Professor Richard Coll, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning, Teaching and Student Services (LTSS) addressing staff.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) held its second Vice-Chancellor’s Staff Forum for the year at the Japan-Pacific ICT Multipurpose Theatre on 14 September, 2018.
The forum was hosted by Professor Richard Coll, Acting Vice-Chancellor & President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning, Teaching and Student Services (LTSS).
Professor Coll welcomed staff and highlighted that the Forum was an avenue where they are encouraged to raise any issues or concerns they may be facing in their various areas of work.
Staff were given a run-through of the status of the University with regards to the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) Accreditation.
A brief video was shown informing staff that WSCUC had granted the University Initial Accreditation for a period of six years effective from 20 July 2018.
WSCUC is a regional accrediting agency, established for the purposes of accrediting senior colleges and universities throughout California, Hawaii, and the Pacific and a limited number of international institutions.
USP had applied for Eligibility from WSCUC, who reviewed the application and determined that the University is eligible to proceed with an application for Candidacy and Initial Accreditation.
Professor Coll stated that Initial Accreditation might not sound like a good outcome when in fact, in the WSCUC system, “this is the best possible outcome and is only achieved by universities that are in substantial compliance with all four WSCUC Standards of Accreditation and all 39 Criteria for Review”.
He explained that the WSCUC Commission took this action following the consideration of the review team’s report that conducted the seeking accreditation visit; the reviewing of the University’s institutional report and all the exhibits supplied to support claims; and the review of the University’s response to the team report.
“The grant of an Initial Accreditation gives the University formal recognition of the quality of the institution’s structures, processes and resources, in addition to assessing the academic programme and the educational effectiveness,” Professor Coll said.
Educational effectiveness he said, is a big part of the WSCUC ethos and “we must ensure that all the University’s processes are effective and that they produce graduates who have the skills that we want and the fact that we gained initial accreditation, WSCUC is satisfied that have achieved it”.
Some of the issues raised include concerns about the bio-metrix implementation, particularly whether data collected can be accessed by staff and what happens to the data collected when a staff member leaves the University. Staff also raised concerns over the general operations of the Human Resources (HR) department.
Staff were informed that the bio-metrix implementation was aimed at improving services by collecting digital data as opposed to having things done manually.
Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research & International confirmed that plans were in the pipeline for a proposal to advertise the position of Executive Director HR.
Concerns were also raised about the lack of parking spaces within the University to which staff were informed that a Master Plan for development within the University proposed a multi-storey parking. Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) suggested that the Master Plan be placed in a central location for all staff to be able to access it.
Other issues raised include:
• revamp of the USP website;
• revamp of the dining hall;
• need for provision of on-campus accommodation for students with disability; and
• concern over the use of the gymnasium for classes.
All issues raised were noted and Professor Coll assured staff that they would be looked into.
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