Dr. Pamela Moolenaar-Wirsiy

No Place Like Home

Dean of Innovation Brings Wealth of
Experience to UVI

After a successful higher education career spanning
25 years in the mainland United States, Dr. Pamela
Moolenaar-Wirsiy is back home in St. Thomas.
Since August 2021, she has been the inaugural Dean
of Innovation and Student Success at the University of
the Virgin Islands (UVI).

As UVI has increased its focus on innovation,
including embracing new approaches to improving
academic success and student outcomes, Dr.
Moolenaar-Wirsiy’s expertise greatly enhances the
University’s ability to meet the needs of its diverse
student population.


“I have been away for many years gaining
experience, and I thought the time was right to come
back and share some of what I have learned,” said Dr.
Moolenaar-Wirsiy. “The position at UVI was attractive
to me because I was able to have input. The
discussion was about what I can bring to the table
and that was exciting.”

In her dual role, Dr. Moolenaar-Wirsiy is on a mission
to foster a culture of innovation at UVI while designing
strategies and implementing systems to ensure that
students at the University have access to the tools
and support they need to succeed in their academic

Dr. Pamela
Dr. Pamela Moolenaar-Wirsiy

Directing UVI’s 13D Research & Strategy Innovation
Center – a cutting-edge facility for students,
researchers, businesses, government leaders and
other stakeholders to learn from one another and turn
innovative ideas into reality – is a natural fit for Dr.
Moolenaar-Wirsiy, who is no stranger to the
innovation and entrepreneurship universe. While she
was an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow
in residence at Hampton University, she chaired the
working committee that subsequently submitted a
grant that resulted in the establishment of the
Virginia Workforce Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Named after long-time supporter, 13D Research &
Strategy, a St. Thomas-based global research firm,
the 18,000-square foot center inspires creativity and

“I am urging people to come by and see what is
happening at the Innovation Center. I want this to be
a space without limit. If you have a crazy idea that you
think will never work, I want to hear it,” says the dean
of the space, which has been designed to help
integrate creative, innovative approaches across
UVI’s two campuses.

Dr. Pamela
Dr. Pamela Moolenaar-Wirsiy

Dr. Moolenaar-Wirsiy is pleased that students at UVI
have full access to the Innovation Center, which will
also be used by faculty and staff as well as
community and business partners. Once fully
operational, the Innovation Center will serve as a hub
with national, regional, and international reach and
impact, strengthening the University’s relationships
and partnerships with businesses seeking access to
cutting-edge research and an abundance of talent,
thereby furthering opportunities and resources for
student success.

“Right now, our culinary students are using the Center
every day. Students, faculty and staff are using
portions of it based on need and what we currently
have in use,” said Dr. Moolenaar-Wirsiy, who
graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School.

The facility is equipped with digital information
boards and space for weekend activities for
community members. It also features a teaching
kitchen, full-service restaurant and a bakery that the
UVI Center for Excellence in Leadership and Learning
(UVI CELL) Culinary Arts program operates under the
name Wild Sage.

Dr. Moolenaar-Wirsiy earned a master’s degree in
Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Immunology and
was a full Professor at Georgia State University
Perimeter College, highly regarded as a national
model in the United States for student success and
ranked #2 in “Most Innovative Schools” by U.S. News &
World Report in 2022.

Dr. Moolenaar-Wirsiy also serves as the Interim Vice
President for Institutional Advancement.


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