End of Year Statement- Message to Staff and Students for the 2015 Academic Year from Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President
We have come to the closure of the year 2015 and this is the time to reflect on what we have achieved during the year and also acknowledge staff, students and friends of the University who have contributed to its success, yet again.
Major Achievements in 2015
USP is midway through the current Strategic Plan, which is guiding the University in its quest to become an excellent institution that delivers outstanding results for the Pacific Island region.
USP is making very good progress toward its own institutional goals and the outcomes it intends to produce for its member countries. Key achievements were recorded in the areas of financial planning and management, regional campuses, and student support and other priority areas of our Strategic Plan. In fact, the year 2015 saw record enrolments and a university that is notably more focused on quality, equity and accessibility throughout the region than it has ever been.
The most remarkable and visible accomplishment of 2015 is the completion of the new Kiribati Campus, an achievement that will greatly improve USP’s services to a valued member country and increased the accessibility of a USP education to growing numbers of Kiribati students.
This is the first new campus funded under the favourable loan provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). A new campus in the Solomon Islands is in the pipeline, and the Republic of Marshall Islands Campus recently acquired building is to be extensively renovated. So USP students throughout the region and the communities in which they live stand to benefit greatly in the next few years. A more modern USP will have a much stronger regional outlook and presence and that’s what we will be celebrating in 2018.
So much of what the University does is building and developing; just as it takes students three to four years to acquire the knowledge expected of a degree holder, so it takes time for USP to negotiate funding models and support, embed new and different management principles, and build and renovate modern facilities.
While many achievements can be quantified or pinned to a particular date, many other signals of progress occur over longer time periods and can be noted differently. USP’s role and profile at key regional meetings and the number of visits and consultations it holds with international partners are indicative, for example, of an institution that is recognised for its quality and is growing in esteem. This international reputation is crucial for USP alumni and for the institution itself if USP is to attain excellence by its 50th anniversary in 2018.
During 2015, we were able to consider our financial goals alongside financial pressures, and to agree on our funding model for the next triennium
Key targets under the seven Priority Areas of Strategic Plan are on track to be met by 2018. There are, however, a number of KPIs that will be very challenging to meet or will not be met. This was revealed by the Mid-Term Review, partially funded by Australia, which was presented to the October meeting of Council. The Review has exposed those KPIs which were based on poor baseline data and has shown how Strategic Plan reporting can be improved.
The University has designed its Strategic Plan management and accountability to allow for adjustments and flexibility, and so it has been possible for the University to re-strategise where necessary and respond to the Strategic Plan Mid-Term Review Report so as to maximise the chances of achieving the 2018 targets.
- Funding for the next triennium has been settled, and current financial performance is positive. Our donor funding support again has been excellent (close to FJD 50m). I thank our UGC and Ministers of Finance and development partners for having confidence in USP.
- USP’s enrolment stands at 26,658 as at 31 December 2015 and the 2018 target enrolment of 33,000 students will be met ahead of schedule. Our recruitment of international students currently stands at 363 for 2015 but this is an area which can see substantial growth once we have more accommodation.
- Apart from Kiribati, the emphasis now is on the construction of new campuses in Solomon Islands-currently working on the detailed design and other formalities in collaboration with ADB. We are hoping to have the campus ready by 2018. Similarly, we are working on renovation of the new building (hotel) we acquired for the RMI Campus.
- We have reviewed the Governance, Management and Administration of Regional Campuses which will provide strong guidance to our efforts to strengthen these campuses even further and to embed them more in the countries in which they operate so they can deliver even greater value to our member countries.
- The Federated States of Micronesia and Papua New Guinea would both benefit from becoming USP members, and both countries’ governments expressed further interest in this during 2015.
- USP held two briefing sessions for Pacific Island Countries (PICs) diplomats based in Fiji, in May and in October, two HLCs with Australia and New Zealand and a Development Partners Forum (including all partners) in 2015.
