USM involved in PhD defences

PHILIPSBURG–It is one thing to have local St. Maarten talent attain a PhD abroad, it is another for the local university to develop in such a way that in the future it can also begin to confer such degrees.

This was the dream of the architects of University of St. Martin (USM) – the late Dr. Claude Wathey, Ambassador Hushang Ansari and former Commissioner of Education and current University of St. Maarten Foundation board President Valerie Giterson-Pantophlet.

USM is busy taking such steps. Last year and again this year USM has been part of PhD supervisory teams of candidates who gained their degrees studying at institutions in the Netherlands.

Last year USM President Dr. Francio Guadeloupe co-supervised the thesis of Dr. Markus Balkenhol at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The German national successfully defended his thesis entitled “Tracing Slavery. An Ethnography of Diaspora, Affect, and Cultural Heritage in Amsterdam,” obtaining a PhD in the discipline of cultural anthropology.

Dr. Guadeloupe again represented USM on March 10, this time as part of Dr. Guiselle Starink-Martha’s promotion commission. With the title, “A Song for Curaçao: Musical Performances of Double Diaspora,” Starink received a PhD in Cultural Studies.

The cooperation with University of the Virgin Islands – UVIUSM– also has a PhD component that is scheduled to be presented to the general public within a few months.

In addition, USM’s Dean of Academics Geneve Phillip-Durham is submitting her PhD thesis at the end of this month. This will strengthen USM’s capacity. The objective is to build the international standing of the institution located on Pond Island.

Giterson-Pantophlet said on Monday, “We founded a University. The word says it all: a university awards PhDs too. This was our original aim. This remains the direction. The mission statement of USM is to contribute to an island where in every family you encounter one person holding at least an Associate’s Degree. ‘At least’ means that, for us, some of those families should also have doctors.”

Source: The Daily Herald