Dr. Teo Cooper, Dean of Students, University of The Bahamas (UB) North, has informed The Freeport News that there is a great interest in recruiting students from around the country to study in Grand Bahama.
On Wednesday past, during the new student orientation session for the fall semester at the Northern Bahamas Campus (NBC), Dean Cooper said UB is indeed poised and eager to welcome students from family islands, as well as those presently residing in New Providence, to experience the classroom life on this northern island.
The UB North Campus is equipped with boarding accommodation, Hawksbill Hall, which can house 80 students. UB has the capacity to fit a much larger student body into the present mix.
Meanwhile though, orientation for the new semester is the focus.
Dean Cooper told The Freeport News that while many of the incoming students were unable to attend the orientation, they are expected on campus prior to the first day of classes, later this month.
He pointed out that the establishment and official opening of Hawksbill Hall, on May 7, of this year, came at an opportune time for UB as the northern campus, already welcomes some students from both the Family Islands, as well as those from the capital island of New Providence.
“We are excited that Family Island students are coming. For us, it is not just about the Family Islands. We want students to come from New Providence as well, because, for a lot of them, we have the same programs here and they also (would) want the ‘off to school experience’ as well. We can provide that for them here, with our Hawksbill Hall. Just as given the dynamics of Grand Bahama and the fact that we have students all the way east and all the way west, that have to commute here to school, we can provide a place for all.
A number of Grand Bahamian students are indeed utilizing Hawksbill Hall as well.
The Hawksbill Hall dormitory is UB North’s first student residential facility. It can comfortably accommodate 80 students, as aforementioned. Present for the unveiling was President of UB, Dr. Rodney Smith whe stated that UB continues to capitalize on the ever-changing dynamics of technology. He said at the time, he was hopeful that the dormitory would be one bustling with activity.
“We want to see 24 hour activity here. The facility boasts of 24 hour security, Wi-Fi accessibility, a computer laboratory, gym, cafeteria, among other amenities,” he informed on the occasion of the dormitory’s official opening.
The land in which the northern campus of the University of The Bahamas sits was donated by the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA). The Hawksbill Hall dormitory was also donated by the GBPA at a price tag of $3 million.
Cooper informed this daily that while Wednesday’s day of events was geared towards welcoming their new students, a special event was held for parents and guardians the night before.
“The events actually began last evening (August 7). We had our parent evening, a night for parents, for them to come and get pertinent information on the handing over process, as well as what is expected of them as parents, while their children are at UB.
“Today is for the students themselves and we wanted to separate the parent and the student time because a part of our college life is transitioning from dependents, to autonomy and independence. We wanted the new student orientation process to be something that they do on their own. We had a fun filled day for them.
“We started with the opening ceremony for them this morning where they got to hear from myself and others, Dean of Faculty (D. Peter McWilliam) as well as our Vice President, (Dr. Ian Strachan). We greeted and welcomed them. We had our Student Ambassadors welcome them as well.
“They had a number of sessions, everything to do with being students, as far as registration is concerned, paying their bills, user names and passwords, all of the essential things they need to matriculate. We had breakout sessions for them and then they came together to hear from clubs and organizations,” he informed.
Cooper noted that it is important for UB North to establish a community oriented aspect for the students, engaging them in various social programs in hopes of increasing student involvement at the university level.
“We want to increase involvement so we had the clubs come into this orientation to do a pitch for them. We are trying to build a community among the freshman class this year, because the whole idea is to elect class councils.
“We are trying to keep each class together so that they can do activities as a class and, as they move through, it will get to the point where they will be the graduating class, where they will be able to do trips and so forth, as a class. The grill and chill concept is a big part of building that community among the freshman class. We hope this will continue until they graduate, all in an effort for retention. If we can keep them together they can depend on each other and hone on each other’s skills. All of these things increase the likelihood that they will finish.
Questioned how student enrollment at the Northern Bahamas Campus (NBC) of UB has been for this upcoming school year, Cooper responded positively.
“Student enrollment at the northern campus I think is good. We have had a better year than last year.
“We have about 115 students that showed up today. Usually the amount of persons that register is a little bit over 100, and we have a little less than one hundred that actually showed; but, this time, our enrollment list is nearing around 150 or more. To have about 120 show up, I think that is good.
“We will have others coming in the coming days because we expect some Family Island students, who could not make it to orientation, several of them have indicated that they will be coming in soon.
“I think that the transition from the College of The Bahamas to University of The Bahamas had a lot to do with that and more students are opting to stay home,” concluded Cooper.