- We continue to participate in the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, CROP Heads and Ministerial meetings. We actively participated in CROP Heads meeting and work with CROP agencies to discuss regional issues such as climate change, ICT, Framework for Pacific Regionalism and others.
- USP initiative on ICT was endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders at their meeting in PNG in early September. USP is working with Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) on its implementation since that time. In this we are closely liaising with key agencies such as the World Bank and ADB. This is a very important recognition of the University’s leadership role in ICT and this will be a great challenge for us in the new year.
- One of the priorities of the University is to get its programmes internationally accredited. While we have achieved accreditations in the area of MBA (AMBA and Eduniversal has ranked MBA 6th in Oceania region), Accounting (CPA), Tourism and Hospitality (ICE), Law (Recognised by Australia); Net Centric Computing and Software Engineering, to give few examples; we are working on others.
- One major achievement is the University has been granted eligibility status by WSCUC (American Accreditation); this implies that the University is eligible to apply for Candidacy which the University will begin by submitting the application for Candidacy and Initial Accreditation.
- Engineering students of USP have invented a mobility aid for blind and visually impaired individuals. The Eye Cane, an intelligent mobility device, which was made from scratch by a team of two USP students and a staff, was invented to help blind persons to effectively improve their quality of life and ultimately enable them to become self-dependent.
- USP won the South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE) Annual Report Competition for the fifth year in a row in the ‘Co-operatives, Non-Profit and Charitable Organisations’ category on 27 October 2015.
Important Visitors to the University
- Four members of the Australian Parliament visited USP on 28 July 2015 for high-level meetings as part of their visit to Fiji. Hon. Senator Macdonald acknowledged that the assistance provided by the Australian Government to USP is being well directed.
- This visit was followed by a visit of the Australian Minister for Education, Hon. Christopher Pyne, MP who visited USP on 31 August 2015 as part of his official visit to Fiji. The Minister took the opportunity to name the Australian-funded Lecture Theatre, constructed in 1998, the ‘Australia Pacific Lecture Theatre’.
- The President of ADB, Mr Takehiko Nakao, visited USP as part of his first visit to Fiji on 28 August 2015. He delivered a public lecture and confirmed ADB’s intentions to enter into a “true knowledge partnership” with USP.
- Following the signing of the 11th EDF Pacific Regional Indicative Programme (PRIP) USP in consultation with CROP agencies and Pacific ACP States submitted six concept papers which are being considered.
- USP and the Embassy of Japan agreed on 10 September 2015 to collaborate on the JENESYS2015 project, through which around 285 people (mainly secondary and university students) from the Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand will visit Japan as part of this. USP has received a total funding of ¥154,680,445 (FJD 2,720,852), including overhead costs of ¥3,669,000 (FJD 64,538) to implement the Project.
- Attendance at the COP21 and the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) took place from 30 November to 11 December 2015, in Paris, France. USP has been working quite closely with SPREP and other CROP agencies to provide support to the regional delegations. The Director of PaCE-SD represented the University together with six students.
- There were a number of Graduation Ceremonies held in 2015, including Foundation (195) & Pacific TAFE (131); Laucala-March (1274); Tuvalu (9); Kiribati (30); Tonga (58); PDLP-Semester 1 (59); Laucala – September (986); Solomon Islands (187); Cook Islands (73). In total, so far the University produced 2900 newly qualified graduates. The following graduations are yet to take place, Foundation (11 December); Alafua (11 December); Emalus (18 December) and PDLP- Semester 2.
- The 2015 Vice-Chancellor’s Forum on Learning and teaching was held on 11 September 2015 and featured keynote speaker, Dr Philip D. Gardner. The theme for this year’s forum was Nurturing Talent for Today and Tomorrow: It Will Take Everyone. The 2015 Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching was awarded to Dr Manoranjan Mohanty of Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE).
- On average 20 students per month visit the Career Centre seeking a range of Career Support including mock interviews.
- The Disability Resource Centre (DRC) is operational and very strongly supported by the Australian Government. Various strategies are being considered to increase the enrolment of Students with Disabilities (SWD) at USP in 2016.
