The University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees met Oct. 29, 2011 on the Albert A. Sheen campus on St. Croix. Gov. John P. deJongh, Jr., honorary chairman of the Board, attended the meeting.
The full Board set the Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Fund goal for University contributions at $2.5 million. UVI Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dionne Jackson said the previous goal, of $1.5 million, was exceeded in Fiscal Year 2011, with contributions totaling $3.4 million. The Alumni Giving rate, which was 10.42 percent in FY 2010, rose to 13.5 percent in Fiscal Year 2011. The Board of Trustees set the Fiscal Year 2012 Alumni Giving goal at 16 percent.
"What we have accomplished this year is the result of President Hall's leadership and vision," Jackson said. "People are supportive of the direction in which the University is going and that is reflected in their willingness to give." Trustees Alexander Moorhead and Dr. Yvonne E.L. Thraen were re-elected to serve five-year terms.
UVI President David Hall delivered his President's Report, which provided an update on significant achievements by faculty, staff and students since the last Board meeting, in June.
Dr. Hall presented Dr. Camille McKayle, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) and members of the CSM faculty with a Presidential Appreciation Award, in recognition of the amount of student research and "extremely impressive" grant activity taking place within the College. Dr. Hall noted that UVI is ahead of the national trend for students of color earning bachelor's degrees in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.
President Hall highlighted the progress of 37 high school students on UVI's St. Croix campus and 42 high school students on St. Thomas who participated in the University's first Summer Bridge Program. UVI will be tracking these students to see if the summer program helps them in their college careers.
Construction has begun on a100-bed residence hall on the St. Thomas campus, which will be completed by the fall of 2012, and the St. Croix campus is benefitting from the upgrading of laboratories and faculty office space. The St. Croix campus will also see the construction of a professional soccer field within the year, Dr. Hall said.
Commenting on the progress of UVI's soccer team thus far, President Hall said, "our hope is that in this first year they may make the playoffs."
The full Board ratified an action taken by the Executive Committee of the Board, which approved the revised Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Operating Budget. The revised budget incorporated the 8 percent reduction in the salary of employees of the University mandated by Legislative Act. No. 7261. The Board also ratified the Executive Committee's approval of Criteria for Critical Hires, which was presented by the Administration, in anticipation of the Legislature's override of the Governor's veto of a provision in Act. No. 7270 exempting the University from a freeze on hiring government employees with respect to faculty and other critical positions only.
Trustee Edward E. Thomas was unanimously selected to serve as a member of the board of directors of the UVI Research and Technology Park Corporation.
An examination of the University's key performance indicators revealed that enrollment has fallen 4 percent. Despite aggressive marketing, an increase in recruitment resources and personnel, Provost Karl Wright told the Board that UVI is facing an enrollment challenge. Several factors - including the economy, competition from online and stateside colleges and the unwillingness of students to apply for loans - have contributed to a decrease in the number of students choosing to attend UVI. Dr. Wright said the University is engaging in a number of strategies to boost enrollment and aid in retention. A task force has been formed to evaluate the efficacy of online programs at UVI. "We're not happy that retention is down but we have a plan to turn that around," Dr. Wright said.
The next meeting of the UVI Board of Trustees will take place on the St. Thomas campus in March 2012.