University of the Virgin Islands President David Hall called it a historic occasion as the Board of Trustees Saturday approved the University’s first doctoral program.
Starting in fall 2016, UVI will offer a three-year advanced level degree in creative leadership for innovation and change.
At its monthly meeting Saturday, the board also approved the budget proposal for the fiscal year 2016 of $46.2 million, but Hall warned trustees that there might have to be changes. He said the Office of Management and Budget had informed him that cuts would probably have to be made.
Hall said he had yet to meet with OMB officials to learn what was specifically meant.
One action the board took will give a bump to revenues. It approved the implementation of a new Tuition Overload Policy. Students taking more than 17 credits per semester will be assessed an overload charge
The overload charge for undergraduate students is $147 per credit hour for each hour enrolled over seventeen per semester for resident students and $221 per hour for such credit hours of non-residents. The policy goes into effect next fall.
For her leadership in creating UVI’s first doctoral program, Hall presented the annual President’s Appreciation Award to Provost Camille McKayle, and to members of her staff and UVI’s faculty.
“Our faculty played a critical role in making this come about,” Hall said. “They were the academic guardians to make sure that this program met the right standards.”
“UVI’s first Ph.D. really does symbolize that as a University we have matured,” he added. “To have a Ph.D. program and to be able to allow Virgin Islanders and any one in the world to receive the highest degree possible in creative leadership at the University of the Virgin Islands is very significant and clearly worthy of the President’s Appreciation Award.”
Creating a doctorate program is one of the objectives of the University’s Strategic Plan 2017. Other possible doctorate programs remain under consideration. Business, education, public administration and health care are just a few of the areas of study that this trans-disciplinary doctoral program will encompass, according to a news release from the university.
Doctoral students will have the option to take face-to-face classes, online classes or a combination of the two. The program is designed to be a three-year, nine-semester program.
To make the program happen, UVI is entering into an agreement with Buffalo State University, which offers a master’s degree in creative leadership and a master’s certificate. Students will be able to simultaneously get a master’s degree in creative leadership from Buffalo State University as they work on their doctorate at UVI.
“This is a great milestone,” said attorney Henry Smock, the UVI board chair.
In his report to the board at the beginning of the meeting, Hall said the institution had an overall 2 percent increase in freshman enrollment for the fall 2015 semester. In later remarks, McKayle said this could indicate that the recent downward trend in enrollment the university has experienced years has stopped.
Hall also said UVI successfully launched an extension campus at the University of St. Martin this fall. The university enrolled 15 master’s in education graduate students, concentrating in either counseling or curriculum, and 10 bachelor’s of arts business majors, with concentrations in accounting or management.
Gilliam Marcelle, executive director of the Research and Technology Park, told the board the number of active tenants in the RT Park program remains at 30, with the expectation that five more will move in by the end of the calendar year.
The board welcomed two new trustees: student representative Devon Williams and faculty representative Richard Hall.
Smock presented plaques to outgoing trustees Edward Thomas and Patricia Steele in appreciation of their service.