Tag Archives: Education

STUDENTS’ APATHY – A GROWING CONCERN FOR EDUCATORS

Corliss Smithen |

ST. THOMAS – He sauntered aimlessly into the classroom, ten minutes after the bell had rung, with his back stooped as if belabored by the small backpack. He shuffled to his desk, noisily pulled out a chair and slumped down with a sigh. His bag dropped with a thud on the floor.

Taking a cursory glance in front of him, he noticed the notes scrawled across the blackboard.  Looking around the room, he quickly observed that his classmates were engaged in their classwork. Without even bothering to take his copy book from his bag, Jahlil, whose name like the others below have been changed, propped his head in the crook of his arm on the desk and closed his eyes for the entire session.

When the bell rang to signal the end of the class period, Jahlil lifted his head from the desk, yawned, stretched, rubbed the sleep from his eyes, picked up his bag from the floor, and left the room, as if in a daze.

“He’s like this most days,” his history teacher said.  “He hardly does any work, but I continue to encourage him.”

Jahlil, 19, is just one of many students who appear to have little or no interest in academics.  His school records show that he is failing all of his courses.  Four other students who were interviewed are not faring any better.  Brent, 17, is in ninth grade – for the third time. He thinks that school is a waste of time for him.  He has no plans to graduate.

“School is boring,” Brent said. “I am going to drop out of school soon, get a job and get my own apartment.  I’ve already discussed it with my mother and she agrees.”

Brent is not considering the option of getting his GED and he certainly is not looking into obtaining a college degree. Continue reading STUDENTS’ APATHY – A GROWING CONCERN FOR EDUCATORS

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‘WhatUEatin’ Won Big at The 2nd Annual UVI Hackathon at St. Croix

Featured Image: Dr. Tim Faley and Team McKrigger after they were presented with the “Best Hack” $500 check and a certificate for 40 hours of free mentoring from NEARiX. 

hackfest

The Hackathon 2016 T-shirt design.

Alicia Taylor |

ST. CROIX – Imagine getting paid to bring your crazy ideas to life. The UVI Hackathon allowed students to do just that.

The 2nd annual Hackathon to be held on St. Croix took place September 9th and 10th in the Albert A. Sheen Campus Library. Thanks to NEARiX LLC, UVI’s Research and Technology Park (RTP) and Virgin Islands Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR), UVI Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Association (UVIDEA), students competed for $700 in cash prizes and a $100 UVI bookstore certificate.

In a 24-hour span, students broke into teams to develop an app that reflected the year’s theme of health and wellness. UVI Distinguished Professor and Special Assistant to the President, Tim Faley, instructed students to create an app that they would personally use.

The students took that advice and ran with it. They saw a problem and came up with a solution to solve it in the form of an application for cell phones.

However, of the four teams competing, there could only be one grand prize winner.

Team “MacKrigger” took home the title of “Best Hack,” as well as a certificate for 40 hours of free mentoring from NEARiX to expand on their idea, an estimated total value of $5,000, and the $500 cash prize. Continue reading ‘WhatUEatin’ Won Big at The 2nd Annual UVI Hackathon at St. Croix

New Students Set Sail for Academic Success

Feature Photo Caption: Ryan Shaw ready to take on the new academic year and next, the world. (Photo taken on St. Thomas courtesy of Adeola Adelekan, Orientation Leader)

By Alicia Taylor and Nathalie Trow-McDonald

IMG_0560Albert A. Sheen- St. Croix campus new student orientation island tour, August 20, at Point Udall. (Courtesy of Catey Mendoza, a National Student Exchange student from Alaska)

Albert A. Sheen – St. Croix Campus Orientation: Perspectives of An Exchange Student

Attending UVI is the beginning of our flight towards success. With the help of the orientation staff and student leaders, we were introduced to the flight attendants and captains that will assist in our navigation throughout the journey we call college.

Throughout our flight journey at UVI, we were instructed on safety precautions and instruments we can utilize to assist us. We were educated about campus security, dating and violence, sexual assault and physical and mental health concerns. Through counseling and health services, RAVE and a variety of other departments on campus, students can be reassured that the flight they are traveling on is a safe one.

The theme for orientation on the Albert A. Sheen campus on St. Croix was “Navigating Your Path to Academic Success,” hence all the flight metaphors.

