UVI Trustees Learn Campuses are Safe Places for Students to Excel

According to statistics, the University of the Virgin Islands campuses are safer than their counterparts in the states. Also, according to internal reports, UVI has cut its energy consumption through energy efficiency measures as well as cutting its dependency on fossil fuels to supply the energy it uses.

UVI has graduates getting doctorates at prestigious universities such as Vanderbilt, President Dr. David Hall told a Board of Trustees meeting Saturday in the Great Hall on the St. Croix campus, expressed the hope that the “good news” gets out to the community.

Most of the good news came via UVI’s Planning Committee presentation on UVI’s key performance indicators. Trustee Oran Bowry introduced the report, delivered by Camille McKayle, UVI provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.

McKayle said that just a couple of years ago, UVI was 100 percent dependent on fossil fuel. But the dependency has been reduced to around 90 per cent. The report also said 37 percent of the university’s operational costs were paid by tuition. Although its strategic plan aspired to a higher percentage, McKayle said that another goal – keeping tuition affordable – restrained that goal.

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McKayle also addressed staff diversity: 74 percent of the staff is African-American; 19 percent Caucasian and six percent Latino. She said that comes close to reflecting the community.

One point in the report that was not positive was the staff retention rate. McKayle said the retention rate declined after the government implemented an 8 percent cut several years ago. Recent proposed pay increases might turn those figures around, she said.

The report showed a substantial drop in Virgin Islands government funding for UVI since 2009, when the government gave $34 million to the university. The trend in giving by the government has been up from the $28 million given in 2013. Last year the government gave $32 million.

Alluding to the government’s present financial difficulties, McKayle did not appear confident that the sum would reach $34 million again in the near future.

The reported noted that 25 percent of its expenses were instructional related. This is at the low end when compared to similar colleges in the states.

In his own report, Hall listed these accomplishments of UVI graduates.
– Dr. Charisse Ward, an interventional cardiologist at Abilene Regional Medical Center who studied biology at UVI, has developed two apps for physicians, InterventionalProLog and EPProcedureLog.

– Tiffany Garbutt, another UVI biology student, defended her doctoral thesis in genetics at North Carolina State University.

– Shellese Cannonier, biology, just completed her doctorate in cancer biology at Vanderbilt University.

– Hospitality and Tourism Management graduates have been placed in management and supervisory positions at Walt Disney World in Florida, Westin Resorts on St. John, Dominica, Anguilla, St.Croix and Tortola, Tamarind Reef on St. Croix, both Frenchman’s Reef and Frenchman’s Cove on St. Thomas and the Governor’s Mansion on Tortola.

– April Knight, who studied communications at UVI, has left TV2 and is now in Texas preparing to begin a master’s degree program at the University of Texas at Austin in the School of Journalism.

– Charles Martin, another communications student, has been hired as the public information officer for My Brother’s Workshop, getting the organization’s message to the community, highlighting its work.

– Corlis Smithen, business, has been hired at the Virgin Islands Department of Justice as the public media officer. She works full-time providing information to the local media about actions at the Department of Justice.

Trustees discussed and passed a resolution that will make it easier for the board to field quorums at its meetings. The board should have 17 members, but presently only has 12. The bylaws previously stated that nine members were needed for a quorum. The board changed the bylaws to say that only a simple “majority” was need for a quorum.

The board also voted to allow flexibility in the location of a proposed multi-purpose center on the St. Croix campus.

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