Cross-cultural learning principles are continuously employed by the University of the Southern Caribbean(USC) across the broad spectrum of their graduate and under-graduate programmes.
This approach has been bearing positive fruit, according to Dr Susan Chand, Professor and director of Research and Innovation. A native of India, Chand began her tenure at the USC in 2005.
"While serving at the Seventh-Day Adventist Mission in India, I expressed interest in conducting research in the West Indies. At that time, two faith-based universities–North Caribbean and Caribbean Union College (now USC)–were searching for professors with terminal degrees, and I chose the USC," she said.
Chand describes this experience as historical, as she has seen the institution evolve from one with just 800 students in 2005 to its current enrollment of more than 3,000.
She has a great interest in the development of the USC. When she became the chair of the Social Work programme, Chand and her team did a needs analysis and developed a number of programmes focusing on priority areas that impact T&T's economy. These included a Bachelors and Masters in Social Work; a BS and MS in Criminology; an MS in National Security and a BS in Government and Politics. Though not yet GATE-approved, these programmes are in high demand from students throughout the Caribbean.
Chand has a PhD in Medical Anthropology, a discipline that involves the study of people, their evolutionary history, behaviour, and how they adapt to different environments, communicate and socialise with each other.
"I specialised in Medical Anthropology as it focuses on the health beliefs and practices that impact human beings both at a personal and community level. My research concentrated on the social aspects and people's perceptions of chronic diseases with an emphasis on leprosy," she explained.
Chand uses a faith-based approach in her teaching and learning practices. She envisages that the USC will soon become a centre for research-based activities and firmly believes a university must be driven and informed by research and scholarships, which are at the core of its very existence.