UCCI plans nursing, engineering degrees

Entrance exam to be established

The University College of the
Cayman Islands will offer degrees in engineering and nursing as well as establishing
a minimum-standard entrance exam for matriculation.

UCCI President Roy Bodden made the
announcement Thursday during a meeting of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman.

Mr. Bodden said the University
College would work in tandem with George Town Hospital to offer a Bachelor of
Science degree in nursing.   He said the
degree would be certified through either the University of Miami or Florida
International University.

“All graduates will get a licence
to practise in Florida as well as the Cayman Islands.”

Mr. Bodden said the degree
programme in nursing would address a need in the Cayman Islands.

“Particularly if Dr. Shetty’s
hospital comes on line,” he said, adding that the programme had been in the
works even before the possibility of the new hospital arose.

The engineering programme will
offer an associate degree in engineering technology, an applied degree.

“Graduates could stop at that point
and go into the working world,” he said. “Or they could go on to get a bachelor
of science in structural engineering, a professional degree.”

Mr. Bodden said UCCI had made an
arrangement with Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, for those
students who wanted to go on to get a Bachelor of Science degree.

With regard to the associates
degrees in engineering, Mr. Bodden said it was upscale version of the technical
trade programme UCCI is already offering designed to create plumbing,
electrical and construction engineers.

When Mr. Bodden made the surprise
announcement at the Rotary meeting, he said even the Minister of Education
Rolston Anglin – who was in attendance at the meeting to present the club’s
Adventure in Citizenship Award – didn’t know of the development.

Speaking afterwards, however, Mr.
Bodden said the new programmes had been taken to the UCCI board, which first
gave a provisional go-ahead, subject to feasibility studies being done.  The studies showed the programmes could work,
he said.

Although he had hoped the
programmes could start by September of this year, Mr. Bodden said it was
determined that September 2011 was a better target date.

He said the programmes could be
achieved with a minimum of new staff.

“The B.S. in nursing programme
would run in collaboration with the hospital,” he said. “We would provide some
staff and the hospital would provide some.”

Although some of the lab work could
be done in UCCI’s existing science labs, other parts of the course study would
have to be done at the hospital, he said.

Entrance exam

Another change coming at UCCI is
the establishment of what Mr. Bodden called a “valid and reliable entrance exam
to capture and place students to the level to which they belong”.

He said students would have to meet
certain standards on the entrance exam to be able to matriculate to the
University College.

“The entrance exam will be used to
screen all applicants,” he said.

Mr. Bodden agreed that by setting a
matriculation standard, the perceived quality of a UCCI degree will increase.

“We recognise in the past, that has
been a problem,” he said.

Students who do not pass the
entrance exam will have another option at UCCI. 
The college will offer a pre-college studies matriculation course.

“This will be a one-year course
which brings them to the level they need to be for matriculation,” he said.
“Rather than depriving them entrance, this programme is designed to enable and
empower them.”

The course, which Mr. Bodden said
was designed for students that come with no college pre-qualifications will
focus on making the students proficient in basic math, English and digital
literacy skills.

Other possibilities

Mr. Bodden said there were other
developments he would like to see at UCCI.

“I would like to see a modern
language laboratory, where people would learn Spanish, English as a second
language and even Mandarin and Cantonese,” he said, adding that China is the
next big world economy.

He said there were already
developments with a programme in music and performing arts, namely with the
establishment of a choir and dance troupe.

“We’re planning a concert in
December that will probably surprise some people with the level of
professionalism that will be achieved,” he said.

Mr. Bodden said a new atmosphere
was being created at UCCI.

“We are quietly and unobtrusively
making great strides at UCCI.”

Part of that new atmosphere entails
dispelling the notion of entitlement that suggests that just because someone is
Caymanian, they are entitled to a job, Mr. Bodden said.

“I constantly tell the students
that they have to achieve to get ahead,” he said. “We live in a global
workplace.’

Mr. Bodden said he made similar
comments on a talk radio show recently and was criticised for doing so.

“My response was that patriotism
was the last refuge of a scoundrel,” he said.

Although he took public criticism
for saying what he did, Mr. Bodden said he received two telephone calls shortly
after the radio programme thanking him for speaking his mind.

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