Short-listing for new UG vice-chancellor to be redone

-after flawed process

After short-listing candidates to be interviewed for the post of Vice-Chancellor at the University of Guyana, the new council has decided that it will have to be redone since significant flaws were found in the initial process.

“It appears as if the council was dissatisfied with the process used to identify persons to be interviewed for the position of Vice-Chancellor,” a source said.

Stabroek News was reliably informed that the process had been flawed since members of the selection committee utilised different approaches in assessing the candidates.  “They were looking for specific benchmarks and those benchmarks were not applied. The individuals who were asked to use benchmarks went ahead and used their own. Candidates have to be assessed on the same thing. Instead, they were assessed by different individuals who used different benchmarks. Some may concur because persons may have had the same line of thinking but the process has got to be done over,” a stakeholder of the institution revealed.

He explained that at the council’s first meeting since the start of the semester, the issue was highlighted and members decided to vote. This saw the majority voting to terminate the process and create new criteria for assessment.  Earlier this year, Professor Lawrence Carrington vacated the office of Vice-Chancellor and subsequently Professor Compton Bourne resigned as Chancellor, following calls from the unions for him to do so, days after he was re-appointed to act within this capacity.

Asked about a replacement for Bourne, the stakeholder said that selecting a new Chancellor will have to be done at another time in the near future. The Vice-Chancellor, he added, is critical at this time and when this process is complete, the council is expected to focus its energy on applications for the position of Chancellor.

Another source told this newspaper that the university is not being governed effectively and efficiently.

When asked about the effect of the absence of both of a Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor, the source said it speaks to the lack of planning at several levels.

“This is not today. This is not something new. Everyone was aware that Professor Carrington’s tenure was coming to an end. Everyone knew this was coming. It speaks to very poor planning by the administration, the council and the government, specifically the Ministry of Education. It certainly does not speak well on governance,” the source said.

The position formerly held by Carrington became vacant on April 1 this year. Candidates for this position are required to be of high academic standing and have experience in university administration.

“They should have the credibility to lead an academic community and to work effectively with the university’s many stakeholders. They should demonstrate knowledge of the issues pertinent to higher education in a developing country such as Guyana and should evince capability of providing leadership in the development and delivery of tertiary level curricula relevant to the needs of the country,” an advertisement put out by UG earlier this year said.

When asked if Professor Daizal Samad, Director of the University of Guyana’s Berbice Campus (UGBC) was one of the persons shortlisted, a source had previously told this newspaper no.

Bourne had explained in a letter that his initial term of office would have ended on June 29 and although he valued the confidence the council placed in him when he was unanimously re-elected to the post for another term of three years, he was unable to accept the offer considering the “increasingly fractious climate of the university”.

Bourne had said that the situation at the Turkeyen campus signalled further deterioration, rather than improvement and was not one for which he was suited and as such, he had made the decision to resign.

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