By Emmanuel Joseph
The prestigious Florida International University (FIU) is yet to make a final decision on whether it will set up a campus in Barbados.
Chief Academic Officer for FIU Dr Elizabeth M. Bejar made the disclosure to Barbados TODAY six months after Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced in her budget speech in March that the university would be established here within a year.
“We are also going to introduce programmes in customer service excellence, and in hospitality, in and out of the public sector, working with NTI, the National Transformation Initiative; the Jean and Norma Holder Institute for Hospitality; and, in a recent memorandum of understanding (MOU), the Florida International University who will be establishing a campus in Barbados within the next 12 months,” Prime Minister Mottley said then.
But Dr Bejar, who is also Provost, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer said the university was still exploring the possibility of establishing a hospitality management programme in Barbados that would service students on the island.
“The University has not made any formal decision on whether it will offer any academic programmes or maintain a presence in Barbados,” Dr Bejar, speaking in her capacity as Chief Academic Officer, told Barbados TODAY in response to a request for details on the setting up of the campus.
She said that an MOU had been signed to examine the feasibility of having the university here.
“In January, FIU, the Government of Barbados, and the Maloney Group agreed, via a non-binding memorandum of understanding, to explore the possibility of establishing a hospitality management programme that would service students in Barbados,” the university administrator said.
“FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality has continued to engage in discussions with various entities in Barbados and is still assessing the feasibility of the project, from an academic and strategic perspective as well as a financial perspective. At this time, no decisions or commitments to move forward have been made.”
Dr Bejar pointed out that any decision to proceed would require the approval of a variety of university stakeholders, including senior FIU leadership, FIU’s Board of Trustees and the State of Florida Board of Governors, the ultimate overseer of the university, and the State University System of Florida.
Earlier this month, FIU was named one of America’s best colleges – fourth in the US among public universities, and 29th overall – in America’s Best Colleges 2024 rankings published by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The WSJ also ranks FIU in the top 10 overall for social mobility and student experience.