I am honoured to be the thirteenth, and the first male principal (after Rev. Negus 1886-87) in over 130 years of the existence of this prestigious institution of excellence. I am indebted to those who served in this capacity before and on whose shoulders I stand. For nearly thirty years Shortwood has been near and dear to my heart.
Nestled in the suburbs of St. Andrew, Shortwood with its beautifully manicured lawns is an oasis and a perfect get-away from the hustle and bustle of the commercial areas in close proximity to the campus. Indeed, our College song says that “Shortwood will speak of nature and its beauty…” Many of the buildings and especially the famed “Wisdom Tree” are national heritage monuments. Every building has an interesting story inside it and the Wisdom Tree is a symbol of the College’s resilience and growth over these many years.
Through the instrumentality of the late Anglican Archbishop Enos Nuttall , the College opened its doors to female students in 1885 and is still regarded as the premier college offering tertiary education to women. When men were allowed to enter its hallowed halls in 2001 through the rationalisation of its offerings, the College entered a new era as a co-educational institution. It became then, and remains the leading institution for Early Childhood Education and the only college to offer both French and Spanish, and more recently, Mandarin, among the Modern Languages. Our programmes in Mathematics, Physical and Social Sciences, Humanities and Technical and Vocational Education continue to attract some of the best graduates of our secondary schools. Our faculty and support staff are highly qualified and very committed to the mission of the College.
Shortwood is Jamaica’s oldest non-denominational tertiary institution. Throughout its one hundred and thirty-one years “Shortwood has been on the frontier of educational development and has never languished in any backwaters in education. It is an institution that has always demanded and insisted that our students meet the highest standards thus equipping them to be the equal of any circumstances that they may face in the world.” Our graduates can be found in every sphere of Jamaican life — industry, government and politics, religious ministry, finance, social work and of course, in teaching and teachers’ organisations. They have bloomed, blossomed, and borne fruit wherever they have been planted and they continue to impact our world.
In the near future, we can expect this impact to continue through new programme offerings, new services, and new strategic partnerships forged with local and international institutions and organisations. Some exciting new initiatives in the areas of Language Arts and Modern Languages are about to be unfolded. Shortwood’s sustainability is secure.
I invite all who are considering teaching as a career to talk with someone at Shortwood before going anywhere else. We offer the best programmes and the best opportunities for “Growth and Enlightenment”. We will make your investment in training and education worthwhile.
Christopher Clarke, PhD