UVI Online Program Graduates First Students

Dorsett Earns B.A. in Business Management Online

“It’s never too late. Wherever you are, just take it one step at a time, and you will get there.”

For Ervin Dorsett, Jr., this motto is a way of life.  He is among the first students to graduate from the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) online degree program. After starting his college studies in Florida in 1999, transfering to UVI’s St. Thomas campus in 2002, then stopping and returning to UVI many years later, today he has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management. He achieved his degree through UVI’s online program. The fully online division of the University of the Virgin Islands began offering web-based classes in 2018.

“I needed the right environment to help me advance my studies and still work a full-time job with a frequently changing schedule,” said Dorsett, who works at the V.I. Water and Power Authority (WAPA). “So when I enrolled at UVI again, I opted for UVI Online. The online program turned out to be the ideal fit for me. It gave me the freedom to take classes around my schedule and it was very affordable compared to other online programs,” he said, noting he paid for all his classes out of pocket.

Although he took all of his classes online, Dorsett said he felt very much a part of the UVI community. “My professors actually gave me their cell phone numbers and my two advisors, David Wuinee and Denise Lake, were especially responsive, calling me on a weekly basis to check in.” He said he always received valuable, personalized feedback on assignments from his professors and never felt like just a number.

One of the other advantages of the online program for Dorsett was that he could apply what he was learning online in real time on the job. “As I grew in my knowledge at school, I was actually able to grow on the job as well,” he recalled. Because of his education at UVI, Dorsett was promoted to Supervisor of the Systems Operation Center at WAPA. “Attending UVI Online has definitely been a professional and educational game changer in my life,” he acknowledged.  

Dorsett exclaims that his experience with UVI Online has been so positive, he is now taking a Certified Public Manager (CPM) course online and will graduate in September.

Looking to the future, Dorsett has already enrolled in UVI’s Master’s in Leadership program to begin online this fall. Once he earns a master’s degree, his goal is to become a manager at WAPA and he would also like to teach at UVI Online part-time as a way of paying forward all that he has gained from the university. Ultimately, Dorsett has his goals set on getting a doctorate from UVI Online. He said he was very inspired to see some of his professors who had master’s degrees earn their doctorate’s while teaching online. “That is a testament to the environment that UVI Online created where everyone, including professors, was growing and learning and becoming better professionals and people.”

On a personal level, Dorsett is grateful to UVI for more than a high-quality education and the career growth opportunities it helped create for him. Dorsett appreciates the interaction with other students from diverse backgrounds which has given him fresh perspectives and novel ways of looking at things. Most importantly, Dorsett met his wife of 15 years, Gail Samuel-Dorsett, while taking a summer class on campus. “My family is my life,” he said proudly. He has two sons, Khaaliq Henry and Ervin Dorsett III.

Although the in-person graduation ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dorsett plans to walk across the stage in December as a tribute to his family, his professors, advisors and everyone who supported him over the years. He said, “I absolutely could not have achieved this without my faith in God and without the support of my parents who always encouraged me to do my best.” Reflecting on his experiences, Dorsett said, “UVI has truly been an integral part of my life story on a developmental, educational, professional and personal level.”

In December 2017, the University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees approved the online degree program. Through the newly established UVI Online Division, UVI began offering courses and programs in a fully online format in early 2018. UVI Online offers many employer-focused degree programs that give graduates a competitive edge in today’s job market. The program is strategically designed to be flexible, with courses starting the second Wednesday of each month and running for eight weeks.

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