Hutchinson Directs Jamaica’s Planning Institute

The Government of Jamaica is calling upon Gladstone Fluney Hutchinson, associate professor of economics at Lafayette and founding director of the College’s Economic Empowerment and Global Learning Project, to spearhead policy-formulation leading toward sustainable development in that nation.

Hutchinson has been appointed director-general of the Planning Institute of Jamaica. Under the Office of the Prime Minister, the Planning Institute is the national agency responsible for leading the formulation of policy on economic and social issues and managing external cooperation to achieve sustainable development for Jamaica. The institute initiates and coordinates the development of policies, plans, and programs for the country’s economic, financial, social, cultural, and physical development and undertakes research on national development issues. It is the lead agency for the implementation of Jamaica’s national development plan, Vision 2030.

Hutchinson, whose appointment took effect July 1, is on leave from the College. His assignment in Jamaica is the result of previous work he did as an economic adviser to that nation’s government and of his current work with Lafayette students and communities in the College’s Economic Empowerment and Global Learning Project.

“Jamaica has asked me to use the paradigm of public scholarship and entrepreneurial economic development to promote national economic transformation and development,” Hutchinson says. The Economic Empowerment and Global Learning Project exemplifies public scholarship, which Hutchinson defines as “knowledge-making through a collaborative co-learning approach about, with, and for diverse publics and communities.” Under the umbrella of EEGLP, which Hutchinson founded in 2007, Lafayette students and faculty are working with residents in rural villages in Honduras, in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, and in Lafayette’s home city of Easton to build these communities’ capacity for business entrepreneurism and self-agency in pursuit of economic development and democratic renewal.

“What makes EEGLP innovative is the co-learning between the students and the members of these communities. Students are using their own disciplinary knowledge and creative human capital in partnership with the localized knowledge and experience-based human capital of the residents in Honduras, New Orleans, and Easton to solve problems relating to well-being and democracy while strengthening the residents’ capacity to act as agents of their own development,” Hutchinson says.

“This challenges students to recognize themselves as part of a bigger whole, a global community. While facilitating the entrepreneurial ambitions of those in impoverished situations, it allows students to deepen their understanding of and overcome the ‘otherness’ of those in poor communities – and, by being so engaged, the students themselves cultivate their own humanity.”

Hutchinson, a native of Jamaica, holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Clark University and completed Harvard University’s Higher Education Management program. He did his undergraduate work at the State University of New York’s College at Oneonta, earning a B.A. with majors in economics and business.

Hutchinson joined the Lafayette faculty in 1992. His areas of specialization include public sector economics, development economics, and international macroeconomics. From 2001 to 2006 he served as dean of studies. His accomplishments in that role include overseeing a restructuring of the orientation program for new students into a yearlong First-Year Experience; a restructuring and strengthening of the administrative support of students’ intellectual and scholarly lives; and a modernization and refocusing of the academic advising program to emphasize the centrality of faculty mentoring in the academic development of students. His service as dean of studies was the basis for his national service with Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, a consortium of colleges and universities sharing a commitment to public scholarship, and his appointment to the board of trustees at Clark.

From July 1996 to June 1998, while on leave from Lafayette, he served as a resident economic adviser to the Government of Jamaica, advising the minister of finance and planning and the financial secretary on the development and implementation of the nation’s macroeconomic and financial program. Among other accomplishments, he played a lead role in the government’s formal introduction into the international capital market and advised the country in its negotiations with the other countries of the Caribbean Community on the creation of a Single Market and Economy.

Following two years’ full-time service in Jamaica, Hutchinson remained an economic adviser to the Jamaican government in a consulting role through the spring of 2001. The work he accomplished during this time formed the basis of a new policy for the management of public enterprises in Jamaica, which was presented to the country by the minister of finance and planning in April 2002. Harsh Agrawal ’01 and Sarah Lowery ’02 collaborated with Hutchinson on that work as participants in Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars program. Ute Schumacher, visiting assistant professor of economics at the College, also was a co-author of this work. Hutchinson envisions that his new assignment in Jamaica will provide opportunities for interdisciplinary teams of Lafayette students and faculty to collaborate with individuals and groups in Jamaica on projects relating to that country’s economic development and other topics.

“I am at once humbled, honored, and excited by this opportunity for duty and service to Jamaica, a country I deeply love, admire, and owe much. Jamaica is at a critical juncture in its economic and social development, and the Planning Institute has important collaborative and leadership roles to play in facilitating the pursuit and achievement of the country’s great promise,” says Hutchinson, whose experience also includes serving as a visiting research associate in the Fiscal Affairs Division of the International Monetary Fund in 1999-2000.

“No doubt some of the challenges are difficult,” he says. “I am, however, satisfied that the talents and collective will in Jamaica are now aimed at addressing the challenges and putting the country on a bright path.”