USM seeks to formalize cooperation with Uwi Open Campus and ACC

POSTED: 02/20/12 12:53 PM

St. Maarten – “There is obviously a serious intention on the part of both the University of the West Indies (Uwi) Open Campus and the Anguilla Community College (ACC) to cooperate with the University of St. Martin (USM). USM shares those intentions and I will do what it takes to formalize these mutual intentions within soonest.” President of the University of St. Martin Annlies van den Assem said this after she and USM’s Acting Dean of Academic Affairs Glen Yeung paid courtesy calls to the University of the West Indies (Uwi) Open Campus in Anguilla and the Anguilla Community College (ACC) earlier this month. During the one day visit USM President and the Acting Dean met with UWI Open Campus Director Cheryl Sloley, Board member of the Uwi Open Campus Anguilla and Board member of the Anguilla Community College Phillis Fleming-Banks, PhD, and President of the Anguilla Community College Professor Delroy M. Louden.

The trip to Anguilla served the threefold purpose of exploring the cooperation possibilities with the UWI open campus in order to connect with the institution, securing a seamless transition to Uwi for USM graduates, who wish to continue their studies after obtaining their associate’s degree and forging sustainable cooperation and seek information from Uwi Open Campus (an institution that has 60 years experience providing education in the Caribbean) on how USM could prepare for an educational model that would enhance its product by offering  courses online as well as in hybrid form.

“What came out of our visit is that it appears that USM is pretty much in synchronization with the trend in education for all universities at least region wide. We all, as universities in the Caribbean, have issues of complicated scale, issues of funding, issues of distance and most remarkably issues of low enrollment. And still we as universities in the Caribbean are required to provide tertiary education for the public at large and are asked to be all things to all people,” van den Assem said.

USM’s Acting Dean Glen Yeung adds that for example what came up in discussion with Uwi Open Campus director is that from their experience, having gone through the motions in the past 60 years in the Caribbean, in her opinion, we were on the right direction with our focus on our programs, on provision of online education and in our direction to connect as broad as possible to other universities for our students.

“As far as the provision of online education however she shared that their findings point to the online-with-a-tutor-system model for the Caribbean which is the direction USM has embarked upon,” Yeung notes further.

The USM officials also learned that ACC will soon begin the accreditation process with the University Council of Jamaica and continue in the development of partnerships with the University of the Virgin Islands, University of Technology, Jamaica, University of the West Indies Open Campus and the Chartered Management Institute. USM is embarking on connecting on this same trajectory to ensure a seamless and sustained connectivity to tertiary education institutions in the region for St. Maarten students.

Parties also discussed Uwi and USM offering online courses with tutor system, hosting a lecture series on cooperation between ACC and USM, exchanging instructors, internship cooperation with USM for Anguilla hospitality students.

“Cooperation in education is USM’s mantra. USM showed its disposition to cooperate with Uwi open campus as recent as December 2011 when a request came for USM to invigilate their exams at USM. USM immediately obliged and we will continue to cooperate with Uwi open campus in that regard and otherwise,” Yeung adds.

Follow up meetings are planned in order to formalize intentions for cooperation. UWI Open Campus officials are expected to visit USM in order to consider how to proceed.

USM’s Board President Valerie Giterson-Pantophlet, USM President Ms. van den Assem and the Acting Dean Mr. Yeung have also been invited to the investment ceremony for the first president of the Anguilla Community College scheduled for March.

USM, the UWI Open Campus, and the Anguilla Community College are all members of the Association of Caribbean Tertiary Institutions (ACTI). The Anguilla Community College is to commence associate degree programmes in Hospitality Studies, Communications, Business Administration, Secretarial Studies and Humanities. USM already offers associate degrees in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Business, General Liberal Arts and Bachelors of Science degrees in Education and Hospitality and Tourism Management. Other USM  programs in development include bachelor programs in International Law, Business Administration in International Business and Commercial Facility Management and a Masters in Law.

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