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Sunday, October 2, 2022


The turnout was strong and the questions were few Thursday morning as University of the Virgin Islands president Orville Kean presented an overview to St. Thomas faculty and staff members of the administrative restructuring that will take effect Oct. 1.
A similar session was held on the St. Croix UVI campus in the afternoon.
The Board of Trustees on Thursday approved the reorganization, which will create the new positions of senior vice president/provost for the whole university and chancellors for each campus.
At present, room at the top at UVI is occupied by the president and five vice presidents —- for academic affairs, business and financial affairs, institutional advancement, research and public service and student affairs. There are also academic deans for each campus under the academic v.p.
Under the new plan, the deans will cease to exist and the vice president for research and public service will become the vice provost for same, falling under the senior vice president/provost. The positions of vice president for administration/finance and institutional advancement retain their titles. In place of the v.p. for student affairs there will be a vice president for student life and development.
All vice presidents will report to the president. The chancellors will be responsible for the academic operations on their respective campuses and will report to the provost.
There will also be associate chancellors for each campus, Dr. Kean told the overflowing audience of more than 150 persons in the St. Thomas campus cafeteria. "All the details have not been worked out," he said. "We have a lot of time to work them out."
One condition the trustees placed on approval of the recommended reorganization was that it not add to the university's administrative costs.
"The duties of existing positions may change," Kean said. "I recognize that a real concern to a lot of people is where they are going to be in the structure. The transition team is working on this."
Dr. Laverne Ragster, vice president for research and public service, has been named interim senior vice president and provost. Roy Watlington, a physics professor who has overseen an extensive general education curriculum revision under way at UVI for several years, has been named acting vice president for academic affairs due to the departure of Dr. Denis Paul. Dr. Maxine Nunez, academic dean for St. Thomas, is going on sabbatical leave effective in the fall semester.
Kean pledged earlier in a memo to all faculty that the reorganization "will result in a stronger, better-organized, more effective university with the proper autonomy between campuses."
To a question about the makeup of the transition team, Kean responded that it comprises "the cabinet and a number of other people who are the primary stake holders."
Ragster said several different transition teams are working under a steering committee consisting of the cabinet — the top administrators from both campuses.
Another change will be the creation of separate chairs on each campus of the six academic divisions. At present, there are university-wide chairs, occupied on rotating three-year terms by faculty from both campuses.
All new positions will be occupied on a one-year interim basis "and the structure will be evaluated on an ongoing basis," Kean said.
Faculty Senate chair Gene Emanuel, who has represented the teaching staff in discussions leading to the reorganization, told his colleagues at the meeting, "This is going to be a tough sled, a difficult period for all of us." Pledging to work with the administration, he added, "We have to take the step, and watch our step."
Fall semester classes begin in two weeks.

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