USM and UNA officials hold exploratory talks

Collaboration possibilities discussed

University of St. Martin (USM) officials and their University of the Netherlands Antilles (UNA) counterparts recently held a meeting to explore the possibilities of the two institutions formally collaborating in the near future


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Both delegations expressed their optimism after the initial meeting and have agreed to work on realizing the points discussed by Fall 2012 (August/September).

"During the meeting it became evident that both universities have a lot in common and that working together seems the most logical solution to some of the joint problems," says USM President Annelies van den Assem.

In addition to the President, the USM delegation included Acting Dean of Academics Mr. Glen Yeung and Head of the Business Division Mr. Erwin Wolthuis. The UNA delegation consisted of Dean of Social Sciences & Economics Faculty Mr. Rudsel Sophia, Program Director BSc. Accounting and Controlling Mr. Diepak Ganpat, and Program Director Business Administration Mr. Guido Rojer Jr.

"The first issue which will be addressed, and which would improve the study possibilities of St. Maarten students considerably is the intended cooperation on offering NVAO accredited bachelor programs in both Business Administration, Accounting and ICT," says USM Head of the Business Division Mr. Erwin Wolthuis. He adds that while this possibility is being explored it would also entail UNA recognizing USM’s Associate of Arts in Business degrees and the individual course loads for such.

After this recognition, USM graduates would be eligible to enroll in the above mentioned UNA’s bachelor programs and would be able to earn their bachelor’s degree in approximately two to maximum three years, including the final thesis. The amount of time to earn a bachelor’s degree will depend on the area of specialization chosen by the background of the candidate.

"This in itself would be a positive step forward. However, the best part would be that UNA would offer these programs at USM and hence creating the possibility where a St. Maarten student would be able to earn an accredited bachelor degree by UNA/USM in St. Maarten," President van den Assem notes.

At the end of the USM-UNA meeting it was concluded that, within a month, parties will come together and set the stage that will make this venture a complete success. Both parties have expressed their firm intention to make this option possible as of academic year August/September 2012-2013.