Being a National Student Exchange (NSE) student, the Virgin Islands was an unknown territory waiting to be revealed to me. Attending orientation allowed me the opportunity to experience the university and the culture of St. Croix first hand.

The orientation staff and faculty made it their priority to make sure each student either learned or was reminded of the heritage of St. Croix and the Virgin Islands. Meals were prepared with a variety of foods local to the Caribbean, including the introduction of two local food trucks for students to try at lunch.

The St. Croix campus offered orientation students to take part in a movie night at the Caribbean Cinema, an island tour, bowling at Ten Pins and snorkeling lessons.

Of all the organized activities and events, the New Student Convocation and Buccaneer Welcome Reception was my favorite. Specifically, President Hall’s address to the students.

“He was engaging, relatable and genuinely cared about each of us individually,” said Cassie (Cassandra) Glodowski, a NSE student from Wisconsin. “He didn’t just see us as a statistic, but rather as a student of UVI.”

After walking the stage and being bestowed the medal, I felt like an official member of the Buccaneer community. UVI is proud of each and every student, whether they are here for a semester or five years. The bond created here is unbreakable and each individual of this community will assist in navigating you towards the path of academic success.

Regardless of the destination, you have allowed UVI to provide a stamp on your passport of life. Continue reading New Students Set Sail for Academic Success

UVI Welcome Back How-To: The Parking Permit Situation

 

Featured Photo: Designated Parking Map of the St. Thomas Campus. (Courtesy of the University of the Virgin Islands)

Alayna Belshe |

ST. THOMAS – This is my third fall semester at UVI and every year I learn a little more about how to get things done at our university. This year, I mastered getting a parking pass and completing the vehicle registration process.

If you are new to campus or if you have been lucky enough to get a new vehicle over the summer, you need to register your vehicle online through your BanWeb account before you visit the security office.

To complete the online registration you need:

  • Your driver’s license
  • Your license plate number
  • Your car’s make
  • Your car’s color
  • Your car’s year

Accessing BanWeb is as simple as logging into your MyCampus page on the UVI website and selecting the BanWeb link on the left.

BanWeb Location

Screenshot of the BanWeb Home Page after Logging into MyCampus (August 2016)

After filling out the vehicle registration form found on BanWeb, proceed to the campus security office. The entrance to the office is right next to the Banco Popular ATM on the St. Thomas campus and near the First Bank ATM by the Evans Center on the Albert A. Sheen- St. Croix campus.

You will need to bring your driver’s license, registration and your student ID. (If you still don’t have your UVI Student ID, a piece of paper with your name and ID number will be accepted).

The campus security office is open 24 hours a day, so there is no excuse for not getting this done.

The best part of this whole process is that the permit is free. (Provided that you do not lose said permit, otherwise be prepared to fork over $25.00 to the security office.)

As of Wednesday morning all members of the UVI community received an email detailing the parking policy and the process of registering your vehicle including maps of appropriate parking for each campus.

Good luck to all of us finding our preferred parking spaces!

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Designated Parking Map of the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. (Courtesy of the University of the Virgin Islands)

UVI CELEBRATES DAY OF SILENCE

 

ONELOVE2

Participants taped their mouths as a way to exhibit the effects of anti – LGBTQ acts.

Olinger Augustin |

ST. CROIX – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning organization ONELOVE, held their second annual Day of Silence, hosting a silent march on the Albert A. Sheen campus.

On Thursday, April 14, students, staff, faculty and community members joined together to take a vow of silence to address the issue of anti-LGBTQ and bullying acts. Participants illustrated silence by taping their mouths to showcase the effect of bullying and harassment on those perceived to be LGBTQ.

ONELOVE member, Michael Rosario, had a comment on the event. “What we wanted to do with this march is to show that we weren’t going to be silent anymore. This is the third or fourth event we’ve done on campus, and we just want the UVI community to know that there is an LGBTQ organization that is willing to represent and have a voice for anyone who needs our help.” Continue reading UVI CELEBRATES DAY OF SILENCE

Tuition increase looms as UVI challenges continue

Patrice Reneé Harris |

uvi

Aerial View of UVI St. Thomas Campus. Photo Credit: uvi.edu

ST. THOMAS — Students at the University of the Virgin Islands will have to brace themselves for a possible tuition increase in the upcoming academic year in light of the university’s continued fiscal challenges. As the university continues to tighten its belt amidst decreasing government appropriations, increasing tuition will likely be one of the new schemes to improve its financial situation.

