Issuu on Google+

1


UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Assuring Quality Ensuring Relevance

"If we do not build our national university, the National University will not be able to build Belize. So we are looking to our Belizean partners for support in this major endeavour," Assistant Provost, Dr Cynthia Thompson. Another milestone in the history of the University of Belize was held on August 29 with the launched of the University’s Curriculum Review entitled: “Assuring Quality – Ensuring Relevance” at the Radisson Fort George Hotel, Belize City. The Curriculum Review, “is aimed at retooling the University to address national development needs and to promote, the role of the University as a catalyst for change to enable socio-economic transformation and sustainable development in Belize,” said President of the University of Belize, Dr Cary Fraser. He explained the curriculum review is part of the road-map for moving the University towards accreditation, strengthening programs that will address the needs for skills in the workforce of both the public/private sectors; for establishing a wider range of four-year degree programs; and for providing students with the relevant skills and competencies for employment and entrepreneurship. Leading the Review process with strong support from the Deans and Department Chairs is the Assistant Provost, Dr. Cynthia Thompson. She said “this review is something that should have happened in the early days of the University. We should have stopped and said we are amalgamating 5 institutions and with different cultures but I think not enough attention was given to making the shifts, not only in putting people together- but the shifts in changing the culture of the institution.” The review process which commenced in August 2012, includes faculty consultations, reviews of past programs, assessment of expertise in each faculty, reviews of regional and international curriculum standards, and surveys for current students, alumni, employers, and faculty. It is designed to create an ongoing program of academic reviews that will help to monitor and constantly improve the quality of the institution’s academic programs. The curriculum was identified by the President Fraser shortly after his appointment as a major area requiring intervention and a comprehensive review.

2


3

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Orientation Ceremonies for newly enrolled students

The University of Belize held its orientation exercises during the period July 29 to August 2, for 1,559 new students for the new academic year 2013–2014. The new students will be entering programs in information technology, accounting, paralegal studies, tourism, pharmacy, nursing, social work, entrepreneurship skills for marketing, agriculture, and teacher training to meet the country’s developmental needs. Students at orientation were introduced to policies and procedures of the University in particular academic policies and procedures, non-academic policies and procedures, and student life on campuses. The Orientation sessions allowed students to establish connections with their colleagues in the various programs, and to meet their respective lecturers and deans. REGISTRATION BY FACULTY 1500

Orientation was held under the theme: GET INVOLVED:

4,329 students registered for this semester

UB is for all of us UB Da Fi Aal A Wi UB Para Todos UB Woun Sounwagiya UB Ke X’Kajunil

1200 900

FNAHSW FST FEA FMSS

600 300 0

FNAHSW: Faculty of Nursing, Allied Health, and Social Work; FST: Faculty of Science and Technology; FEA: Faculty of Education and Arts; FMSS: Faculty of Management and Social Sciences


4

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

UB Celebrates 13 years of contributing to national development of Belize 2000-2013 The University of Belize today celebrates its 13th Anniversary as the national tertiary institution for Belize and is proud to continue to serve Belize as a vehicle for training more students to develop a wide range of opportunities for Belizeans.

On August 1, 2000, the University of Belize (UB) was born from a merger of five institutions: the University College of Belize (UCB), the Belize Technical College (BTC), the Belize Teachers’ Training College (BTTC), the Belize School of Nursing (BSN), and the Belize College of Agriculture (BCA). UCB, BTC and BTTC were under the supervision of the Ministry of Education (MOE); BSN was under the supervision of the Ministry of Health (MOH); and BCA was under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA). Initially, UB offered programs from the location of the five former institutions; however, in 2004, the main campus was officially moved to Belmopan City. UB now offers programs from its main campus in Belmopan, from three locations on its Belize City campus, from its Central Farm campus, and from its southern campus in Punta Gorda. UB also owns and manages two marine field stations at Calabash and Hunting Cayes. The University has trained 7,658 graduates since its amalgamation. It has sought to meet national demand in the areas of accounting, tourism, paralegal studies, social work, nursing, and pharmacy as well as marketing, managerial, and entrepreneurial skills and competencies to meet the needs of the public and private sectors. They have also been provided with Information Technology skills and competencies to adapt to new technologies that play an increasingly important role in Belize’s development and its educational system. The University wishes to thank the people and Government of Belize for their confidence and will continue to serve as a catalyst for change by providing relevant, affordable and accessible educational and training programs that address national needs.


