Author: Dr. Dave V. Cassie, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
For yet another year, the University of the Southern Caribbean has thrown its full support behind the hosting of the National Health Research Conference 2022. Health, well-being and research is a vital part of the philosophy of Adventist education and are part of the main pillars of USC’s development and advancement. This year the conference was held face to face for the first time on November 25 at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, Trinidad under the theme: “Pandemics, NCDs and the Future: When Emerging Infections and NCDs Meet” The conference, now in its third year was previously held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
At the recently concluded event USC President, Dr. Colwick Wilson brought reflective and engaging opening remarks along with his counterparts from the University of Trinidad and Tobago, University of the West Indies as well as Dr. Faith B. Yisrael, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection of the Tobago House of Assembly. Also in attendance via Zoom was Professor Jonathan Patz of the University of Wisconsin-Madison who brought an enlightening feature presentation entitled: “The Climate Crisis: Implications for both Infectious and Non-Communicable Diseases” which highlighted the connection between climate change and the emergence of disease. This was then followed by the feature address which was given by the The Honourable Terrence Deyalsingh Minister of Health, Trinidad and Tobago.
Students of USC were also part of this exciting and informative event. Research from student representatives of the School of Social Sciences was shared via poster presentations. Ms. Allison Abraham-Riley shared her research on Peer Pressure and Alcohol Use among Tertiary level students in Trinidad and Ms. Kere Wylie shared her research on An Assessment of the Impact of HIV Knowledge on Sexual Behavior among Young Adults In Tobago. Ms. Arielle Jobe and her counterparts Naomi Palmer and Stephanie Murphy shared their group research project on Sleep Patterns and Academic Performance among University Students: A Phenomenological Study.
Planning for this successful event began more than six months ago and was spear-headed by Professor Donald T. Simeon of UWI, Chair of the Inter-Institutional Planning Committee, a committee made up of representatives from partner institutions including Ministry of Health, THA, CCHSRD, UWI, USC, UTT and RHAs. USC was represented on that committee by Dr. Edward Clarke, Dr. Susan Chand and Dr. Dave Cassie.
During the day there were sixteen oral presentations which highlighted health research being conducted by students, faculty and staff among the partner institutions and were categorized under the following topics: Infectious diseases, Chronic non-communicable diseases, Clinical/Laboratory studies and Mental Health and Family Planning. Additionally, there were over seventy research poster presentations that were displayed via electronic poster boards. The day culminated with an Awards Ceremony to celebrate the Lifetime Research Achievement Awardee, Professor Terrence Seemungal of UWI as well as to distribute prizes for outstanding oral and poster presentations. As we look forward to NHRC 2023, we are confident of USC’s continued support and involvement in this event and its forward thrust in the areas of health, well-being and research.
On Monday 14th November, USC relaunched its annual intracampus debate competition. This tournament usually hosted by the School of Education and Humanities, in partnership with the Division of Student Services and Enrolment Management, had as its patron this year, its President, Dr. Colwick Wilson. He re-launched the debate in anticipation of its continuation and developmemt.
The competition first debuted in November, 2013. At that time, it was titled the USC Future Leaders’ Debate Competition. Subsequently, in 2015, it was named in honour of Dr. Shirley McGarrell, a stellar figure and former leader on the campus. The competition was held, during the years 2013 and 2017, but was unintentionally curtailed as the university became involved in other important debate fora and then was further delayed when the pandemic struck. The recent passing of Dr. McGarrell, as well as USC’s 95th Anniversary celebration, propelled its re-launch.
This semester two teams, from two Schools, qualified for the finals: the School of Theology and Religion and the School of Social Sciences. The resolution debated:
Be it resolved that the continued existence of the Commonwealth of Nations is merely a remnant of colonial nostalgia.
This resolution focused on the relevance of the Commonwealth of Nations, which the Queen headed, and is now to be led by King Charles III. The debate teams, with their natural abilities, and a mix of little or no experience, were trained, and presented admirably as they dueled for and against the moot. The School of Social Sciences’ team argued in the affirmative. The School of Theology and Religion’s team opposed the moot.
The timekeeper for the debate was Mr. Hayden McKenna, University Writer and Editor. The Dr. Shirley A. McGarrell’sFuture Leaders’ Debate Committee members are Mr. McKenna, Dr. Terencia Joseph, Mr. Roland Sealy and Ms. Shelley Lyons.