In an email on Feb. 9, David Hall, president of the University of the Virgin Islands alerted the UVI community that there was a deficit in the 2016 fiscal year budget. Dr. Hall explained the three main factors that contributed to the deficit.

“This present challenge is a result of various factors, including (1) the drop in enrollment over the previous fiscal years from 2,700 students to 2,300 students which has lowered our revenues and unfortunately we have not made the appropriate adjustment in expenditures; (2) the drop in our government appropriations over the previous fiscal years has eliminated a lot of the flexibility in our operating budget; and (3) some of our accounting controls have  not forced units to stay within their budgeted amounts,” the email read.

In an interview with the UVI Voice on Feb. 15, President Hall explained that the units were not maliciously overspending, but accumulated unpaid bills that rolled over from the end of the previous fiscal year.

In light of such, President Hall said the university is introducing new monitoring tools. These controls include denying authorization for purchases that exceed department budgets, closely monitoring department budgets towards the end of the fiscal year, and bringing forward the cut off point for orders and purchases.

“All of us have to be much more willing to stay within the budgets we are given and not exceed them, even when they are good reasons to do it,” Hall said.

In an effort to mitigate the impending deficit of $1.4 million, the president asked each unit of the university to reduce its budget by 4.8 percent for fiscal year 2016. In doing so, Dr. Hall asked each department to ensure that the reduction in budget does not affect employees’ jobs nor the quality of students’ education.

According to Hall, the fall in enrollment by some 400 students significantly affects the school’s operational budget, as the faculty size remained the same.

“We are also attempting to enhance our revenues through various new programs and especially through an increase in enrollment,” President Hall said. “The university is looking for ways to increase class sizes but not affect the quality of students’ education.”

Though the proposal is not final, Hall said a tuition increase is likely to be among the new measures to circumvent the deficit. The decision will only become final after the president proposes the tuition increase to the board and meets with the Student Government Associations and the student population.

Zoé Walker, vice president of the Student Government Association on St. Croix said the tuition increase is warranted in light of UVI’s fiscal challenges.

“I can understand why the students would find this proposed tuition increase frightening. But our students must remember that UVI currently has the most affordable tuition in the nation as an HBCU. In order for us to continue to receive a quality education in paradise, the university has to do certain things to achieve that, especially in light of a decrease in funds received from the government.”

Walker is also advocating for an improvement in the university’s payment option, stating that the options should be more flexible to accommodate students.

“I also believe that the university must observe that, although it is not a drastic increase, every student’s situation is different and (we) should make sure we have appropriate payment plans available,” Walker said.

Though the fiscal challenges are burdensome, President Hall is confident that UVI will overcome them as it has in the past.

“…I am still optimistic about UVI and where we are heading,” he said. “We have had fiscal challenges for the last four or five years. Students should not be fearful that this signals some major problem with the institution, but it is just unfortunately a part of doing business these days, where you have to tighten your belts and ensure you are generating more revenue. Besides a tuition increase, we are looking at new programs that can bring more revenue to the institution,” Hall said.

President Hall will present a revised fiscal year 2016 budget to the Finance and Budget Committee of the Board on Feb. 22 and approval is expected at its March 5 meeting.

 

UVI Extends Academic Reach To St. Martin

KAREN GUTLOFF|

ST. THOMAS – Students on the neighboring island of St. Martin can now earn a degree from the University of the Virgin Islands without leaving their home island.

Continue reading UVI Extends Academic Reach To St. Martin

UVI School of Education awarded accreditation status; programs will run until 2016 and 2020

-PRESS RELEASE FROM UVI-

The University of the Virgin Islands School of Education has been awarded accreditation status from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Accreditation was granted for the undergraduate and graduate programs, according to a prepared statement from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation on Nov. 7. The undergraduate program accreditation runs until 2020, and accreditation of the graduate program runs until 2016. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognize NCATE as a professional accrediting body for teacher preparation.

