Bahamas Welcomes the New University

Go Lean Commentary


Dateline Thursday, November 10, 2016 – It’s a BIG moment for the Bahamas; its Charter Day; their College of the Bahamas (COB) has now graduated to the University of the Bahamas (UB). This is a B.H.A.G. (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)! Congratulations! We welcome this new University.

VIDEO – Bahamas Welcomes First University

Published on Nov 10, 2016 – Evening Newscast from ZNS Television – Bahamas State-own TV and Radio Network – on Charter Day.

This B.H.A.G. was the plan “all the while”. In 2014 when COB published their 2025 Master Plan, this commentary chimed in. Our conclusion:

The institution was only reaching for the lamp-post. (The commentary preferred that COB “reached for the stars”).

We received feedback-criticism for that assessment. We heard specific responses like:

“Not Accurate! The Go Lean commentary ignored the real world constraints that COB must manage”.

This commentary is a response to that response.

After 2 years of reflection, it is our conclusion that the COB Master Plan 2025 was indeed a “good start”. The previous assessment was that the College-University Master Plan was deficient, that it did not “stretch” far enough to address the Agents of Change (globalization and technology) affecting the Caribbean and the educational needs of this island-nation. But now, after 2 years of “observing and reporting” on the effort to reform and transform failing communities, we have come to appreciate that some changes must be evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary. That 2014 blog was extremely insightful; it accurately described “what” was needed in the arena of tertiary education in the Bahamas (and other Caribbean member-states), but it too was deficient …

… it did not stress the “why”, “how”  and “when”. Let’s do that now; this is an update to that previous submission:



Answering all the questions of “why”, “how” and “when” is reflective of the comprehensiveness of the book Go Lean…Caribbean. The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This roadmap assesses that the Caribbean – Bahamas included – is in crisis.

Why a crisis?

There is a dire problem with societal abandonment. Even students are guilty of blame. Many times they leave their Caribbean homeland to matriculate abroad and never return. In general, the region’s abandonment rate among tertiary educated citizens is reported at 70%.

So there needs to be a viable alternative to studying abroad. There needs to be a good local educational institution. This is what was expected in the COB-UB Master Plan in 2014 and what is expected today. As the sole tertiary education institution in the Bahamas, it would be expected that a Master Plan would have better addressed this crisis. As this is bigger than just academics; this addresses all societal engines. The CU/Go Lean roadmap embeds concern for all these engines in its prime directives; identified with the following 3 statements:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

This prime directive relates to universities as well. They can effect change in their community; see Appendix-VIDEO below. The Go Lean book posits that the Caribbean’s crisis is a “terrible thing to waste”. Therefore the roadmap seeks to change the entire eco-system of Caribbean education. This vision is defined early in the book (Page 13 & 14) in the following pronouncements in the Declaration of Interdependence:

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores…

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxvii. Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

Universities play an important role in cementing the societal fabric of their communities. In a previous blog-commentary, the American experience was detailed; the number one employers in each state were listed. In 16 of the 50 states, the largest employer was an entity within that State’s University System.  The following intelligence was gleaned:

  • The education eco-system is important for more than  just enrolled student bodies; whole communities are affected. Just consider the California example … indicative of all the other states where a University System is the largest employer: The University … system, which has campuses in Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, Merced, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and San Francisco, is the largest employer in the state. The university network also includes the UCLA Health System, which consists of 5 medical centers, and three national laboratories.
  • Jobs come from disruptive systems of commerce – Big-Box retailer Walmart has undermined the business models of the previous delivery solutions for food, clothing and shelter (home goods). They are now the largest employer in 19 states.

So … how and when?

