Oct 04, 2016 News
-as murmurs surface about new UG ‘leadership team’
Measures to transform the University of Guyana (UG) have been set in motion. Although the measures,
including some notable leadership changes, are expected to improve the management of the tertiary institution, they have not been without some murmurings.
Some individuals close to the operation of the University are of the opinion that the number of persons within the management team should be cause for concern. In fact it has been observed that the University which has had a protracted financial challenge will require a great deal of funds to realise some proposed ambitious measures including a revamped leadership team.
The University is looking to Government for in excess of $5 billion in the new financial year to support its plans which includes the spending of $3 billion for recurrent expenditure and $2.2 billion for capital works.
Among the priorities of the administration are: increased salaries for academic and non-academic staff, the provision of basic supplies and facilities that have been undermining efficiency and morale for years, campus security, the improvement of several facilities that negatively impact health and safety as well as security.
These measures were fast-tracked by UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith.
Griffith was appointed to the Vice Chancellor position earlier this year. Moreover, it has been recommended by some UG officials that he be given a fair chance to implement measures that could possibly improve the University that has been struggling for far too long to survive.
This notion has been completely embraced by President of the University of Guyana Workers Union (UGWU), Mr. Bruce Haynes.
Haynes, in an invited comment, yesterday, underscored that the measures that have been introduced by the Vice Chancellor were not done in a dictatorial manner since they received the blessings of the financial arm of the University – the Finance and General Purpose Committee (F&GPC). The F&GPC is a policy making body of the University second only the University Council.
During a meeting in August the F&GPC approved a proposal by the Vice Chancellor to comprehensively restructure the university’s leadership.
According to a statement that was issued by the University, “The re-organisation plan, which reassigns a few existing officials, promotes one individual and establishes a few new positions, aims to create greater levels of efficiency and effectiveness and set the stage for innovation in academic and non-academic areas.”
Haynes emphasised, yesterday, that the move by the Vice Chancellor was in fact spurred by the 2013 Trevor Hamilton Consultant Report on the university, which called for “the university to undergo a major restructuring…to make it a high performance institution.”
Embracing the Report, Professor Griffith in his first three months at the University said, “I am of the strong view that greater levels of effectiveness and efficiency can only be achieved through the immediate re-organisation of the administration of the University through realignment of functions and roles.”
According to Haynes, he has no qualms with the leadership team since based on what has been proposed the Vice Chancellor has made use of persons who are already within the employ of the University.
“What I understand is that these changes have not cost the University anything in the extreme…he (the Vice Chancellor) has basically reworked the system to accommodate new initiatives.
“Taking the University to where it needs to be, calls for changes and a reworking of the system to accommodate this. Persons in the leadership team have basically been re-deployed. The Vice Chancellor has redeployed the resources effectively so that they can be maximised,” said Haynes.
He suggested that those against this move are fewer than those supporting it.
The leadership changes proposed by the Vice Chancellor became effective last Saturday.
Among the changes is Dr. Michael Scott, a recent Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, being appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academic Engagement.
In addition to the Faculties within his portfolio, Dr. Scott will have oversight over several new units: the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning; the School of Graduate Studies and Research; and the Office of Undergraduate Research.
The latter two, according to the statement, will get some initial leadership guidance from the Vice-Chancellor himself because of his expertise and experience in those areas. The current Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academics, Dr. Barbara Reynolds, has been reassigned as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Planning and International Engagement, a new entity intended to streamline and extend UG’s international relationships and build new grants, research, relationships with other universities and with international organisations.
With her years of experience in UNICEF and other international agencies, Dr. Reynolds is expected to facilitate new and dynamic international pursuits.
Dr. Paloma Mohamed, a former Director of the Centre for Communication Studies and a former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, will occupy the newly created position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Planning and Development, Dr. Elizabeth Ramlal, has been invited to become Executive Director of the Institute of Distance and Continuing Education (IDCE), to lead the realignment of the Institute to strengthen its service delivery across the country and realise it entrepreneurial potential.
On assuming office, Professor Griffith had outlined in his Values and Vision Statement that Capital Investment, Academic Enhancement, Economic Viability and Alumni Engagement, are imperatives for the university to undergo a paradigmatic shift as part of its renaissance.
The new leadership order is expected to greatly contribute to the renaissance of the university.
The new administrative team will be further strengthened with the establishment of an Office of Strategic Initiatives as an adjunct to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, to undertake institutional strengthening, project management, and allied services. The current Programme Officer in the Office of the Vice Chancellor, Ms. Karen Wishart, has been promoted to become the first occupant of the newly established position of Chief of Staff in the Vice-Chancellery. This promotion coincides with the renaming of the Senior Administrative Group to the Vice-Chancellor’s Cabinet, which would include the Deputy Vice Chancellors, Registrar, Bursar, Human Resources Director, Director of the Berbice Campus, the Legal Officer (a new position), the Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives and the Chief of Staff.
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