“This achievement is the result of the outstanding and dedicated work of Dean Linda Thomas and all members of our School of Education,” said UVI President Dr. David Hall, who recalled that when he arrived at UVI five years ago, Dr. Thomas, who served in a different role at that time, was coordinating the accreditation efforts in the school. “She was deeply committed to ensuring that we achieved this institutional goal, and I am delighted that now, in her role as dean, this dream has become a reality.” He continued, “However, we are uniquely aware that this type of achievement requires a team effort, and all of the faculty members – full-time and part-time – have played a critical role in order for this honor to now be bestowed upon them.”

Dr. Hall thanked all of UVI’s students in the School of Education, because their academic work, portfolios and conversations with the visiting team communicated a very positive impression. The various external stakeholders, including the Department of Education, the Board of Education and the various schools where UVI students conduct their practice teaching, were all instrumental to this success, he said.

 “We are indeed proud to have achieved this goal of NCATE accreditation,” said UVI Provost Dr. Camille McKayle. “Though this goal is stated in the Pathways to Greatness Strategic Plan, it is the standard of excellence that it represents that is the true prize for our students.”  She continued, “By achieving this accreditation, we are able to demonstrate to others external to the institution that the University of the Virgin Islands provides programs in education that meet national standards set by professionals in the field.”

 “NCATE accreditation is a major accomplishment for the School of Education and the University,” said Dean Thomas. “It is an endorsement of the quality of the institution’s teacher preparation programs, and an assurance that students will receive superior education in the School of Education and the University.” She added, “Accreditation is a mark of distinction and provides recognition that the School of Education has met national professional standards for the preparation of teachers and other school professionals.”

Dr. Thomas said teacher candidates from NCATE-accredited institutions will be better prepared for new and more demanding initial licensing expectations in many states, and for new National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification – particularly since certification standards for both are compatible. “Graduates from NCATE-accredited institutions will generally find it easier to apply for licensure when they move from state to state,” she said.

The School of Education’s accreditation is the second school at UVI to receive accreditation this year. UVI’s School of Business received initial accreditation status in May from the Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Board of Commissioners of the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. The University is completely accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools through 2017. The Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation.

Musically Challenged

Despite the benefits of musical education, University of the Virgin Islands’ students tire of redundancy.

MAKIL BEDMINSTER|

ST. THOMAS – Students on the University of the Virgin Islands’ St. Thomas campus have desired diversity with their musical class selections.

However, student interest has not been enough for the university to make improvements in musical education.

“It’s not that the university doesn’t have music classes, but they lack a variety. Music is to be learned progressively, once you have reached a certain level, then you must continue to progress. Stagnation is the key to unproductivity,” Nyim Haynes, former UVI international relations student  said. Continue reading Musically Challenged

Young Men Striving for Success

Antoinette Anderson|

ST.THOMAS-The Brothers with a Cause Association looks forward to a new semester with new members. The Brothers with a Cause Association hosted their induction ceremony, “Striving for Success,” at the UVI Administration and Conference Center on Sept. 6.

The ceremony included several speakers like Stevie Henry, President Dr. David Hall and Attorney Carl Richardson.

The goal of Brothers with a Cause is to increase the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of young men within the University of the Virgin Islands through strategic intervention at kindergarten to post-secondary education levels.

These young men strive to improve academic achievement through brotherhood, leadership, community service and character development.

“We are looking forward to implementing various programs for the year and welcoming our new brothers into the organization. BWC is essential to UVI. We plan on achieving our goals, promoting our vision and conquering our mission,” stated Lorenzo Scotland, treasurer of Brothers with a Cause.

Brothers with a Cause will be taking part in the annual “Man Up” Conference as well as other events on and off campus. They also will be attending the high schools in St. Thomas to speak with the students about their futures and the importance of pursuing higher education.

The new members are looking forward to being a part of upcoming projects.

“We are distinguished young men with a purpose and I plan to leave my mark on UVI. I am glad that I now have dependable people to look up to for guidance and inspiration on a daily. I don’t want to be another black male statistic and Brothers with a Cause will help lead me in the right direction,” said Xavier Jeffers, a new member of Brothers with a Cause.

Jeffers was accompanied by his two roommates who came to show their support. The ceremony’s audience included staff, students and a few guests.

