In May 2008, former President Ragster issued a Request for Faculty and Staff Proposals for projects that would be supported by funds awarded under the provisions of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. A committee comprised of faculty and staff reviewed the numerous proposals that were submitted, and seven projects have been approved for support by the CCRAA program.
Communications Lab Improvement—This activity will build upon recent improvements to the Communications laboratories on both campuses of the institution by incorporating technology to improve the delivery of instruction in a growing area of study at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Biology Infrastructure and Instructional Improvements—This project will purchase equipment not currently available at the institution to support the improvement of biology labs on its St. Thomas campus. The equipment will allow students to develop areas of expertise in a manner not currently available to them, and expand options for faculty-guided research currently available to students.
Programmatic Infrastructure Development and Support for Psychology—This activity will enhance the capabilities of University of the Virgin Islands Psychology students’ understanding of the content, methodology, techniques, analysis and reporting of data obtained in biopsychology laboratory research, and improve their proficiency in learning to write biopsychological laboratory reports in the style of the discipline. This will be achieved through the purchase and use of six Biopac software units for use in the Biopsychology laboratory, a component of the Biopsychology course at the institution.
Library Space Program—St. Croix Campus—Over a two-year period, this project will utilize $297,500 in CCRAA funds to design and implement renovations of the St. Croix Campus Library in order to:
- promote student learning by establishing collaborative areas within the library to combine technology and library learning tools;
- increase the number and variety of user seating to accommodate an increased number of students using the library and reduce noise and congestion;
- create enough space to provide an Information and Technology Services (ITS) Service desk and develop a single point of contact for all library and technology needs without disrupting library operations; and
- expand the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning on St. Croix to accommodate more faculty.
Library Space Program—St. Thomas Campus—Over the two-year funding cycle of the Title III College Cost Reduction and Access Act, this project will utilize $268,314 to improve the allocation of space in the Paiewonsky Library on the St. Thomas campus by increasing the seating capacity throughout the facility and expanding the number of computers available to students and faculty, while also expanding and outfitting a dedicated training room and conference space called the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL).
Physical Science Laboratory Upgrades—This activity will upgrade the laboratory facilities used for several introductory and “gatekeeper” science courses at the University of the Virgin Islands. Using $95,322 in Title III CCRAA funds, this project will enhance the physical environment of the labs and will provide much-needed supplies to enhance the instructional effectiveness of the instructors teaching the lab courses. The institution anticipates reduced failure rates in its introductory science courses as a result of implementation of this project.
Creation of an Undergraduate Mentoring and Research Center—This activity is one which will combine with several other initiatives at the University of the Virgin Islands to culminate in American Chemical Society accreditation of the institution’s baccalaureate chemistry major. It will convert an existing lab into a chemistry-focused lab for research and mentoring, and will make available state-of-the-art equipment that will enhance the skills of faculty and students while ensuring that chemistry students possess the skills that are considered standard in the industry.