5

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Learning a New Language by Living it Closing ceremonies for student summer exchange program between the University of Quintana Roo and the University of Belize were held in Quintana Roo on July 10 and Belmopan on July 11.

The goal of the one-month exchange program is for students from UB to learn Spanish and experience the culture of the country, and for students from UQROO to learn English and immerse theirselves in Belize’s language and culture. At the closing, students from UB and UQROO spoke in the language they had been practicing, reminisced about their learning experiences, and gave performances of songs, dance, and drama including reading poems.

The Student Summer Exchange has fostered relations between both universities. In July, 2012 the agreement was consolidated by the Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University of Belize and University of Quintana Roo. At the signing Dr. Cary Fraser, President of the University of Belize said the agreement, “demonstrates the strategic collaboration between the two universities in fostering and enhancing academic and cultural exchanges among students of the University of Belize and Universidad de Quintana Roo.�


6

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

83 Students Receive Scholarships The students were awarded the scholarships at the University of Belize Scholarship Award Ceremony at the Jaguar Auditorium, Central Campus, Belmopan on August 9. The awards to the students were in three categories: Barton, UB Alumni Association, and Student-Athlete Scholarships. The Barton Scholarship fund provides full and partial scholarships to students enrolled in University of Belize’s Associate and Proud recipients of the scholarships Bachelor Degree programs. A total of 15 students were awarded this scholarship. Funding for UBAA President Mr. Kerry this scholarship is provided through annual support from one of Belisle along with the University of Belize’s benefactors, Nick and Debbie Barton from Ms. Dyandra Williams the UK. The University of Belize Alumni Association (UBAA) Scholarship is based on financial need, academic excellence and other conditions set by the UBAA and the Office of Student Affairs. This year’s recipient is Dyandra Marleney Williams a student pursuing an Associate Degree in Tourism Studies. President of the UB Alumni Association, Mr. Kerry Belisle, presented the scholarship to Ms. Williams. The Student-Athlete Scholarship Program is funded by the University of Belize and it has been in existence for the past eight years. The scholarship is awarded to students who excel in both academic and athletic skill. This year the University awarded 67 student-athletes (male and female) in the areas of Basketball, Football, Softball, Cycling and Canoeing. Dean of Student of Affairs, Mr. William Neal presented the scholarships to the students and congratulated them. The students also signed a contract where they pledged to observe requirements for maintaining standards for good behavior, good grades, and community service. Athletes on a physical test

Congratulations to all the awardees.


7

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Ambassadors in Mathematics Two of our former Math students, Luis Ek and Jair Pol, who both graduated in June 2013 with Bachelors of Science in Mathematics, represented the University of Belize in Tegucigalpa , Honduras attending seminars in Master's level mathematical courses at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. The students are attended seminars in 'Introduction to Non-Linear Optimization', 'Algebraic Extensions and Galois Theory' and 'Regression Models.’ The seminars are being facilitated by lecturers from the region and beyond and is being attended by students from the Central American and Caribbean regions. The EMALCA (Escuelas de Matematicas para Latino America y el Caribe - Latin American and CaribJair Pol and Luis Ek at EMALCA bean Mathematics School) seminars are being funded by UMALCA (Union de Matematica de Latino America y el Caribe - Latin American and Caribbean Mathematic Union).

Jair shares his experience This was a life changing experience as we got exposed for the first time to mathematics courses at the master’s level. In addition to this, we got the opportunity to meet other mathematicians from other Central American countries where we worked together as colleagues, shared ideas and most importantly shared our different cultures with each other.