An external panel of adjudicators deliberated and provided appropriate feedback to the debate participants. They were: Chief Adjudicator, Mrs. Petronetta Pierre-Robertson; Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Randall Hector, and special judge and radio personality, Mr. Dale Enoch. Each judge represented an area of expertise to be judged: research skills, argumentation skills and presentation skills.
Dr. Colwick Wilson, President, and Dr. Len Archer, Interim Provost, were present and participated in the prize-giving.
A special guest, alumna, and the current Presiding Officer of the Tobago House of Assembly, Ms. Abby Taylor, was also in attendance and brought greetings from the THA.
The School of Theology and Religion emerged as the winning team.
The School of Social Sciences did very well, falling short by just six points. The most memorable lines came from the SoSS, with Daniel Anthony ending his speech by asking: “Why isn’t the wealth common, in the Commonwealth?” and Brenda Gordon-Rasool taking a cunning jab at team theology in their dapper ties and suits, teasing that they showed up “very colonized in their dressing”. These jabs thrilled the audience.
The members of the teams, who represented in their School colours were:
|School of Theology and Religion (Red)||School of Social Sciences (Blue)|
|Devon Ramlal – 1st Speaker||Ceanna Cyrille – 1st Speaker|
|Termin Ferdinand – 2nd Speaker||Daniel Anthony – 2nd Speaker|
|Dillon Bazil – 3rd Speaker||Brenda Gordon-Rasool – 3rd Speaker|
|Shanka Serrant – Rebuttal Support||Abigail Collins – Rebuttal Support|
|Ashanti Prescott – Reserve|
The other special prizes earned included:
Best Debater, won by Devon Ramlall of the STAR
Best Researcher, won by Ceanna Cyrille of the SoSS
Best Teamwork, the team of Social Sciences
Attractive prizes are to be delivered to the winning teams, inclusive of their special prizes, to the sum of $20,000. The winning team is also to dine with the President, in the near future, as a part of their reward.
Deans and faculty members came out to support. The audience was very responsive, and members of the USC campus community who attended or viewed the debate on YouTube were pleased with the performance of the teams and are eager about the event going forward.
A cocktail reception was held post-debate, at the university’s Board Room with all judges and debaters, organizers, and the President, in attendance.
The competition can be viewed by clicking on the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olfd6mwiem4&t=328s
Authored By: Golden Eagle
After a two year hiatus due to Covid-19, Praise Break returned with a cast of popular local Gospel Ministers and Guyana’s International Minister, Samuel Medas. The 2022 edition of this Praise and Worship Eexperience in its 5th edition proved to be its best to date.
Patrons were able to praise and worship in the seated air conditioned comfort within the new Auditorium at the University of the Southern (USC). A safe and family friendly environment was evident with ample secured parking available throughout the University’s compound.
Praise Break was conceptualized to give USC students a “break” from studying and the stress of academia before going into end of semester exams with student artistes sharing the stage with more accomplished ministers. The patrons of the show now extend beyond the University’s students and also include international artistes as stated above.
The show kicked off at 6.30pm with local talents, J-Rich, Renee Lawrence, Ron Christopher, Bjorn Pierre, Carla Watkins, St. Hilarie Brothers and Pastor Clive Dottin closing the first half with a plea to March against crime and other issues plaguing society.
The second half of the show kicked off with all artists backed by live bands with performances by Marc Isaacs joined by the host Jahzy the Voice, Jaron Nurse, Positive and Samuel Medas with a surprise appearance from Blessed Messenger. The night was truly a blessing to all present and left many stating it was “the best Praise break ever”.
By Simone Augustus, Corporate Communications Officer
Team United Hands/FreeD.O.M Clinic team has been getting us into the game! From October 14-21, 2022, the University of the Southern Caribbean hosted Dr. Don Bovell, Mrs. Ann Burnett and Ms. Grace Daley as they prepared for an upcoming mission trip to Trinidad and Tobago in 2023.
The team’s schedule kept a pace that was only outdone by their energy. During this time, in addition to making key connections through several courtesy visits, the team has been touring primary and secondary schools to affirm the gospel message with their unique blend of fun, faith and fitness.
