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Something Valuable Was Lost

Dear Source:

In 2007, I began taking journalism classes because I thought it would be an exciting venture. Of all the other electives listed for English majors, my interest in journalism lead me to pursue many classes in the aforementioned discipline. With much practice and great, skilled instruction from a dearly beloved professor, I was able to excel in writing various articles and opinion pieces. I have also had the opportunity to copy-edit for the UVI Voice. In general, I have become an enthusiast for writing to the mass media because of this.
At the beginning of my senior year, I began thinking about my career direction. Many family members as well as schoolmates encouraged me to pursue journalism. I even wrote an inspirational piece about the benefits of majoring in English, which is scheduled to be reprinted in the school newspaper of South Carolina State University. You can also find this online at www.uvivoice.com. It is entitled, "So what's in an English Degree."
After much consideration, I decided that I wanted to go to law school. Furthermore, I decided that I wanted to write in Law Reviews while in law school. With this being my long term goal, I decide under the advisement of Dr. Robin Sterns that I would concentrate in journalism. This was intended to 'spice up my resume" when it came to writing for the public. I only needed two more classes to achieve this concentration and Dr. Sterns had planned to teach one in Fall 2008 and one in Spring 2009. So, I had everything worked out. Now, I am not sure if this will be possible since my expected graduation date is in May 2009.
The news around campus is that Dr. Sterns resigned. If this is true, regardless to how eager I was to concentrate in journalism, I don't blame her for resigning. Maybe she felt that there was no other way! English is a related degree to Communications. I figure you have to know how to analyze, interpret, conduct research/gather information, and make sure your information is credible and we do all this and more in English. I feel that communications, journalism and any other form of writing branches off from the English discipline. So if English is not related to Communications, what is?
Dr. Sterns has been a Visiting Professor for a good length of time. I guess UVI could not find someone qualified enough during the time Dr. Sterns had all those temporary contracts. If I was producing exceptional work, loved my job and was dedicated to my students, I would desire a tenure track contract too. It seems as if Dr. Sterns had no option but to look elsewhere. Everyone desires a sense of security and employers cannot expect to leave employees hanging by a thread.
Even if Dr. Sterns isn't qualified to be the Communication Program Director, she has a Ph.D in English and was definitely qualified to teach other subject areas. She also has extensive credentials to include experience in Public Relations. Wow, this ties in with communications too. What a surprise.
One professor mentioned in class that an overload of courses has been their portion for the past few semesters. This shows that another English faculty member is needed. My proposal for UVI is that they employ Dr. Robin Sterns as an Associate Professor of English with the possibility of a tenure tract contract.
Our hearts are almost aching in this matter. If it were not so, letters to the editor, appealing for justice to be done in this situation, would not be so frequent. This is a cause worth fighting for. Some instructors leave a job and no one even cares to say a word on their behalf. Many students, to my knowledge, has written or spoken to Administration concerning this. This must mean that something valuable was lost to us and we want it back. I implore UVI administration to hear the cry of the people. It is a very loud, roaring sound which I hope is not falling on deaf ears. Administrators, do not allow the acronym UVI to be changed to: University where Visions are Interrupted.

Makeida A. Phillip
St. Croix

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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