How? – 10 Ways to Improve the University

What should have been featured in a Master Plan/roadmap for effectuating change in the tertiary education landscape for the Bahamas? The following community ethos, strategies, tactics and implementations from the Go Lean book (in the order of appearance in the book) depict how to improve a Caribbean university eco-system for the educational charter:

Ways to Impact the Future – Forward focus, not legacy; Future success is not guaranteed; must be fostered Page 26
Ways to Foster Genius – Identify them early and foster/protect them through out their development Page 27
Ways to Impact Research & Development – Size does not matter; commitment does Page 30
Steps to Implement Self-Governing Entities – Invite other universities for Healthcare and specialty Campuses Page 105
Ways to Improve Education – Manage Brain Drain as an enemy; with a comprehensive Battle Plan Page 159
Ways to Impact Student Loans –  People cannot repay if they are not around; conditionalize all grants Page 160
Ways to Empower Immigration – Import the skills (teachers and students) we do not have Page 174
Ways to Impact Public Works – Need cutting edge campuses to attract and retain stakeholders Page 175
Ways to Improve Libraries – Outreach into neighborhoods; bring the learning to the people Page 187
Ways to Foster Technology – e-Learning makes for virtual campuses; keep rural people at home Page 197


How? – 10 Ways the University Can Impact the Community

As conveyed in the Appendix VIDEO below, universities usually have an effect on their communities above-and-beyond academics. There is the concept of the Company town, or in this case University town, in which one or more universities may be the primary economic driver. The US has many such towns, think Gainesville-Florida, Tallahassee-Florida, Athens-Georgia, Lincoln-Nebraska, Ann Arbor-Michigan and others.

How can an education institution in the Caribbean region execute a plan to impact the economic, security and governing engine of its community?

The Go Lean book details these community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster peripheral benefits for all who live, work and play in the Caribbean region. See sample here of peripheral-auxiliary benefits from the Go Lean book (in the order of appearance in the book):

Ways to Help Entrepreneurship – Models abound where Incubators started on University Campuses Page 28
Ways to Promote Intellectual Property – Respect for Other People’s IP must start with the Intellectuals Page 29
Ways to Bridge the Digital Divide – Campuses should lead this revolution Page 31
Ways to Impact Social Media – .EDU (Education) websites should dominate traffic Page 111
Ways to Foster International Aid – Need Visiting Faculty and Exchange Students Page 115
Ways to Benefit from Globalization – Need foreign students here, not just local students going abroad Page 187
Ways to Impact Housing – Model of Ann Arbor shows Mixed-Use Developments embedded in “Cityscape” Page 160
Ways to Improve Communications – Common strategy for Campus “Public” Radio and TV Page 185
Ways to Promote Fairgrounds – CU built Stadia/arenas; Intercollegiate Sports only missing landlords Page 194
Ways to Improve Sports – Foster an Intercollegiate Sports eco-system in the region with other colleges Page 229

How? – Models

Education initiatives are a familiar feature of the Go Lean movement. Consider the many previous blog-commentaries relating lessons-learned (good and bad) and models on education reform from other communities. See the sample here: Detroit makes Community College free Skipping School to become Tech Giants Education & Economics: Welcome Mr. President For-Profit Education: Plenty of Profit; Little Education FAMU – Finally, A Model for Facilitating Economic Opportunity Lessons Learned from Textbook Price-gouging Sports Role Model – Turn On the SEC Network Student debt holds back many would-be home buyers


Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in for the empowerments described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. This Big Deal for the region leads first with economic empowerments, including education solutions.

Wake up all you teachers
Time to teach a new way
Maybe then they’ll listen
To what you have to say.
Song: Wake Up Everybody; performed by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (1975)
Source: Retrieved November 2, 2016 from:

This Go Lean book is not the COB/UB Master Plan; the institution must address their own planning, but ultimately the requirements detailed in the book are what the Caribbean are relevant for the region: better education options, better jobs, better entrepreneurial opportunities, better economic growth and better prospects to live, work and play in the Caribbean. The Bahamas in particular, and the Caribbean region as a whole, needs the deliveries of this roadmap from Go Lean … Caribbean.

This roadmap is conceivable, believable and achievable. Let’s all lean-in.

Let’s all lean-in now!

Congratulations … and welcome to the new University of the Bahamas. Welcome to the fight!


Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix VIDEORodney Smith – Address at the Bahamas Business Outlook

Rodney Smith – Address at The Bahamas Business Outlook Jan. 29th, 2015 from University of The Bahamas on Vimeo.

Jan. 29th, 2015 – University President Rodney Smith addresses the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce in preview of the new University of the Bahamas.

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