I would like to thank God for giving me the life and knowledge to form part of the magnificent event, to my family for the unconditional support, and to Mr. Steven Lewis and Dr. Joaquin Urbina for taking the initiative in talking and inviting us to form part of this group and, most importantly for their full support before, during and after our attendance at the seminar. It was the first time that Belize was being represented at the event, and that an invitation has already been extended to Belize and UB to participate on the next EMALCA which will be held in 2015.

Jair with Professor Maria Redondo

I strongly recommend every Belizean mathematician should participate in this enlightening and life changing opportunity.


8

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

“...priceless knowledge,” Luis...

These classes were intense but manageable. It was my first time I was being taught mathematics in formal Spanish, and this indeed proved to be a challenge to me. The drastic change in terminology and jargon was quite a thrill. Nevertheless, thanks to God, I was able to pull it off. The content covered by the professors was at the master’s level and I consider it to be priceless knowledge. We also went on some exciting outings like visiting “Valle de Angeles”, “Las Cuevas de Taulabe” and touring in Tegucigalpa. And these trips helped us appreciate the great beauty of the capital of Honduras. Now, these ten days swiftly passed by and we did enjoy every moment of it.

Study hard... then it is time for an outing

Overall, it was an interesting and unforgettable experience, and we hope that UB continues participating in future EMALCAS.

Understanding the Past Shaping the Future Mrs. Barbara Thummalapally, wife of the former US ambassador to Belize H.E. Vinai K. Thummalapally, presented history books to the University of Belize on behalf of a donor. The books will be useful to students majoring History. Dr. Cary Fraser received the books on the University’s behalf and he thanked Mrs. Thummalapally for this valuable donation.

President Fraser receiving book from Mrs. Barbara Thummalapally On related news Mrs. Thummalapally donated an autographed Pat the Great Cat book to the library. Pat the Great Cat is a story for children about a Belizean jaguar that is in The Milwaukee County Zoo in the United States.


9

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Read to Succeed

Excitedly the children walked up for their certificate on August 2, 2013. They had participated in the UB Library Summer Reading Program and were now at the end of it. For three weeks, 36 at risk students were taught how to improve their reading skills, and to develop an appreciation and love for reading that will help them in the long term as they proceed through school and life. Guest speaker at the ceremony was Mrs. Evangelina Xiu. She asked parents to pledge to take time with their children to help them with their homework and other school related activities. She also encouraged parents to establish a good relationship with teachers. The program started with

15 students

This program has been helping in improving reading skills among students and approximately 200 students have benefited over the past five years. The program started in 2009 with 15 students and Mrs. Xiu was the first teacher in the program. Parents commend the University for the program and provide feedback on the improvement they have seen in their child.

Approximately

200

students have benefited from this program

Students at risk from the primary schools in the City of Belmopan are selected by their respective principals and teachers and are then enrolled in the Summer Reading Program. Coordinator of the Summer Reading Program, Ms. Desreen Williams, says their goal is to continue help moving children to higher levels of reading ability. Special thanks to the teachers who took time out to help children improve their reading skills: Zoie Marin, Racheal Hughes, Shevon Ramirez, Denisha Marin, Olivette Gillett, Kimberly Stuart, Agatha Tush, and Tiffara Waight

Keith Vasquez has improved his reading skills.


10

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Primary school students to benefit from UB Outreach Programs in Northern Districts The University of Belize held Opening Ceremonies on July 5, 2013 to inaugurate its Bachelor in Primary Education and Certificate in Primary Education in Orange Walk. The programs will provide classes in the Northern Districts of Belize to primary school teachers who have an Associate Degree in Primary Education or a Certificate in Primary Education. It will provide Bachelor level certification for primary school teachers in the two districts.