- The positive “First Year Experience” is another focus of student support work. The pilot Campus Life Buddies Programme, developed in 2015, will link first year students in 2016 to a Campus Life FYE Buddy during Orientation Week and will ensure that sustained contact occurs during the first year of studies.
- Online learning and pastoral support have proven to be highly effective, and so more online support was rolled out in 2015. As part of its health promotion efforts, the Campus Life Office established a USP Health and Wellness Facebook page in 2015.
- High quality (internationally recognised, ISI-Web of Knowledge) publication outputs numbered over 90 publications by the end of 2015. This means the University essentially matched the 2014 publication figure.
- A new arrangement for sponsoring collaborative regional research linked to the Strategic Research Themes was established for the next triennial funding period.
- Research Office developed an online postgraduate research monitoring system to improve Masters and PhD completion rates.
- Over 100 staff and students of USP were recognised for having their high-quality research published in high-ranked publications during 2014. These include A*, A and B-ranked journals, book and book chapters.
- Fiji appeared on the official ranking of paper submissions in Power Electronics (PELS) and Industry Electrical Drives (IED) ahead of France, Spain, Sweden, India, Switzerland, Taiwan, and many others during the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) - Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE) in Montreal, Canada from 20-24 September 2015. This is the first time Fiji, through USP, appeared on the official ranking of paper submissions.
- First Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum (PICOF-1) was held at USP on 15 October 2015 and was officially opened by the Assistant Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Honourable Lorna Eden.
- USP and the Government of Tokelau worked together to connect the two remaining main atolls of Tokelau, Nukunono and Fakaofo, in 2015.
- USP and AARNet connected four schools in Tonga as part of the pilot project launched in June 2015.
- The Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting, organised jointly by USP in its capacity as Chair of CROP ICT Working Group and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), was held on 19 June 2015 in Tonga. The Pacific ICT Ministers agreed to endorse the Framework for Action on ICT Development in the Pacific (FAIDP) Review and to progress agreement of the Pacific Regional ICT Strategic Action Plan (PRISAP).
- USP IT Services also provided technical support for the relocation of the USP Solomon Islands Lata sub-campus in 2015, which involved the complete relocation of ICT equipment and networking facilities, including the USPNet Ku-Band VSAT terminal.
- There are currently 22 professorial appointments at the University. There is a deficit of 8, with the target being 30 by the end of 2015.
- USP received a “Highly Commended” award as part of the 2015 AHEIA/Voice Project “Change Challenge” Awards for achieving a high level of positive change among all universities that the Voice Project surveyed during the July 2014 to June 2015 period.
- The pursuit for excellence demands that the quality agenda is embedded in all University processes and functions. To this end, both the Finance and HR Sections have undergone full administrative reviews in 2015.
- The revised Performance Management methodology (SDA) initially implemented for Academic Staff was rolled out for Intermediate & Junior staff in October 2015.
- The University and AUSPS worked together to ensure that a revised salary structure for the Professional category was presented to the University Council in October.
- The University entered into Collective Negotiations for 2016-2018 with the USPSU from 2 September 2015. Consultations with the Union remained in progress at the end of 2015.
Governance, Management, Leadership and Continuous Improvement
- In our continuous pursuit for excellence in Governance the Council has approved the draft Protocol recognising the University in each of its member countries to reinforce the status of the University and the commitment of member countries to it in the lead up to 2018.
- Our commercial operations for 2015 have been good as well. Five (5) of the six (6) Upper Lodge units have undergone renovations for improved income and our Book Centre and Computer Shop have been running profitably.
- The major event was Open Day 2015, which was held in August around the region. Open Day 2015 saw the community warmly welcomed to USP campuses for a day packed with information and entertainment.
- The regular Vice-Chancellor’s Open Forum for staff and students have been held at Laucala Campus to hear issues and concerns.
- The Media Policy and first-ever Guidelines were implemented by November 2015.
