The University of Guyana (UG) yesterday announced that it was seeking $5.2b from the government for financial year 2017 and it also unveiled a raft of administrative changes.
In 2016, UG was allocated $3.2b plus a subvention of $500m so the 2017 request represents a major increase.
In a press release last night, UG said that at a meeting held on Monday at the Turkeyen Campus, the Finance and General Purpose Committee (F&GPC) approved a proposal by Vice-Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Lloyd Griffith to radically restructure the university’s leadership.
In alluding to the 2013 Hamilton Consultant Report, which called for “the university to undergo a major restructuring…to make it a high performance institution”, Griffith, who is 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 reorganisation of the administration of the university through realignment of functions and roles.”
The changes, which take effect from October 1 this year, will see Dr Michael Scott, until recently Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, become Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academic Engagement. In addition to the Faculties within his portfolio, Dr Scott will now 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 current Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academics, Dr Barbara Reynolds will now serve as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Planning and International Engagement, a new entity intended to extend UG’s international relationships and build new grant, research, and other relationships.
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 post of Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement. The release said that 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.”
The release added that the new administrative team will be bolstered by the creation of an Office of Strategic Initiatives. The current Programme Officer in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Karen Wishart, has been promoted to become the first occupant of the newly established post 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 encompass 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.
Another feature of the Griffith Plan is the re-designation of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences as a full-fledged Faculty with a Dean.
The F&GPC also endorsed the Vice-Chancellor’s all-time-high budget request to the Government of Guyana of $5.2 billion for financial year 2017. The university is seeking $3.0 for recurrent expenditure and $2.2 billion for capital works.
The priorities of the administration are focused on 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, and upgrading several of the facilities that negatively impact health and safety as well as security.
The new buildings proposed by the Griffith administration include a new library and an academic complex to house the Business School, the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the School of Graduate Studies and Research, and the Office of Undergraduate Research. Also approved at the Monday night meeting was the purchase of a badly-needed student centre, using existing resources from the Learning Resource funds. The release said that the Vice-Chancellor plans to have the student centre operational during the upcoming semester.