In the regular session of its quarterly meeting on Oct. 26, the University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees voted to hold the current tuition rate steady for the 2014-2015 academic year, approved a new method to link the university’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to the strategic plan, and set the 2014 fundraising goal to $3 million. The meeting was held on UVI’s Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix and all trustees were present.
In order to maintain the University’s affordability, competitiveness and access, the Board voted to freeze the fall 2014 tuition rates to that of fall 2013. Finance and Budget Committee Chairman Edward Thomas also noted the Virgin Islands’ economic climate and national trends at other institutions as he made the motion to freeze the tuition rates.
The Board voted to set UVI’s fiscal year 2014 fundraising goal to a cash amount of $3million, which is approximately 15 percent higher than the cash amount raised in FY 2013. The Board also voted to set the alumni giving rate for FY 2014 at 50 percent. The 50 percent alumni giving rate represents a record set during FY 2013, which puts UVI as the Historically Black College and University with the highest rate and one of the highest rates of all institutions in the nation.
Following best practices, the Board voted to link the KPIs to the strategic plan. The data collected in the KPIs will be expanded and now tracked to the strategic plan. The new system will allow UVI to better access the goals of the strategic plan.
In other action, the Board voted to:
- Approve the Small Business Development Center’s U.S. Dept. of Agriculture grant application to improve videoconferencing equipment in its St. Thomas and St. Croix offices.
- Change the name of the Board’s ‘Committee on Trustees’ to ‘Governance Committee’ to reflect best practices and the committee’s expanded duties.
Noting that higher education is being held to higher standards, in his report to the Board, UVI President Dr. David Hall highlighted major outputs of the University over the past quarter. President Hall said that measures of an institution’s value are what its students accomplish in school and what its graduates are able to achieve after they graduate. He pointed out several accomplishments:
- Individual UVI students are being accepted in six and seven different Ph.D. programs
- Results of the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) student survey which place UVI above 97 percent of other institutions
- UVI’s emphasis on student preparation with several summer programs
- The loyalty of alumni
- Classroom renovations on both islands
- A new Solar Power Purchase Agreement
The CLA assesses essential thinking skills of a sample of students in their freshman year in four areas. Students’ assessment and SAT scores create a prediction of what they should be able to achieve in the four areas by the time of graduation. Students are again assessed as seniors. “The results this year indicate that UVI provides greater value than over 97 percent of other institutions who participate in this assessment,” Dr. Hall said. “If the world doesn’t recognize this achievement, we should,” he continued. “For four years now, UVI has ranked between 97-99 (percentile) of institutions who participate in the CLA,” he said. “The CLA results reveal that we add more value to students that we admit and who stay with us to graduation than close to anyone else.” It says that UVI is accepting students as they are, but are adding more value to them than anyone would ever predict, the president said.
President Hall said that UVI should be considered the national laboratory for the study and implementation of student success, noting all of the summer programs aimed at building up students, which include: Summer Bridge, Junior University, Math Behind the Science, Music Camp, Entrepreneurial Business Institute, University Bound, Summer Sophomore Research Institute, Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, 4-H and the Reichhold Center’s Youth Moviemaking Workshop.
“I am proud to proclaim that UVI has made history,” Dr. Hall said. “We are the first Historically Black College or University to reach the level of 51.7 contribution from our alumni.” Extoling UVI alumni for their commitment, Dr. Hall said the rate also places UVI among the top in the nation.
President Hall also noted the College of Science and Mathematics’ new home in the new Research and Technology Park building on St. Croix.
In a brief report to the Board, the Research and Technology Park Executive Director David Zumwalt highlighted the park’s economic impact on the territory. He said RTPark tenants together have more than 200 employees and generate more than $160 million in revenue. “When you look at the impact of the RTPark, it’s big and growing,” Zumwalt said.
A review of the KPIs showed that student enrollment is down by four percent for the fall 2013 semester. However, the University has seen a 53 percent increase in new transfer students. “If I were to make any assumptions, it is that we are becoming a little bit more attractive to those who are off-island or those who want to return to the islands,” said UVI’s Interim Provost Dr. Camille McKayle, in her presentation. The KPIs showed an increase in freshmen’s SAT scores. The KPIs also showed an increase in alumni giving and a five percent decrease in total contributions.
During the meeting Board Chairman Alexander A. Moorhead welcomed new trustees:
- Joshua Edwards (student trustee)
- Donna Frett-Gregory (ex-officio, acting commissioner of the V.I. Dept. of Education)
- Gwendolyn Adams Norton
- Jacqueline A. Sprauve (alumni trustee)
- Dr. Teresa Turner (faculty trustee)
As customary, President Hall recognized UVI employees that have performed exceptionally with the President’s Appreciation Award. UVI’s Webmaster Moneca Pinkett and the Website Committee were recognized for creating a new UVI website. The new responsive, user friendly website was launched in August. “Through a lot of hard work by a very committed committee, and through the leadership of our Webmaster Ms. Moneca Pinkett, we were able to redesign the website in nine months and the whole process not only met a presidential goal, but was done in an outstanding way.”
Additionally Chairman Moorhead recognized Alumni Trustee Sprauve, Director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving Linda Smith, and the Institutional Advancement Component under the leadership of Vice President Dionne Jackson for achieving an alumni giving rate of 51.7 percent.
The Board’s executive session was recessed after four hours and will be continued via teleconference based on the soonest availability of trustees.