Development of an educational research center funded by ongoing grants in the Caribbean – The Oracle

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Assistant Professor Patriann Smith, originally from Saint Lucia, came to USF in the fall of 2019 to earn a master’s degree in literacy so that she could establish a center dedicated to expanding research on educational issues in the Caribbean.

After more than a year of planning and waiting, Smith received a three-year, $ 3.6 million grant on March 29 from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop a research center in the Caribbean. The center, which will be funded until March 28, 2024, will create a research repository, innovate and expand education at all levels in the Caribbean.

Currently, Project Coordinator Coreen Leacock, Professor of Mathematics Education, as well as Center Director Joel Warrican, Professor of Language Education, Literacy and Interlinguistic Studies in the Education Department at the University of West Indies Cave Hill (UWI) are in the process of establishing the center in the Caribbean while it is currently in the United States.

Day-to-day duties include scouting for research assistants who would serve undergraduates, cohesive management of research activities, collecting data, updating each island’s representatives on research progress, and listening. of their needs.

The grant will help the Caribbean islands create a research repository, cultivate a research profile and support a decision-making process for educational innovation to focus on educational issues on the islands, according to Smith .

Research in the Caribbean is difficult to locate because it is not often submitted to online databases accessible inside or outside the Caribbean, according to Smith, which sparked his passion for developing this center. With the development of the center, Smith and her partners will work to implement and design decolonizing research methods and pedagogies in various fields, including literacy, math and science.

“Our goal is really to get a benchmark for research, to build a research culture in the region so that when we take action and make decisions in schools, and even beyond schools, for children who did it based on revised educational research data, but it is also culturally appropriate and meets the needs of Caribbean children, ”Smith said.

Antigua, Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Grenadines, Nevis, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent will be the focus of the centre’s research, according to Smith.

The partnership between USF and UWI will help the university create international links with research and information, as well as give UWI knowledge about cultural differences, according to Smith.

“We want to position the University of South Florida and the University of the West Indies on an equal footing as partners so that there is reciprocity in the exchange of knowledge and the exchange of an understanding of cultural differences through these borders, ”Smith said. “We want to be able to support each other in two-way partnerships.”

She said that important aspects of working in a global partnership are the opportunity for growth and intercultural collaboration.

“I think that’s one of the powerful things working on a global partnership like this, we have an opportunity for extreme growth and intercultural, interlinguistic and also interracial understanding,” said Smith.

At a time when research and resources are not readily available, Smith believes that having the funds to properly impact research with his proposal is a powerful indication of what USAID stands for.

“We have something that is useful for the region, we have something that USAID values ​​in terms of this sort of interdisciplinary interdisciplinary focus on strengthening research as a means of informing practice in the region,” a- she declared.

“I think [my proposal being chosen] shows that USAID values ​​the ability to have an impact on research and to have an impact on what we do with research in the field. “



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