The University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) successfully executed its annual Colloquium exercises from May 16-19, 2018, under the theme “Project Confidence.” This year, the Colloquium exercises began and ended on a high note as faculty, staff and administrators came together to focus on team-building, confidence building and strategic planning in an effort to ensure a sustainable future for the institution.
On Wednesday, May 16, the team retreated to the La Vega Estate in Gran Couva for a fun-filled day. USC alumnus, Bertrand Moses coordinated an engaging session on work-life balance.
On Thursday, May 17, Dr. Leslie Pollard, President of Oakwood University, USA, delivered the keynote address on “Projecting Confidence in Decision Making & Governance for Sustainable Higher Education.” He emphasized the University’s need to persistently trust God’s leading, as this will enable the University to confidently present itself to the public. Colloquium 2018 also saw presentations from a few other notable professionals.
Faculty and staff members were able to “Lime with a Vice-President,” openly discuss issues and offer suggestions for improving their various areas.
On Friday, May 18, the exercises ended with an award ceremony, and a charge to faculty and staff from University President, Dr. Hilary Bowman. He encouraged employees to be now more than ever, committed to the mission of USC and to assertively execute their duties as the University “Project’s Confidence”. A colloquium Sabbath service was held on Sabbath May 19, and was well attended by employees.
Many faculty and staff stated their excitement and the eagerness with which they look forward to next year’s Colloquium exercises scheduled to be held in May 2019.
Photographic Highlight of Colloquium 2018
The University of the Southern Caribbean’s (USC) Church and Mission Centre will soon become a reality as a date for the construction project has been announced, alongside a proposed date for completion. This announcement comes one month after a portion of the world church’s Sabbath mission offering was dedicated to the construction of the USC church.
For decades, it has been a dream of the University to erect a building suitable for worship to God. Now, thanks to the support of church members and other generous donors, the building will commence on August 27, 2018.
Dr Hilary Bowman, University President, has announced that a ground breaking ceremony will be held on July 2, 2018, one day after the scheduled graduation exercises.
Pastor Terry John, Senior Pastor of the Caring University Church, and Vice-President for Spiritual Development at USC said that the church will feature specialised children’s Sabbath School classes, children’s ministries facilities, rooms for the choir, diaconate and baptistry, among other facilities.
He also indicated that the Mission centre will include a training room, computer room,community empowerment centre and a counselling office. USC is a 90 year-old institution of higher learning which continually focuses on developing a solid spiritual ethos on its campuses across the region.
On Thursday 3rd May, the History/Social Studies Department at the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) conducted a History revision workshop with the intention of assisting Secondary school students in their preparation for the History CSEC exam which begins on May 16th, 2018.
The workshop which was facilitated by Dr Terencia Joseph, Mr Hayden Mckenna, Dr Fiona Rajkumar and Dr Loverne Jacobs-Browne from the School of Education and Humanities, focused on the areas of essay writing and the examination of past paper questions.
Twenty-seven (27) students representing 7 secondary schools were in attendance. The students who were from St. Jospeh’s Convent, St. Joseph, Hillview College, Lakshmi Girls High School, CUC Secondary, Eldorado East Secondary, St. Augustine Secondary and Bishops Girls Port of Spain, testified that the revision workshop equipped them with additional skills which will enhance their performance in their upcoming exams. One parent expressed her gratitude to department members for the initiative while teachers from the participating schools expressed their commitment to foster ties with the History/Social Studies department at the University of the Southern Caribbean.
This workshop is the second instalment of the History/Social Studies Department’s Youth Empowerment for a Stronger Society: YESS USC History CSEC Mentorship Programme which was launched in January of 2018.
The venue for University’s Eighty-Fifth Graduation Exercises has been announced. Graduating students from USC’s five schools will walk the stage of the soon-to-be-completed USC Auditorium to receive their diplomas. The events, set for June 29 – July 1, 2018, will see an approximate total of 550 participating.
For the first time in six years, USC will host a graduation ceremony on its campus. In 2012, an unfortunate fire destroyed the University’s auditorium only two weeks before the event was set to be held.
University President, Dr. Hilary Bowman and his administration have pledged their commitment to the completion of the building in time for the Graduation exercises.
On campus, sounds of men hard at work at an active construction site all signal that work is well underway. The building, upon completion will be able to seat 1700 individuals. It will also feature all the modern amenities of an auditorium.
It’s erection will also open opportunities for hosting events such as concerts, conferences, graduation services among others.
Beginning August 27, 2018 also is the construction of the USC Church and Mission Centre. The long awaited building will become a reality through the contributions of members from the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, and through contributions made by stewards and friends from across the region and world.
The work is not yet completed and we still need the support of friends but we are confident that God will complete what he has started at this noble institution.