- The 2016 Handbook and Calendar were uploaded in early December to the website, and printed copies became available two weeks later.
- 2016 Prospectus will be available later this month.
We look forward to working closely with you all and to continue our relationship and partnership in moving USP from Good to Excellent as we head towards USP’s 50th anniversary in 2018.
I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a very productive and healthy New Year.
End of the Year Message to Staff and Students for the 2014 Academic Year from Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President
1. We have come to the conclusion of another successful year and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all staff and students for your contributions during the year. I also wish everyone a very Blessed Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
2. At the outset, let me say that USP starts with you – without you, it would not have been possible to come this far. We count on you for the success of USP. Warmest thanks and deep appreciation for all your contributions, efforts and dedication in making USP a success story that it is today. We all acknowledge that we have had our fair share of challenges. However, with trust and faith, respect, and collegiality, we have managed to collectively surmount our problems and move on to greater heights with a great sense of satisfaction.
3. I hope that you will have some time off to spend with families and friends and that the spirit Christmas spirit of love and sharing will prevail. To those of you who are travelling, may you all have a safe and pleasant journey.
4. This year has been very successful for us and I highlight a few key achievements:
· UGC had its Mid-Term Review this year and has applauded the University for successfully implementing much of its bold Strategic Plan, managing the associated risks and in doing so confidently moving the University closer to its aspiration for excellence. At this point in the SP, 30% of the SP tasks should have been completed; the University has completed 34% of the tasks
· Enrolment continued to grow strongly and this year headcounts increased by 7% taking enrolments to 28, 375, compared to 26, 600 last year.
· Finances are strong with better than budget performance. Since 2008, the University has performed better than budget except for last year when an accounting change was made. To put our financial turnaround and performance in perspective since 2008 the University has saved $36 million dollars, added assets of $121 million, and seen aid to the University jump to $51 million from $25 million in 2008. This is a commendable achievement when one considers that the University had a deficit in 2006 and 2007. The University’s financial performance has therefore been very good over this period—and we are determined to keep improving on this performance as part of the culture of continuous improvement.
· Increased the number of publications in ISI-Web of knowledge listed journals compared with 2013.
· Citations of ISI-listed publications by USP staff stand at an average of 8.4 per article, being better than some of our well-funded comparators
· Publications of A and A* articles has increased this year
· Establishment of the Pacific Islands Universities Research Network
· Stronger engagements with our Industry advisory programme committees
Significant achievements in our quality
· Accreditation of our MBA Programme by the Association of MBAs (AMBA)
· Reaccreditation of our BCom Programme by CPA Australia
· Programme Recognition of our LLB Programme by the Australian Law Admissions Consultative Committee (LACC)
· Site visit by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) to assess our preparedness for American accreditation
The University’s future growth and competitiveness will depend very significantly on differentiating it from other providers and strengthening its branding as the premier provider of higher education in the Pacific region.
· ADB Loan – Building of Kiribati Campus began, Solomon Islands Campus still under discussion; relationship with ADB set for further expansion in 2015
· Our relationship with our host country, Fiji has further strengthened this year. The Hon. Prime Minister opened our 79th Council with a very encouraging speech; Fiji has made a grant of $36.6 for 2015; and we were honoured to receive a visit by Fiji’s Minister for Education, Honourable Dr. Mahendra Reddy, an alumnus of USP and former Head of the School of Economics.
· We thank the Fiji Government for its support for the development of the new Lautoka campus through its grant of 4 acres of land adjoining the existing land.
