Monday, July 25, 2016

Principal (UWI Mona) to head Jamaican Port Authority

UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica –The University of the West Indies has, with deep regret, agreed that Professor the Hon Gordon Shirley, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Mona Campus, will be seconded to the Government of Jamaica to serve as Head of the Port Authority of Jamaica for three years.  The UWI sees this as firm recognition of Professor Shirley’s exceptional leadership skills and as an opportunity for him to take the excellent national service that he already provides in numerous capacities to another level.  His vision and managerial capacity are exceptional and he has served or currently serves on a number of national and private sector boards including:

  • Chair, National Task Force, Logistics Hub Initiative 
  • Chair, Police Services Commission 
  • Chair, Board of the Grace Kennedy Foundation
  • Member of the JPSCo Board 


Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald (left) Principal and PVC of the UWI Open Campus interacts with Professor Gordon Shirley, Principal and PVC of the UWI Mona Campus (second from left) at the launch of the Community Policing programme in 2012.

Professor Shirley’s tenure at The UWI began in 1991 with his appointment as Head of the Department of Management Studies.  Following a successful term there, he went on to serve as Executive Director of the Mona School of Business from 1997 to 2004  during which time he managed the transformation of the Mona Institute of Business into a profitable, self-sustaining School of Business with endowments for Research and Entrepreneurial Studies.  Enrolment increased significantly under his leadership with the introduction of new programmes, despite increased competition from international business schools offering similar programmes in Jamaica. 


During his tenure as Executive Director of the Mona School of Business, Professor Shirley also served as Executive Chairman of the Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd.   In 2004, Professor Shirley was seconded to the Government of Jamaica to serve as Jamaica’s Ambassador to Washington D.C. − another role that he discharged with distinction. 


He returned to the UWI in 2007 to serve as Principal of the Mona Campus, a role in which his leadership and management skills have been fully exercised.  During his tenure, the Mona Campus has received institutional accreditation by the University Council of Jamaica and there have been numerous infrastructure developments on the campus.  These include the new Faculty of Law, new student housing, the Faculty of Medical Sciences Research and Teaching Complex to ensure that students and staff have the best available facilities in which to learn and conduct research, and numerous in-Faculty infrastructure improvements that employ information and communication technologies to enhance the learning experience for our students.  The sports programme at the Mona Campus during his tenure has grown tremendously through partnerships with sports management agencies and clubs, the most famous being the Racers Club which is home to several national sporting heroes.  The sports infrastructure has also been improved as has the human resourcing of the sports programme.  


Professor Shirley has steered the Mona Campus through these and other significant developments during times when the financing of higher education was and remains a significant challenge.  His sterling leadership and management skills have enabled the Mona Campus not only to remain stable, but to grow in terms of student numbers, significant enhancement of the physical plant, programmes of high quality as demonstrated by the institutional accreditation received, and the support of the staff and students who consider him to be an exceptional leader.   


Professor Shirley’s new assignment will leave a significant gap at the UWI as it is not only the Mona Campus that benefits from his wise counsel, incisive interventions and problem solving skills, but the entire University. 


Professor Shirley will begin his new assignment at the end of September 2013 on secondment to the Government for a three-year period.  The University is actively considering a suitable replacement for Professor Shirley and expects to make an announcement within the next several weeks.