L-R: Dr. Kern Tobias, President, CUC and Chairman, Board of Trustees, USC; Dr. Wanda Chesney, Vice President, Academic Administration; Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry; Dr. Christian Stone, Director and Co-Founder of 3Stone Limited; Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby Dolly-Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts; Ms. Natalie Willis, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development; Dr. Raghavalu Ramella, Dean, School of Business, Entrepreneurship & Continuing/Professional Studies
The School of Business, Entrepreneurship and Continuing/Professional Studies (BEA-CON) at University of the Southern Caribbean hosted its flagship event, the Annual Business Development Seminar entitled: “The Role of Entrepreneurship and Trade in Economic Development: With Reference to Trinidad and Tobago” on April 8, 2018.
The seminar, now in its 8th year, saw a gathering of Government Ministers, successful entrepreneurs from diverse fields and an assembly of representatives from the community, faculty, staff and student bodies.
The function was divided into three segments. The first segment included remarks and special greetings from prominent personalities including Dr. the Honorable Nyan Gadsby Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts and Ms Natalie Willis, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development who represented Senator the Honourable Jennifer Baptiste-Primus. In her address, Ms Willis reiterated the long history of collaborations between her Ministry and the BEA-CON, particularly in training entrepreneurs under the IBIS programme. She praised the School for playing its part in fulfilling the Vision 2030 goals.
This first segment also featured a greeting from the Chairman of NEDCO Mr Clarry Benn, who revealed the refocusing efforts taking place in his organization. According to Benn, “Come May 1st, 2018, there will be a newly minted NEDCO which will be geared toward creating a sustainable, self-reliant, process-driven, socio-economic oriented, lead entrepreneurial development institution”. Inter alia, Mr Clarry Benn said that the new NEDCO will be challenging institutions such as USC to foster and promote the “gospel of entrepreneurship” among the student body.
Senator the Honorable Paula Gopee-Scoon Minister of Trade and Industry in her feature address noted that “while international trade can boost economic development, reduce poverty, broaden the productive base, generate foreign exchange and encourage competition, these benefits can only be actualized through a robust business sector”.
At the beginning of the event, Chairman of the USC Board of Trustees and President of the Caribbean Union Conference of SDA, Dr Kern Tobias, challenged students to keep an open mind and to push themselves beyond their comfort zones that they can be best entrepreneurs in their area of choice.
Dr Wanda Chesney, USC’s Vice President for Academic Administration in her remarks pointed out that at USC, the degrees are continually revised to reflect standards in the industry and standards that are set by the Government.
In the same vein, Dr Raghavalu Ramella, Dean of the BEA-CON encouraged the continuation of collaborations between the state, the private sector and academia to contribute to the economic development of the nation.
The second segment featured an academic paper presentation by Dr Christian Stone, Director and Co-founder of 3Stone Limited. Dr Stone pointed out that one of the most researched pillars of the Entrepreneurship literature is the Entrepreneurial Orientation Construct (EO). The EO literature suggests that there are three key internal components that Small and medium-sized enterprises can utilize to aid their performance namely: Innovation, Proactiveness and Risk Taking.
The third and final segment brought together prominent business entrepreneurs in a panel discussion format in which they shared their experiences on how they started small, weathered the storm in many instances and became successful entrepreneurs in Trinidad and Tobago. The lessons shared at this forum proved invaluable to our students and other participants.
The panellists included Mr Dalvi Paladee, CEO of Pennywise Cosmetics Ltd; Mr Dorian Neckles, Managing Director of Europcar Trinidad and Tobago; President, ASI Trinidad and Tobago and Mr Junior Maynard, Executive Director, College of Health, Environmental and Safety Studies.
The overwhelming conclusion of many participants, especially the student population was that the seminar was a very important learning experience and would be an important guide as they graduate from school and venture into the world of business.
In particular, a student who recently started a business venture and who is currently experiencing a rough tide which caused here to contemplating giving up claimed that the seminar has given her hope and a reason not to throw in the towel.
Another student commented that the seminar was exquisite and was worth it.
There have been many positive reviews of this year’s seminar and this indicates that the School of Business is in the right trajectory in organizing events that are impactful to students – the future entrepreneurs of Trinidad and Tobago.
The School of Education and Humanities at the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) launched the Youth Empowerment for A Stronger Society: YESS USC – CSEC History Mentorship Programme. YESS USC is an initiative of the History/Social Studies Department premised on the University’s ethos that the holistic development of young people is essential to their success. Youth empowerment is conceptualised as equipping the young people in the University’s community and the wider society with those skills that are necessary to secure success in academics and even more importantly life.