Guest Speaker Attorney Carl Richardson gave a fascinating and motivating speech on his own life story. He spoke about his own trials and tribulations during his college experience and explained how he remained inspired. Richardson provided uplifting words of encouragement and reassured the young men of the Brothers with a Cause Association, that they can achieve anything with perseverance.

“I have a lot of respect for these guys who dedicate themselves to making a difference in the Virgin Islands community. Our generation is often judged by senseless violence against one another, lack of motivation to educate ourselves and reprehensible behavior. Although I came to the ceremony to support a friend, I gained insight as to what Brothers with a Cause is all about,” said Malik Morrison, ceremony guest.

At the end of the induction ceremony, the members of Brothers with a Cause Association pledged to adhere to a code of conduct, universally accepted principles of human kindness, building unity among males at UVI and giving best efforts to helping the association fulfill its mission. The Brothers with a Cause Association welcomes its new members and looks forward to expanding their organization.

UVI Dance Team to Perform at Paradise Jam

Elisa Thomas|

ST.THOMAS- After successful tryouts, fundraising, extensive stretching, exercising, three months of rehearsal   and perfecting their “boom kacks,” the ladies of U.V.I Dance Team are prepared for their debut performance at the Paradise Jam game on Saturday, Nov. 23. During the halftime game, where Metropolitan University takes on the U.V.I Buccaneers, U.V.I’s dance team will perform their latest dance mix. The performance features music from many genres such as hip-hop, R&B, dance hall, pop and calypso and also uses well-known songs.

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Bonnie Anderson Visits the University of the Virgin Islands

Bonnie M. Anderson 27-year news veteran, visited the University of the Virgin Islands on Monday Nov. 18 to speak with communication majors and other students.

Residence Hall Open House Day

Residence Hall Open House Day

Victoria Smith|

Oct. 16 is the day that marked the Residence Hall’s seasonal Open House Day. During Open House Day, the Residence Hall is open to visitors wanting to know more about UVI’s Delta M. Jackson Dorsch Complex.

Sighted during open house day over the course of ribbon week were a puzzle completed by residents of the dormitory, the residents themselves, a room decorated in honor of Domestic Violence and a Collage featuring all the Awareness events in October such as the red ribbon for drug abuse, the pink ribbon for Breast Cancer, and the purple ribbon for Domestic Violence.

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Where are all the Men?

Where are all the Men?

CHRIS SEALEY|

ST. CROIX –Finding a male student at the University of the Virgin Islands is equivalent to finding an Eskimo in the Caribbean. At the university, 31 percent of freshmen are male and 29 percent of all undergraduate students are male. The typical undergraduate student at UVI is a mature local woman attending full time.

creg brown, part of the 28 percent of 2013 UVI male graduates
Creg Brown, one of the 29 percent of 2013 UVI male graduates

But why is this happening? Are young women simply more ambitious and harder-working? Are men becoming increasingly disengaged from academia?

Female high-school students are more likely to aspire to attend college than their male counterparts and the young women enrolled in college, persist and graduate at higher rates as well, according to a report released on Aug. 28, 2012 by the National Center for Education Statistics.

When young women graduate from high school they tend to go straight into college with a plan set on a four-year degree.

Men decide to go college at a lower rate. For example, while almost three-quarters of female students who enrolled in college did so immediately after high school, just over two-thirds of male students did. Slightly less than half of young men first enrolled in a college or university.

In high school women paid more attention to the college searches than men. They would consult college websites, publications or search guides for information on college entrance requirements. Only 60 percent of male seniors reached out to college representatives for information.

Once in college, a higher percentage of women  stay enrolled and graduate, according to the statistics taken by BYU in 2004. Roughly 60 percent of all first-time, full-time bachelor-degree-seeking students who started college in 2004 had earned an degree six years later from the same institution. A greater proportion of women finished than men.

When asked about her take on the ratio of female students to male students, third-year student Nicole Foster said, “It’s not that there are more males than females on the islands it’s just that more women decided to come school than men.”

The purpose of higher education is to be more qualified for higher paying jobs.

Women don’t typically go for jobs in construction or security, which don’t necessarily require a degree. So women try to get the edge with a degree.