21 people in 2021: Stacy McAfee

UCCI President Stacy McAfee presents Dr. Ormond Panton with an honorary doctorate at UCCI's commencement ceremony. (File)

While the Cayman 2.0 series has thus far been looking at the ideas and strategies that could make the country a better place, we’re changing things up for December. This month, we’re highlighting 21 people who could turn some of those ideas into reality – or at least get the ball rolling – over the next calendar year.

All of the goals Stacy McAfee has for UCCI over the next year – and there are plenty of them – can be summed up in one word: alignment.

From funding to programme development to quality of staff, it all has to work hand-in-hand for UCCI to best serve students’ needs. 

“When you think about what we’re trying to do to be student-centred, there’s some things really that come to mind,” McAfee said. 

Let’s start with the programmes UCCI offers. 

McAfee said the UCCI, Cayman’s only publicly funded university, offers what she describes as “demand-driven” offerings and she wants to see more of the same in 2021. 

“They, in some cases, can have a more vocational nature to them,” she said. 

21 people in 2021

James Whittaker
• Rachel Smyth
• Andre Gooden
• Adam Sax
• Marc Langevin
• Louisa Sax
• Dr. Marc Lockhart
• Lauren Nelson
• Jordan Stubblefield
• Brandon Caruana
• Josephine Horwitz
• Juliet Austin

“Cayman is embarking upon a lot of reflection around what does the economy look like going forward, and the university wants to be that engine to support the workforce side of that,” she said, adding that the university is looking at options such as building out a tech and healthcare sector .

McAfee hopes to continue to develop relationships with private and public partners, not only to support the university in terms of resources, but also to help UCCI’s leaders understand where the job market is headed so they can prepare.  

Then there’s the topic of access. 

Even schools with the largest programme offerings must make them available at days and times and at a price point that suit students. That’s especially important now that border closings around the world have put increased importance on students being able to access higher education closer to home. 

“We have to recognise who we serve, and we serve a lot of different students,” she said. “Many of them are adults that are needing to advance their education and training to progress in their careers. Others are accessing higher education for the first time. Our students need financial support, so we are raising funds to ensure that they have the resources they need.”

Stacy McAfee at a glance.

UCCI is also analysing how it offers particular programmes and courses. McAfee said the university staff are analysing who learns best online versus in a classroom versus in a hybrid model.

Of course, the quality of any education depends heavily on the quality and quantity of the educators themselves. 

“The key to anything the university does is a quality faculty that reflects the experience that is needed to deliver learning that meets international standards. 

Finally, there’s the relationship with alumni and the private sector at large. 

When those entities hear “partnerships”, many of them immediately think of financial support. While that’s welcome, that isn’t the only way to support the university and its students, McAfee said, adding that employers can serve as mentors, offer internships and more. UCCI also plans on hosting a homecoming for the first time in 2021 as a way to engage alumni. 

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