Jamaica lost one of its greatest and most iconic educators with the passing of Dr Claude Packer. Most well-known for his stellar contribution to the Mico College University, and his strong opinions of mathematics and male education in the island, Dr Packer died on Thursday, November 23, 2017. As the education community mourns the passing of a veritable titan, diGJamaica takes a moment to highlight some of his many accomplishments, and also recall times when he was featured in The Gleaner newspaper.
- Dr Packer worked in education for more than 50 years before his retirement in 2014. He became principal of the (then) Mico Teachers’ College in 1995 and was appointed first president when they upgraded to a university college in 2009.
- His own educational background was impressive and clearly portrayed the level of excellence he pursued:
– The Mico University College graduate
– The University of the West Indies: B.A. (Hons) Mathematics
– Central Connecticut State University: M.Sc. Mathematics Education
– Cornell University: Master’s and Doctor of Philosophy, Mathematics
– Harvard University: postgraduate diploma, Systems Thinking
- Before his time at The Mico, he worked with several other prestigious educational institutions:
– He served as Head of the Department of Economics at the University of the West Indies
– He served as adjunct faculty member of the Indira Gandhi National Open University, India
– He served as adjunct faculty member of Nova Southeastern, United States
- He was well-known for his mathematical acumen. He was a math lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of the West Indies, Mona and Cornell University. He was also an external examiner for Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) mathematics.
- He was played a key role in the development of the Caribbean Centre of Excellence in Mathematics, a body that pays particular attention to studying and improving how mathematics is taught in schools.
- He received many awards for his work in education. These include:
– the Silver Musgrave Medal in 1997 for contribution to mathematics education in Jamaica
– the Governor General’s Achievement Award in 2003
– the Mico Gold Medal for Excellence in 2007
- He also received awards at the national level, chief among which was the national honour at the level of Commander of the Order of Distinction, conferred in 2008.
Appearances in The Gleaner
As a key figure in tertiary education in Jamaica, and a vocal proponent for closer attention to mathematics and how males are educated, Dr Packer was regularly featured in The Gleaner newspaper. Here are some of those articles (these can be sourced by contacting the Gleaner Library at 922-3400):
Claude Packer: Master teacher
Mico University College first president appointment ad
More males needed in classrooms
Local teacher-students behind
counterparts on math concepts