparities: Inter-regional perspectives and solutions”
Presenter # 1: Kenneth P Swansi, MBA, MPhil, PhD, Chair, Business Department Associate Dean, Graduate School Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies [AIIAS], Philippines
Focus area: “Economic disparities on account of COVID-19 globally and in the Asian context”
Presenter # 2: Lía Rodríguez de la Vega, PhD, Teacher/Researcher at the National University of Lomas de Zamora/University of Palermo, Argentina & Director of the Diploma of Asian Studies (UNCAUS, Argentina)
Focus area: “Latin American perspective on disparity issues during COVID-19 pandemic (including gender issues)”
Presenter # 3: Amy Paul-Ward, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy Former Director, Nursing PhD Program Florida International University, USA & Visiting Faculty, Department of Occupational Therapy, USC
Focus area: “Disparities with special reference to disabilities: A health anthropological perspective in the context North America”
Presenter # 4: Donald T Simeon, PhD, Director, Caribbean Centre for Health Systems Research and Development, Professor of Biostatistics and Public Health Research, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad
Focus area: “The Critical Role of the Researcher in addressing the COVID-driven challenges to Human Dimensionalities and Disparities”
Presenter # 5: Dr. Wanda Chesney, Provost, University of the Southern Caribbean, Trinidad
Focus area: “Online Teaching and Learning Challenges and Resilience at a Tertiary Institution – Actions for closing the Disparity gaps”
CLOSING CEREMONY – 12:30 – 1:30 pm
Keynote Speaker: Professor Sunil Khanna, Professor and Robert & Sara Rothschild Endowed Chair in Global Health, Oregon State University, School of Biological and Population Health Sciences, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon, USA
Topic: Exploring Dimensions of Health Inequities: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic
Author: Susan Chand, PhD – Director, Office of Research & Innovation
President’s Brown Bag Series was launched by the former President, Dr. Trevor Gardner after USC was awarded a university status by the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago in 2006. Brown Bag Series was envisioned to be a platform for intellectual discourse and discussion for faculty at USC. The first lecture was delivered by an erudite Professor of Sociology, late Dr. Letroy Cummings from the School of Social Sciences. Dr. Cummings’s lecture drew from his extensive research based on content analysis of newspaper articles on intimate partner violence in Guyana. His work was published in the USC Journal of Research Volume II (2011) entitled “Incidents and Explanations of Romantic Homicides in Guyana”. This was the only series that was launched.
In 2015, Academic Forum was launched along the same objectives as the President’s Brown Bag Series. Academic Forum was conceptualized by the then Dean of Distance Education, Dr. Sylvan Lashley to offer engaging and constructive discussion around the presentations of scholarly work by faculty, staff or students. Two Academic Forums were held each semester.
The first Academic Forum was launched by the President, Dr. Clinton Valley on September 2, 2015, with Dr. Lashley and Ms. Colleen Letlow presenting their findings on their study, “Entrepreneurial teams at work: concepts and practices – live case. Since then, the Office of Research and Innovation has been hosting Academic Forums till the academic year 2020.
President’s Brown Bag Series Relaunch
The President’s Brown Bag Series was relaunched by our newly appointed 29th USC President, Dr. Colwick Wilson on November 10, 2021, via the zoom platform. This event featured Dr. Amanda Thomas, PhD, Research Methods and Statistics, Office of Research and Innovation, School of Graduate Studies and Research, USC. Her presentation was based on her doctoral thesis, “Differences in Academic Achievement between African American and African Caribbean Students studying in the United States: A Meta-Analysis”. This relaunch attracted over 40 attendees from USC community, members of the academic from the tertiary institutions of Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean, and the United States.
President’s Brown Bag Series – 2 – A Phenomenal Lecture by Dr. Hansel M. Fletcher
On January 26, 2022, Dr. Hansel M. Fletcher, an accomplished scientist and professor of molecular genetics/biochemistry of microbial diseases with focus on oral bacterial pathogens delivered a seminal lecture on “Overcoming Environmental Stress: Survival skills and the impact of the oral microbiome on the host”. Dr. Fletcher is currently an Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Affairs and Professor of Microbiology and Genetics in the School of Medicine at Loma Linda University, California.
