Institutions aim to start MAE program this Fall President lauds rekindling USM-UVI relationship

POSTED: 05/25/12 2:14 PM

St. Maarten – The rekindling of the relationship between the University of St. Martin and the University of the Virgin Islands was lauded on Thursday by both USM President Annelies van den Assem and the UVI Vice Provost Dr. Judith W. Edwin.
This was done at a press conference after UVI held an information session on Wednesday where more than 30 people expressed interest in the Master of Arts in Education program and 15 in the Bachelor of Business Administration program. These programs will be jointly offered with USM and plans are in place for an agreement to be signed within short.
Van den Assem is happy with the reestablishment of the relationship since it offers an opportunity for the university to work in the benefit of the students and offer more programs. USM Acting Dean of Academics Glen Yeung added that the coming together of the institutions is based on the clamor of the perspective students. He said that many St. Maarten students prefer to stay on island and complete their education.
Dr. Edwin emphasized UVI’s longstanding relationship with USM and noted, “We are pleased with the response yesterday” where many students turned up for information on the MAE and BBA programs.
“I think we can do justice here on St. Maarten” and enhance the education quality, she added. The UVI vice provost also noted that they initially wanted to focus on Leadership concentration with the MAE program but a majority of students have expressed interest in Guidance and Counseling. She added that they will try to offer both once the agreements are signed and the program starts in the Fall.
Dr. Edwin also stated that funding issues for the program have to be dealt with and various facilities will be approached on the matter. She added that she wants this to be a “win win” for both USM and UVI while stressing, “We know we made the first step.”
For the MAE program UVI is offering St. Maarten students a special rate of U.S.550 dollars per credit since the program is a hybrid. This is less than what UVI charges for out-of-territory tuition. The matter of the tuition proposal will be dealt with in a June 8, 2012 meeting of the finance committee of the board, the UVI official stated. She added that she expects no difficulties with the decision but it has to be sure that USM continues to provide support and opportunities to fulfill the requirements of offering the programs.
Many factors were cited by Dr. Edwin as the reasons for the previous USM-UVI relationship being severed including “change in leadership, change in commitment,” the issue of non-payment by students and students dropping out of cohorts. The programs will again be offered in cohorts and steps like having a coordinator will facilitate detection and remediation of challenges that arise.
USM President Van den Assem also emphasized that what will be needed for the programs to be successful will also be outlined in the agreement. She added that quality assurance is a concern for UVI while USM also wants to be a quality assured organization. So, there is reciprocity there.
USM and UVI are hoping to start the Masters in Education program this fall. People who are interested in the MAE program or the BBA programs to be jointly offered with UVI, can contact the University of St. Martin Student Service Center at tel. 542-5171 ext 1000.

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