Learn more about United Hands/FreeD.O.M Clinic at: united-hands.org and freedomclinicusa.org
By Simone Augustus, Corporate Communications Officer
Launched in 2006, Portraits of Excellence was an integral part of the USC student life experience. USCians eagerly anticipated the annual opportunity to vie for selection as delegates, support a friend who was selected, cheer for one’s territorial club on the night of the gala, or just enjoy the cultural mixes that ensued from the build up to the initiative.
Spanning seven (7) months, Portraits of Excellence embodies USC’s mission of transforming, “…ordinary people into extraordinary servants of God to humanity through a holistic tertiary educational experience.” It combines the intellectual, social, physical and spiritual aspects of learning and thereby provides an avenue for both the participants, and the wider student body to be exposed to transforming life experiences that will prove beneficial to their holistic growth, and personal and professional development.
USC is proud to re-introduce: Portraits of Excellence – Student Scholarship Awards and Gala 2023!
Delegates are selected to represent their various territories through showcasing their skills, talents and abilities in various presentations reflecting academic rigour and depth of analysis.
Portraits of Excellence will comprise of a series of smaller events that will be assessed and recorded. The final Gala will culminate the event, during which the scores from the delegates’ pre-gala presentations, and the presentations during the Gala will be tabulated toward the granting of Scholarship Awards to outstanding participants. Delegates with the most outstanding performances overall will receive the designated title: Mr. & Ms. USC, and will serve as USC ambassadors for a period of one (1) year.
The theme “Rethinking Education: Reframing Realities, Reshaping Opportunities” emphasizes the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of Quality Education. Portraits of Excellence is a transformative educational activity that incorporates the intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual dimensions of learning.
We are proud to introduce to you, our 2023 Portrait of Excellence Delegates!
Visit usc.edu.tt/poe to learn more about Portraits of Excellence and our 2023 delegates.
By Simone Augustus, Corporate Communications Officer
UWI’s annual Conference of the Economic Debate (COTE) addresses important economic concerns confronting Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean in light of the current global context.
The 2022 COTE debate saw the University of the Southern Caribbean represented by Mr. Gershom Byng, Ms. Nyla Nyack and Ms. Chelsea Austin, students of USC’s School of Business & Entrepreneurship (SOBE).
In a stunning display of USCian excellence, the team defeated UWI Roytec in the preliminary round and UWI St. Augustine in the finals to claim the title of the Conference of Economy Debate winners.
Team leader Mr. Byng expressed his excitement about this well deserved reward as a final year student. He also expresses his heartfelt gratitude to the School of Business and Entrepreneurship faculty Dr. Stephen Pilgrim, Mr. Winchester and Ms. Esther Cedeno.
By: Hayden McKenna and Shelley Lyons
The University of the Southern Caribbean deeply mourns the passing of a stalwart supporter of our institution, who in her adult life and fruitful career, was exemplary and consistent in her unalloyed dedication to the cause of Christian education, holistic living, service to others, the love of family and the enabling of righteousness.
Shirley Ann Martinborough was born to Maisey and Gordon Martinborough Snr. in the colony of British Guiana (now the Co-operative Republic of Guyana) on Tuesday, 4th July, 1939.
In 1959, Shirley travelled to Trinidad and Tobago with her brother Gordon Jnr. and her fiancé Roy Israel McGarrell, to study on the campus of Caribbean Union College. This campus was chosen by the indisputable hand of providence to be the storage, which in the fullness of time, would receive the largest deposits of her future professional contributions. At Caribbean Union College, she completed an Associate of Arts Degree in Secretarial Science in 1961.
She returned to British Guiana in 1961 and served as an office secretary at the Guyana Mission of SDA in Georgetown from 1961 to 1963.
On Monday, 25th June, 1962 she married her beloved Roy. This happy union would produce children, Andre (deceased) Fern and Faith-Ann.
From 1963 until 1969, she served as an elementary school teacher at Wismar, Upper Demerara River, and at New Amsterdam, Berbice. Guyana’s national independence in May of 1966 met her as an open-handed patriot serving her country in this noble vocation.
With the introduction of the Bachelor of Theology degree at Caribbean Union College, Shirley’s husband Roy Israel McGarrell enrolled in the first cohort of the programme. Shirley accompanied him to CUC and was asked to serve as the college’s Dean of Women from 1970 to 1972.