· Our relationships with member countries have continued to strengthen. We have had very positive feedback from member countries during recent graduation ceremonies. Most recently, the Hon. Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Mr. Joe Natuman, gave his assurance and support for the work of USP when he visited the University this week;
· Other regional countries such as PNG and FSM have indicated their wish to join USP – an indication of the confidence and value that they see in USP;
· RMI Government bought a large hotel to be the new RMI Campus
· APTC TAFE- partnership resulting in the establishment of the Pacific Fusion Kitchen at USP to train Pacific chefs, opened recently by the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Julie Bishop
· Our CVCE has been renamed as the Pacific TAFE to be in line with our strategic objectives on TVET
· Significant improvements in ICT, especially upgrade of MIS and operationalization of a 100mbps fibre connection to Tonga;
· SMT appointments – we started this year with two new VPs who have settled in quite well to their portfolios. Regrettably, some of the SMT will be leaving us soon including EDHR and DVC R&I. We acknowledge their contributions and wish them well. We hope that their experiences at USP have been worthwhile and that they have made some lifelong friends along the way. Our DVC LTSS will join us in January and we hope to have a new Dean of FBE early in the New Year.
· We congratulate Professor Randy Thaman on being made an Emeritus Professor. Professor Thaman has been one of our longest serving Professors and his contributions to USP and the region has been very significant and recognized regionally and internationally;
5. Finally, as mentioned earlier, the University’s success is a collective effort and I would like to thank everyone concerned with our operations this year: our staff, students; Pro Chancellor and Chair of Council; the Council; Members of Senate; the Chair and Members of FIC; Chair and Members of Audit and Risk Committee; our Member Countries; our Development partners; our business and NGO partners; and the community at large. I would also like to thank our network of international friends of the University who have provided valuable advice and support.
6. We look forward to working closely with you all and to continue our relationship and partnership in moving USP from Good to Excellent as we head towards USP’s 50th anniversary in 2018.
Have a blessed Christmas and a very productive, healthy and enjoyable 2015.
End of the Year Message to Staff and Students for the 2013 Academic Year from Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President
Dear members of staff and students
As we approach the end of another year and the Festive Season, I want to very briefly look back to the start of the year and see how the University has performed so far. At the beginning of this year I had indicated to you all that 2013 is a significant year because it is the first year of implementation of the University’s Strategic Plan 2013-2018, a plan which was developed after a very inclusive and consultative process with many of our stakeholders, including member governments, development partners, staff, students and many more in the region.
Today I am pleased to say that 2013 has been another successful year of achievements for the University, with significant milestones achieved. We knew that it was not going to be easy, but with a heightened sense of ownership from stakeholders, enhanced confidence in the University by member governments, development partners and students and parents, coupled with our collective sheer determination and hard work to transform the University into an excellent institution, we have come a long way and started off our first year of SP 2013-2018 in a manner that gives us confidence that the transformative objectives of the SP will be met.
In summary for 2013, we have seen the biggest increase in our student enrolment, reaching just over 27,000 students spread across our 14 campuses in the region. Our finances remain strong. Our development assistance has reached a level never experienced before with double the amount that we had in 2008 when I started as your Vice-Chancellor. In terms of improving quality, we have completed our 5-yearly external academic quality audit by the New Zealand Universities Quality Agency (AQA) and received positive feedback at all levels with the AQA report expected to be received soon. Some of our programmes have gone through external reviews (e.g. Law Programme) and accreditation processes such as our MBA with the Association of MBAs. We have paid particular attention to our Campus developments and works are in progress for new campuses in Kiribati, Solomon Islands, and Lautoka with others in the pipeline such as RMI and Tonga.
In terms of Learning and Teaching, we are progressing well with our STAR project with the introduction of the 8-8-8 programme structure and the Credit Points. We have appointed several Professors to key positions that have been vacant for several years. To enhance student success, we appointed First Year Student Coordinators in the Faculties, and SLS staff. We have started paying more attention to our Postgraduate students in the provision of Postgraduate labs and spaces for them (e. FBE) as well as improving postgraduate numbers which has recorded increases this year. Provision of more scholarships both at PG and UG level have been possible through a number of sponsorships this year including the offering of USP PhD scholarships. Our four generic courses are now all in place, some being fully on-line.
2013 has also been a busy year for research activities and the Research Office. We saw the formation of the PIURN, which is a milestone in getting 10 Universities including USP to form this research consortium. Staff awards for excellence in Research and Innovation continued in 2013. We were told by the PVC Research and International that in 2012, the University had the best research performance in its history. This is a significant achievement amidst much belt-tightening and change.
