The University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees welcomed University President Dr. David Hall to his first meeting of the board, which was held Saturday, Oct. 31, on the university’s St. Croix campus. Dr. Hall took office on Aug. 1. “Thank you for making my transition a smooth one,” he said, adding that he and his family “feel very embraced by this university.”
The board also welcomed its 2009-2010 student representative Kyza Callwood and 2009-2010 faculty representative Dr. Patricia Rhymer-Todman.
Board Chair Alexander Moorhead made note of the fact that impending trustee nominees to the board are awaiting confirmation by the V.I. Legislature. He thanked sitting Trustees Bernard Paiewonsky, Roy Jackson, Audrey Thomas and Juanita Woods for their service and stated that when the board next convenes, they will likely not be present.
Dr. Hall provided a summary of his activities to date. In these first three months, he said his theme has been “listening and changing as I go,” stressing the importance of listening to constituencies while learning and identifying areas within the university that can be improved. He said that members of the president’s cabinet have been asked to set goals for fiscal year 2009-2010 based on the seven management values he introduced. He said he has worked “to give life to the area of shared governance” and continues to work collaboratively with faculty and other constituencies.
He has convened a retention task force to look at the institution and is working closely with the V.I. Department of Education and educators in the territory to ensure that UVI is an active player in improving the quality of education in the territory. Dr. Hall said he has been concerned about retention and graduation rates at UVI and has appointed a task force on improving retention and graduation rates. The definition of an enrolled student was reviewed, including the process by which students were purged from the university’s rolls. He also reported that the University’s Heightened Cash Management status with the federal government has been reversed, which will speed the process for dispensing financial aid.
In other business, the UVI Board of Trustees approved the UVI Senate bylaws, dissolved the Board of Trustees’ Ad Hoc Hotel Committee, and established the board’s Committee on Trustees as the nominating committee for the positions of chair and vice chair of the board. Other actions taken include the board’s ratification of an amendment to the university’s budget for the renovation and upgrading of the president’s residence and guest house. The amendment called for a $12,000 increase in funding to install air conditioning. Dr. Hall abstained from this vote. The board unanimously approved the date of March 6, 2010, for the inauguration of Dr. David Hall as president. The ceremony will take place after sundown.
The Vision 2012 Close-out Report for 2007-2008 was unanimously approved by the board, as was a proposal to post on UVI’s Web site the policies and actions taken at board meetings.
David Zumwalt, executive director of the UVI Research and Technology Park (RTPark), and RTPark consultant Malcolm Kirwan made a presentation on the history and current status of the park.
Dr. Mary Ann LaFleur, director of the UVI Office of Institutional Research, provided an overview of the university’s key performance indicators. While the UVI fell shy of its goal of 2,700 students for the fall 2009 semester, with 2,602 students enrolled, Dr. LaFleur said head count enrollment increased nine percent over last year. She said this was partly a result of Dr. Hall’s communication with students about the need to pay their bills prior to the purge date. She said 60 percent of the student body is full time, which is a 10 percent increase over last year. The residence halls are 93 percent full – with 78 percent of capacity on St. Croix and 99 percent of capacity on St. Thomas.
The University’s Annual Giving goal of $1.1 million has been exceeded, with $1.2 million collected. Six percent of alumni (331 individuals) have made contributions to UVI this year, representing $70,208, with a median gift of $50. This represents an 89 percent increase in alumni giving over last year.
In executive session, tenure was approved for 13 faculty members, with special tenure given to
Dr. Joseph Gaskin and Dr. Douglas Larche. The president’s goals and the Board of Trustees’ goals for 2009-2010 were approved unanimously.
The next meeting of the UVI Board of Trustees will take place on the St. Thomas campus on March 13, 2010.