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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, June 22, 2024


June 17, 2002 – The University of the Virgin Islands board of trustees approved a new education specialist degree program for school psychologists at its regular quarterly meeting Monday morning on St. Thomas.
The advanced degree program was created "on a very fast track," according to Dr. LaVerne Ragster, provost and president elect. It's an "example of UVI's demand development," she said, creating coursework programs that mirror the specific needs of the V.I. communities.
The need was addressed only this spring and, working with the National Association of School Psychologists, a program and curriculum was developed which will provide local theoretical and practitioner experience for working Virgin Islands residents who wish to enter the professional field. All the necessary in-house approvals have been obtained, as the program swiftly worked its way through UVI Education Division faculty, the Graduate Council, the faculty, the Cabinet, and now the Board of Trustees, considerations.
The program, which will begin on a part-time basis, will require 67 hours of credit, placing it between master's and doctoral levels of graduate study. Up to 15 students will be accepted into the program on each campus. Requirements are a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, 2.5 grade-point average, and a prerequisite education course in tests and measurements.
A new faculty member, a specialist in the field, will be hired, and the program will fall administratively within the Education Division. Collaborating with UVI are the University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill, the University of South Florida in Tampa, and Winthrop University in South Carolina. Graduates will receive local and national professional certification– and because of the collaboration with the three mainland schools they will be able to continue into a doctoral program at one of those institutions if they wish.
Spearheading the program at UVI has been Dr. Yegin Habtes, director of the V.I. University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, which operates under a federal mandate to work to enhance the lives of persons with disabilities through training qualified personnel in several therapies. The program is funded through the V.I. Education Department.
"It was Orville Kean who decided it should be an education specialist degree, and not a master's degree program," Habteyes said, referring to the UVI president. "He was the one who really made it a reality."
Exits and entrances
The meeting was also a time to note exits and entrances — not dramatic "last day at work" or tearful partings, but a marking of the approaching ends of some terms of service.
In making his president's report, Dr. Kean noted it would the last board meeting of his UVI presidency, and comments were given by him and to him noting the passage. Ragster is expected to take over the presidency in September.
The meeting also was the last for student trustee Milton Connor and faculty trustee Gene Emanuel. In their stead will come student Campbell Barnes and faculty member John Munro.
The board also welcomed in her first appearance Noreen Michael, who joins the trustees in her capacity as acting Education commissioner.
In other actions, the board re-elected Dr. Auguste Rimpel as its chair, approved financial reporting changes, and noted that the names of three nominees to the UVI Research and Technology Park board of directors have been submitted to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull. They are Liston Abbott, Kathleen Dyer and Roger Dewey.

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