In terms of the employability of our graduates, we have for the first time started a Careers Fair driven by the Careers Office to try and link up our potential graduates to the employers and the work force. We have industry focus groups that can provide necessary feedback, as employers, on the quality of our graduates.
Far-reaching fundamental re-design of USPNet was begun this year. The redesign was validated externally, and the first phase has seen improvement and given more confidence in ITS and our future work in ICTs. Much more energetic work will need to be done in 2014 to reap the full benefits of this redesign We have signed an agreement with RMI to take advantage of marine cable there and are looking to signing similar agreements with Tong and Vanuatu early next year.
In terms of HR, the quality of outcomes depend to a large extent on the quality of our staff, so more efforts have been put into appropriate performance systems, as well as talent recognition and staff development. On the other hand, the views of staff on how they perceive the work of the University is very critical, hence for the first time in 2013, we introduced the Staff VOICE Survey. An action plan for its implementation of survey results is in place.
I am also pleased to report that after much deliberation and negotiations with our Staff Unions we have reached an agreement for staff salary increases with payout this month backdated to 1 January 2013. All staff deserves this recognition for their hard work.
All in all, I can say that 2013 has been a very successful year for USP. Its success is due to the collective efforts and commitments of you as staff and students as well the confidence in us by our many stakeholders. I wish to record my appreciation to all of you. I also acknowledge the work of SMT/HOS/Directors and support staff who have worked very hard. Our student leaders have been wonderful and responsible, and I wish to thank them very much as well. I also strongly believe that behind successful transformation and reform it is critical to inspire our staff to perform better.
As we look towards 2014, we will not be resting on our laurels; more needs to be done as we continue with the transformation of USP guided by our SP. These are times of great change and intense activities across the University and the Pacific. Working in partnership with our Member Countries, and strengthened by our multinational work force and diverse mix of students, USP can and will achieve great things for the good of the region.
For now, we will take some time to relax and reflect on the meaning of Christmas as a time of giving, of happiness, of loving one another, of renewed hope. May the spirit of Christmas dwell with you all as we celebrate the end of another successful year for USP.
I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a very productive and healthy New Year.
End of the Year Message to Staff and Students for the 2012 Academic Year from Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President
Dear members of staff and students
At the beginning of this year I had indicated to you all that 2012 is a significant year because it marks the end of the University’s Strategic Plan 2010-2012. I had further said that this was an opportune time to reflect on that Plan’s successes and challenges, and to frankly ask ourselves if we have been proactive enough in supporting our member countries and addressing the needs of the region while at the same time improving the standards of the University.
I had also said that it was crucial that this reflection is honest and well-considered, as the planning for the next Strategic Plan must be done properly if we expect it to guide us through to excellence by the University’s 50th anniversary in 2018.
The message therefore was to successfully implement the current plan and to develop the new Strategic Plan. Due the combined leadership and efforts of the University community, we can all take pride and satisfaction in knowing that we have achieved both these milestones. Your contribution to the two major plans have been significant and supportive and above all you have all demonstrated a sense of commitment, enthusiasm, and ownership in ensuring the current plan is implemented and that the new plan is something that we all can be proud of ---come the University’s 50 Anniversary in 2018. So thank you all for this.
We are very pleased that this year has turned out to be very successful. It is worthwhile pointing out some of the success of this year.
