President's Message(Acting)


Members of Council, Academic and Administrative Leaders, Staff and Students, Alumni, Members of the University Community, greetings!

It is indeed a great honour for me to have been appointed to serve as Acting President of this our august Institution. It is an appointment I accept with humility, and a keen sense of awareness of the seriousness and uncertainty of the times in which we are currently living.

I recognize that it is a period of transition in which there is a formal process underway for selection of a President; and so, there is an imperative to maintain stability during this interim period.

I anticipate working closely with the University’s Council to execute the policies of the University and to maintain the course that is articulated in the University’s Strategic Plan, or as otherwise directed by the Council or the Government of Jamaica.

I am deeply grateful to my predecessor, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, CD for his outstanding contribution to the University during his presidency. I am encouraged by his insightful and visionary leadership, which has contributed to propelling the University on the path of growth and development.

I want to take this opportunity to highlight four important points: 

I am honoured to be given the opportunity to serve in this capacity. I will continue to lead the University with commitment and dedication, building on past successes, while looking forward to continuously improving the University and focusing on building key priorities as a fundamental pursuit of this Institution. I will strive to support the thrust to “… preserve, advance and disseminate knowledge through teaching, scholarship and research…” as outlined in the “objects” of the University of Technology, Jamaica Act, and promote other scholarly interests. Most importantly, I will continue to provide the stable, visionary and caring leadership that is required at this time, to encourage a stimulating and diverse academic environment, filled with many enriching and empowering opportunities.

At this juncture in our development, the stability of the University is of paramount importance. A significant feature of our undertakings for the next few weeks is to pilot the University safely through this difficult period of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we navigate our way, I should like to reassure the University community that I will continue to execute the critical work of fulfilling the University’s mission. Students can be assured that despite the challenging times, the quality of their education will not be compromised. As the University of Technology, Jamaica, we will seek the most effective ways to deliver the curriculum online, while adopting alternative methods of assessment. We will provide outreach and support for our students.  We will enable staff to continue to work remotely, where necessary.

Nevertheless, we should not let the current situation overshadow our many achievements nor cripple our ability to function.  The history and tradition of this Institution is one of resilience. We have recently celebrated our 60th Anniversary, marking six (6) decades of excellence in academia, sports, research, and community service, just to mention a few. We are resilient, creative, and with God as our Supreme Leader, we plan to further exploit opportunities to continue to develop a vibrant University, with a cutting-edge in academia and research, establishing partnerships with Government,  industry and other stakeholders in the higher education sector.

In any event, opportunity often comes out of adversity, and I believe we have the opportunity to create solutions and encourage dialogue around this global health scourge.  Already, we see coming to light an innovation called Xermosol that has been developed by  students of our School of Computing and Information Technology (SCIT) that is being recognized on the international scene as offering possible hope in tackling the current COVID-19 global challenge.  After the storm has passed, I hope that the experience will provide excellent opportunities for the University Community to bring together the best minds to discuss how to engage more effectively in disaster risk management; to research and share new ideas, to implement policies to build disaster resilient societies, and publish on the several aspects of the pandemic and other challenges.

In my capacity as Acting President, I am happy for the support of the Council, Executive Management, the Deans and other Academic Managers, the student leadership, alumni, and in particular the newly appointed Acting Deputy President, Dr. Haldane Johnson. With your continued support and that of the stakeholders that you represent, I am confident that we will be resolute in addressing critical issues facing the University.  

While acknowledging our positive growth based on the wealth of achievements over the years, the negative impact of COVID-19 means that much work still has to be done to keep us on the path of growth and development, by exploiting the new opportunities and mitigating the emergent threats that could derail our efforts to achieve our mission, and realize our vision.

In closing, I wish to emphasize that I cannot do it alone; neither will I seek to do so. I therefore extend my personal invitation to you all to consider your shared responsibilities to our students, to each other, to the University in general, and to our country.  

At this critical time, we first owe it to ourselves and those around us to be safe.  Please heed the advice of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, in practicing proper hygiene and good social responsibility.  Obey the Government’s directives as it relates to social distancing and working from home, as much as is possible.

Divided we fall, but UNITED WE STAND!

I look forward to serving you in this capacity once more and at such a time as this.  Thank you; and may God bless you, bless UTech, Jamaica and bless Jamaica, Land we Love.  Thank you.

Professor Colin Gyles, PhD
President (Acting)

April 3, 2020