USP Holds New Strategic Plan (2019-2024) Visioning Workshop
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Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President as part of his opening address.
With the current Strategic Plan (2013-2018) of The University of the South Pacific (USP) coming to an end in December 2018, Academic, Sectional heads, Campus Directors, functional staff, student and staff representatives of the University convened at the Holiday Inn, Suva to be part of the new Strategic Plan (2019-2024) Visioning Workshop from 16 – 17 October 2017.
Given that a Strategic Plan guides all work of the University and the inextricable link between the Strategic Plan, University Grants Committee triennial funding, and new development partnerships, it is vital that the University develops its next Strategic Plan to be approved by the November 2018 Council.
The two-day workshop provided a platform for envisioning, effective engagement and exchange of ideas. The major outcome of the workshop is to prepare draft for Council’s consideration of USP’s:
Vision, Mission and Core values for the new Strategic Plan;
Key Priority Areas; and
In opening the workshop, Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President, said that the current Plan is structured mostly on the University transforming itself “from good to excellent” and one of the key tasks for the participants is to think of another compelling and inspiring conception so that there is equally strong commitment to and inspiration for the next plan.
He added that there is a need to think beyond the ordinary to be really aspirational; he added that the task is to challenge ourselves and others to reach for what the Pacific is really capable of.
“It has to be compelling, uplifting and inspiring for people so that they want to be part of this journey and I cannot emphasise strongly enough how important the ‘transforming from good to excellent’ has been,” Professor Chandra said.
He pointed out that one of the areas in which the University needs to focus more on is to be more postgraduate and research-oriented in terms of the overall system, including enrolment, funding, and outcomes.
Participants of the New Strategic Plan Visioning Workshop at Holiday Inn, Suva.
He further stressed that the University should take more responsibility for the Pacific Islands tertiary institution ecosystem as a whole, such as advocating tertiary education, helping create well-articulated system that gives credits, helping national universities, and allowing all institutions to see a mutually-beneficial role in the total ecosystem.
With the reinforcement of the University’s regional responsibilities for Human Resource Development (HRD) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Professor Chandra highlighted that there is a need to reflect this adequately in the new Strategic Plan so that USP can resource and perform well in these areas.
“With the incredible speed of digital transformation, artificial intelligence and automation, we need to ensure that these play a large part in the new Strategic Plan,” he stated.
Talking about Sustainability, Climate Change, and Natural Disasters, Professor Chandra said that they call for a bigger part in the new Strategic Plan, perhaps as a new Priority Area.
There was also a stronger need to determine how USP can become an oceanic University as opposed to one that is constantly focusing on land areas and land activity.
Professor Chandra pointed out the positive outcomes from the current Strategic Plan and said that they were led by an inclusive development.
“There was involvement of staff, students, development partners, CROP Heads, and presentations to each Country ensured strong sense of ownership and buy-in and this needs to be retained and strengthened,” he added.
The Vice-Chancellor and President also shed light on some areas that could be remedied and adopted in the new Strategic Plan (2019-2024) and these are:
Socialisation of the Plan;
Data inconsistencies that reduced confidence in reporting;
Lack of integration of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in performance management, and lack of enforcement of accountability mechanisms;
Need SMT/Priority Area leaders to take more responsibility for driving their own areas and resolving any issues rather than just identifying them;
Greater institutional research, effective and competent use of data and analytics; and
Data governance, quality and accessibility.
Mr Jaindra Karan, Director, Development, Marketing, Communications and Alumni (DMCA) provided an update on the current Strategic Plan.
Mr Karan emphasised that the workshop is all about envisioning the University in 2024, adding that “whatever we dream today, we should be able to accomplish by 2024.”
On the first day of the workshop the participants discussed proposed Vision, Mission and Core Values for the new plan and presentations were made by current Priority Area Leaders.
The proposed Vision, Mission, Core values and Objectives for the SP 2019-2024 will be presented to the University Council at its meeting on 24-25 October, 2017.
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