A new dawn for Caymanian academia

| 19/10/2008

(CNS): The cream of Cayman’s intelligentsia gathered at UCCI last week to celebrate the publication of the second volume of the University College of the Cayman Islands’ academic journal, enticingly known as JUCCI. Marking a new era for intelligent debate and discourse in Cayman, it offers academics a place for peer review and recognition for their research. Guest speaker Mary Rodrigues, Chief Officer for the Portfolio of the Civil Service, dared people to be read.

Opening the evening’s discussisons, Rodrigues presented her own paper, "The importance of Research and Publication in the life of a University".She said the celebration of the life of the mind was in too short supply in Cayman, and because of that the publication itself was as symbolically important as anything inside it. She said the publication was an opportunity to advance our own fields in our own journal. “Often the writing may be frightening and shocking and provocative,” she added, and called on authors to be challenging as well as challenged as they reached out for the nobility of truth.

Drawing a diverse crowd, the launch at the Sir Vassal Johnson Hall on the UCCI campus was bitter sweet as the Journal’s editor, Claudette Upton, passed away on Saturday, 10 October. Her loss was deeply felt by the entire faculty and those involved with the production of this impressive publication. As Roy Bodden, former Education Minister, author and faculty member, paid tribute to her incredible talents, the quality of the Journal itself speaks volumes with regards to Upton’s contribution. Describing her as truly irreplaceable, he said she was very pleased with this journal. “She managed to dispense with arrogance of authors and made them better for it,” he added.

During the evening, four faculty members presented challenging and diverse presentations based on some of the papers in the Journal as well as future work. They were each challenged by a relevant discussant and faced questions from the audience. The topics were provocative and controversial, covering subjects such as the challenge of youth, Caymanian identities, the recruitment of teachers, and teaching evolution in a Christian community, which was presented by Acting President Dr Brian Chapell. Each presentation gave a taste of what’s to come in Cayman and elevated the current debate substantially on a number of very topical issues, from the problem of male violence and defining what it is to be Caymanian to the possibility of practicing Christians embracing human origins from Darwin’s perspective.

Bodden raised some challenging concepts when he discussed Chris Williams’ paper, which he said would add to the growing corpus of material exploring Caymanian identity. He said defining who is Caymanian becomes more difficult and problematic from the mere fact that Caymanian society is totally imported.

The Journal itself offers readers more food for thought encompassing the wider Caribbean. The theme for the second volume, The Caribbean: Issues, Challenges, Perspectives, brings together comprehensive and scholarly papers on a range of pressing contemporary problems for the region. Through, science, literature, history and even criminology studies, the volume articulates many of the societal issues faced by both Cayman and the wider Caribbean, all of which need to be examined and explored in order to create the possibility of solutions for the community as a whole.

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  1. Dr. Mark Minott says:

    JUCCI is indeed an indicator that steps are being taken to develop a culture of intellectual discourse and engagment. Congrats to the University College  for leading the charge.



    Mark Minott