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UVI Board of Trustees Elects Officers; Approves New BS Degree in Maritime Management; RFP for Two Off-Grid Power Producing Facilities & FY 2018 Operating Budget Revision

CMES President Award

In the regular session of its quarterly meeting on June 2, on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix and the Administration and Conference Center Building on the St. Thomas Campus, the University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees re-elected Henry Smock to serve as chairman and Alexander Moorhead as vice chairman.

Board Chairman Smock welcomed new Board of Trustee Member, Dr. John Quelch, who currently serves as Dean of the School of Business Administration and University Vice Provost of Executive Education at the University of Miami. Dr. Quelch is replacing former Board of Trustees member Carol Fulp. “His resume is quite extensive and impressive both in regard to academia as well as business,” said Chairman Smock of Trustee Quelch. “Thank you for agreeing to serve and for your participation on this Board.” Trustee Smock also welcomed incoming Board of Trustee Faculty Member, Dr. Dara Hamilton.

At Saturday’s meeting, the Board unanimously approved a Bachelor of Science degree program in Maritime Management. This degree program is designed to provide expanded career opportunities in the maritime industry that would require expertise in business and will allow students to supplement their technical expertise with business acumen needed to participate in or lead a successful business in the maritime industry. This degree program is a “partnering program” designed to partner with existing maritime academies or institutes, which may only have two-year programs.  Board of Trustees Member Trustee Yvonne Thraen thanked all involved for their creativity and commitment for expanding UVI’s offerings. “I think that this program is going to be highly successful,” said Trustee Thraen. “I am always happy when these kinds of special programs come online.”

The Board also unanimously approved a change in the minimum number of total credits required for a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree from 123 to 120 credit hours. The BBA degree, like other baccalaureate degrees on a semester basis, should require, at a minimum, 120 credit hours to be competitive with degrees offered at other universities. While most of the School of Business majors within the Bachelor of Business Administration may require more than 120 credit hours, the standard should be set at the recognized minimum number of credit hours to accommodate new majors and changes within existing majors.

In his report to the Board, UVI President David Hall highlighted the accomplishments of UVI students, alumni and faculty.


Dr. Hall informed the Board of five UVI students that have been selected for the Boston University Early Medical School Selection Program. UVI captured one-third of the 15 slots that were available to the 13 institutions that applied. This represents the largest cohort of UVI students who have ever been selected in the over 30 years since UVI has been in the program. The students that were selected included:

o Kaleb Bellew, sophomore chemistry major

o Micaiah Bully, sophomore biology major

o Sojourna Ferguson, junior biology major

o Aisha Griffin, sophomore biology major

o Asel Mustafa, sophomore biology and chemistry major

“It is compelling evidence of the quality of the students that we are producing and of the increasing interest that our students have in pursuing medical education and of the outstanding support that our students are receiving from our faculty in the School of Science and Mathematics,” said President Hall.

He also informed the Board of a historic achievement at this year’s commencement ceremony. Two students successfully defended their dissertations and were the first to receive the PhDs in Creative Leadership for Innovation and Change from UVI. Blair Miller and Ashley Goodwin received their Ph.D.’s on the St. Thomas Campus. 

President Hall also mentioned to the Board that four UVI students have been accepted into universities in Denmark (Aalborg University and University of Copenhagen) for study in the Fall. Others are applying for study abroad in Spring 2019. These students are both a part of the UVI exchange program, and the scholarship program implemented this year by Denmark for UVI students. Three students from Aalborg University and one from University of Copenhagen studied at UVI in Spring 2018. The scholarship covers their tuition, travel and housing. “It is a wonderful opportunity that allows us to fulfil this goal we have of making students globally sensitive so that they can go off to experience another part of the world and come back and share that with us,” President Hall said. 

As is customary, President Hall highlighted the excellence and commitment of those UVI employees or units that have performed exceptionally with the President’s Appreciation Award.

“It is a reality that Center for Marine and Environmental Studies (CMES) is the anchor for our research transformation and research excellence at the University,” said President Hall.

The president noted that key to awarding CMES was the appointment of Dr. Tyler Smith to one of the National Academies of Science Committees. “This is a prestigious appointment because it relates to the national importance of marine science research, and for one of our faculty members to be solicited by the highest and most prestigious organization is something significant and worthy of recognition,” said President Hall.

“Despite not having a building, the largest graduating class in the history of CMES of 17 students recently earned their master’s degree in marine and environmental science,” President Hall added.

The President praised CMES for “taking the lead in the clean-up of St. Thomas’ East-End Reserve, which was a large scale mangrove community clean-up which brought together numerous volunteers to remove debris that negatively affect the environment.” He also highlighted CMES’ key involvement in the hosting of the annual Reef Fest event in April.

Present to receive this quarter’s award were:

  • Dr. Paul Jobsis, acting director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies
  • Dr. Sandra Romano,  dean of College of Science and Mathematics
  • Dr. Marilyn Brandt, director of masters in marine and environmental sciences program
  • Dr. Sennai Habtes, research assistant professor
  • Stephen Prosterman, diving and marine field officer
  • Howard Forbes Jr., director of  the VI Marine and Advisory Service on St. Thomas

In other business,

  • the Board authorized President Hall and Vice-President for Business Development and Innovation Dr. Haldane Davies to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the construction/installation and operation of two off grid power generating/producing facilities for the University.
  •  the Board approved a Telecommuting Policy which is expected to support telecommuting when opportunities for improved employee productivity and performance, and improved employees’ work-life balance or university savings exist. Telecommuting grants employees authorized by UVI the opportunity to work from an alternate work location outside the central workplace for one or more days a week on a routine basis. The policy would be used in a limited manner and with the approval of managers and the President. Only in compelling and rare situations would the policy be applied on a full-time basis.
  • The Board approved a revised operating budget. The total projected operating revenues and expenditures in the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Operating Budget Revision Number One are as follows:
    • Total revenues of $45,124,750; and
    • Total expenditures and transfers of $45,124,750; and
    • Net operating surplus of $0.00.

While in executive session, the Board approved the minutes from the executive session of the March 3, 2018 meeting; approved tenure for a faculty member; addressed other personnel matters; reviewed and approved UVI Next Task Force recommendations and received an update report on personnel and legal matters.

Board Chairman Smock thanked outgoing Trustee Dr. Adam Parr for his service as faculty representative on the Board.

The next scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held on Saturday, October 27, 2018.