The Office of the President and the Office of Research and Innovation jointly hosted this event. The session commenced with an opening prayer by Dr. Llyod Jacott, Chaplain at USC. Dr. Susan Chand, Director of Research and Innovation, extended a warm welcome to all the attendees, and presented an overview of the President’s Brown Bag Series at USC. Dr. Colwick Wilson welcomed Dr. Fletcher and formally acknowledged the presence of all the attendees including Dr. Sanjay Ramnanan, President of the Dental Association of Trinidad and Tobago and Dr. Rahul Naidu, Professor of Dental Public Health, School of Dentistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine. The attendees included faculty, staff and students at the University of the Southern Caribbean, faculty and students from the School of Dentistry and the Department of Microbiology, UWI, members from the Dental Association of Trinidad and Tobago and Dentists and Medical Doctors from the Caribbean and the United States. Also among the attendees were Dr. Wayne Greaves, Executive Director, Infectious Diseases, Merck Research Laboratories, New Jersey, USA and Dr. Walter Murray, Managing Director, Leadership Training LLC, USA. Over 46 attendees were present at this event. Dr. Sanjay Ramnanan rendered his greetings and presented an overview of the Dental Association of Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Edward Clarke, Dean, School of Social Sciences and Interim Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research introduced Dr. Fletcher. Dr. Angelle Bullard-Roberts responded to Dr. Fletcher’s lecture and mentioned that the diverse socio-cultural practices of the people of Trinidad impact their oral hygiene need to be addressed while making strides in oral health and overall well-being. She also iterated the need for collaborative research with the Loma Linda University, Dental Association of Trinidad and Tobago and the School of Dentistry. This was also expressed earlier by Dr. Ramnanan and later in his speech by Dr. Naidu. Dr. Rahul Naidu also responded to Dr. Fletcher’s lecture and asked a question ————(need to view the video for his question to Dr. Fletcher). Dr. Wanda Chesney accorded a vote of thanks to all contributing parties of the event, Dr. Fletcher, and the invitees. Dr. Kenneth Niles brought a close to the invigorating afternoon by a word of prayer.
Highlights of Dr. Fletcher’s Lecture:
Dr. Fletcher elucidated oral diseases as global health challenge affecting over 3.5 billion people globally. These chronic clinical conditions range from dental caries (tooth decay), periodontal (gum) disease, and cancer. He emphasized the relevancy of physical, social and psychosocial functioning as core elements for oral health and overall well-being. Dr. Fletcher highlighted the periodontal disease as an interaction of multiple factors leading to inflammation and bone loss. He further illustrated the host-microbe interaction that cause inflammation and bone loss. It was an astounding revelation that unhealthy teeth can be a causative factor for Alzheimer disease, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and insulin resistance, adverse pregnancy outcomes, respiratory tract infection and bacterial pneumonia. Towards the end of his lecture, Dr. Fletcher acknowledged his past and present research team and their landmark research on Filifactor alocis’ virulent attributes and interactions with periodontal pathogens, namely Pophyromonas gingivalis. His future project involves integrating current and novel techniques to modulate Dysbiotic Oralome.
9th Annual Harold Baptiste Lectureship: The Pandemic, Vaccination, and the Crisis of Adventist Identity
USC’s 9th Annual Harold Baptiste Lectureship is scheduled for Thursday, February 3, 2022 at 10:00am AST.
This year’s featured presenter is Dr. Nicholas Miller, a Professor of Church History and Director of the International Religious Liberty Institute at Andrews University, and Barrister at Law.
Dr. Miller’s will present on the topic: The Pandemic, Vaccination, and the Crisis of Adventist Identity.
- Zoom – Meeting ID: 930 6845 4972
- YouTube: youtube.com/UniversityoftheSouthernCaribbean
From Egypt to Canaan: The Journey Home – A Fundraising Telethon for students of USC’s School of Theology & Religion.
Join us on Sunday, December 19, 2021 from 9:00am for Preaching by International and Regional Preachers, Testimonies, Musical Concert, and Talent Exhibition.
Streamed on Facebook and Youtube – all proceeds go to the Pastoral Theological Training Fund (PTTF).
For more details visit: usc.edu.tt/egypttocanaan
On March 9-10, 2022 the Department of Research and Innovation will host the USC International Research Conference under the theme: Human Dimensionalities and Disparities: The Impact of COVID-19 on Physical, Social, Economic, Emotional and Spiritual Well Being.
The USC International Research Conference 2022 will address the issues of human dimensionalities and disparities in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the objectives of the Conference will be to:
- Address the issues of disparities across human dimensions globally and regionally
- Discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the physical, social, economic, emotional, and spiritual well-being of people globally and in the context of the Caribbean region
- Discuss the disparities faced by the vulnerable populations globally and in the Caribbean region
- Provide innovative solutions/interventions to address human problems and disparities under COVID-19 pandemic
The Department of Research and Innovation invites submission of an abstract of 250 words on the conference theme: Human Dimensionalities and Disparities: The Impact of COVID-19 on Physical, Social, Economic, Emotional and Spiritual Well Being.
