FELS 6th Graduate Students’ Conference Focuses on Supporting Sustainable Development Goals Through Multi-Sector Partnerships

Dr. Wayne Henry (left), Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is greeted by Dr. Gareth Phillips (right), Vice Dean, Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies (FELS), University of Technology, Jamaica and Professor Stephen Vasciannie, President, UTech, Jamaica prior to the start of the 6th FELS Graduate Students’ Conference  held at the Shared Facilities Building, Papine Campus on June 6, 2019.


University of Technology, Jamaica graduate students in the Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies (FELS) hosted their 6th Graduate Students’ Conference on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at the Shared Facilities Building, Papine Campus under the theme, “Graduate Students:  Supporting Sustainable Development Goals Through Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships.” 

Dr. Hope Mayne, Graduate Studies Coordinator, Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies speaking at the opening ceremony.

Dr. Hope Mayne, Associate Professor and Graduate Studies Coordinator, FELS explained that the conference is strategically designed to support masters and doctoral-level graduate students’ scholarship and professional development through mentoring, professional development, and peer support.  She noted further that the conference provides students with the opportunity to link  the practice of “learning by doing,” noting that the students are engaged in the conference planning from conception to execution.  Dr. Mayne stated that the conference also attracts beginning, emerging and accomplished scholars seeking to promote their research work.

In support of the theme, the conference papers delved into a wide range of disciplines offered across the University.  These included Education and Humanities, Engineering, Business and Computing, Nursing, Public Health, Sports, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Architecture and Law.

Dr. Gareth Phillips, Vice Dean, FELS who brought greetings on behalf of Dean, Dr. Rohan Lewis, underscored that ‘sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all,” adding that, “it provides a framework for us to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and the strengthening of our lives.”  He implored the graduates to think critically about these important issues as they seek to build their knowledge, skills and expertise to transform society.

Dr. Paul Ivey, Associate Vice President, School of Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship, in his remarks, stated that higher education institutions have a critical role in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.  He urged graduate students as they embark on their various projects, to ensure that their research work aligns with the development goals and are made available to society for the benefit of citizens.

Keynote Address

Keynote speaker, Dr. Wayne Henry, Director, General Planning Institute of Jamaica has the keen attention of  members of the audience,  including high school students, educators and members of the private and public sector.

Keynote speaker Dr. Wayne Henry, Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in his wide-ranging, comprehensive presentation, focused on the value of a multi-sector partnership approach to development, involving multiple stakeholders across the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability.  He shared aspects of initiatives and programmes being undertaken to advance the achievement of Vision 2030 Jamaica and the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Commending the conference organisers on the apt thematic focus, Dr. Henry noted that “the conference theme demonstrates the UTech community’s recognition of its role, as part of the academic community in advancing multi-stakeholder partnerships towards the achievement of shared prosperity and the future we want by 2030 – where no one is left behind.”

The Role of Academia in Advancing Vision 2030

Pointing to the role of academia in advancing Jamaica’s Vision 2030 goals and the attainment of the SDGs, the PIOJ Director General said that “academia is expected to engage in knowledge construction and contribute to the growth and evolution of science and pragmatic applications of academic scholarships,”  adding that this should be achieved  “through research and publications that explain the inter-sectoral, structural and other linkages that characterize our development problems, permeate development practice, and constitute development outcomes.” 

In this regard he commended the University of Technology, Jamaica, noting that the institution “has tangibly demonstrated its commitment and capacity to support the national and global development processes, through its research and scholarship.”  Citing some examples, he praised the University for the publication of its Journal of Arts, Science and Technology (JAST) which he said is aligned with “development areas across the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development that are prioritized under Vision 2030 and the SDGs.” 

Dr. Henry also congratulated the University on the launch of the University of Technology, Jamaica Press in 2018. He also commended the University for “the partnerships and collaborations in which you have engaged with the public and private sector, international development partners, civil society and other academic institutions to advance scholarship, research and development, and public policy,” such as those with the UDC, the Bureau of Standards, the World Bank and the Association of Commonwealth Societies in the Caribbean (ACSAC), he said.

Underscoring that graduate studies should not only be about engaging in theory or abstractions, but in dealing with real life issues and improved outcomes, Dr. Henry challenged the graduate students to use their knowledge to innovate applications that will inform improved models and tools for monitoring the changing needs of societies.

Following the opening ceremony, graduate students and a cadre of other speakers presented their research work in concurrent sessions and presentations aligned with the thematic focus of the conference.

The graduate programmes currently offered by the Faculty of Education and Liberal Studies are the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PDE), Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Management (ELM), Master of Science in Career and Technical Education (CTE), Master of Science in Workforce Training and Education (WTE), the Master of Philosophy and the Doctor of Philosophy in Career and Technical Education and the Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Management.

Proud Graduate: Dr. Shermaine Barrett (right), Senior Lecturer/Programme Leader, Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Management (ELM), FELS presents a conference bag to Dr.  Merrit Henry, UTech, Jamaica graduate of the Career and Technical Education programme, and Manager of the Career Centre, University of The West Indies, Mona Campus. Dr. Henry introduced her recently published book titled, ‘Exploring Careers’ during the conference.

Programme Chairs:  Mrs. Bridget Johnson-Smith, (left) Graduate Student, MPhil/PhD CTE and Dr. Leonie Clarke, Programme Leader, CTE chair the opening ceremony of the 6th FELS Graduate Students’ Conference.

Graduate Students’ Presentation Highlights

Automation in Action: Mr. Piralto McAnuff (standing), MPhil/PhD Career and Technical Education graduate student, interacts with students from Kingston College High school during a workshop to introduce conference participants to automation using Arduino programming.  Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software that can be used to detect environmental and physical variables, using sensors and the data collected to automate actions.  It can be used for simple robotics, climate control and the Internet of Things.

Using Animation as a Teaching and Learning Tool: Mr. Adrian Wray, Master of Science in Career and Technical Education student has the rapt attention of Jamaica College High School students and their teacher during his digital animation workshop, titled, “An overview of the 12 principles of animation with practical demonstrations of their applications.”  The workshop was designed to introduce students at the secondary level and educators to 2D animation technology and to demonstrate how animation can be used as a teaching and learning tool.


Michelle Beckford (Mrs.)
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 970-5299
Email: mbeckford@utech.edu.jm