Board of USM thanks Dr. Gittens for her contributions



PHILIPSBURG – The Board of the University of St. Martin (USM) Foundation announced that effective December 31, Dr. Natasha Gittens will be leaving USM to further her career elsewhere.

“We and the entire team at the University of St. Martin extend our sincere appreciation for the hard work and effort put forth in solidifying our business arm segment, USM-SCELL (School of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning),” the Board said in a statement.

Vice President of the Board Wycliffe Smith, was the first to do serious work in having USM cater to the business sector of St. Maarten. His idea and efforts were rekindled by President of USM Dr. Francio Guadeloupe.

In 2014, some 150 persons from the civil service, business sector, and NGO world, received trainings at USM. These included courses in Dutch, English, and Spanish for civil servants, alongside workshops in hurricane disaster management, and financial management for Windward Islands Bank (WIB) employees.

Recognizing that the business arm of USM deserved a separate branding strategy, and a director in charge of professional education and training, the Board appointed Dr. Gittens. President of the Board Valerie Giterson-Pantophlet said, “Dr. Gittens was the professional the USM was looking for to develop what has become the SCELL.

She invested her time, expertise, and effort, and the Board invested in Dr. Gittens, allowing her to obtain the appropriate credentials to become a Certified Hospitality Expert Master trainer of the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). The American Hotel Lodging Educational Institute is today housed at the USM with 3 certified Hospitality Expert trainers Erwin Wolthuis, Jan van Beek, and Anenda Zaandam, who are teaching courses.

The USM is ready to expand and make the employees on St. Maarten better experts in hospitality. Dr. Gittens, working alongside the rest of the USM management, was instrumental in achieving this. She lived up to our expectations. Dr. Gittens leaves the USM as a continuing supporter and friend of the institution.”

“The Board also takes this opportunity to thank all the businesses, including many that have continuously supported the University over the years that have been privileged to expand the skills of their staff due to the various training sessions extended by USM-SCELL. Our plans for the coming year 2017, will continue and we will be pleased to serve the business community going forward,” the statement continued.

“Thank you once again Dr. Gittens, the team and all the businesses who have partnered with the University of St. Martin during the year,” the statement concluded.