The McGarrells returned to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana in 1970 and Shirley McGarrell returned to her former position as an office secretary at the Guyana Mission of Seventh-day Adventists. With the elevation of Pastor Roy McGarrell to the presidency of the Guyana Conference in 1976, Mrs. Shirley McGarrell carried her elegance, grace, and preparedness to the role of first lady and shepherdess of what was then the newest conference in the Caribbean Union, setting the bar very high for all of her successors.
In 1980, amidst a period of great theological turmoil in the global Adventist Church, the McGarrells left Guyana to further their education at Andrews University in Berrien Springs Michigan, USA. There, Shirley completed a Baccalaureate and Master of Arts degree in English, in 1983 and 1985 respectively. On this sojourn at Andrews University, she also had opportunities to use and develop her professional skills. She was privileged to serve in secretarial, tutorial and instructional roles.
In 1988, Mrs. McGarrell returned to Caribbean Union College, where she served as Chairperson of the English Department from 1988 to 1994, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences from 1995 to 1998, Vice President for Academic Administration from 1998 to 2001, Interim President from January 2002 to December 2002, Vice President for Academic Administration from 2003 to 2005 (during which time Caribbean Union College began its transition to university status), and finally as Vice President for General Administration from 2005 until her retirement in 2011. While ascending a creditable flight of accomplishments at CUC/USC, Mrs. McGarrell successfully completed a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Curriculum & Instruction, with an Advanced Cognate in English, in 2000.
Dr. McGarrell’s achievements as a faculty member and administrator at CUC/USC are nothing short of inspiring. They include:
- Establishing Alpha Mu Gamma, the first international chapter of Sigma Tau Delta (the English Honor Society), which she initiated and launched on the island of Trinidad and Tobago.
- Founding the first Writing Center on the campus of Caribbean Union College.
- Being the first woman to serve as Dean, Vice President for Academic Administration, Vice President for General Administration, and (Interim) President.
- Ushering in the early stages of the transition from CUC to USC, during her interim Presidency.
- Setting up various committees to continue the efforts towards the transition of CUC from college to university.
- Chairing the committee that created the present USC School Song and making a significant contribution to the lyrics.
- Teaching: Freshman Composition, Foundations of Curriculum Studies, Linguistics, Literature of the English Bible, Milton, Research Methods, and Thesis Preparation courses and more.
- Serving on and participating in numerous academic committees, accreditation site visits, and boards.
- Developing several short-term projects and successfully completing the refurbishing of the previous auditorium, extending the facilities of the Music room and the Theology Department, and constructing a new Physics laboratory.
- Constituting the Land Committee which developed the proposed layouts for land use and new dormitories on the campus.
- Recognizing the need to make CUC relevant with regard to new teaching, ensuring a new website was developed, with improved Internet access.
For these accomplishments and much more, Dr. Shirley McGarrell has received recognition for outstanding service, which include:
- Being named in Andrews University’s 100 Women of the Century in 2002.
- Having the USC campus wide Future Leaders’ Debate Competition being named in her honour, in 2014 and,
- A Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of the Southern Caribbean on the occasion of its 94th anniversary in 2021.
As a prolific writer, Dr. Shirley McGarrell has authored eight books in the scholarly, devotional, literary and experiential genres including Mouthfuls of Joy for Today, Rivulets of Patience for Today, Capsules of Time for Today, Debate on the Teaching of Literature: A Caribbean Viewpoint, and Awesome God—Little Miss Dolly. Her ruminations also appear in magazines and journals such as the Journal of Adventist Education, Tertiary Thoughts, Christ in the Classroom, and Shepherdess International. Perhaps her greatest labour of love as a writer was her 2010 publication sympathetically titled Living With A Man Named Roy: A Legacy of Love.
Dr. McGarrell was an extraordinary and compassionate teacher and life-model to her students and a standard-bearer to her colleagues. Her interactions with all inevitably left an ineradicable mark. But, to her students, especially her female students, she exemplified refinement and style, always dainty, but detailed and determined. As a lecturer, there was always a spiritual lesson in every class she taught, which has inspired many of her own students, now teachers, to craft their lessons similarly. One student, who is now a faculty member here at USC credits Dr. McGarrell with launching her teaching career and also distinctly remembers Dr. McGarrell asking her to share with her the one wedding present she, the student, really wanted, but did not receive. Of course, Dr. McGarrell bought that wedding gift for her then appreciative student.
