The University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees on Saturday unanimously approved a bachelor of arts degree in strategic communications, which will be offered as part of the UVI Online program.
The board held its regular quarterly Saturday on the school’s St. Croix and campus and the Administration and Conference Center Building on the St. Thomas campus.
With the inclusion of the degree in strategic communications, UVI, in collaboration with Level Playing Field, an Oakland-based institute, will offer 16 degrees in an online format this spring. Classes are expected to begin March 15.
“I am confident that we will be able to meet that launch date,” UVI President David Hall said in a news release. “There has been a lot of work that has had to occur in developing platforms for us to be able to host these programs.”
Several university systems had to be changed, including UVI’s Banner system, financial aid and changes with the registrars’ office, he said.
“We do have applicants who have been applying for these programs,” Hall said.
The actual numbers of those who have been accepted and that have been enrolled will be shared with the Board as the process continues, according to the UVI news release.
The Communication Program of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS), the Curriculum Committee of CLASS, and the faculty of CLASS approved the strategic communications degree based on the Level Playing Field framework.
In December the Board approved the creation of 15 online degrees. In February 2017, the Board approved of a service agreement with Level Playing Field to provide instructional course design, technology infrastructure and academic support for online courses and degrees.
The University of the Virgin Islands has been working toward this goal for several years, the school’s statement said. UVI’s strategic plan, Pathways to Greatness, approved by the Board of Trustees in June 2012 with input from faculty, staff and students, required the institution to develop and offer online degrees.
In his report to the board, Hall provided an updated on the recovery status of UVI following September’s double whammy of two Category 5 hurricanes. The university executed a contract with The Bourne Group, an architectural/engineering firm, to assess all damages to structures, prepare cost estimates for repairs and establish budgets, prepare scope of work and construction drawings for designated structures, and provide related expertise and consultation services to the university. The firm commenced its detailed assessment of the campus facilities on Feb. 5 and is projected to complete this phase on March 5. The second phase of the process, preparation of scope of work, is projected to take 60 days.
A number of facilities have been selected for priority consideration, some of which will be fast-tracked through the process, consistent with the goal of addressing those facilities that have a direct and immediate impact on students and have revenue implications, Hall said. The facilities in this group, not necessarily in priority order, include West Residence Hall, Rouppe House (Student Affairs,) Faculty West Housing, School of Business, MacLean Marine Science Center, Caribbean Green Technology Center/GEOCAS, Quarters B, Nursing Classroom Building, President’s Guest House and Reichhold Center for the Arts.
The next scheduled meeting of the UVI board of trustees will be held on June 3.