Dean Dr. Priscila Brown-Lopez and Coordinator Mr. Nestor Chan Registered students for summer 2013 in the Bachelor’s program numbered 58, and 24 others will be pursuing the Certificate in Primary Education. Dr. Wilma Wright, Interim Provost, in her opening remarks expressed, “my heart is always in teacher training,” and to teachers she said, “you will impart your knowledge in a way that children will learn.” Dr. Priscilla Brown-Lopez, Acting Dean of Faculty of Education of Arts, made it clear that this center is not intended to be a place where classes are held, minimal learning occurs, and students are awarded degrees. It is intended to create trained teachers who are very skilled and knowledgeable. The University of Belize is holding you accountable for maintaining high standards and to witness the change this initiative is designed to create. And so I will await demonstrations of your skills as teachers and how you have influenced the children entrusted to your professional care. This initiative from the University seeks to increase the number of trained school teachers across the country. These programs will ultimately provide better services for the teachers and students of the Northern Districts.


UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Welcome for RLC students The University of Belize welcomed the incoming students for the Regional Language Centre on August 9, 2013. Forty-five students will be enrolled in the English as a Second Language Program where they will be learning Belize’s official language and will be exposed to our culture. The students come from different countries including: Mexico, Cuba, Peru, ROC (Taiwan), Republic of China, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Former NBA Champion inspires young basketball players Former NBA player, Derek Anderson delivered a Motivational Speech on Entrepreneurship to basketball players and members of the surrounding areas of Belmopan on August 8 at the Jaguar Auditorium, University of Belize, Central Campus, Belmopan.

He is one of 13 players who won an NBA Championship in 2006 with the Miami Heat, and an NCAA Championship. Growing up poor and without parents who had left him to the streets, Derek found his inner self-motivation that led to his success as a producer, philanthropist, inventor and author. His inspirational story is detailed in his book titled “Stamina.” Derek’s visit to Belize is to reach out and help others who have experienced similar challenges. He retired from the NBA in 2008.

11


UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

FEA Assists Calvary Temple

Students of a Standard One class at Calvary Temple School now have a renovated classroom, complete with a corner class library. On May 15 and 16, the Belize City faculty and staff of UB’s Faculty of Education and Arts pulled up their sleeves and went in to replace ceiling hardboard panels and to scrape and paint walls and the corridor leading to the classroom. The activity culminated in May, following six weeks of faculty members collecting over one hundred (100) appropriate and well-kept books for the Standard One library, acquiring donations of paint and supplies, and coordinating with the classroom teacher and school principal. Classroom teacher Tricia Reneau—herself a UB primary education baccalaureate graduate with 20 years of teaching experience at Calvary Temple—said “I am so proud of UB, and to top it off I see my former UB lecturers helping us!” Calvary Temple, opened in 1952, is located on Regent Street West in Belize City. It has 250 students and 14 teachers. Its principal, Miss Georgette Bartley, expressed her gratitude to the FEA crew, saying that the bigger schools often get more regular contributions given the alma mater pool. “I really appreciate this from UB,” she said, “especially seeing FEA lecturers, from my own alma mater, living up to their service contributions to the community … this school is small and these children here are like my children; I really appreciate this gesture from UB and it energizes all of us to continue meeting the new challenges of daily operations while having a symbiotic relationship with our students and the community.” The principal, who also noted the challenge of getting more parental involvement and support, then shared some of the innovative measure the school and its own teachers and staff have taken up to assist with internal class upkeep and supplies, such as impressive ethnic crocheted earrings and baby quilts labeled “Calvary Temple School Products.” The faculty and staff of FEA Belize City did the service activity as part of their contribution to the Faculty of Education and Arts Education Week in late March, which is when the decision was made to approach the Education Department’s Literacy Unit to get ideas on which schools could most benefit from FEA’s idea to collect books for a classroom library. Once the management and principal of Calvary Temple agreed, the FEA team visited the school and realized that just a bit more effort could result in also doing some renovations before creating the library. Donations were contributed, either paint or supplies, from the following: Brothers Habet on Barrack Road; UB’s President Emeritus Dr. Corinth Morter-Lewis; Melissa Hoare-Perrera; Mr. Kevin Tucker, through Restore Belize; Dk. Silvaana Udz; Chair Nadine Tun and her husband Ismael and son Dorant, both of whom provided much elbow grease and expertise in replacing the hardboards; Trenelle Samuels-Reneau; Dr. Maxine Mckay; Nyahbinghi Price; and Mrs. Maureen Cayetano. Chair of the Belize City FEA campus Nadine Tun noted that “the best thing is that we all at FEA agreed and gave a commitment, a meaningful commitment, and we kept it. What we do at FEA does not only occur in the classroom where, through our teacher training, Belizean schoolchildren are influenced. We are also showing them that we care.”

