Nearly a year after it was originally expected to be complete, a five-year strategic plan for the University College of the Cayman Islands was approved by its board of governors on Wednesday.
“That’s the strategic plan after quite some time,” said board Chairman Anthony Ritch, after the document was approved without discussion on a unanimous vote. “It’s become, for the most part, our new Bible.”
Work on the document began in 2017. It was significantly modified to redefine the role of the school president, making the position more in line with what might be found at a typical college or university in the United States. It is also structured around what President Stacy McAfee, who took over as head of the school Jan. 1, has defined as the three pillars needed to support UCCI’s mission: student centered education, suitable resources and promotion of the school as an engine for economic development, innovation and social change.
In short, the plan visualizes a school that provides a well-defined individual education plan for each of its students, and one that is an integral part of Cayman society, from community initiatives to business partnerships.
Mr. Ritch said Ms. McAfee, most recently a vice president at the University of the Pacific in California, was hired because she has the experience to implement the new plan.
Ms. McAfee said having the strategic plan “helps me immensely. I know that the alignment I’m seeking between the faculty and the board is there. This is the plan going forward.”
Implementing the plan, she said, will require greater resources. She has submitted a business case to the Ministry of Education that, in part, asks for additional staff and faculty.
“As part of building out, we’re looking at adding a number of new positions that would do regular outreach to the business community,” Ms. McAfee said. Providing the kind of support she envisions for students will also mean more people.
“We’d like to see faculty teaching fewer classes and mentoring students more,” she said. The next step in the process is to put the philosophical principles laid out in the plan into concrete proposals.
“Within the next few months, we’ll be developing operational plans in every department,” Ms. McAfee said.
In addition to laying out a course of action, those plans, she said, will include “how we measure success. How we’re getting things done.”
The goal, she said, is to build UCCI into a world-class institution. Some of its students are already finding such a foothold.
At the board of governors meeting, Ms. McAfee reported on the recent success of a team of students that attended a Chartered Financial Analyst Research Challenge regional competition in Miami, Florida, where they took first place. Students Maria Pia Velazquez, Charles Lewison, Shamelia McPherson and Nina Robinson will travel to New York next month for the finals of the competition.
“It’s a pretty stunning achievement for our students,” she told the board. “It just goes to show, with that kind of mentorship and support, what they can do.”