The CSEC History Mentorship programme targeted secondary schools and four secondary schools consisting of four teachers and forty students participated in the programme. The programme provided support to students and teachers preparing for the CSEC History exams. It is unique because it also seeks to equip students with self-management skills. Teachers, students and parents were exposed to information on cultivating healthy study habits, honing specific study tips for CSEC History, preparation for exams and writing history essays and understanding the teenaged brain. The programme also consisted of an online course component and live lectures which ran for four sessions geared toward providing content and analysis of select CSEC history topics.
The facilitators of this programme included the Dean of the School of Education and Humanities Dr. Loverne Jacobs-Browne and lecturers within the School of Education and Humanities, Dr. Fiona Rajkumar, Dr. Terencia Joseph, Mr. Hayden Mckenna and Mr. Roland Sealy.
Mr. Rodney Rajkumar, Director of the Institute for Education Technology, also played a key role by ensuring quality control of the online class environment. The programme’s closing ceremony took place on Thursday 8th March, 2018 with students testifying to the strong positive impact that it had on them both in the areas of history and the knowledge and skills to which they were exposed.
Deputy Head of News at CNC3, Golda Lee-Bruce delivered a timely reminder to students on April 4, 2018 at the Honours Convocation ceremony when she motivated them to foster a culture of honourable learning.
Speaking to over 240 honourees who excelled in their studies, achieving a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 and over, Mrs Lee-Bruce used personal experiences, which she vividly narrated. These experiences were likened to three “batteries” that every human being should place in their backpack. These were “Respect, Humility and Gratitude.”
In dealing with respect, Mrs Lee-Bruce cautioned students to respect all people, simply because they are people, all deserving of respect regardless of their social status, wealth or fame.
She also elaborated on humility, noting that it is important to understand you’ve made it this far because of God and acknowledge that you still have very far to go. “Humility is that thing that opens doors. You are going to need people to help you,” she said. “You need people to help you in this life; you cannot do it on your own. Be humble.”
The final “battery” she spoke to was gratitude. “Gratitude is a lifestyle. Gratitude is living thanks…you may not always have the opportunity to say thanks you, but your life of gratitude should express that” she said.
Her presentation was well received by students, faculty, staff, parents and other supporters who attended the event.
Dr. Hilary Bowman, University President, congratulated the students for their achievement and was proud to honour the USC student with the highest GPA at the University during this convocation ceremony. Dayne Nichols, a Vincentian national and Theology student was granted the President’s Award and a cash prize for his hard work.
Dr. Wanda Chesney, Vice-President of Academic Administration also expressed her satisfaction that so many students were being awarded, noting that this ceremony spoke to the quality of student that the University produces.
The Honours Convocation for many years has been held in Schools. However, the decision was made to reinstitute the event as a University-wide activity in the school’s calendar. Planning committee member, Ms. Marlene Roach indicated that the event was indeed a remarkable success.
Andrew Lewis is a 28-year old Trinidadian sailor who has competed for Trinidad and Tobago at the last two Olympics games in the Men’s Laser class. On March 22, 2018, the Olympian gifted unsuspecting postgraduate students of the Occupational Therapy (OT) programme at USC with the latest edition of the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales Kit, a much-needed resource for students in the programme.
The surprise presentation was made to a classroom of students who had recently volunteered their time and services to the Andrew Lewis Foundation when it hosted a two-day seminar for children with Dyslexia.
Speaking at the short ceremony, Dr Leslie Garcia, Director of USC’s Occupational Therapy programme lauded the students who wholeheartedly took up a call to volunteer at the event over a two-day period.
Andrew Lewis also expressed his sincere thanks to the students while indicating that the event’s success would not have been possible without them. The cause of dyslexia is very dear to Andrew as he himself has been diagnosed with the condition. His mission is to teach young boys and girls that anything is possible in spite of the labels that may be placed on them.
At the end of the brief presentation ceremony, however, those who seemed most impacted by the event were the OT students who thanked Mr Lewis, some to the point of tears, for enabling them the opportunity to work along with the children.
The Master of science degree in Occupational Therapy is the first of its kind in the region and provides students with a thorough knowledge of the field and prepares them to practice as Occupational Therapists – as OTs are in high demand all over the Caribbean region.
For more information on the Occupational Therapy programme at USC, please visit or contact the Occupational Therapy Department via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Music Department of the University of the Southern Caribbean has won several prizes in the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival. The 32nd Biennial Music Festival, run by the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival Association is the biggest general music event in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago and was held from February 17 -March 17, 2018. Sponsored by Scotiabank, the Festival attracted choirs and groups from across the country, representing several music schools and universities.