12


13

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Student Leaders Members of the new Student Government from the different campuses gathered at the Central Campus to be sworn in as the Student Government for the academic year 2013-2014. The students were given an orientation on the rules and responsibilities of being a student leader. The students then proceeded to elect the members of the Association of Student Governments (ASG). The Chair of the ASG will represent the students in the Board of Trustees; Ms. Anita Ack, Student Government President for Belize City, was elected as the Chair. Yanira Garcia, Central Campus President, was elected as the Vice President of the Association. Darren Williams was elected as Treasurer and David Alcantara as Secretary.

The Art of Teaching Students of the Art Education class put into practice what they had learnt during the summer semester by doing art work with materials that can be found right at home. Art Education provides teachers with skills to effectively expose students to the elements of arts. Teachers can be better teachers by making use of available local materials in creating and designing art pieces. With arts, students can improve their learning environment to make it more conducive to learning. Teachers can also help to stimulate students' artistic talents so that they can become entrepreneurs in producing local art pieces.

ASG members (l-r) David Alcantara, Anita Ack, Yanira Garcia, and Darren Williams


14

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Counseling in the Belize Educational Setting The University of Belize, in partnership with the Ministry of Education Teacher Education Development Services (TEDS), hosted a conference entitled, “A Critical Look at Counseling in the Belize Educational Setting,� on August 5&6, 2013 at the ITVET Compound, Belize City.

The University of Belize, recognizing the increasing need for counseling services facilitated the national dialogue with key stakeholders; Counselors, Social Guest Speaker Workers, Mental Health Professionals, School CounselMrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow ors/Administrators, and agencies and institutions that offer counseling services. The participants discussed concerns about contemporary issues in counseling, particularly at risk adolescent boys; examined the counseling profession in the educational and training institutions in Belize, and drafted a roadmap for the institutionalization of professional counseling in Belize. Children and young adults are experiencing difficulties, which can lead to emotional problems and even mental illness. Risk conditions have manifested themselves in numerous ways including a dropout rate in schools among adolescent boys, a high rate of teenage pregnancies, and a steady increase in the number of HIV/AIDS cases. Dr. Priscilla Brown-Lopez

Stakeholders also discussed available data that would allow the University to develop relevant

courses or programs to train practitioners for counseling in the educational setting in Belize. The University is committed to the view that young people should be able to access counseling services. Counseling in schools, may provide an important avenue for such interventions. Sessions at the Conference included Developing School Counseling, Crisis Management, Conflict Mediation Techniques, Counseling Programs and Values & Ethics of the Counseling Profession.


UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

UB facilitates Competency Based Education Training The University of Belize facilitated a two-week training workshop in Competency Based Education Training (CBET) at the Central Farm Campus (UBCFC), Cayo.

CBET is a strategy for education and training used in professional environments and academic institutions as an alternative to the traditional coursecredit based curriculum. It focuses on defined competencies which are used as benchmarks to assess Improving teaching techniques the progress of students. Competencies are a set of skills, knowledge and behaviors someone needs to have achieved in order to perform tasks, jobs or activities in the world of work. Present in the country, facilitating the training program were Patricia Bidart from Bow Valley Community College of Calgary, Angela Wilm of Lakeland College in Vermilion Alberta, Canada and Richard Peppinch who assisted in the participants’ teaching sessions. A total of 30 personnel from ITVETS and Technical institutes from the districts, UB, and UBCFC are participating in the training program to improve their teaching techniques and to become competency-based educators. They are studying various teaching and learning theories that focus on learning outcomes with specific, measurable definitions of knowledge, strategies and behaviour. This training at the University’s Central Farm Campus is integral to the CARICOM Education for Employment Program (C-EFE) which is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). It is designed to support the economic development of the Caribbean region through the strengthening of its TVET system. The project will build the capacity of the UBCF in agricultural programming, CBET teaching methodology, curriculum development and implementation. In addition the project will help to build skills in project planning and management, entrepreneurship and developing strategies for meeting the needs of the labour markets across the region. Successful participants at the conclusion of the training program received a certificate at a ceremony which was held at 1 p.m. on Friday August 16 at UCFC. The certificates were presented to participants by Dr. Wilma Wright, Interim Provost of the University of Belize. They were also invited to the Advanced CBET training - "Training of Trainers course,” in December, 2013.