The abstract should include:
- Aim/Objectives of the study
- Methodology – research design, target population, data collection methods and analysis
- Major Findings
- Keywords: 4-5 key words
For suggested sub-themes and submission instructions, kindly visit usc.edu.tt/irc
Abstract submission deadline: January 31, 2022
The YESS: USC Mentorship programme originated in 2018 as an initiative of the History and Social Studies Department. The first instalments of the programme promoted a holistic approach to assisting secondary school history teachers and students preparing for the CSEC History exams. Predicated on the principles of youth development, YESS: USC worked with students to enhance their knowledge, increase their skill base in areas such as SBA writing, essay writing and self, stress and exam management and to develop successful attitudes and characteristics such as confidence and self-discipline. In 2019 the Mentorship programme expanded to Tobago and encompassed English Language, in addition to History. Between 2018 and 2020 the YESS: USC Mentorship programme reached 23 schools and over 1000 students across East, West, North and South Trinidad and Tobago. In preparation for CSEC 2021, virtual workshops were offered in English Language and Music workshop to students and teachers.
The Covid 19 pandemic temporarily limited the offerings of the YESS: USC Mentorship programme, however, on Sunday 24th October 2021 the School of Education and Humanities held it virtual launch of the YESS: USC, Youth Empowerment for a Stronger Society, Mentorship Programme. The programme has expanded to offer workshops covering four subject areas: History, Music, English Language and English Literature. At the virtual launch secondary school teachers and students were addressed by the University’s President, Dr. Colwick Wilson, University Provost Dr. Wanda Chesney, Dean of the School of Education and Humanities Dr. Loverne Jacobs-Browne and the Coordinator of the YESS: USC programme, Dr. Fiona Rajkumar. The Honourable Minister, Lisa Morris Julian, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, gave the feature address via recording which encouraged students to grasp the opportunities to learn and grow during the pandemic embodied in programmes such as YESS: USC. After her address a token was presented to the Minister by the VP for Student Development Pastor Onesi La Fleur. After the official launch, the Music Department held its first workshop for the academic year which saw approximately 85 students in attendance.
On October 27, 2021, the School of Education and Humanities resuscitated its Research Forum
which was initially launched in November 2016. The forum was conceptualised to serve as an
opportunity for faculty to share their research interests with the wider university, through individual
and collaborative projects. The forum also intends to provide student researchers a space to
showcase their work.
The inaugural virtual iteration of the Research Forum was delivered by Dr. Terencia Joseph whose
presentation was titled A Vulgar and Corrupt Dialect: Official Approaches to Eliminating Kwéyòl
among Primary School-aged Children, St. Lucia, 1890-1920. It examined the attitudes of French
Creole-speakers and colonial officials towards French Creole language/patois usage, strategies
applied by the state to stamp out the use of the language, and the impact of those strategies over a
short thirty-year period. The research relied primarily on archival records. This forum was timely as
October is designated International Creole Day by the United Nations Educational Scientific and
Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The School of Education and Humanities envisions a robust and regular schedule in the upcoming
semester, with forums slated for January and April 2022. The EdHum Forum is facilitated by Dr.
Terencia Joseph, Ms. Meredith Montrichard and Dr. Fiona Rajkumar.
The University of the Southern Caribbean was represented with excellence at the UWI Conference on the Economy (COTE) Youth 2021 Virtual Armchair Discussion. Held on Thursday, October 14, 2021, the discussion was centered on the theme, “Accelerating Caribbean Development: A Youth-Centric Development Approach”.
Mr. Gershom Byng, a final year BBA Management student, presented on the sub-topic, “Entrepreneurship and Business Enterprise”. Mr. Byng emphasized the urgent need to diversify the economy with a priority on entrepreneurship due to the government being the largest single employer.
Mr. Byng explained that the oil and gas sector now faces a decline after years of, almost single-handedly, carrying the country’s economic load – investment in and amplification of the private sector will lead to increased employment and national productivity.
Mr. Byng credits his co-curricular participation for the development of his time-management skills. Despite carrying a full class load, and full-time entrepreneurship and employment, Mr. Byng prioritized preparation for the Virtual Armchair Discussion, thus enabling him to ably respond to off-topic questions on the German Economy.
Mr. Byng will join fellow students from USC’s School of Business & Entrepreneurship (SOBE) on Thursday, October 21, 2021 as they represent USC, and go for the gold, at the COTE 2021 Virtual Debate Competition.
The SOBE seeks to engage our students in co-curricular activities to assist them in the development of critical skills that will set them apart from others. Special thanks to Mr. Duane Winchester, Adjunct Economics Lecturer, who assisted Mr. Byng in the preparation of his presentation.