UWI Disability, Gender, and Sexuality Experts Promoted to Professors

by June 26, 2024

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is pleased to announce the appointment of its two newest professors, renowned experts in disability studies and gender and sexuality. Dr Floyd Morris, the Director of The UWI Centre for Disability Studies, has been promoted to the position of Professor of Disability Studies and Politics and Dr Karen Carpenter, the Head of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at The UWI Mona Campus, has been promoted to the position of Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Psychology. The promotions took effect from May 29, 2024.

Both individuals were elevated to the University’s highest academic rank following a thorough assessment that included an evaluation of their research quantity and quality, publications, teaching, and overall professional endeavours by internal and external assessors. Professors Morris and Carpenter were commended by their assessors for conducting valuable research that contributed to policy development and provided practical tools for inquiry and advocacy within their respective fields.

More about the Professors

Professor Floyd Morris

Professor Floyd Morris is the first person with a visual disability to be promoted to this most senior rank at The UWI.

Director of The UWI Centre for Disability Studies (UWICDS), he is a global leader in disability, human and civil rights, a politician, and a person with a lived experience of disability. Assessors note that in a field primarily dominated by scholars in the global north, Professor Morris’ Disability Studies research, which focuses on Jamaica and the Anglophone Caribbean, is significant and rich in ideas and conceptual frameworks. His research has influenced disability discourse and policy in Jamaica, the wider Caribbean and the world.

Professor Morris’ work has produced the ‘Morris Accessibility Scale for Cities’, a practical tool for assessing barriers and opportunities related to access to housing, roads, public spaces, workplaces and public facilities. Commenting on Professor Morris’ published research, one external assessor noted that “he makes valuable recommendations to governments but also recognises the roles of the business sector and non-governmental organisations in accelerating social change in a way that meaningfully includes and democratically empowers persons with disabilities.”

Professor Morris has authored three refereed books: ‘Cultural Inclusion: The Case of Persons with Disabilities in Jamaica’ (2022); ‘Inclusive Education: The Key to Social Transformation (2021) and ‘Political Communication Strategies in Post-Independence Jamaica’ (2020). He has also published six book chapters, 11 referred journal articles, several valuable technical reports and other manuals for CARICOM, UNESCO, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Jamaican Government. Internationally, he has presented at conferences in Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Canada, Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom and the USA. His contributions include public education pieces in Jamaican dailies, The Gleaner, and The Observer. As an academic, Professor Morris has supervised four graduate students, lectured extensively and championed disability awareness and policy at the University.

Through the UWICDS, Professor Morris has mobilised over JA $110 million in grant funding since 2009. This includes funding from the Commonwealth Secretariat for research in health care in the Caribbean and from UNESCO for training on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. From 2021-2024, he served as an elected Expert Member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. On June 11, 2024, he was re-elected for a second term on the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

For his excellent contributions, Professor Morris has been awarded The Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service (2020); he was honoured as an ANSA Caribbean Laureate for Excellence in Civic and Public Service by the Sabga Foundation (2021), and he received the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Disability Policy and Legislative Reform (2012) from the Government of Jamaica.


Professor Karen Carpenter

Gender, sexuality and educational psychology expert, Professor Karen Carpenter is the Head of the Institute for Gender & Development Studies, Mona Campus Unit. According to assessors, the UWI alumna is a gifted thought leader who works with a wide range of public and private sector organisations “addressing some of the most intellectually and emotionally challenging issues in what is still a relatively new and emerging field.”

Professor Carpenter was further commended for establishing herself as a distinguished researcher and one of the best and brightest scholars in the field. She has co-authored the book ‘Language, Race and the Global Jamaican’ (2020), edited ‘Interweaving Tapestries of Sexuality & Culture in the Caribbean’ (2017), and in 2007 published a short monograph titled ‘Full Bilingual Education in a Creole Language Situation: The Jamaican Bilingual Primary Education Project’. Professor Carpenter’s publication record also includes six book chapters, 11 journal articles and several technical reports. These have included varied reports for the Jamaican Government and a UNICEF report, ‘A Situational Analysis of Children Orphaned or Made Vulnerable due to HIV & AIDS in Jamaica’ (2009). She has raised US $140,000 in grant funding for her research and has produced, for industry use, “needed tools for inquiry and advocacy,” according to one of her assessors.

Professor Carpenter has served as a reviewer for Palgrave McMillian Publishers and Springer Publishers out of London; the Caribbean Journal of Education; and The UWI Press. She has presented her work extensively in Jamaica and at international conferences in St. Kitts, Barbados and India, and has featured as a relationship Columnist for Buzz Caribbean Lifestyle Magazine, JN Magazine and the Jamaica Gleaner. She has worked to increase the visibility of the IGDS Mona through strategic media partnerships and appearances.

As a leader in academia, Professor Carpenter has demonstrated her management skills and influence. She has supervised 26 graduate students, including 15 MPhil/PhD candidates. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses across faculties and departments and she oversaw the revision of the undergraduate Diploma in Gender and Development Studies. She also recently led the development of a team of PhD Coaches in a one-year coaching initiative with the Office of Graduate Studies and Research, aimed at enrolling up to 25 students across UWI faculties to support the completion of their research.

Demonstrating “excellent working relationships” with wide external stakeholder groups, as commended by accessors, Professor Carpenter has conducted professional consultancies with UNICEF, the US Embassy, Jamaica, and JFLAG – Equality for all Foundation, Jamaica.