UG Council approves governance reforms

-term of Chancellor extended

The University Council met in extraordinary session on July 27, 2018 and considered and approved proposed changes to the University of Guyana (UG) Act and the University Statutes including the reduction of the size of its council.

A release yesterday from UG said that in relation to the Act, the changes include reducing the membership of the University Council from 26 to 17 and rescinding the provisions for special interests and international representation from Britain, Canada, the USA and UWI.

“These changes are the result of a series of stakeholder consultations conducted by the Governance Review Committee, which was approved by the University Council in November 2016”, the statement said.

It added that the final revised report and the proposed changes were presented by the Chair of the Governance Committee, Professor Lawrence Carrington, a former UG Vice-Chancellor.

The release said that the Council adopted the revised Act by a majority vote and will send the recommended changes to the Ministry of Education for “appropriate governmental and legislative considerations”. Only the University Act needs legislative action; the University Council is responsible for approving the revision of the Statutes, the release pointed out.

UG Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris expressed his elation.

 “I am tremendously happy that Council has fulfilled one of the central mandates of the April 2016 Transformational Task Force with respect to university governance. The recommended changes will better empower both the Council and managers of the university while ensuring accountability to government and other university stakeholders”, he was quoted in the release as saying.

Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith said “The decision to approve the revision of the major governance architecture of our 55-year-old university is a significant milestone in our institutional maturation. If adopted by the National Assembly, the revised Act will remove some of the blurred lines between the policy making role of the University Council and the operational management of the institution, and strengthen its autonomy.”

He also registered appreciation of Carrington’s work.

In relation to the Statutes, the Council approved a series of adjustments. Among other things, they relate to the Officers of the University, committees of the Council, the powers of the various committees and discipline of students and staff. The revisions that were not agreed have been referred to a sub-committee of the Council, with a view to the final adoption of the entire document at the Annual Business Meeting in November.

The Council also considered the term of office of Professor Harris, which ends this August, and in keeping with its authority under Section 9 (1) of the University of Guyana’s Act, unanimously approved the extension of his tenure through November 2018, to permit him to preside over the 2018 Annual Business Meeting and the 2018 graduation. Further, a committee was convened to recommend terms of reference and a search process for a new Chancellor. The proposed terms and search process will be  reviewed at a special session of the Council and a final decision made at the upcoming Annual Business Meeting.

The Council also ratified the drafting of a proposal for the establishment of a UG Foundation and the advancement of negotiations for the proposal related to a two thousand-seat auditorium that will be funded by a major gift. The two items will be the subject of intra-university consultations.

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