Ross University receives regulatory approvals to relocate its campus temporarily on a ship off St. Kitts

Two weeks after Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) began its 2017 fall semester in Dominica, Hurricane Maria hit. RUSM activated a multifaceted academic continuity plan that included the successful evacuation of more than 1,300 members of it campus community in one week and the resumption of its medical sciences course of instruction on a ship in the following four weeks.

The Dominica Medical Board and the US Department of Education recently approved the University resuming the Fall 2017 semester on the vessel.

“There were several factors considered when determining the best option for academic continuity,” says William F. Owen, Jr., MD, FACP, RUSM’s Dean and Chancellor. “The most important factor was ensuring that we maintain the quality and rigor of our programs of medical instruction at RUSM.” According to the dean, other considerations included keeping the students’ testing milestones on track, minimizing disruption to the students’ timeline for medical school, keeping the RUSM community in a single location, and balancing schoolwork and recreation for its students.

The medical sciences course of instruction began Monday, Oct. 23 on a uniquely fitted cruise liner docked off the coast of St. Kitts in the West Indies. The temporary arrangement enabled RUSM students to resume their course of instruction as quickly as possible. The ship contains needed instruction, studying, dining, and recreation spaces including a recently constructed 18,000 sq. ft. academic suite. Lodging is available aboard the ship, as well.

In addition to RUSM satisfying its own criteria for the resumption of its medical course of instruction, the university had to ensure it continued to meet the rigorous standards set by the Dominica Medical Board as well as the US Department of Education to remain eligible to participate in the US Federal Direct Student Loan Program. The United States Department of Education, through its National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA), has determined that the accreditation standards of the Dominica Medical Board are comparable with those used to evaluate programs leading to the MD degree in the United States accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Both accrediting bodies have approved RUSM’s temporary arrangement to provide medical instruction on a modified cruise ship.

“We are pleased to have retained the important regulatory approvals,” says Dean Owen. “Our students can rest assured knowing we are offering the same high quality educational standards that attracted them to RUSM.”

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  1. RossGrad
    December 27, 2017

    Ross University is promoting to applicants and prospective students that they will return to Dominica for the Summer semester of 2018. The “Semester at Sea” will be ending shortly and then students will go to Tennessee (mainland US) for the next semester. The return will be contingent, of course, on the Dominica being ready to host all those students and meet their housing, safety, health, and dining needs. Ross University IS a private Dominican institution. While it is owned by a US based Education Corporation it operates under its continuing approval by the Dominican Medical Board. If the Dominica medical board did not approve Ross’ emergency plan of renting the cruise ship, Ross would not have been able to keep operating. I understand the fear that Portsmouth apartment and business owners are expressing at this time, but all indicators suggest Ross will be back.

  2. marie-claire R Skerrit
    December 26, 2017

    WHOOOOOOS i praying they come back. That arent looking good for Dominica nah

    December 22, 2017

    Ross must return to the island before June 2019. If not they will loose their federal student loan status which would destroy their ability to charge the outlandish tuition rate that they charge.

  4. Concerned
    December 22, 2017

    Unfortunately that is considered a business risk.

    Has there been any updates on when Ross will return?

  5. December 22, 2017

    What about the people of Dominica who took huge loans, HOW ARE THEY GOING TO PAY THERE LOAN..huge 3 story buildings with 14 to 20 appartments

    • Primrosette
      December 22, 2017

      ? Dominicans like to flaunt their ignorance we

      • Anonymous
        December 22, 2017

        I presume you are a Dominican too Primrosette?

    • LOL
      December 22, 2017

      People made a choice to take those huge loans…..the risk of Ross University leaving was always there because it is not a Dominican institution

    • Paul Rossnof
      December 22, 2017

      Didn’t you do any risk assessment at the time and made continuancy plans for such eventualities. I guess not, the only thing that was important at the time was making easy money quickly and getting rich quickly. I’ve always been saying greed and business don’t mix very well.

      • Amember
        December 22, 2017

        In that case every single Dominican is guilty of not making risk assessment. Cause a mortgage is a mortgage. I do not think a hundred risk assessment could have prepared anyone for that monster that was Maria.

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