STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE SHARIE B. de CASTRO
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, CULTURE, YOUTH AFFAIRS & SPORTS
SIXTH SITTING OF THE FOURTH SESSION OF THE FOURTH
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
THURSDAY, 21ST JULY, 2022
UPDATE ON THE H. LAVITY STOUTT COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Madam Speaker, I am delighted to inform you that the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) has had its accreditation reaffirmed by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
This achievement was the culmination of much hard work by the administration, staff, and faculty. The College was first accredited by MSCHE in June 2015, and as a newly accredited institution, was required to seek reaffirmation of its accreditation within 5 years.
The Self-Study Report, entitled We Will Rise represented the College’s plans to recover from the impacts of the 2017 hurricanes and financial challenges, and provided evidence for the assessment of HLSCC’s compliance with MSCHE’s Requirements of Affiliation and Standards of Accreditation.
Madam Speaker, the Self-Study Report addressed areas such as Mission and Goals; Ethics and Integrity; Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience; Support of the Student Experience; Educational Effectiveness Assessment; Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement; and Governance, Leadership, and Administration.
The Report was submitted in Spring 2020 and due to COVID-19 restrictions, a virtual site visit was conducted in December 2020. The College received commendations in 6 of 7 standards and was required to submit a Supplemental Information Report pertaining to Standard VI – Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement.
Madam Speaker, following the submission of that supplemental report in September 2021, another virtual site visit was conducted in April 2022, where
the College was found in compliance with Standard VI and reaffirmation was recommended to the Commission.
The decision was made by the Middle States Commission on June 23, 2022 to reaffirm the College’s accreditation until 2028. The reaffirmation indicates that HLSCC has met the Requirements of Affiliation and Standards of Accreditation of MSCHE. This enables our students to continue to transfer easily to institutions in the United States and elsewhere.
Further, the College’s accreditation status supports its efforts in building partnerships with other international institutions and organisations.
Madam Speaker, following reaffirmation, the College was able to announce its membership in the Fulbright Awards Programme administered by the UK Fulbright Commission. The College will now offer for the first time the Fulbright BVI Scholar Award at HLSCC in the Fall of 2023.
The award at HLSCC is for a professor based at an institution in the United States to spend six months at the Paraquita Bay campus. During this time, they will teach courses to HLSCC students and may conduct workshops, public lectures, seminars, and other activities related to their field of expertise. Applicants will be reviewed by the College in conjunction with the Fulbright Commission before a selection is made.
Madam Speaker, the Fulbright Scholar Programme operates in about 160 countries and awards more than 1,700 fellowships each year, enabling 800 U.S. Scholars to go abroad and 900 visiting scholars to the United States. The College looks forward to this exchange benefitting its faculty, students, and the general Virgin Islands community.
The College also recently completed a rebranding exercise and is currently building a local and regional marketing campaign focusing in particular on offerings in marine, maritime, culinary, and hospitality programmes. All of these recent successes align with the launch of the College’s 2022 – 2027 strategic vision, Charting Our Course. That plan delineates the College’s objectives for this 5-year period under the following strategic goals:
1. Teaching and Learning
2. Student Access and Success
3. Community & Partnerships
4. Institutional Effectiveness & Organisational Development
5. Resources & Facilities
Madam Speaker, I congratulate the administration, staff, faculty and students of HLSCC on these major accomplishments.
Thank you Madam Speaker.