A Tribute to Professor Edwin Brandon Former Member of Staff, The UWI Open Campus

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Open Campus is saddened by the passing of Professor Edwin Brandon, former Senior Programme Officer, Planning and Development, at the Open Campus. He served The University of the West Indies in various capacities from 1978 until his retirement in 2012. His years of service span three UWI campuses – Cave Hill, Mona and the Open Campus.

Service to The UWI

Professor Brandon rendered outstanding service to The UWI. His sojourn at the University began in 1978 in the School of Education, Mona, where he served as a Lecturer in Philosophy and Sociology of Education. In 1987, he was promoted to Senior Lecturer and served in that position until 1997. Between 1992 and 1997, he was seconded to the Office of Academic Affairs at The UWI, Cave Hill where he served as Programme Co-ordinator. In 1996, he was appointed to the Office of the Board for Non-Campus Countries and Distance Education (NCC&DE), UWI, Cave Hill as Programme Co-ordinator and became Senior Programme Officer in 1997. He also served as a part-time lecturer in Philosophy in the Faculty of Humanities and Education for the Academic Year 2000/2001.

He made a significant contribution to the transformation of the Open Campus by organizing and facilitating the pertinent consultations in The UWI-12 (formerly the Non-Campus Countries) during 2005 and 2006, as well as authoring all of the reports that allowed the University’s planning committee to distil the critical issues and lay the groundwork for the Open Campus’ establishment. He also served on several Campus and University committees, including the Academic Quality Assurance Committee, the Appointments Committee of the Campus, and the Research Ethics Working Group which morphed into the Research Ethics Committee. He chaired the Monitoring Committee for the Open Campus Strategic Plan and he also served on The UWI-HARP Committee as the Open Campus representative. Retired Pro Vice-Chancellor and first Principal of the Open Campus, Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald, recalls that he gave invaluable assistance to her and the executive team as they designed the administrative and operational structures of the Open Campus, and worked to configure and establish the various departments in the inception phase. She says he was an accomplished professional, committed in his service to the Campus, and he executed tasks with utmost efficiency. She expresses her appreciation for the considerable support he gave to her and to the Executive from 2006 until his retirement in 2013, and she values the camaraderie and mutual respect that characterised his interactions with colleagues.

Service to UWI Community

As a member of The UWI Community, Ed Brandon gave unwavering service to the West Indies Group of University Teachers (WIGUTs) in several capacities from 1979-2008. For this group he served as an Executive member, representing Jamaica, from 1979-1988 and 1990-1992; as Grievance Secretary, in 1982, as Vice-President, 1980-1981 and 1983; General Secretary from 1984-1988 and 1990-1992. During his tenure at the Cave Hill Campus, he continued to serve WIGUTs as Vice-President, Cave Hill, 1997-1998, Secretary 1998-2000 and was co-opted to the Executive in 2003 and served as Vice-President 2003-2008. He was also a frequent contributor to the WIGUTs Journal.

He also served as Secretary to the Board of The UWI Press, between 1993-1997 and 1998-2000 and was Review Editor for IJEDICT (an online journal on education and development using ICTs) in 2006 and for Shibboleths (an online journal of philosophy and theory, with a Caribbean flavour), 2007.

Research and Publication

Professor Brandon was also a prolific writer and researcher who authored several book chapters, journal articles and conference papers. His book Do Teachers Care about Truth? Epistemological Issues for Education, published by Allen and Unwin has drawn laudatory reviews by international scholars. He published over forty-nine (49) articles in his area of specialisation. Eight of these articles on Philosophy appeared in high-impact journals between the years 2005 and 2008 and focused on a range of areas of interest under the titles: ‘Anthropocentricity of Ethical Norms as an Argument for Subjectivism’, in an edited volume published by Cambridge Scholars Press; ‘Creolisation, Syncretism and Multiculturalism’; ‘Sustaining a Right to be in Error’, an online publication in the Proceedings of the Twenty-First Congress of Philosophy, to name a few.

His conference presentations have been made regionally at The UWI campuses and internationally at such fora as the International Wittgenstein Symposium in Austria, and the International Conference on Philosophy – Philosophy of Culture in the Age of Globalisation at Samos and Patmos. The influence of Professor Brandon’s work has been well attested in the relevant literature which has posted positive reviews about his work by international scholars in his field.

In his scholarly academic work, in his formation of and servicing on several committees and in his authorship of the proceedings of the work of several committees, Professor Brandon was a selfless contributor to the work of the University and the promotion of the institution internationally. His work will live on. Pro Vice-Chancellor & Principal Open Campus Dr Francis O. Severin laments the loss of yet another stalwart of the Open Campus and its precursors. He acknowledges that, “… as we transition to the Global Campus, now is an opportune time to celebrate our pioneers like Beverly Steele, Howard Fergus, and others, who have recently departed this life, as well as those like Rex Nettleford and Philip Sherlock who left us long ago, for bequeathing to us such a priceless gift that has reached and empowered thousands of people where they are, in their hamlets, villages, towns and country sides. We owe them a debt that cannot easily be repaid.”

Personal Tributes

Professor Emeritus Sir Woodville Marshall

Retired Pro Vice-Chancellor, NCC&DE

The University community is much the poorer for the death of Ed Brandon. In his under-stated way, he contributed enormously to the teaching in Education and Philosophy and to the deliberations of WIGUT. But I would venture to say that his greatest contribution was to the Office of Academic Affairs and to the Board for Distance Education and Non-Campus Territories.

As the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, I could not have wanted a more capable Assistant. He may not have bothered to stroke the egos of the self-important, but he had a full grasp of all the issues that were in discussion, and he made most valuable inputs, whether the matter was the revision of Ordinance 8 or the role of the Extra-Mural Centres. Indeed, I could not have adequately done my job if I did not have the benefit of his cool intelligence.

Professor Emeritus Lawrence Carrington

Retired Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chair, BNCC&DE

I tender to his widow and family my deepest condolences on the passing of Ed Brandon.

Our university owes him a debt of gratitude for his sterling contributions to the development of our outreach beyond physical campuses and in particular the creation of our Open Campus. Professor Brandon was a reliable and efficient colleague with an eye for detail and an unwavering ability to foresee issues lurking down the road in our planning. His lifelong engagement in the study and teaching of philosophy made him formidable in argument to the benefit of the outcomes of our decision making. On the lighter side, his enjoyment of annual wine-tasting events was as much a joy to an observer as it was to him! He needed a lot of space when he danced!

The UWI Open Campus extends sincere condolences to his family, colleagues, and friends. May his soul rest in peace.

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