15


16

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Learn at your own pace in your own space The University of Belize in fulfilment of its mission to contribute to the development of Belize, and as a member of the Commonwealth Open Schooling Association (COMOSA), has collaborated with Gwen Lizaragga High School in the launch of the first ever Open School in Belize in August.

Initially over 125 women and men who otherwise would not be able to access secondary school will benefit from the use of innovative technology while pursuing a Secondary School Diploma.

This initiative sponsored by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and supported by the University of Belize will form the basis for the development of Open Schools country-wide and for the development of the University of Belize Open and Distance Learning Unit. The vision of the initiative is also for the current Evening Division of Gwen Lizaragga High School to be converted into an Open School that offers courses and programs to meet the needs of adults and out of school youth. “It is envisioned that students at Gwen Lizarraga Open School with support from the University of Belize…and the Commonwealth of Learning will be highly motivated, exposed to innovative technology and excel in their programs of study,” said the

Acting Dean of the Faculty of Education and Arts, Dr. Priscilla Brown-Lopez at the launch. Speaking at the event, Assistant Provost, Dr Cynthia Thompson said that the establishment of an Open School at Gwen Liz will make a difference based on research which demonstrate a link between a country’s economic growth and the education of its population. “This project strives to provide the enabling environment that will allow access for a larger proportion of learners who are seeking secondary education certification,” remarked Dr Thompson. “Many of these learners are working parents who must juggle their commitment to work, commitment to their families, and commitment to obtaining an education.” Mrs. Frances Ferriera came to Belize to work with administration and teachers at Gwen Lizaragga and administrators at the University as they begin the process of esMrs. Frances Ferriera tablishing the Open School. She is an Education Specialist with responsibility for Open Schooling at the Commonwealth of Learning in Vancouver, Canada, Ms. Ferrera trained instructors at Gwen Lizarraga Evening Division on how to use Open Educational Resources and innovative technology to enhance instructional practices; identify resources and support to effec-

►Continued from page 17


17

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

UB Graduate Teaching English to Students in South Korea Twice per month, Francine Sabal (2013 MDP, Belize) leaves the KDI School of Public Management and Policy campus and makes her way to the Dongdaemun Welfare Center where, for an hour, she teaches English to third graders,

"I strongly believe that whatever knowledge was passed on to us by others we owe it to others to pass it down to them too.”

rewarded with the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child.

The program runs from April to December and currently enrolls 25 eager teens and 9 dedicated student-teachers. At the end of the program, the teachers each receive a Voluntary Community Service Certificate and memories to last a lifetime. Francine graduated from the University of Belize with a Bachelor Degree in History with Magna Cum Laude distinction in January, 2012. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Public Policy with a concentration in International Relations and Political Economy at the Korean Development Institute in South Korea.

