The current status of St. Martinus University is that things are moving along quite well. The University has shifted to a trimester system, which allows students to move through the program faster. Semesters are Sept-Dec, Jan-Apr, and May-Aug. Enrolment is growing steadily.
Currently, we are teaching both pre-med and MD1 through MD 5. We have returning faculty and many new faculty members, as well as a new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. We also have returning and new administrative staff, including admissions officer, registrar, librarian, IT specialist, facilities manager, and custodial staff.
The new reception area of the University (receptionist, registrar’s office, and admissions office) is opening soon, creating more space for classrooms and/or faculty offices. Renovations are well under way on an entire wing of faculty offices, which will create more classroom space. Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage historic city, and the University is housed in a cluster of large, historic buildings in the downtown area, right at the entrance to the harbour. With historic buildings, restorations cost more and take more time because everything must be done according to strict local and international standards. But renovations of St. Martinus University are moving along very well. They may take a little longer but the result is a beautiful, dignified facility.
The concept of the University is based upon an integrated community model—integration with the existing environment of downtown Willemstad, and for students, integration of academic experience and day-to-day needs. The retail outlets on the bottom floor of part of the institution are intended to integrate with the goals and functions of the University—both practical and medical. Currently, there is a medical laboratory, a restaurant (with discount for students), two convenience stores, and two telecommunications retailers. Discussions are ongoing with a local pharmacy to open a branch. The medical laboratory and pharmacy can provide students with real-world health care experience on-site. The University is also only a short walk away from the St. Elizabeth Hospital, where students can gain valuable experience interacting with patients.
Over the summer break a team of committed faculty and administrators has coalesced at the University and despite any fallacious reports of the impending demise of the institution, prospects for St. Martinus look as sunny as our Curaçao weather!