Some students, now faculty members here at USC recall she always used green ink to mark their papers, for reasons which they can still only speculate. One of her students tells of a time when, during a lengthy three hour Humanities exam, she stopped the students, sent them to the cafeteria to have dinner, and then allowed them to return to complete their examination. Many of those students were struggling financially and have never forgotten that random act of kindness.
One evening, years ago, the lights went out on campus, just as class was about to start. Students were naturally eager for class to be dismissed. In those days, there was no back-up generator. Dr. Mac, as she was fondly called, told her students to hold on. She went to her office, retrieved a candle, brought it back to class, lit it and taught her class, much to her students’ surprise and amusement.
At other times Dr. Mac would take small groups of students to her home, to have class. Her infectious laughter sometimes surprised her students. And, students recount that she would always pray with them, whenever they visited her office. It was also the stubborn habit of Dr. Mac to end meetings of faculty and staff with everyone holding hands and singing “Bind Us Together” before the closing prayer. For colleagues and students, she modeled Christianity, with finesse, sprinkled with grace and humour. Her academic and administrative prowess, years of committed service, fidelity to duty and exemplary service will never be forgotten.
The USC board of trustees, administrators, faculty members, staff, students and alumni of the join in the celebration of the life and work of the late Dr. Shirley Ann McGarrell.
We express our heartfelt condolences to her husband Dr. Roy Israel McGarrell; their children, Fern Hudson and Faith Ann McGarrell; their son-in-law, Carl Hudson; their daughter-in-law, Grace McGarrell; grandchildren, Safiya Hudson, Stephen Hudson, Marcello McGarrell and Gabrielle McGarrell; her sister Mrs. Dolly Teixeira and brother-in-law Mr. Clement Teixeira, her sister-in-law Mrs. Waveney Martinborough and a host of cousins, nephews and nieces, personal and family friends.
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed arethe dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:13.
Len Archer, PhD, has been appointed interim Provost at the University of the Southern Caribbean, effective 23rd August, 2022.
Dr. Len Archer holds the title of Professor Emeritus since his retirement in 2020 from AdventHealth University where he served as the Vice-President for Academic Administration and Academic Dean for Undergraduate programs at AdventHealth University for 10 years.
Dr. Archer is a native of Trinidad and Tobago and received his undergraduate degree in Botany and Applied Botany at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad.
He then completed an M.S. (Biology) at Andrews University and a PhD in Microbiology at Indiana State University. He joined the faculty at Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences, now AdventHealth University in 1993. He created the department of Health and Biomedical Sciences and served as the department chair from 2000 to 2011. He has published in the area of Microbiology and presented at national meetings in student retention and student advisement at the American Association of College Registrars and Academic Officers (AACRAO) where he was a member of AACRAO national committees
Dr. Archer has been a nominee for several teaching awards and a recipient of the Zapara Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2020, Dr. Archer was the recipient of the AdventHealth University Distinguished Service Award. He remains active as a consultant in academic administration, faculty development, and accreditation.
Author: Dave V. Cassie, EdD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
The University of the Southern Caribbean held a simple tree planting activity to commemorate Earth Day & World Environment Day 2022 under the themes “Invest in Our Plant” and “Only One Earth” respectively. The tree planting activity took place on July 14, 2022 on a small mound overlooking the recreation field between the Maracas SDA Primary School and the La Realista Building on the main campus, Maracas, St. Joseph. Seedlings were donated by WASA’s Adopt the River Program which included fruit trees as well as wood trees. In the photo, below a small party of officials were gathered to plant a Five Finger tree as a ceremonial gesture to highlight the events as well as mark the further collaboration of WASA’s Adopt the River Program and School of Sciences, Technology & Allied Health on a river project in the coming academic year.
WASA’s Adopt the River Program has been associated with the School of Sciences, Technology & Allied Health since 2020 just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and participated in the Science Week 2020 Symposium: Water & Climate Change. Due to the many restrictions related to the pandemic there has been limited engagement over the last two years but it is hoped that in the new academic year 2022_2023 that a river project will be initiated involving the community stakeholders, students and faculty and staff of USC. Certainly this is an investment for the future of the Maracas Valley, the country and the planet as a whole.