Francine is one of nine devoted students participating In the Volunteer English Program run by the KDI School Library. The volunteer program, which started in 2009, provides Korean teens from lowIncome families the opportunity to improve their English and be exposed to diverse cultures. At the start of the Spring Semester, the library sends out the call asking for students with a proficiency In English, enthusiasm and love for children to sign up. Nine students from Bangladesh, Belize, Iran, Egypt, Belarus, Algeria, Colombia and <<courtesy of KDI’s Newsletter- The Globe>> Nigeria answered that call and In return are ►Learn at your own pace... continued from page 16 those traditionally offered by universities tively use technology to motivate students or other tertiary institutions.” to develop requisite skills and competencies; and to identify policies to govern Open COMOSA is a dynamic community of instituSchooling in Belize. tions and organization that are dedicated An Open School is defined as a “range of flexible approaches, using open and distance methods to provide structured opportunities for studying at levels below

to the development of open schooling as a means of providing educational opportunities for all. The University of Belize joined COMOSA in 2009 when the association was established.


UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

UB and Bridgewater State University discuss international collaboration A delegation from Bridgewater State University (BSU), Boston, Massachusetts was in Belize during the last week of August to discuss with the President of the University of Belize, Dr. Cary Fraser and his team areas of mutual interests aimed at developing collaboration between BSU and UB.

Discussions focused on the University’s first Masters Program in Biodiversity Conservation & Sustainable Development, Marine Biology, Education, Agriculture and Research and other programs offered by UB. Also high Dr. Cary Fraser along with BSU Team on the agenda was UB Study Abroad Program and Student Exchange Program that would allow BSU students through their international study at UB to participate in an international educational experience in a multicultural society. Representatives of BSU included Dr. Arthur Goldstein, Dean, College of Science and Math; Dr. Stephen Kaczmarek, Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences; Dr. Jennifer Mendell, Assistant Professor of Biological Science and Dave Ostroth, International Liaison. The visiting delegation also met with senior faculty members of the Faculty of Science & Technology and the Faculty of Education and Arts of the national tertiary institution, and tour facilities of the University of Belize - Calabash Caye where UB is building national scientific capacity for effective management, sustainable use and Both teams discussed collaboration conservation of Belize’s natural resources and national treasures: Turneffe Atoll, the Belize Corridor and National Protected Areas System, and the Central Farm Campus, which contributes to Belize’s food security and national development through agriculture and research. Bridgewater State University’s offers more than 30 undergraduate academic programs in four different schools: the School of Business, the School of Education and Allied Studies, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the School of Science and Mathematics. There is also a School of Graduate Studies.

18


UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Ongoing Beautification Project The University of Belize Campus Beautification Project, initiated by Mrs. Pearl Fraser with support from members of the faculty is approaching the end of its first year and wishes to encourage students to volunteer to transform the Belmopan Campus.

This summer, the Beautification Project took advantage of the rainy season to plant. The rainy season also stimulated growth of weeds so the volunteers worked harder weeding out the unwanted grass. The volunteers started painting the rock fence and tree trunks with White Lime, planted Hibiscus, Pride of Barbados, Ginger Lily, Frangipani, Croton, Allamanda and Orchids. Thanks to the volunteers who have joined the project: Dr Dion Daniels, Mr Pedro Carrillo, Mr Santos Chicas. Thanks also to the students who helped as well, Ivan Aguilar, Dorian Enriquez, Connally Canto, and Vernon Moody. In addition, there were community volunteers, Ms Melissa Sobers, Mrs Becky Gushwa and the nieces and neighbours of Dr Perez-Rogers. This semester, the Campus Beautification Committee will continue planting more plants and has embarked upon several mini projects, including planting a living fence by the front gate, planting hardwoods such as Cedar Rosewood, Zericote, Logwood specimens, planting indigenous Palms, assorted Vines, Ferns and Ornamental Grass. The committee meets under the White Tent at the Belmopan Campus and welcomes volunteers on Fridays from 8-11AM.

19


20

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

Protecting Sea Turtle... present and future generations

The University of Belize Environmental Research Institute (ERI) in partnership with Oceanic Society, and financial support from the Mohamed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund along with UB students, conducted the first baseline study of sea turtle distribution and abundance around the Turneffe Atoll. Three species of sea turtles have been documented to inhabit coastal waters and nest Belizean beaches. They include: Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), Loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and Green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtles. In Belize, sea turtle research is limited especially when looking at factors such as abundance, habitat use, connectivity, threats and impacts.