The event was organized into three zones: North Trinidad, South Trinidad and Tobago. Teams and individuals participated in the zonal round and winners moved on to the championship round, with USC competing in the North zone. At the end of the zonal round, USC was adjudged North Zone winners in eleven (11) classes. These are: Soprano Solo (Open class), Musical Theater Solo – Ladies (Open),Contemporary Religious Music (over 20 singers), Woodwind Solo (Junior),Woodwind Solo (Open), Woodwind Ensemble (Open), String Solo (Open), String Ensemble (Open), Piano Solo (Open), Instrumental Sight Reading (Junior) and Instrumental Sight Reading (Open). The USC Choir which also competed in the Contemporary Religious Music category also received rave reviews.
Of the eleven zonal winners, nine were selected to progress to the championship round where they competed against the winners from the South and Tobago Zones. In this round, the USC musicians were able to come away with seven (7) trophies as overall winners in several classes. Soprano Solo (Open class), Woodwind Solo (Junior), Woodwind Solo (Open), Woodwind Ensemble (Open), String Solo (Open), String Ensemble (Open) and Piano Solo (Open).
The championship round was a success for the department with wins by the USC Saxophone Quartet (The G.Stephen Wattley Memorial Trophy for woodwind ensemble), USC String Ensemble (String Ensemble class), Donja Gordon (Piano Solo), Rene Lawrence (Soprano Solo) class, Chelsea Sealy (String Solo), Nicholas Silvan (Woodwind Solo) and Mr. Nicholas Sylvan woodwind Solo (Open Class). Additionally, Mr Nicholas Sylvan – first-year music major – was awarded the Laurence McDowell Memorial trophy and TTMFA Musicianship trophy for most outstanding musicianship performance and most outstanding solo woodwind instrumentalist.
The USC recently launched its BA Music Degree and this is the first time since offering Bachelors level degrees that the university has entered this prestigious competition. Winning national music competitions is not new to the USC Music Department, but according to Kerron Hislop, Coordinator of the Music Programme, the department has seen a resurgence of winning given that it has been over 20 years since the department has performed so well in so many categories.
USC commends all students of the USC Music programme for their hard work and success!
USC Music recently conducted its first mission trip to Barbados over the Easter weekend, March 28 – April 2, 2018. The trip was planned and coordinated by the School of Education and Humanities’ Music Department.
Months of preparation included several fund-raising efforts, which left the contingent of 90 persons looking forward with anticipation for the five-day trip.
After the hectic packing of equipment, by 6:00 pm on Wednesday, March 28, the first group arrived at the old air terminal for the first departure of five expected flights on the chartered 18-seater aircraft. Sadly, due to logistical issues outside the control of the USC team, only three flights were completed successfully, allowing only 15 of the 35 member choir to arrive in Barbados. Regrettably, the percussion and strings section of the band was affected.
This unfortunate circumstance resulted in some activities being affected. however, the team still conducted its community outreach in the Pinelands area, while several members attended a sit-in session at the state-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
Blessings and Victories
USC Music’s visit coincided with the East Caribbean Conference of Seventh-day Adventists camp meeting, a local conference that is usually held at the end March. The team attended the event and several members provided special music during the Friday devotional segments.
On the Sabbath, there was a national convention. The Choir and Orchestra rendered two items as part of the music offering for the Divine Hour service, both of which were well received by the waiting audience.
On Sunday, April 1, 2018, on a cool but overcast afternoon, the grand concert was held at the Mile and a Quarter Church, St. Peter’s, Barbados. The large edifice was amplified with the great delivery by the USC Music group. Several hours of on-site rehearsing and preparation resulted in
The concert event entitled ‘Behold our God!’ began promptly at 6:00 pm with the National Anthem followed with opening prayer by the church Pastor, Leslie Padmore. The evening’s host, Ms Sherry Legal, of the University’s School of Business got the programme started by introducing the USC Choir and Orchestra members and Music Coordinator, Mr Kerron Hislop.
The music began with a spirited rendition by Barbadian Gary Goodridge of the Grapehall Adventist Church on the sax playing ‘Lord You’re Holy’. This opening piece enraptured the audience and the thunderous applause would continue throughout the evening. Several extra seats had to be provided since the audience grew to beyond capacity during the course of the evening. Eighteen pieces of music were presented by various ensembles including the USC’s Flute Quartet, Brass Quintet, Symphony Orchestra, Chime Choir, Concert band and the University Choir and Orchestra. One of the favourite presentations was ‘Jesus Saves’ as several audience members could be seen swaying to the infectious melody and music of the piece.
This was a memorable ending to the trip that promised much and delivered greatly, in spite of the varied highs and lows. The blessing for patrons and the community were manifested through great Christian music and active youth ministry. For members, blessings were manifested through fellowship, kinship and a reminder that the power of God can work through even the unexpected challenges.
Reflections on this trip provided here.