USP Council members at the 83rd Council meeting at the Holiday Inn in Suva, Fiji.
The 83rd Council meeting of The University of the South Pacific (USP) successfully concluded at the Holiday Inn in Suva on 4 November 2016.
USP Council is the highest decision-making body of the University, and meets twice a year to discuss the affairs of the University. The two-day meeting, which began on 3 November, was chaired by the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, Mr Winston Thompson.
The Council comprises the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, the Vice-Chancellor and President, representatives of the 12 member country governments, staff, students, and community and business leaders. One representative from Australia and New Zealand and a member of a Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) agency are also part of the Council. A representative each from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT) also attend as Observers.
The Council meeting was officially opened by Mr Winston Thompson, Pro-Chancellor of USP.
On the first day, Council members attended a half-day workshop on ‘The USP Convention’, facilitated by Munro Leys and USP Council and Senate Secretariat. One of the key objectives of the workshop facilitated by Mr Jon Apted of Munro Leys was to familiarise Council Members and senior legal officers from USP’s member countries with the University’s legal processes that need to be followed to get the Convention approved as the University would like to implement the new Convention across its member countries in anticipation of the 50thAnniversary in 2018.
The Council received reports from Mr Thompson, the Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra and Committees of the Council being the Executive Committee, the Finance and Investments Committee (FIC), Senate, Audit and Risk Committee, and Federal Students Association. The Council also received reports regarding the Regional Campus Development and from 50th Anniversary Steering Committee.
During the meeting, the Council was updated on the implementation of USP Strategic Plan (2013 – 2018), noted the third quarter update for 2016, approved the 2018 targets for Undergraduate completions as the University erred in its baseline assumptions, and also approved that the Knowledge Hub Key Performance Indicator be removed as the original assumptions are no longer valid.
The Council also approved the following:
· Proposed changes to the Terms of Reference for the FIC as well as a minor addition to the Terms of Reference for the Executive Committee;
· The University Risk Register;
· Proposed Annual Plan 2017 and its financing with a proposed total income of $196.1m, a proposed total expenditure of $190.2m and a projected operating surplus of $5.9m; and
· Re-zoning of selected pieces of lands at Laucala Campus for commercial developments. Council was requested to approve this for management to negotiate the terms and conditions with third parties and final proposal to be presented to Council for approval through FIC;
As part of Regional Campus development, the Council endorsed the finalisation of a Deed of Assignment for a new learning village in Nauru, and also endorsed an application to secure the Grant Instrument for USP ownership of Lawson Tama Campus in Solomon Islands.
USP officially signed the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Loan Agreement of US$15.4m for the development of its new Solomon Islands Campus. Representatives for the signing of the loan documents included Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP Vice-Chancellor and President; Mr Robert Jauncey, ADB’s Regional Director South Pacific Sub-regional Office; and Honourable John Moffat Fugui, Solomon Islands Minister of Education and Human Resources Development, who represented the Solomon Islands Government (SIG).
The Council resolved that the University will implement the recommendation to increase face-to-face non law teaching on Emalus Campus from 2017 provided that it is covered by the 2017 Annual Plan. For courses not covered by the 2017 Annual Plan, the University will undertake an assessment for resourcing needs.
As part of academic matters, the following programmes were instituted by the Council:
· Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Applied Linguistics & English Language Teaching);
· Master of Arts (Applied Linguistics);
· Certificate III in Small Business Development & Management;
· Certificate III in Patisserie (Pastry and Baking);
· Postgraduate Diploma in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation; and
· Diploma of Counselling (Level 5).
The Council also resolved not to revoke the Postgraduate Diploma in Tertiary Teaching programme but to leave it for 2016; however there will be no new enrolments in 2017 while USP examines the alignment of the programme to Fiji’s Qualification Framework.
It also approved the re-organisation of the Pacific Legal Information Institute as an Institute of the University.
The next USP Council meeting will be held from 24 to 25 May 2017 in the Republic of Marshall Islands.
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