The objectives of the study were to: execute a circum-atoll visualization survey using trained and supervised volunteer snorkelers to assess abundance and behaviors of turtles in different habitat types; capture turtles by hand when possible to collect biometric information and tag individual turtles to establish a long-term capturemark-recapture program, and create maps and a report of sea turtle distribution and abundance at Turneffe Atoll for national and local resource managers. The team conducted in-water surveys in June, and employed the distance sampling methodology developed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which allows comparison and joint analysis of sea turtle data between the different sites. ERIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marine team had previosuly worked with this method through participation in WCSâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s turtle survey at the Glovers Reef Atoll in April. In-water surveys provide the opportunity to estimate population size along with chances to capture, measure and tag individuals, providing morphometric data of the population. A total of 87 turtles were identi-

fied at 18 sites distributed around the atoll - 61 hawksbills, 17 green and 9 loggerheads. Of those recorded, 17 were captured, measured, tagged and released. All captured hawksbill and green turtles were juveniles. Only a single adult female loggerhead was captured. It seems that hawksbill and green turtles use the atoll as a juvenile foraging and developmental area. All data collected is being housed at the University and will be published at an online database later in the year. The Turneffe Atoll is the largest of 3 offshore atolls and the most recent of Belizeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s marine protected areas, established in November 2012. Spanning some 52 km long and 18 km wide, it is a haven for marine life being comprised of numerous mangrove cayes, beaches, sea grass beds and reef ecosystems. The hawksbill, green and loggerhead sea turtles have all nested on the atoll.

Belizean Tagged Turtle Nesting In Mexico


21

UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4 In related news, Among the 17 tagged turtles was a female loggerhead (Caretta caretta) that was captured on the fore reef area near Crawl Caye and was documented as the largest turtle and was also the sole capture of its specie. The loggerhead was tagged on both flippers. The turtle was weighed in at approximately 86 kg with a straight carapace length of 88.7 cm. Due to its large size, the team only managed to get shell measurements and weight. We were informed that on July 25, that a loggerhead turtle, matching our tags was observed nesting on a beach near the Xel-

ha area in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The same turtle tagged in June had travelled 300km. According to Mexican biologists, this particular turtle is a new recruit to the nesting population at Xel-ha and laid over 100 eggs. Although this kind of traveling behaviour has been hypothesized in the past, this is the first record of a tagged sea turtle captured foraging in Belizean waters and later observed nesting on a Mexican beach. This suggests that the Turneffe Atoll serves as a foraging ground to sea turtles nesting in Mexico and probably other countries in the region. It also highlights the importance for regional collaboration in continuing the present efforts of in-water surveys and beach monitoring, among others. Special thanks to our friends at â&#x20AC;&#x153;Flora, Fauna y Cultura de Mexico A.Câ&#x20AC;?, the Belize Sea Turtle Conservation Network, Linda Searle (Ecomar), Isaias Majil (Fisheries Department) and Kirah Forman (Hol Chan Marine Reserve) for communicating this finding.

President & wife tour Barnes Arboretum During a recent visit to Philadelphia, Dr and Mrs. Fraser visited the Barnes Arboretum and Museum in that city. The Arboretum and Museum were established in the early 20th century by Dr Albert Barnes and his wife, Laura, and are currently managed by the Barnes Foundation as centres of education about plants and art. The Barnes Arboretum is host to a collection of Native American plants and imported species from Asia and South America. Mrs. Laura Barnes was an avid horticulturalist and the Arboretum that she created provides a model for the development of a similar facility at the University of Belize, which can be used as a living classroom

for the study of Belizean plant species.

The development of an Arboretum can also serve as a research facility that can contribute to the study of Belizeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s natural environment and the scientific/pharmaceutical properties of its flora. The President and Mrs. Fraser would like to express their gratitude to Ms Nicole Juday, Horticulture Education Coordinator, for a very informative tour of the Arboretum.


UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

22


UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

23


UB Ebulletin Volume 2 Issue 4

24


Ub e bulletin vol 2 issue 4