- New SP was approved by Council in Nov, which also strongly endorsed the theme of transforming USP from a good to an excellent university;
- Finalization of University’s triennial funding for 2013-2015;
- High level of confidence in USP by our development partners in general and in particular Australia and New Zealand for funding in future. Australia has extended its current Partnership Agreement until 2013 by almost doubling its assistance for 2013 to the University over 2012. In 2013 Australia will work with USP for a possible 5 year Partnership arrangement. Likewise New Zealand has confirmed its funding for 2013-2015 with a moderate increase in funding over 2010-2012 period. Both these agreement have now been signed;
- Australia’s commitment of A$85m in new funding over four years to strengthen tertiary education in the region, including through IT and infrastructure upgrading of regional tertiary institution, two thousand new places in tertiary bridging programmes and two thousand and three hundred new places , with a priority in engineering, construction, maritime transport, education and health. This followed an extensive consultation earlier this year by an AusAID Team. USP being the leading tertiary education will play an important role in the implementations, when this is rolled from 2013;
- UGC Triennial funding (2013-2015) and Annual Plan for 2013 for was approved by the Council;
- Enrolment continued to grow strongly in 2012;
- Finances are strong with better than budget performance;
- Quality has improved: new provisional accreditation for Bachelor of Science in NetCentric Computing and Bachelor of Software Engineering from Australian Computer Society;
- USP Law School won the Pan Pacific Moot competition;
- Student newspaper Wansolwara won two awards at this year’s Journalism Education Association of Australia’s annual Ossie Awards: one for the Best Print News Story of the Year and for the Best Publication against tough competition from Australian and New Zealand journalism schools;
- Our Annual Report also won the award for the best Annual Report for its category at the Fiji Stock Exchange Annual Report competition—for the second time;
- USP student team won the Europa Shield for inter-university debate for the second time in three years;
- We had a successful medal awards ceremony which highlighted the high quality of our graduates and the emerging young and strong leaders USP is producing in various disciplines. We thank you our corporate partners for your support;
- We had a very successful open day this year and again I wish to thank our secondary schools and corporate sponsors for their continued support to this event;
- The development and enhancement of our regional campuses remain very high priorities for the University. ADB soft loan was approved and signed which will see significant development in our campuses in Kiribati, Solomon Islands and in our flexible learning. The development of Kiribati campus has commenced with EOI for engineering work completed;
- Our economic updates and other community engagements in the region continue to receive strong support and interest;
- We had a successful upgrade of our Banner system;
- The 2013 USP Calendar and Handbook was ready and available online by mid-November and printing copies are now available and circulated;
- We had a successful conference on Pacific Tertiary Education and further progress with the Association of the Heads of Tertiary Institutions in the Pacific Islands
- Significant reforms continued this year with the STAR project with the introduction of a credit point system and 24 course degree structure in 2013
- USP has been asked to host the new Pacific Universities Network for Research, indicating the standing of USP in Pacific academia
- We also recognized and awarded our distinguished researchers, the outcomes of which have improved the University’s standing in research; and
- We have played our role as an effective CROP member. Participated in all important Forum and CROP heads and related Meetings.
- USP Management and USPSA maintained excellent relations throughout the year and student leaders showed strong commitment to the development of the University and the notion of excellence.
The above are some of the major achievements. Moving forward we are confident that the Strategic Plan 2013-2018 provides an exciting and forward-looking path that will make the University an even higher quality institution and that will make the stakeholders realize how valuable the University is for their own development.
The foundation for achieving the ambitious objectives of the SP is strong. Provided there is stability of leadership, we are able to recruit and retain high quality staff, and we continue to build our reputation, there is every confidence that the University will enter perhaps its most exciting phase of development culminating in an excellent, more relevant and valuable university rooted strongly in its Pacific heritage.
I feel that the majority of our staff members are enthused and excited by our new Vision, especially the theme of “Transforming USP from good to excellent”. You as staff of the University have contributed to the success we have achieved, and I wish to record my appreciation to all of you. I also acknowledge the work of SMT/HOS/Directors who have worked very hard. Our student leaders have been wonderful and responsible, and I wish to thank them very much as well. I also strongly believe that behind successful transformation and reform it is critical to inspire our staff to perform better.
These are times of great change and intense activities across the University and the Pacific. Working in partnership with its Member Countries, and strengthened by its multinational work force and diverse mix of students, USP can and will achieve great things for the good of the region.
I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a very productive New Year.